What are the Differences Between Paid and Organic Search Traffic?

Paid search results and organic search results are two distinct types of results that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) when you perform an online search using search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

Depending on your marketing goals and brand strategy, you may want to leverage one or both when considering individual campaign goals.

The following is a quick breakdown of both paid and organic search results:

  1. Paid Search Results:
    • Paid search results, also known as sponsored or paid listings, are advertisements that appear at the top or on the side of a search engine results page. These results are typically marked with a label such as “Ad,” “Sponsored,” or “Paid.”
    • Advertisers create and bid on specific keywords relevant to their products or services. When a user enters a search query that matches these keywords, the ads are displayed.
    • Advertisers pay the search engine a fee each time a user clicks on their ad, a model commonly referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Google Ads is a well-known platform for creating and managing paid search campaigns.
  2. Organic Search Results:
    • Organic search results are the natural or non-paid listings that appear below the paid ads on a search engine results page.
    • These results are generated based on a search engine’s algorithm and the relevance of web pages to the user’s query. They are not influenced by advertising payments.
    • Websites that rank well in organic search results have typically optimized their content and adhered to search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to appear higher in the rankings.
    • Organic search results are trusted by many users because they are seen as more impartial and reflective of the actual content’s quality and relevance to the search query.

In summary, paid search results are advertisements that appear at the top or side of the search results and are influenced by advertising spend, while organic search results are natural listings generated by a search engine’s algorithm and are based on the content’s relevance and quality. Users often rely on a combination of both paid and organic results when conducting online searches to find the most relevant information or products.

Think branding. No matter the campaign, it’s an opportunity for you to maximize your business marketing goals.