Is it more effective to use paid search (PPC) or organic search (SEO) marketing? Both methods have pros and cons so it is a complex question to answer.

Organic search results are the listings of web pages returned by the search engine’s algorithms that closely match the string of keywords.  The goal is to be on the first page to utilize the best search engine optimization (SEO) practices.  The higher the ranking the more visible your website is but they all disappear if your listing is not on the first page.

Organic Search Pros

  • The perception of increased trust and credibility makes a greater likelihood to click through to a website.
  • High rankings are easier to keep once you get them and creates authority to build the trust of users and search engines.
  • The results are long term as you continue to grow higher rankings.
  • Typically organic search results in higher click-through-rates.
  • There is no discrimination with search engines, SEO boosts rankings on all of them.

Organic Search Cons

  • The time it takes to get high rankings could be months or years.
  • Internal staff or external contractors are needed for creating content and SEO tactics to achieve high rankings.

Paid search results are advertisements that a business is paying to have displayed when a user searches for certain keywords. The ads are typically shown above and to the right of the organic search results.  The exact placement is determined by a bidding process and quality analytics.

PPC Pros

  • The moment you start paying for ad placement, you can see high ranking results immediately.
  • PPC campaigns can be targeted to tailor your ads to a specific audience.
  • You can receive higher click through rates using the right keywords in your PPC campaign.
  • Increase your real estate by showing up twice on the search results.

PPC Cons

  • Paid results can be costly depending on the competitiveness of your keywords and bidding strategy.
  • The moment you stop paying for ads, they disappear.
  • Consumers don’t always trust paid ads and sometimes avoid clicking on them.


Using a mix of paid and organic search is the best approach for businesses.  SEO efforts should not replace your PPC ads and vice versa.   When you optimize pages on your website then you are automatically setting yourself up for a successful PPC campaign. Organic search can provide the credibility and PPC provides top-of-the-page listings to get in front of consumers when they are ready to purchase.  If you are choosing between one or the other, it ultimately depends on which gives you the best CTR or ROI.

Looking to improve your rankings in search results? Off The Wall Media can develop a paid search campaign that works best for your business.  We also have SEO services to help increase your organic search rankings.  Call us or visit our website to learn more.