Natural Searches versus Pay Per Click

When beginning to optimize a web site a common issue is should one use paid searches such as AdWords or is one better to rely on natural searches. What are the differences, benefits and potential drawbacks of each?

When beginning to optimize a web site a common issue is should one use paid searches such as AdWords or is one better to rely on natural searches. What are the differences, benefits and potential drawbacks of each? In this article I shall attempt to answer some of the common questions and offer some sage advice about when and how to use paid and natural searches to one's best advantage.

There is one clear difference between paid and natural search strategies that takes center stage. In paid searches one paints with a broad brush. Using an enormously large number of keyword search words and phrases, often in the hundreds, paid searches provide significant data on which words or phrases provide the most effective responses. One can track words and phrases that result in clicks and convert to sales; valuable information as one develops an optimization strategy designed to boost search engine rankings.

To make things easier, choose a web hosting service that offers initial credits to Google and Yahoo PPC advertising. If your host does not offer this as a free bonus then consider changing hosts.

On the other hand, natural search strategies have a laser sharp focus to them. Rather than hundreds of keyword words or phrases, one carefully chooses two or three keywords to focus on. By narrowing the focus, one is best able to drive one's landing pages to a front page location. Much research is required in developing a strategy for choosing effective keywords that will boost exposure.

Not to say that this research is not important, but it does take a degree of persistence and patience as one goes about the work of determining the words one wishes to key into and then tracks the results of those choices.

The strategy we generally recommend to our clients is one that begins with paid searches using multiple keywords as a way to track the effectiveness of ones choices. The initial outlay of funds goes to making the media buys at Google, Yahoo, EntireWeb and other pay-per-click search sites. Careful analysis of the results of the clicks that result from these sites then provide initial data for optimizing ones keyword choices as one prepares to move toward a more focused natural search strategy.

Two months of paid searches, another two months of search overlap with a significant reduction in one's paid search budget, and finally a near complete removal of the paid search strategy (some clients continue with paid searches to accompany the natural search option more than others) and one is well on the way to an optimized search strategy.

There is one reason to forgo the paid search option. If you are in a non-competitive business and your keywords and phrases are obvious beyond any reasonable doubt, you can safely eliminate a paid search strategy from your overall plans. Otherwise, choose to use the paid search route as the springboard to your Search Engine Optimization strategy.

One tip when using Adwords is to make sure you take full advantage of keyword extensions.

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