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Organic Search Results vs. Paid Ads: Choosing the Best Approach for Your Ecommerce Business

Organic Search Results

Getting your business in front of consumers is the first step to making a sale. But what’s the best way to go about doing that? Should you start an ad campaign to run on different platforms? Spend time optimizing your website and increasing your online authority for a specific product or service? Here are a few pros and cons to both marketing strategies to help you choose the best route for your eCommerce business.

Paid Ads

If you’ve ever heard the old adage, “you’ve got to spend money to make money,” you have a pretty good idea of how paid ads work. By paying money to a specific network or platform, a business can place itself immediately in front of its intended audience.

The Pros: With paid advertising, a business can scale quickly. As you spend more money, you get more traffic. Instead of working for months, sometimes even years, to slowly make your way up the search results, you can put yourself in the very top spot as soon as you’d like. If you own an eCommerce business in a competitive market, paid advertising might give you a leg up over your competition.

The Cons: Increasing traffic doesn’t necessarily translate to increased sales. You may pay a lot of money and fail to see a return on your investment. If you follow the pay-per-click advertisement model, you spend money every time someone clicks on your ad, regardless of whether the visitor makes a purchase or not or how much time they spend browsing on your website. If you decide to end your ad campaign and haven’t put any work into improving your business’s organic search results, what traffic you were enjoying will quickly disappear.

Organic Search Results

The listings that appear in search results that aren’t a part of a paid advertisement are the organic search results. The higher a website ranks, the more traffic they enjoy. There are a number of different strategies that go into increasing a search engine rank, some of them more complicated than others. The good news though, is that you don’t need an enormous budget to get your website to the top of the search results.

The Pros: While the results of organic marketing efforts may take longer to show compared to paid advertising, organic search results backed by SEO efforts are more consistent. Unlike paid advertising, the work you put in with SEO means you will continue to see traffic to your website. To start improving your online business’s search engine rank, adopt a few SEO strategies that work hand in hand to improve ranking: backlinking, website optimization, and content creation using keywords. These common eCommerce SEO services improve your search engine rank by increasing your authority on a search term. If your website or product is relevant to the search term, the search engines will consistently reward you. As an added bonus, data shows that people much prefer clicking on organic search results over advertisements. Another good reason to invest in the slow and steady approach!

The Cons: SEO, on the whole, is more consistent than paid advertising, but it’s not immune to diminishing returns. Changes to a search engine’s algorithm can suddenly decrease your organic search ranking, lower traffic, and leave you scrambling to find a solution. While it’s not impossible to learn SEO on your own, an eCommerce SEO agency that specializes in adjusting to these changes can quickly identify and often predict these changes before you see a significant decrease in traffic and sales.

So what’s the best approach for your eCommerce business? The truth is, what’s best for your business might change over time. If you’re just starting out, focusing on SEO is a good way to increase traffic without having to spend too much money. As your business grows, you may find that you have more room in the budget to include paid advertising. If the algorithm changes, you may have to spend more time bringing your SEO up to date to continue to rank well, and a paid advertisement might help maintain traffic as you work. Don’t restrict yourself to one path or the other. Leverage whatever marketing channel proves to be profitable and watch your sales grow.


Author’s bio: Lauryn Pleva is a Junior Content Writer for Boxwood Digital, an Ecommerce SEO agency in Lakewood, Colorado. When she’s not writing, Lauryn enjoys exploring the many outdoor experiences Colorado has to offer. 


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