Natural SEO Is Always Better Than Paid Online Marketing

by Gary on September 19, 2007 · 7 comments

in Online Marketing,Organic SEO

No, I’m not against paid online marketing and sometimes it is necessary to indulge in it to get quick, timely exposure to your online business. Paid online marketing means running Pay-Per-Click campaigns and paying other webmasters (sometimes directly, sometimes through ad-brokers) to display your links and banners. Unlike natural search engine optimisation paid online marketing doesn’t require lots of time and effort: all you need is money and some strategic sense to choose your ad partners. You can start getting traffic within minutes in some cases.

But I’ll never recommend paid online advertising as a long-term solution for various reasons.

Search engine users prefer naturally appearing links

Most search engine users don’t pay much attention to pay-per-click ads that appear along with the natural search results because they think the links that pay to appear don’t have the relevant information on them (and that’s why they needed to pay). In most of the cases banners that appear on content-rich websites too don’t generate many clicks because people are more interested in consuming the actual content on the web page.

An aware user knows that only those links get higher, natural rankings that the search engine algorithms prefer and since they trust the search engine they use, they normally show more interest that appear with higher rankings rather than links that appear in the PPC sections.

The cost of paid online marketing is recurring and never stops

Since you are paying for every click and every ad impression, you are always paying, and this cost keeps mounting with increasing competition for the same spot or the same keyword.

Traffic coming from SEO on the other hand is practically free after your website has been search engine optimised. After that you just need to maintain your position and it doesn’t cost you much. Look at it like this: if your link appears on the first page of a search engine, whether it generates one click or a million clicks, the only money you spend on — if you do at all — is the SEO effort.

SEO keeps your website in shape

SEO done in the right manner makes sure your website has clean markup, has relevant content, has a well-defined navigation system, loads fast, and is totally accessible. And this is very good for your online business.

With paid online marketing you can generate traffic even with a lousy website, and this in turn costs you lots of money without generating much business.

So considering the above points, I recommend paid online marketing as a short-term strategy, but not a long-term strategy, especially if your marketing budget matters to you.

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  • Darren McLauglin

    Nice synopsis. But not all links have recurring fees. Inclusions in directories is one example of a link that stays up and doesn’t demand extra payment.

  • Vincent

    What I have learned is that you should always be human focus. That is let thing happen naturally, search engines love this natural path.

  • SEO Carly

    “So considering the above points, I recommend paid online marketing as a short-term strategy, but not a long-term strategy”

    Yes spot on.

    Using Paid Marketing can be a good approach in the early stages while natural SEO efforts are starting to take shape, and then phasing out the Paid approach as Natural SEO starts to kick in.

    That’s why choosing a reputable SEO is critical when using this approach, if he/she doesn’t work out not only do you loose out what you piad them, you need to rely on Paid Marketing Solutions for alot longer while the natural rankings or sorted out.

    I have been doing SEO since 1999, and believe it or not have NEVER used PPC advertising as i personally think it’s a waste. I have however used things like static text links on a monthly basis.

    The whole Pay Per Click, or Pay Per Impression thing doesn’t sit well with me. You really can’t beat solid and natural SEO.

  • Marc Levy

    I pretty much agree with SEO Carly…

    I myself have never used PPC advertising, but I know many companies who have. PPC almost always worked out well for the bigger companies who could afford the fees on a long, on-going basis, whilst the smaller companies and individuals found themselves making very little, if anything at all from it. It seems like a quick road to success, but without proper planning and a long term strategy it can be painfully expensive and not very productive.

    Natural listings most definitely convert better! But as SEO Carly said, paid for static links can be very useful in achieving this!

  • Novice SEO

    Have you ever considered a “barter for link” process. Suppose I have a certain skill set that would benefit your high profile site. In return for doing some work for you I get a link back to my blog or site. This of course is keeping within the same industry as your site is in.

    Something I have been giving serious thought to as a graphic designer.

  • Daryl Osswald

    “Most search engine users don’t pay much attention to pay-per-click ads that appear along with the natural search results because they think the links that pay to appear don’t have the relevant information on them (and that’s why they needed to pay)” In response to this, check the statistics, Google made 13 billion last year on “sponsored links” And they only get paid when someone clicks on them, go figure….
    “Since you are paying for every click and every ad impression, you are always paying, and this cost keeps mounting with increasing competition for the same spot or the same keyword.” RESPONSE: Any fool can find the most popular keywords, run a Google ad campaign and bid against all the others and waist their money. But what if there where a company that could track WHICH KEYWORD created a phone call, an email, a quote, a filled out form, by knowing how to track the keywords. And initially they would start out with a list of 1000 keywords and figure out that the “long tail” of keywords is INCREDIBLE because there are words at the end of the long tail that convert better than the POPULAR keywords, and when they figure that out they only spend the allocated budget on the keywords that are NOT popular and create MORE business than the popular keywords. This would just blow the SEO companies out of the water. Wait, http://www.reachlocal.com is already doing this. You guys really need to do your research before your start barking up the wrong SEO tree.

  • Chris Volkers

    Hey guys, I read the posting for natural SEO and I completely agree. The real key to a successfull long term website is proper optimization and of course that goes hand-in-hand with real true content. Anyone who builds a website and does not focus in optimizing their website for search engines is really shooting themselves in the foot. If you can get free traffic on subject/s that are relavent to your site, you are crazy not to focus on building that side of things. However, I will say that optimizing your website for natural search engine rankings without utilizing pay per click and search marketing is really not the optimal (excuse the pun!) way to build your business.

    As a web developer and SEO person, we generally search out our niche keywords and phazes, before we build out site and then create our site based upon our product/service and the keywords we’ve chosen and if we do our job properly we will eventually start showing up in the rankings after a specific amount of time. However, if you utilize pay per click, search marketing for keywords and keywords phrases you can literally learn quickly which keywords really do convert into paying customers that convert. For example, lets say that your product is hand made bamboo weaved baskets (sorry for the lame example), you made find that your nich keywords are maybe “hand made baskets” & “bamboo baskets”, so you go and design your whole site and then you work for months optimizing on those keywords/phrases and you start showing up on the search engines, great! right???? …but then you find out your getting good traffic but not a good conversion ratio.

    The solution is running pay per click/search marketing with detailed tracking to find out which keywords/phrases (and even the headlines!) that get the best ratio in converting online leads to offline sales. This is crucial when being in the design stage of your site.

    Once you have the best (converting keywords/phrases) you can find then go ahead and get going to optimise your site! However, I feel that most businesses (with very few exceptions) should always continue to do pay per click/search marketing! Why???? well…after years of experience with PPC and search marketing you start learning what keywords/phrases work to convert into sales, but also at WHAT TIME the convert and on WHAT DAYS. It is almost impossible to optimize your site to the amount of keywords/phrases you really want to. PPC/search marketing give you that opportunity. I really feel its a win-win when you utilize both not just one. If you do you’re just leaving money on the table.

    The problem is, finding a PPC/search marketing expert that really knows what they are doing is rare. Thats why I think most people do it themselves, get burned and then think its the wrong way to go.

    I have seen great success with those who utilize both and I would certainly recommend both!

    Good luck.

  • Dui

    From my personal experience, paid marketing is a horrible waste. I can’t tell you how much I have wasted on it, primarily before I really understood SEO. Don’t get me wrong. There are some specialists that make a killing on PPC. But most (95%?) of us will lose our shirts on it.

    Funny how G depends on paid links for revenue, yet they discount the links for serps. You’re right too. G detects almost all of them as paid, and the serps results is a big ZERO.

    Glag I found ya here Gary. Let me check your new posts and say hello.

    :O)