Paid Search vs Organic Search

Search optimisation is a key marketing strategy for users looking to attract attention, boost website traffic, and develop their brand. However, suppose one does not know how to compare paid search vs. organic search. In that case, search optimisation might be a challenging strategy to handle.

Although the strategies seem similar, they are completely distinct approaches to search optimisation. One will not be able to communicate a clear and effective strategy for enhancing search exposure if the differences between the two are not understood.

This article focuses on the fundamental differences between paid and organic search, as well as practical advice for determining whether to utilise organic or paid search for respective online marketing and advertising campaigns.

Organic search

Organic search results are unpaid sections of the search engine results page determined by the relevancy of the content to the keyword query rather than Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A website may benefit from organic search by uploading the site to Google for indexing and then creating website pages based on focused keywords. Every month, the organic rank of a website is free. The main expense is the time and effort required to achieve that position.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

Paid search

Paid search is a type of contextual advertising in which site owners pay a fee to have their site appear at the top of search engine results pages. Paid searches are usually displayed at the top of a search result or in a left/right sidebar. Search engines will display these paid search ads near organic search results by search engines. This is the primary method that which search engines generate revenue. Paid search also operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

Organic vs Paid Search: Main Features

Organic Search

  • On-page SEO

On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimising a website for phrases that potential customers look for in Google, Bing, and other search engines. One on-page SEO best practice is to incorporate the website’s main keyword in the title tag, meta description, and the URL, for example.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

  • Off-Page SEO

The goal of off-page SEO is to obtain trust and authority signals from other websites. This primarily entails building high-quality backlinks to the website. However, Google may also utilise other off-page indications, such as E-A-T and social media sharing, to determine the website’s authority.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

  • User Interaction Signals

The way users engage with the website helps Google determine whether or not the page is a suitable match for someone’s search. For example, if a website has a high bounce rate, this might indicate that the page is not providing the answer to someone’s question. And if Google thinks the page is not a good fit for that term, they may lower its rank slightly or even leave the first page entirely.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

Paid Search

  • Bidding

Whether using Google Advertisements or Bing Ads, paid search ads are all about bidding. PPC allows bidding on a specific keyword, and whenever somebody searches for that term, the ad will appear. The ad rankings are generally proportionate to how much someone bids. As a result, the ad with the highest bidding will show above the others.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

  • Quality Score

Quality Score is an important Google Ads metric. It is Google’s method of judging whether an ad is a good match for whatever someone is looking for.

Google generates a Quality Score based on a mix of click-through rates, landing page quality, and the total Quality Score of the Google Ad account. In addition, if the ad has a high Quality Score, there would be a discount given on each click.

Paid Search vs Organic Search

Organic vs Paid Search: Interconnected Role

While organic and paid searches are distinct methods of marketing online, they are essentially two sides of the same coin. Organic search essentially uses numerous ranking indicators provided by Google and other popular search engines to rank its website organically on SERPs (search engine result pages). On the other hand, the paid search includes a variety of sponsored search advertising. While both may appear to be very distinct from one another, they can be found to have similar intents and goals.

Both organic and paid search rely on keywords to generate traffic to respective websites. While they use distinct marketing strategies, they both have the same goal: to promote the web pages. There is no denying that combining paid and organic search can boost the chance of receiving high-quality traffic while also increasing conversion rates.


Traditionally, inbound marketers avoided paid search as they saw it as more of an outbound marketing method. However, with Social Media Ads and tools like HubSpot Ads, the two are increasingly working together.

Both strategies have their own strengths and disadvantages, but it is widely thought that organic search is more cost-effective in the long run than paid search. However, with the correct campaign adjusting and landing page optimization, paid search may also be highly cost-effective.

So, if you are debating the merits of organic vs. paid search, get down with your team and go through your timeline and budget.