Organic Vs Paid Search

When it comes to organic and paid search there is an ideal application for each. Paid search has a more focused purpose than organic due to the financial risk at stake. Strong organic rankings can pay dividends to a business doing business online. We will look to analyze these two methods and pinpoint ideal use cases for each.


First off, it is important to understand the differences between the two search methods. Hubspot is one of the leaders in online marketing and they verbalize it perfectly;

“Organic search is based on unpaid, natural rankings determined by search engine algorithms, and can be optimized with various SEO practices. In contrast, paid search allows you to pay to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords or phrases. The fee you pay is based on either clicks or views of your ads.” (Hubspot, n.d.)

Great organic results will never hurt, as a matter of fact “higher organic search visibility creates more business.” (Scott, 2011) The purpose of search is to drive more traffic to a website and increase conversions which leads to higher sales. Organic results are more trusted and often more relevant than paid search due to the rigorous competition for real estate on the first page of search engines. This means that the results are highly relevant to the search conducted by the user and the probability of the results being what the user is looking for is higher. This ranking is earned over time as web crawlers comb their way through the internet placing websites where they belong using ever changing algorithms. An great use case is when a brand wishes to position themselves as a thought leader in a specific area. They will put a lot of quality content on their site which pertains to their particular industry so when people seek out information pertaining to their business they are directed to their site.


Paid search is an interesting animal in itself. It serves as a great compliment to organic search while serving a few other purposes. Studies actually show that pairing paid search results with high ranking organic results has a positive correlation. (Yang, 2012) Ways paid search really pays off is when a company wishes to appear on page one in search fairly quickly. A great example here is during black friday/ cyber monday one may buy terms like “Black Friday Sales Shoes,” in order to steer people searching for shoe sales during that short period to their web pages. It wouldn’t make sense for these terms to be part of an overall organic search plan due to the short period of time they are used which is where paid search comes in. Paid search can also serve as a way to fill gaps in organic search if they exist. Sometimes, not matter what a marketer does they may not be able to place high on all the terms they wish to, paid search serves a quick fix for this as they work out their issues on the organic side.


“Search results are vitally important to your business since 80% of website traffic is directed to your site via search engines.” (“Organic vs. Paid Search Kit,” n.d.) It is important that companies are intelligently integrating a strategy behind organic and paid search to remain competitive in the online arena. Technology will only continue to evolve the way people communicate and consume and search is the connective tissue which joins users with the information they seek on the web.



Organic vs. Paid Search Kit. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Paid vs. organic – the winning search strategy. (2014, April 17). Retrieved January 8, 2015, from

SCOTT, T. (2011). What is New in Organic Searches?. Franchising World, 43(11), 14-16.

Yang, S., & Ghose, A. (2012). Analyzing the relationship between organic and sponsored search advertising: Positive, negative or zero interdependence?. Rochester: Social Science Research Network. doi: