By Aaron S. Robertson
Recently, I was asked which option would be the best investment for a business looking to enhance its presence on the Web: paid ads or organic search results. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about here, I'll attempt to break it down nicely.
When we say "paid ads", "paid ad listings", "pay-per-click", or "pay-per-impression", we mean the act of purchasing ads (through, say, Google Adwords, to name just one example here) in order to get noticed at the top of the page when a person enters a search term into a search engine. You can usually spot these listings out pretty easily, as the words "Sponsored Search", "Sponsored Results", or something similar will accompany the listing.
When we say "organic search results" or "organic listings", we mean search engine results that were not purchased. Rather, they are listings that developed "organically" or "naturally" over time.
I would say that organic search results are, without a doubt, the best investment over the long haul. That being said though, paid ad listings certainly serve a legitimate purpose, as well, so you'll never hear me bashing that method.
For businesses who are just starting out on the Web or looking to expand into new markets, investing in paid ad listings can definitely be worth it, as they can help send countless new visitors to a Web site.
My concern though, when it comes to investing heavily in paid ad listings, is that once you stop paying for them, you really have nothing to show for the money you invested.
On the other hand, though, organic search results are permanent listings that will always be there, at least theoretically (If you decide to shut down your Web site, or you have information about your business on other Web sites and they shut down, go out of business, or decide to delete your info, then they're obviously not permanent. But you get the point.).
There are two ways to obtain great organic search results, and you should show equal attention to both:
Your own Web site: Having a Web site whose meta tags and copy are complete and rich in specific keywords and phrases will certainly help you over time in developing solid search engine results for your site.
Taking advantage of other Web sites: You can acquire a nice variety of permanent, organic search results for your business by taking advantage of the many online directories, Map listings, blogs, forums, press release distribution sites, and, in some cases, social media sites, that are out there on the Web.
Here at Intrepid Innovations, we focus on developing a strong arsenal of organic search results for our clients by dividing our attention equally on both methods described above. We ensure that our clients' own Web sites have solid and complete meta tags and copy that are keyword-rich, and we take full advantage of the many other Web sites out there on the Internet that allow us to publish information and links about our clients on them. By doing this, we provide search engine results for our clients that will reward them time and time again, for many years to come.