Online lead generation – Part III

Organic Search vs. Paid Search

What are an organic search, paid search, and PPC services, and how do they relate to generating sales leads online?  There are different ways to search the web when looking for leads online and various ways to interpret and utilize the results of every search.  Without getting into technical jargon, here is a quick layman’s overview.

Organic Search

What in the world is an organic search on the Internet?  Actually, it is much like is sounds.  When you hear organic in the supermarket and such places, of course it refers to food or other items that are grown, nurtured or otherwise produced, by pure or natural means.  The term organic when referencing meat or poultry for example, means the resulting product you buy from the store never received any artificial enhancement.  That plump piece of chicken came from a naturally plump chicken!

Organic search online is much the same: search that is pure and natural.  That is, the results of the search derive from a natural progression and keyword popularity, rather than an artificial or paid influence.  When you search for leads online with an organic search, as search engines peruse or crawl the massive content on the Internet, they hone-in on indexed pages that contain the keywords entered in the search.  The results that return are a direct result of the search parameters.

Therefore, when you enter “Teeth Whitening” for example, as a search into a Google or Yahoo search engine, you are looking for web pages with the keywords “teeth whitening.”  Pages that are the most heavily populated with those keywords (keyword density) will return a higher relevance to your search and therefore come up higher on the page.

Paid Search

Alternatively, a paid search uses paid advertisements to artificially enhance and alter the search results.  Instead of results based solely on natural keyword density, the results from paid search come from advertizing fees.  So when you enter “Teeth Whitening” as a search into a Google or Yahoo search engine, the same happens as with the organic search.  However, over and above the natural organic results, you will see the paid or sponsored results.  These pages came up on top, but it is not due to the actual content of the pages.  It is a forced and artificial result.  (That plump piece of chicken came from a chicken that was on steroids!)

While there is nothing wrong with paid search, it is important that you know and understand the difference as you begin to generate leads online.

What is best when generating leads online?

While much of this decision is a personal judgment call depending on your needs, time and resources, here are a few important considerations:

  1. Paid results can be misleading.  For instance, keeping with our example above, let’s say you sell dental supplies.  Your hot moving product is teeth whitening equipment and materials.  Therefore, you want to generate more leads online of dental offices that do many teeth whitening jobs.  The organic search results return pages with heavy word density meaning it is likely those dental offices do many whitening jobs.  The paid results on top of the page however, may return dental offices that do little or no teeth whitening.  Some of these can be dentist who simply paid to have their site position on top when someone entered the keywords.
  2. Paid search can force you to the top.  Showing up on top of a search result can make you look really big and important.
  3. Organic is free.  Self-explanatory.
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