If webmasters start to choose pay per click over organic searches, Google would probably be very happy. That’s because Google earns a LOT of money from these PPC ads. On the other hand, Google doesn’t take money from companies so that their websites will be on top of organic search results.
But people still choose organic over PPC, and there are several good reasons for this:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) works for all search engines. If you do your SEO properly and you’re in the top spots in Google’s search results, then you’ll also be among the top results when people use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. But with PPC ads, you’re limited to a single search engine unless you start a separate campaign.
- PPC is much more expensive. Professional SEO services don’t cost as much. There’s an initial cost, but after that the cost of SEO diminishes over time.
- SEO is for the long term. While you may not get the top spot overnight, once you get in among the top spots you tend to stay there for a long while, simply by keeping your website updated regularly. It’s not a one-time deal. With PC ads, you pay for each click, and not every click generates a sale.
- SEO attracts more traffic and more customers. Industry experts estimate that there are at least 6 to 8 times more clicks for organic results than for paid searches. While PPC ads like to claim that they are 1.5 times more likely to convert than organic, in the end the math still favors the organic results.
For example, a top organic result may get 600 clicks while the PPC ad gets 100 clicks. If the 600 clicks result in 5% conversion, that’s 30 sales. With PPC’s 1.5 times advantage, that’s just 15% of 100 customers, or 15 sales.
- People trust organic results more. It’s the very reason why they use a search engine like Google in the first place. It’s not about who has the money to pay for the ad placement. It’s about Google’s judgment that the organic results are the most likely websites users are looking for. With organic results, credibility and trust are part of the package. PPC ads are “advertising”, and that comes with a lot of negative connotations.
- People simply look at organic sites first. That’s how people have learned how to use search engines. Researchers have confirmed this through the use of heat maps. People look at the top of organic results, and barely even notice PPC ads especially those located to the right of the page.
- PPC is vulnerable to fraud. Google is trying its best to stop this sort of thing from happening, but it continues. The website your PPC ad is on may have an owner who will arrange for people to click on their ads just so they can earn money. Even your competitors can click on your ads just to hobble you with the pay.
Nobody’s saying that PPC ads are useless. But when it comes to online marketing, people are clearly choosing organic results.