Natural Search and Paid Search Perception and Reality

- September 2, 2008

I was on the phone with a client the other day and they asked me why they should bid on their company name when they already have the number one position in Google, Yahoo, and MSN’s organic search results.  I am sure most people would agree, whether it is your company name or an important keyword relative to your business, having a top position in the natural listings is ideal.  When your website does not rank high enough for those targeted keywords for your business, having a top position in the paid search results is an excellent alternative.  But is it a good idea to ignore the paid search model simply because you already have top position in the organic search results for your targeted keywords or business name?

In reality, having strong positions in the natural listings in addition to strong presence in the paid listings gives your website (and business) the best chance for success in online marketing.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Not every web surfer acts the same online.  Some people just click on the first things they see while others read the search results page before they act.  Some people click on paid listings, others click only natural results.  In order to give your business the highest chance for success you should make your site available to both types of web surfers.
  2. Just because you rank high for your business name
    organically doesn’t mean the web surfer won’t click on the paid ad your competitor is running on your business name.  It’s perfectly legal to bid on competitor’s business names as long as you follow the search engines’ rules on ad copy guidelines.  Why give your competitor a chance to grab that lead because you rely on only one section of the page?

We have found that online performance is greatly enhanced if you rank high in the natural search results for a specific keyword and also rank well in the paid listings.  In my opinion, when someone does a keyword search and they see the same company ranked high in the natural and paid listings, they feel the company is more legitimate.  When it comes to internet users, perception is reality!

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