By David Hannes

Organic Placement vs. AdWords and Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

When one does a search on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines the results of a search are broken down and displayed on different sections of a search engine result page. The sponsored results or “Ads” are commonly found on the right side of the results page and the first couple of results at the top of the page. The main body of the page showcases the organic search engine results and the local business directory results if triggered by a search.

What are Sponsored Results?

The sponsored results are the result of Adwords or pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing. Web site owners paid to have their site information and links placed there. These sponsored results are labeled as “Ads”. (In the past these results were labeled “sponsored links” or “sponsored results”. It can be assumed that the labeling standard shall again change sometime in the future). The benefit of Adwords is that you can just about guarantee placement in these regions if you are willing to spend the money to appear there for specifically targeted geographic regions or IP address locations.

What is Organic Placement?

The main body of the search results page is propagated with results found by means of organic placement. Search engines are not paid or compensated to display these results, placement is a free service. Web pages are found in this region due to the result of on-page optimization, search engine registration and organic marketing. Placing on page one can lead to tremendous business as it IS free to list there. The downside is can take time to be the beneficiary of this coveted real estate and there is no guarantee of page 1 placement.

What are Local Business Directory Results?

If you see a map on page 1 of a search engine results page with an index of listings, labeled A…B…C…D…E or 1..2…3…4…5, these are local business directory results found from registering with that search engine’s local business directory. It is a cousin of organic placement and free to place there. It is good practice to register one’s website on each search engine’s local business directory. As with organic placement, you cannot just pay to show up on this list. Your site must earn its spot.

So which is more important, organic or PPC marketing? The answer in short is both…neither. Its importance is dependent upon how much patience you have, what your targeted keywords and phrases are and if you can place organically without paying for it.

Take for instance the phrase ‘video editor’. If you search on the word video editor, depending on where you live and where your IP address is located, you may find thousands of search results or very few. If you own a video editing company in a populated region like Phoenix or Tempe and are trying to place on page one when someone types in the word video editor, you’ll probably need to invest in a pay-per-click campaign. If you are the only video editor in an IP address location such as Yuma Arizona and your site is registered on local business directories you probably do not need to reply on AdWords.

The purpose of AdWords or pay-per-click search engine marketing is to get found fast for targeted keywords that you cannot otherwise be found for free. You are paying to place on page 1 of the sponsored results lists for common keywords in targeted geographic regions for a specific number of click-throughs to your website.

If you want to be found for the keyword phrase ‘video editor’ or ‘dentist, you’re probably going to have to pay to show up on page 1 unless you live in a remote area with very little competition. The benefits of PPC marketing are that it is keyword specific and the propagation is immediate.

What if you change up the search scenario and add the word ‘Tempe’ or ‘in Tempe’ to the search for a video editor? If you have optimized a web page for the phrase ‘video editor in Tempe’, depending upon your competition in the city of Tempe, the likelihood of your web page appearing increases substantially for the targeted keyword phrase with a geographic anchor.

Note: Creative Developments has optimized our video editing page on our website for the phrase ‘video editor in Tempe’. Our page’s presence on result pages has moved around over the years but it has consistently appeared near the top of page 1. Because of this, we don’t pay search engines to place on search engines using AdWords for the phrase ‘video editor in Tempe’. Why would we? We place there already for free.

Try it out for yourself. If you initiate a Google search and type in the keyword phrase ‘video editor Tempe’ you should see a link to Creative Developments website on page one of the search results. What’s more if you add the word “in” as in ‘video in Tempe Arizona’ it may trigger our local business directory listing on page one as well (It does in Google). The word “in” and a geographic anchor are common local business directory triggers. (Local business directory triggers vary from search engine to search engine)

If you have optimized all of your website’s pages and targeted your keywords appropriately, you may very well show up on page 1 of an organic search results list on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines without having to resort to paying for it. Creative Developments, at the time of this writing, still doesn’t show up on page one for the phrase “video editor” organically in an IP location located in Tempe, for that we still would rely on AdWords to be found for that phrase on page 1. AdWords still has its place in our campaign, but we are smart about how we invest in search engine marketing.

A final thought on organic marketing; It might cost more in the beginning and take months of patience but if you can afford the initial investment and can commit the time to it, an organic search engine marketing campaign may save you money over the long run as you wean yourself off of AdWords for the phrases your web pages appear on organically. AdWords has its place but why spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a month on a pay-per-click campaign when you can appear on page one for free for the same keyword phrases?

To inquire about our web design, video editing, internet marketing or social media management services for you or your business, call us at (480) 968-5096 or email us at Creative Developments is an all-purpose website development company located in Tempe, AZ, servicing Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, the entire valley, Arizona and beyond.