Is SEO better than Paid Search (Actual Data)?

October 6, 2022

By Darren Keegan, Co-Founder

Actual Google Analytics data below shows direct evidence for the power of organic and direct traffic as a result of highly targeted search engine optimization. Paid ads can perform well and should be part of your overall digital marketing approach.  However, your budget towards search engine optimization and paid ads should be considered with how much return on investment you can expect, both short term and long term. You can pump as much advertising spend as you’d like into Paid Search (Google Ads – pay per click) and Display advertising. If optimized appropriately, this budget will provide a great boost in visitors to your site, and likely some short term ROI.

However, my greatest argument for search engine optimization is that results will tend to last much longer than bringing a new user to your site one time. By targeting high-value keywords (keywords with good traffic and strong search intent), you can improve your search position so that your site will be displayed when people are using search engine queries organically. Search engine optimization takes time and resources to accomplish lasting results, but you are much more prone to earn quality visitors that are likely to convert on your site.

In the screenshot below, you can see that organic search paired with direct traffic amounts to a little over 10k total new users in a month, compared to over 30k new users brought in through advertising spend. However, the number of conversions from organic + direct traffic is over 40% greater than the number of conversions in the same period for advertising with less than 1/3 the total comparative traffic. Furthermore, engagement rates and engagement time on websites are often well above average per user (even out-pacing referral traffic!).

The bottom line is, unless you have $20k+ in paid advertising budget, you’ll never see this type of paid search/display traffic (especially if you are in a competitive cost per click market). That same spend could be used to significantly increase your search position for keywords that will earn you consistent traffic for months to come. Traffic that has a much higher rate of conversion.

If you’d like to free consultation for how we could work with you to optimize your marketing budget with paid ads and search engine optimization, we’d love to help!

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