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Paid Mobile Search and Organic Search – What’s the Real Difference?

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Paid Mobile Search and Organic Search – What’s the Real Difference?

annebot February 21, 2014

Your Business Must Have an Online Presence

If you ask almost anyone these days what they do if they need information, you’ll probably get the same answer each time – search on the internet. The more smart @ss crowd will refer you to something snarky like let me Google that for you. The number one search engine used to get fast results these days is Google. Most people don’t realize that YouTube is #2, but since it’s owned by Google it’s a little misleading. According to comScore, Google’s share of all online searches during December 2013 was 67.3%, while Bing owned 18.2%, and Yahoo, some 10.8%.

If you’ve already created a user-friendly website, then that’s great! Chances are that your business is already showing in search results based on your web content, and that’s possibly at no cost to you! A website will better provide the type of information a consumer base are seeking, and will help to build more confidence around your business – i.e. aiding you to carve out a stronger business brand.

Organic Search Rankings

Organic search rankings have a number of advantages over that of paid search advertising, and vice versa. Nevertheless, there are important differences between the two that should be outlined to clarify:

Organic Search Results (SEO)

–          Organic search rankings ‘may’ be free

–          Once you have the rankings in search you can’t opt out (unless you delete the content on the webpage that’s ranking)

–          Organic rankings are content-driven

–          Organic rankings are (or can be) entirely passive and there’s no direct control

Paid Search Advertising (SEM)

–          You are paying for search advertising and the campaigns are easily managed which means you control the costs involved

–          You may opt in or out of paid search at any time, thereby controlling your costs

–          You have direct control over your paid advertising campaigns – you may vary your daily budget accordingly

 Organic Search Results

Organic search may be free, unless of course you hire an SEO company or you utilize a variety of online tools and services yourself. Organic search results can materialize automatically, providing you have a web presence. This format also proffers exposure for your business and potentially at zero cost. However, that exposure (gained in the format of search engine rankings) is relatively dependent on the quality and also the quantity of your website’s content. If the quality is poor, and/ or the quantity is small, your overall achievements could suffer in terms of exposure to your potential customer base.

A further drawback with respect to this form of passive exposure is that you have little control over who actually sees the content. Whether or not your business’ website’s content appears in the top results, or does not show up until the fifth page of search results, is fairly dependent on factors that are generally outside of your control.

Why Should You Pay for Mobile Search Advertising?

Paid mobile search advertising, which in Q4 of 2013 made up for 32 percent of all paid search clicks , will of course require a financial investment, which at first may appear to be a disadvantage. However, these costs are easily managed. Cost-per-click advertising (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) campaigns allow you to invest as much or as little as you wish.

You may adjust your campaign budget at any time, thus, if your investment is showing a positive return, you may wish to spend more in order to drive extra traffic to your webpages.

Conversely however, if your business is struggling, you are at full liberty to either decrease your advertising budget, or to stop your investment altogether. You can also specify when you wish to advertise. So, let’s say you were having a sale this month for example, and you’d like to reach a wider audience, you might like to run a mobile campaign focused solely on the sale, and merely during the current month.

Further, paid mobile search advertising also allows you to gain full control over your messaging as well as your target audience. You are in full control of the text and the images that you wish your audience to see, and you can also direct potential customers that click your ads to specific landing pages on your website.

Then, you may also like to advertise at a particular time of day or to a specific locale, even to the point of city-wide targeting.

In Conclusion

The choice of whether to utilize organic search results or paid mobile advertising is dependent on a variety of factors, many of which we’ve discussed above. The right choice for one business may be rather different for another. Inevitably, you should weigh-up the pros and cons of each, in order to gain a clearer picture on how you should now proceed. If you have the budget to do both, you really should… Experimentation is the key to successful mobile marketing!


Anne Ahola Ward
Editor in Chief
Annebot, aka Anne A. Ward is Editor-in-Chief for MobileFOMO. She is a futurist, growth hacker and co-founder of CircleClick, LLC. As an early entrant into the field of search engine optimization, Anne has helped many of her clients monetize their SEO programs. She has helped clients to exceed their previous lead generation goals.
Follow me on twitter @annebot

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