Search results: Organic vs Paid

David Dyck October 24, 2019

Have you ever searched for something on Google, and found that the first few results — although they look similar to the rest — are just a little different and sometimes irrelevant? In most cases, you probably scrolled right past them and onto the more useful results below.

You may not have realized it at the time, but you encountered what are known as paid and organic results. In this post, I’ll explain the difference between the two, and why achieving a top organic result is better for your brokerage and will drive long term revenue.

Why focus on the Google search engine specifically? With 86 per cent of the world using Google to find the answers to their questions, the importance of being visible to users of the search engine giant is difficult to overstate.

As explained above, there are basically two ways to become noticed: organic search and paid search.

The method for acquiring traffic through each of those methods are called search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) respectively.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each, depending on what your goals are, but the most basic difference is that with SEO, a website is able to acquire domain authority that can potentially drive thousands of leads without having to pay an ongoing advertising fee to Google. Let’s tackle paid search first.

Paid search

Paid search gives anyone willing to pay for it a top spot in the Google search results. The caveat is that Google discloses that those are ads with a small emblem attached to the link.

As a result, those ad results may be targeted to the user based on their search criteria, but they’re usually not as useful. Many people simply scroll past the paid results to get straight to the organic results.

But it can take time to gather the domain authority that will enable your brokerage to rank higher in the organic search results. Rather than waiting, you can simply pay Google to get your brokerage seen immediately as an ad.

If you do decide to start a campaign, you should be strategic in your approach. Consider aspects of your brokerage like location and areas of specialty when defining your ad criteria in order to keep costs low and results high. Google ads can be very expensive and is priced based on each time somebody clicks your ad. Insurance is the most expensive keyword, at nearly $55 per click, just to bring that person to your website. That doesn’t mean the user will stay or even be engaged, let alone buy from you. A searcher could click by accident and you’re still paying the fee for that click.

Organic search

If you type a query into Google, all the results that come up after the ads are organic results. Google uses their algorithm to decide what results to put at the top based on the quality of the page, location of the search, how useful it believes the page will be to the person searching, and how well the page follows Google’s rules.

It might seem easier just to pay to get traffic. But the reward for patiently, regularly investing in SEO and growing domain authority can yield a big payoff. Here are a few reasons why organic traffic is considered the most valuable, especially for insurance brokers:

  • Google directs traffic towards the most trusted resource. The better the quality of the content on your website, including blog and on page information, the more traffic Google will send to you.
  • Google is extremely particular about rankings. If your website is in the top five results, that’s evidence that your brokerage is adding value to consumers.
  • It takes time to gather domain authority and rise through the ranks, but those that achieve a high rank are able to reap the benefits for a long time.
  • The top 10 organic results on Google get 92 per cent of all the traffic through the search engine.

So what’s right for your brokerage? If you want to make a fast impression, and are willing to pay for it, paid search might be the way to go.

But if you want to make a lasting impression, increasing organic traffic is the more sustainable strategy. Consider the following stats:

  • 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation
  • On average, organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound marketing leads
  • 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.”
  • Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text.
  • B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost three times more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.

David is APOLLO’s Editor in Chief and cofounder. He believes in the power of content to help aid brokers in their digital transformation.

Get in touch today: Connect with David on LinkedIn