360 Degree Media Group Blog

Google Adwords versus SEO: Understanding Paid versus Unpaid SEO

Posted by Amy Baker on Feb 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM

The difference between search engine optimisation with keywords, versus paying for Google Adwords, is significant in several ways. It’s important to understand that both strategies are key components of any successful online marketing campaign.

However, there are specific reasons why each strategy is used to achieve different goals. The great thing about Google Adwords and organic SEO is that they compliment one another very well. Here’s why.

Google Adwords Versus Unpaid SEO

Think of it this way: a particular company’s advertisements are never the same. Month after month, year after year, companies are promoting different things at different times. Therefore, the benefit of using Google Adwords is to guarantee that whatever specific promotion you are trying to advertise at any given time has the exposure it needs to get results.

Google Adwords versus SEO: Understanding Paid versus Unpaid SEO

That’s why Adwords is a great compliment to organic SEO – if you have put in all of the time and effort to make sure that your website ranks high on its own merits, then you should capitalize on that with a current Google Adwords promotion that will represent where your company is at that exact moment.

For example, let’s say you are a snowboarding company. You’ve been doing organic SEO for a while – creating valuable, original content and distributing it via social media, and everything else needed for great SEO. You’ve put in the work, week after week and month after month. 

As a result, your website and description consistently shows up first, second or third in search results. Excellent. However, that’s all we, the consumers, can see. Wouldn’t it be better to have an ad running alongside it that displays specifically what you’re offering today? Over time, your SEO and blogging efforts have finally brought your customers to you – now, with Adwords, it’s time to show them what they can get today. Adwords is the ultimately way to capitalize today on the success of organic SEO yesterday.


Google Adwords and Organic SEO: Long Term Versus Short Term Results

Google Adwords is necessary for achieving short term online marketing goals, while organic SEO is necessary for achieving your long term goal, which is to make sure that your website maintains a steady presence at the top of search engine results. Having both high organic search results along with paid ads establishes credibility and professionalism.

Meaning, if you’re running Google Adwords ads that show up in search results, yet your actual website is nowhere to be found in the organic results, then that may likely cause the customer to choose someone else who has both. That disparity may lead customers to assume that anyone can pay for an ad, and you’re nothing special because your organic SEO isn’t up to par.

Google Adwords versus SEO: Understanding Paid versus Unpaid SEO

However, remember why you are running Google Adwords in the first place. A generic ad may be redundant, because it may simply be displaying the same thing as your actual website and meta description. You already achieved that with organic SEO – so make sure that your Google Adwords promotion offers something different from your organic results. Ideally, it should be a combination of very current and very specific.


Ultimately, the question is not whether Google Adwords is better or worse...

It’s about understanding how to use both strategies to compliment each other. You should not choose one or the other – to get ideal results, you will need to utilize both. In this day and age, when you do online marketing right, the ROI far outweighs the relatively low cost of both Google Adwords and organic SEO. According to a recent Google Economic Impact Report, companies earn an average of $2 for every $1 they spend on AdWords. According to the report, Google online marketing tools generated $80 billion for businesses in 2011.  In the end, it’s all about thinking critically and utilizing each method for what it was designed to do in the first place. 

Discover how you can best measure you SEO and Adword success by downloading our free ebook A Guide to Closed Loop Marketing.

The 360 Degree Marketing Group Free Ebook On Closed Loop Marketing for Marketing Managers

Topics: SEO versus Adwords, Google Adwords Versus Search Engine Optimisation