Ever wonder how to get you business featured on the first page of search engine results? There are two approaches to increasing your chances of appearing on the first page of results – Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) and organic ranking. Both of these methods revolve around the probability of your website appearing in a search engine results page when someone types in keywords related to your product or service. The main distinctions are how each method is implemented. Here are the basic differences between PPC advertising and organic ranking and some pros and cons of each method.

PPC Advertising

Pay per click is a method of internet advertising that directs traffic to a website where advertisers pay the publisher every time the ad is clicked. Pay per click ads are sponsored and purchased ads on a search engine results page. On search engine sites, such as Google and Yahoo, banner ads will appear that are associated with the keywords a person types into the search bar. For example, if someone is searching for a type of camera, a banner ad will appear from a camera device company that has paid to get the ad to appear. Website owners pay to have their page show up when someone types in specific keywords. A search engine results page distinguishes paid ads by usually placing them above or to the right of the organic results.

Organic Ranking

Organic search results appear on a search engine results page because they are relevant to the search terms the person entered in the search bar. They do not appear as advertisements and the website owner does not pay when a customer clicks on the website link. The probability of a website turning up in a search results page is influenced through search engine optimization (SEO).

In general, organic results are more likely to be clicked on than paid results and for the most part searchers have learned the difference between the two options.  According to Enquisite “for every 1 click on a paid search result, the organic results generate 8.5 clicks.” Also, paid ads have a higher convert rage, on average “1.5x the rate of organic clicks.” This happens because the “ad text and landing page is custom optimized by the advertiser.” Based on these statistics, the “opportunity from organic search is 5.66x that of paid search,” supporting the statement that organic ranking is generally better than pay per click advertising.

When deciding which method is best for your company, think about your budget and how quickly you want to see results. PPC advertising offers faster results than organic ranking as your ads can appear within one day on a search engine results page. This can help newly established businesses get fast exposure; placing your company in front of consumers can lead to name recognition and may help when you’re just getting started. One of the downsides of PPC advertising is the cost. An ad can cost up to a few dollars per click, which can quickly lead to a high price tag. Keeping your budget in mind is important when embarking on a PPC campaign as they can potentially be expensive.

Organic ranking is a more affordable option and tends to yield better results over time. While it has more long-term benefits, it can initially take longer to see those results. Being patient is key, and constantly improving on your keywords you implement in your SEO maintenance.