So, you’ve likely heard about how important it is for your business to show up on search engines, and you’re probably wondering how you can actually show up there.
First, it’s important to understand where and how you can show up in search engines. There are two places: paid results and organic results. You can show up in paid results through search engine marketing and in the organic results through search engine optimization (SEO). So, which place should you aim to be seen? Ask yourself this, would you want to eat a cake without frosting? If you enjoy cake as much as I do, the answer is no. Your approach to appearing on search engines should be viewed the same way.
Here are a few big reasons why it’s important that your business is showing up in both the paid and organic sections of search engine results pages:
Why Do I Need to Show Up in Paid Listings?
Once upon a time, people waited until they were home in front of a computer to conduct searches online. But, in the age of smartphones, this method is ancient history. As of 2015, mobile searches eclipsed desktop searches. Why is this important? Pull out your phone and conduct a search for a product or service. I’m willing to bet you see only text ads before you scroll down on the page as seen in the examples in this article.
And now, Google has actually added a fourth paid search ad which further pushes down organic results. A study released by Google found that when viewing web pages, ads shown above the fold (the area you see before scrolling down) have a viewability rate of 73% while ads below the fold had a 44% viewability rate. Additionally, if you have a new website or your site has never been touched by an SEO expert, search engine marketing will help get your website out there immediately. Though SEO brings its own set of benefits, it is generally a long-term investment that needs time to yield results.
Why Do I Need to Show Up in Organic Listings?
While it is true that paid ads are displayed above organic listings and in many instances occupy all the real estate above the fold, there are users who will automatically bypass the paid ads and go to the organic results. A survey in 2017 showed that although 58.9% of users do not know the difference between a paid and organic listing, 32.2% of users can tell the difference and choose not to click on paid ads. This means that if you are putting all of your efforts into strictly paid search, you are missing out on a third of your potential user base.
The Mutually Beneficial Holistic Approach
Besides covering your bases when it comes to showing up above the fold and where savvy searchers are looking, there are a number of benefits to investing in paid search and SEO. A few key benefits being:
- You can use keyword data from paid search to build your SEO strategy. There was once a time where Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) provided keyword data about which keywords were driving the most organic traffic to your site. You can still see the top traffic driving keywords, just no data behind it. If you run a paid search campaign, you’ll be able to see your highest-converting keywords, which will allow you to identify which keywords to optimize pages on your site around.
- You can improve user confidence in your site and business. If your site is displayed in both the paid search and organic listings, it brings credibility to your site since you are showing up in multiple listings on the same page. As an added bonus, it also takes away real estate from your competitors! Just think, are you more likely to try a restaurant you’ve heard is good from a professional food blogger you haven’t met, a friend/family member, or if you’ve heard good things about the restaurant from both?
- A paid plus organic approach can increase conversions. If the prior reasons don’t have you convinced, how about we look at some tangible results? This Search Engine Land article details some actual results businesses have seen since combining SEO and paid search.
There will always be proponents of paid search and SEO, but at the end of the day, working together always triumphs. If you are putting all of your focus into one area of search, you won’t be taking advantage of the results a paid + organic approach has to offer. This approach to marketing your business on search engines is the best way to make sure you are reaching the highest amount of relevant people possible while maximizing your marketing dollars.