In December, we talked about SEO from a non-jargon perspective, and the response was great, so we’re going to continue posts in that “101” spirit, moving forward. Sound good? Great!
The world of search engine marketing and SEO is full of jargon. Even those with a trained ear and experience in digital marketing can get confused at times, especially when terminologies overlap.
Two very common terms that confuse newcomers are the concepts of inorganic and organic search rankings. Here, we’ll explain a few key similarities and differences, and make suggestions about which practice is best.
SEO: A Quick Refresher
As you probably know, search engine optimization refers to the process of using different on-page and off-page strategies to move a website higher on a search engine’s results list. The general goal of SEO is to bring more traffic to a website, and since Google’s top links get the most clicks, moving up the rankings is one of the best ways to get more views from people who are searching for topics that you cover.
Organic Search Rankings
Generally, your website can move up the search rankings through two types of strategies: organic and inorganic. Organic search engine rankings don’t have a direct cost, as you don’t pay Google to rank well, organically. Instead, the site appears near the top of the list without paying for a promotion because Google’s algorithm finds the page content to be relevant and useful.
Common Organic SEO strategies include:
- Keyword analysis
- Content development and blogging
- Streamlining website structure
- Link outreach
- Meta-tag optimization
Inorganic Search Rankings
On the other hand, inorganic search rankings refer to high placements that a website pays for. In a nutshell, a website gives the search engine money in exchange for a higher spot on the list. You will often hear this referred to as SEM or PPC (Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click) Often, inorganic rankings aren’t directly paid for, but bid on in a keyword auction.
Some inorganic SEO strategies include:
- Pay per click advertising
- Paid affiliate marketing
- Banner ads
Is One Better Than the Other?
Many experts consider organic SEO to be “better” because it’s cheaper and often results in higher-quality traffic. Organic search rankings tend to bring users who genuinely want to learn more about your business or topic. Think about it, these are people who are actively searching for something that you offer. That’s someone looking to become a customer. On average, over 40% of a website’s revenue generated comes from organic traffic.
However, inorganic SEO can also be effective when managed correctly. Organic SEO takes time, while inorganic methods can move a website up the rankings almost instantly for a short period of time.
So, to answer the question above: Which one is best? Well, generally, it’s best to use a mix of each. Consider your budget and time frame before selecting an SEO strategy.
If you want to learn more about which approach or combination of approaches might be better for you and your organization, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to do a free consultation. Schedule some time with us here Edgewater Digital Consultation
Sean Rieger is Chief Marketing Officer for Edgewater Digital a boutique digital marketing agency in Houston Texas. Before taking up the torch for small businesses everywhere, he built digital teams, tactics, and strategies for Honeywell, Rice University, the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Everything else about him is kind of boring, so we’ll skip it.