What is better: Paid or non-paid search engine marketing?

First of all, paid online marketing is known as PPC or pay-per-click, whereas non-paid online marketing is known as SEO or search engine optimisation.

Although it may be tempting to try and get ahead from your competitors by investing in paid search engine advertising, statistics from Smart Insights show that only 6% of customers click on paid ads compared to the non-paid ‘organic’ results from Google in the search engine results page (SERP).

click distribution

Clearly, we can now see that consumers do not trust ads, and that the organic results from google will almost always be clicked instead of paid ads.

So now that we know that SEO (free online marketing) is much more useful than PPC marketing, let’s look at how companies can achieve this. SEO is about optimising your website so that it can be ranked above everyone else’s in the search engine results page. Google’s algorithm determines how to rank websites in a search, and can be summarised well with this video below.

So after having watched the video, you might start to think well how do I improve my ranking of my website? Well the answer is you can’t. Rather, it is about satisfying your customers needs which naturally results in more clicks and other favourable consequences to your website.

A great example of this is the tour guide industry. They rely heavily on getting the best rankings on Google’s SERP and other websites such as TripAdvisor, so that they can attract more customers. In order to satisfy customers needs, tour guide companies are more commonly introducing ‘free’ tours. This of course will result in more popularity and clicks on the website as customers like things that are free. By far, the best tour guide agency in Melbourne that represents free tours is ‘I’m Free Tours.’


Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 3.06.20 pm

This company is ranked 4th on the TripAdvisor Melbourne tours results page, and when typed ‘melbourne walking tours’ in Google it came up as the 1st on the organic or SEO results page as you can see in the picture above. Another big benefit this organisation has is its reputation. The free tours has resulted in perfect reviews around many different platforms, and so this SEO technique largely contributes to the top ranking SERP that it has, and is something that other tour guide companies aim to achieve.

Digital marketers of tours guide companies can continue to introduce free tours to try and improve their SEO. Receiving perfect reviews on TripAdvisor will help reputation, and having links from other ‘trusted’ websites to their website will also boost their rankings on Google and other platforms. Perhaps in the future we might see other creative ways other than a ‘free tour’ to appeal to customers needs?


5 thoughts on “What is better: Paid or non-paid search engine marketing?

  1. Pingback: Paid vs Non-Paid Search Engine Marketing | Amr's SEO Site 2017

  2. Good article. Obviously the stats speak for themselves saying that advertisement is still not paying of the way we would like it to. Though, especially on mobile, paid search ads are very important as they might appear as the only above the fold ads. Also, the acceptance is expected to increase with ads that directly relate to the consumers needs.


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