SEM: Which Type is Right for You?


Search engines are a great way to get your business discovered. Users type in whatever it is that they want to know and in mere seconds, get a world of relevant information right at their fingertips. Search engines are used across the globe, and act as a staple of life that most of us couldn’t do without. Stop and think about it. How often have you told someone to “google it?” Or you have reminded yourself to google something later? Most of us will find that we use search engines several times per day without ever realizing it. But to the trained eye, search engine results are broken down into either paid or organic results.

Main Differences Between Paid and Organic Search Results

When operating a website, you want to make sure you get the maximum exposure possible at all times. Often, people don’t understand the differences between the two types of search results: organic and paid. Organic results are those that come from the internal algorithm that the search engine uses, whereas paid results are the product of paying to get your links onto the results page. Paid results tend to be annotated with content that sets them apart from the other results with a shaded box. Some of these are placed into a sidebar to make them stand out more.

How are people using the search results?

Roughly 94% of all Internet users prefer organic results over paid ads. When searching for something online, most people end up clicking on the first result that pops up. In fact, the top result gets about 33% of all clicks based on their rank alone, without ever paying attention to the content they have to offer users. The next result ends up receiving about 18% of all traffic. The remaining 49% of all traffic ends up getting disbursed between all of the other search engine results. The depth of the source and the position on the page helps determine what links are going to be clicked the most.

Being able to get a third of all website clicks is extremely important and offers a whole host of benefits to the website owner, one of the most important being revenue. All companies strive to be at the top of the search results page, but it isn’t always as simple as you might think. Higher ranking sites get there based on complex search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

Exploring paid searches.

Before getting hung up on the specifics of organic results, you need to understand that you might have no other option than to turn to paid searches in the beginning, which is no more complicated than paying to rank for keywords relevant to your website. Searches that contain those keywords will have a greater chance of someone clicking on the paid ads over the organic results. These high-intent searches for product- or brand-specific terms end up getting more clicks for paid ads than what organic results do by two-to-one.

How do you determine whether paid or organic is better?

Everyone has their own opinion of what method is right for them. You have to look at the type of business you have, your individual budget and your primary objective. A high-ranking result that’s organic in nature carries a sense of respect and authority. This is extremely useful when your company is service based. Paid ads however, work better for companies that are brand-specific or product-specific. This will drive clicks and yield more conversions.

Regardless of whether you have had a website for years or you are just starting out, you need to look into the differences between paid and organic search engine results before settling on an SEO strategy. Once you know which technique will work best for you and your business, you can start attracting traffic and generating additional income. For some, it might be a combination of the two to get you where you want to be.


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