Does your company's website really need to be listed in both the organic or "natural" search results as well as the paid "sponsored" results? According to panel of search engine experts at a recent Search Engine Strategies conference, the answer is yes. Most search engine marketing experts agree that a combined approach—one that relies on both organic search engine rankings and paid listings works best.

Higher click-thru ratios

According to recent research, websites that are listed at the top of the organic search results and the paid listings will triple their click-thru ratio. Three times more people will visit your website if it is listed in both places because there is a "second opinion effect". Searchers see both listings and are encouraged by the fact that a website is listed in both the organic listings and the paid listings.

Greater penetration of search results

By optimizing your website's content to rank well in the organic search results, your website can be found for many keyword phrases and combinations of keywords. Good organic search engine rankings typically take months to achieve, and are fairly easy to maintain on an ongoing basis. Pay per click (PPC) can be implemented quickly—it can also be turned on and off as needed, depending on your company's budget and current promotions.

More keyword research

Keyword research tells you how many people per day search for what keyword terms. There are many tools available that allow you to perform keyword research even before you achieve organic search engine rankings or start a PPC campaign. Once organic search engine rankings are achieved, keyword research using existing website statistic data allows you to enhance your listing of keywords—you can combine your organic keyword list with your PPC keyword list to focus on the keyword phrases that bring you the best ROI.

Build credibility

Organic search engine rankings provide very high levels of credibility and broad coverage on potentially every search engine worldwide. When a website is listed well in the organic search results, the website usually is found for not only their chosen keywords but many combinations of keyword phrases related to those chosen keywords. It's those other combinations of related keywords that bring a website a lot of more visibility in the search results, frequently causing a website appear to be found "for everything" related to a certain industry. The results can be staggering—a properly optimized website can appear in the search results more often and for more related keywords than a company who has not done any organic search optimization.

Appearing in the paid results also helps to build credibility—just because a searcher doesn't click on a paid ad and visits the website doesn't mean they haven't seen the company's sponsored listing. Paid listings also can provide some visibility and credibility for certain keywords that aren't usually obtainable through organic search engine optimization.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
October 25, 2005

Bill Hartzer currently runs a Strategic Online Marketing Consultancy that includes services such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

Bill Hartzer formerly managed the Search Engine Marketing division of Vizion Interactive and MarketNet, leading interactive marketing and website design firms in the Dallas, Texas area.

Hartzer is a successful writer, blogger, search engine marketing, and social media marketing expert. During the past fifteen years, some of his many accomplishments include: Search Engine Marketing Manager, Vizion Interactive, Search Engine Marketing Manager, MarketNet, Search Engine Optimization Strategist, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Webmaster, Intec Telecom Systems PLC, Founder, Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, Owner/Author, Corporate Web Site Marketing, Administrator, Search Engine Forums, Frequent Speaker, Search Engine Strategies Conferences, Frequent Speaker, WebmasterWorld's PubCon Search Engine and Internet Marketing Conference.

Search Engine Guide > Bill Hartzer > Balancing Paid and Organic Search Listings