Let’s face it, paid search marketing can seem like a quick and easy way to be listed on Google and other search engines and get some visibility on the web. Just pick your keywords, spend some cash, then sit back and wait for the results to start rolling in. Sounds great, right? It might, if you don’t mind spending a lot of money.

The truth is, search engine optimization (SEO) is a better option in the long run. It can help you reach the right people with the right keywords without having to fork over an arm and a leg to do it. Done correctly, SEO delivers a powerful bang for not a lot of bucks. The secret is garnering valuable “organic” results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other major search engines — results that are produced by web users typing in search terms that cause your website to be listed without anyone having to click an ad or paid-for listing. Paid search marketing requires you to pay for every click on your web link in a special section of the search results page. While that can produce a lot of results in a relatively short period of time, that can also add up to a lot of money for often dubious results that can include any number of unqualified “leads” who may or may not be really interested in what you have to offer.

SEO – a little more work for a lot better results
Yes, optimizing your website will take a little work, but the pay-off can be huge. A properly optimized website attracts visitors because they’re interested in your content – after all, they found you because they were actively searching for keywords and terms that are based on what’s in your website, not just for keywords you paid for. In other words, visitors come to your website because it’s good, not just because you pay for them to show up.

The added good news is, once you’ve got your site optimized to rank well for appropriate and valuable keywords, chances are, you’ll continue to rank well for some time as traffic continues to build.

Organic SEO works nicely with social media.
Do you tweet or have a Facebook page? Terrific! Social media can help you rank higher in search results because it enables you to achieve more links on the web. For example, if you create a new web page and promote it by using your keywords and a link that visitors pick up on through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any number of other popular locations, that’s viewed favorably by search engines and can improve your ranking.

There’s no question that paid search marketing can produce results fairly quickly. The real question is, are they the kind of results you really want and can you afford to conduct a meaningful paid search campaign? If you want long-lasting, valuable results without constantly shelling out money, organic SEO is definitely the way to go.