Getting your company’s name to come up in search results is essential in today’s economy. The majority of shopping happens online and if you want to keep up with competitors, you’ll want to make sure you have a marketing strategy. There are essentially two routes: organic search and paid search. Let’s hear from some top business leaders on the difference between the two, and when to consider one over the other.

Both Yield Results

Guy Bar, Founder Hygear

Organic search is definitely more attractive than paid search, although both will get your website seen in search results when done well. Organic search just means that the search results are being manipulated by algorithms rather than paying for ad space and using click results to push your website. 

Incorporate Both 

Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO and Nurse Practitioner Skin Pharm

When people find your website through organic search methods, this is a good sign because it shows that for whatever reason, your site was fulfilling some kind of need or desire that they were looking for. When people find your website through paid search methods, it can go either way; many times people don’t care for ads of businesses they weren’t even looking for in the first place, yet, at the same time, sometimes people may realize through a paid ad that they are, in fact, interested in this business. All of that said, it’s useful to incorporate both paid and organic methods into your marketing strategy in order to widen the range of possibilities for how you can acquire leads. 

Be Open to Learning 

Shishir Mehrota, CEO and Co-Founder Coda 

Consider learning about SEO, even if you go down the paid search route. In the long run, it will benefit your business to have knowledge about how search engines work, regardless of whether you decide to do only organic search in the future or not. 

Paid Search is Effective in the Short Term

Dylan Arthur Garber, Co-Founder Audien Hearing

Paid search is an option a lot of companies choose, this is because it is outsourced typically to another company that helps push your way to the top of searches. When you organically build your search you have to actually know what you are doing. You have to build everything from scratch to create a high SEO ranking. Unless you know what you are doing I would choose to pay for my searches. 

Keywords

Randi Shinder, CEO SBLA

Organic search needs a solid SEO strategy in order to be effective. Paid search results get you on the first page of Google for your desired search terms. Using both methods is the most effective because you can analyze which keywords will get the best results. 

Start With Paid Search

Fred Gerantabee, CEO Foster Grant

Organic and paid search are ways to get your company to rank high in search results on Google or other search engines. A combination of these methods is the best way to ensure your business is getting enough exposure. Paid search results can be great to start with and then you can move on to doing organic search or visa versa.

How Involved Do You Want to be?

Olivia Young, Head of Product Design Conscious Items

In essence, it depends on how involved you want to be with the process of marketing your website. It’s an easy solution to pay an agency to deal with that for you, and that may be totally viable for your business. But organic search will give you more in depth data on where your traffic is coming from and how much growth you’ve seen. 

Organic Search and Blog Posts

Jordan Smyth, CEO Gleamin

With paid search, your company can rank on the first page of Google using specified search terms. Organic search can involve creating SEO-friendly blog posts on your website that will attract new customers. There are upsides and downsides to both methods. A benefit of paid search is that you don’t need to know much about SEO. One of the downsides is that people might skip past paid search rankings. With organic search, it’s easier to build trust. However, it requires a lot more time. 

Take You Time and Money Into Consideration 

Jason Wong Founder DoeLashes

Organic and paid search traffic is kind of like the difference between building a chair and buying one. One method requires a learning curve and trial/error, but could have more fruitful results in the long run. The second guarantees results, but could be more expensive and leaves you without a new skill. Take into consideration your time and the money your company is willing to spend on SEO. 

Cost is a Factor 

Aidan Cole Co-Founder Hide

The main difference between organic search and paid search is the cost. Organic search focuses on unpaid rankings in search results, paid search focuses on paid rankings. With organic search, companies use SEO to optimize their site’s visibility or rankings in search results. In comparison, paid search allows users to play for a prominent spot in search results. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Jenn O’hara CEO Soba Recovery

With organic search, companies use SEO to try to improve their page rankings. Paid search, on the other hand, means that companies pay to have their page ranked highly on Google or other search engines. People tend to trust organic search results more than paid search results. However, paid search results can get you more visibility in a shorter amount of time. It’s best to try different methods to see which one is right for your business. 

Paid Search Is a Great Way to Start

Kiran Gollakota Co-Founder Waltham Clinic

With paid search traffic, you can guarantee that your website will pop up first in searches. This can be a really valuable asset for your business, and worth the money! You’ll also be able to access some of your keyword information in case you do want to do your own SEO in the future. 

Consider Your Business Model

Vincent Bradley CEO Proper Wild

Paid search results allow you to pay for higher search engine rankings. Organic search requires some in-depth SEO knowledge and quite a bit of keyword research. Your business model will determine which is the most effective. 

Organic Search Adds Credibility

Eric Gist CEO Awesome OS

In some sense, doing your own SEO adds credibility to your marketing strategy. By relying on articles that lead people to your website, you’re attracting customers who are actually looking for your products. Using paid search traffic can in some cases group your website with others that are not relevant to your business. 

Build A Marketing Foundation

Yuvi Alpert Founder/CEO Noémie

When starting out, a company needs to build a marketing foundation that separates them from the herd in any way possible. The vast sea of results a search engine produces can make a small business drown in the wake of sites with higher authority. Generating organic traffic will not only create a higher ROI, but produce genuine brand awareness and an organic metric to value consumer interest. However, unlike a paid search, it can be difficult to initiate this type of traffic for many and is a pursuit that can fluctuate greatly over time. Paid searches will, in turn, increase visibility, customize your audience and offer ranking stability as opposed to the organic approach. In general, they both have their pros and cons, yet with the right timing, can both be advantageous for a startup looking to improve their search rankings.

SEO Takes Time

Joe Thomas, Founder Loom 

The downside of organic search is that you need to spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of SEO. Companies can save a lot of time by using paid search results. However, it’s not a bad idea to look into organic search in the process. 

Paid For Control 

Sean O’Brien CMO Modloft

Both organic and paid search options are effective. Organic is just a natural way to be discovered, for example when your link appears in an article. Paid search does give you the ability to control how often and where your information will appear, some people like this option because of the control. Both are good options and should be incorporated. 

Return on Investment

Bari Medgaus COO Stabili Teeth

The reality is that both methods yield desired results. You can find paid search traffic at affordable rates, or you can learn SEO techniques and do it for free. If you are paying attention to your marketing strategy to the degree that you’re thinking about pushing your search results, chances are your ROI is going to be worth it. 

Work With Content Creators 

Dr. Anthony Puopolo, CMO REX MD

Paid search results allow you to pay for your company to rank highly on search engines. This can be useful if SEO isn’t your strong suit. With organic search, SEO strategy is required. You can create SEO-friendly articles on your own or buy them through content curators online. 

Organic for Strategy

Michael Hennessy CEO Diathrive 

The big difference is organic search is a strategic way to grow your company through marketing, this is an SEO heavy strategy. Paid search is a less invasive way to push your company product or service. The idea behind paid search is to fund your search ranking instead of designing a marketing strategy that helps individuals find you naturally.