Pros & Cons of Paid vs. Organic Strategies

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can both be very overwhelming terms for a lot of entrepreneurs but in today’s digital landscape it is more important than ever for business professionals to embrace this new vocabulary and create a structured strategy around it.


So let us start by defining the two terms…

SEO or Search Engine Optimization (ORGANIC) – the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing (PAID) –  a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages primarily through paid advertising.

Pros and Cons

SEO/Organic The Pros

SEM/Paid The Pros

  • Increased Website Traffic
  • Return on Investment
  • Better User Experience
  • Brand Awareness
  • Compound Interest
  • Quick Impact
  • Cost Effective
  • Easy to Implement
  • Brand Awareness
  • Highly Targeted
SEO/Organic The Cons
SEM/Paid The Cons
  • Time Consuming
  • Constant Work
  • Complicated Interfaces
  • Everchanging Landscape
  • Highly Competitive
  • Short-Term
  • Expensive

In Summary …

As you can see from the comparison chart above, there is a lot to be considered when devising a digital campaign for a company or organization. So who wins the battle? Is it better to invest your time in creating an Organic following? Build it and they will comeor should is there a quick fix in paying for a space on the top of major search engines like Google? The answer is… it isn’t that simple. 

A good campaign should invest time in both SEO (Organic) and SEM (Paid) strategies. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Let’s say the tortoise represents SEO and the hare will represent SEM.
Tortoise and The Hare
SEM starts off quick, producing immediate measurable results and bring new viewers to your site, but over time this will become costly as paid keywords are a competitive market and as your budget is draining so is the energy from your SEM leaving our hare at a gassed out standstill.

SEO, much like the tortoise, starts off slow and steady, but don’t discount the efforts of the tortoise as the constant and consistent efforts will bring about victory in the form of increased traffic, an enhanced user experience, and brand awareness. Furthermore, efforts in SEO work much like investments in brokerage funds as the return on investment is furthered overtime with compound interest.

At the end of the day, web design and digital marketing is a never-ending and evolving process that takes time, patience, and a bit of money. It is great for new clients and entrepreneurs to break into the industry with a large paid SEM campaign while they work on constructing the roots of what will eventually become a valuable SEO optimized website. It is also great to regularly reach out to new markets with paid campaigns as this type of marketing offers the ability to maximize targeting efforts. However, there should always be work going on behind the scenes building on the foundation of SEO with engaging relevant content, inward and outward links, and keywords.


In Closing …

I hope my overview and recommendations were provided in a clear and understandable manner that will help manage your expectations when designing and implementing your own SEO/SEM campaign or one for a client. Please do remember though that this process is ever evolving and we have only begun to scratch the surface here, but I encourage any feedback or questions, just head over to the contact page.

In addition, please have a watch of the video below for a little more insight or check out the references to locate additional information and all resources utilized in the making of this blog post.

Interesting take away from the video and key point! 

Organic Search Results are 8.5X more likely to be clicked on than Paid for Search Results


DeMers, J. (2018). How To Set Realistic Expectations For Your SEO Campaign. Retrieved      from

Fishkin, R. (2017). Why Net Neutrality Matters for SEO and Web Marketing – Whiteboard Friday [Blog]. Retrieved from

Localsphere Digital Media Inc. (2018). Search Engine Marketing [Video]. Retrieved from

Rose, C. (2018). SEO 101: How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working? – SEO Mechanic. Retrieved from

SNHU COCE Assistive Technology. (2018). MKT 315 What is SEO? SEO Explained CC[Video]. Retrieved from

SNHU COCE Assistive Technology SNHU COCE Assistive Technology. (2018). MKT 315 How to Differentiate Between SEO & SEM CC [Video]. Retrieved from


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