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Differences Between Paid And Organic Search: How To Bridge The Gap


Paid search advertising means advertising within search results and only paying when the user clicks on an ad.  It’s priced on the pay per click or PPC model and this is a common synonym for paid search.
Paid search is an inbound advertising channel that matches searcher intent with relevant ads intended to meet consumer needs.


Besides appearing above the organic results, Paid Search ads have an indicator that they are ad formats and not organic/natural search results. Google automatically adds the word “ad” to the copy so searchers can easily distinguish the formats.


There are three main similarities between paid and organic search results – both search results have a clickable headline, non-clickable body copy and clickable site links. This is why they could be confused at first glance. Therefore, the automatic inclusion of the “ad” notification in the paid search results is useful.



The key differences which distinguish paid search from organic are:

  • Paid search (PPC) is a method where advertisers pay to serve for different user searches using keywordslanding pagesads and bids while SEO is the name given to optimizing organic (free) search results based on website content, html coding and link building
  • Paid search is a faster and more straightforward means to serve clickable links on the SERP (search engine results page) compared to organic search which can take time to serve.
  • Paid results are shown at the top or very bottom of the SERP and will have a small “Ad” note in the copy
  • Paid search ads have shorter copy than organic results and there is more control over the copy of the paid ads as organic results can be dynamically created by the search engine’s organic algorithm. The paid results are a lot more dynamic and engaging at the top of the screen compared to the organic results below


Why Meta Tags are important:
It’s a medium-weight on-page SEO signal although it doesn’t have a direct impact on higher rankings
It plays a big role in enticing the user to click through to your listing
If you have an uninspiring or keyword-stuffed meta description, you may get half the clicks of a well-written and more click-worthy one. So they really are worth the time and effort.


The meta description can be thought of as your chance to sell the page, so it encourages the searcher to click on your listing. If the page has any unique selling points that none or few of the competitors have, then list them here.

Main copy:
The main copy is text on a web page that features after the main heading:

  • It’s also known as body text
  • It can include hyperlinks

Why the main copy is important:

  • It’s a high-weight on-page SEO signal and adds relevancy to the page
  • The main content is where the user is ultimately satisfied or not with what they are looking for

The main copy is ultimately where the user is going to find what they are looking for or not, so search engines pay close attention to it.

Main copy:
The main copy is text on a web page that features after the main heading:

  • It’s also known as body text
  • It can include hyperlinks

Why the main copy is important:

  • It’s a high-weight on-page SEO signal and adds relevancy to the page
  • The main content is where the user is ultimately satisfied or not with what they are looking for


Matt Cutts says there isn’t an ideal keyword density formula and hints that thinking about it in such a way can be unhealthy and may encourage you to over-optimize and load too many keywords into your content. He does however say that including the keywords you’d like to rank for is a good thing, but it should be done in a natural way that enhances the readability of the page.


How to optimize the main copy:

#1 There are no strict guidelines on length

  • The content should be long enough so that:
  • It satisfies what the user is looking for and
  • Search engines understand what the page is about


#2 Keyword usage

  • Ignore keyword density and don’t repeat keywords too often
  • As a loose rule for 500 words, mention:
  • Primary keywords two or three times
  • Secondary keywords one or two times
  • Tertiary keywords zero or one time
  • Use synonyms and close keyword variations
  • Write in a natural human-friendly language


As Matt Cutts mentions in the previous Google video, there isn’t a special keyword density formula and when you mention keywords too often, the search engine may see it as being spammy and count against you. That’s why this keyword repetition recommendation for 500 words should be taken quite loosely.


Using synonyms and keyword variations can help, so instead of saying “SEO training” ten times, you could say it two or three times but then also mention things like “learn SEO”, “SEO workshop”, ”class”, and “search engine optimization tutorial” and “how to get to the top of Google”. Even if such keywords were not in your targeted keyword list, they would help by being synonyms or close in meaning to your target keywords, so would add relevancy to a page – but again this should be done in a natural way that isn’t going to annoy your readers.


In SEO, hyperlinks help the page you are linking to. The way you link to pages internally plays an important role in search engine rankings. Linking to pages with descriptive and easy to understand anchor text, that doesn’t look spammy, will pass more relevancy. Also, make sure you are linking to your important pages regularly. E.g. If you wrote a blog post about “5 Things to See and Do in Paris”, it would probably make sense to link back to the Paris destination page.


The words you use in the hyperlink is called anchor text and pass relevancy to the receiving page

  • So SEO training will pass more relevancy than click here
  • Hyperlinks also pass reputation:
  • The more internal links a page has the more important it is deemed to be, so it will stand a better chance of ranking
  • Although don’t over link where it makes for a bad user experience

Image optimization involves making:

  • Image filenames and ALT text relevant
  • The file size web-friendly


Why image optimization is important:

  • It’s a lightweight on-page SEO signal and adds relevancy to the page
  • Alt-text is often read out to visually impaired people through screen readers

While image optimization is only a lightweight on-page ranking signal, it is one of the most overlooked aspects but still does add relevancy to the page. Also, by adding relevant ALT text you will be helping people who rely on screen readers that may be visually impaired.

How to optimize images:

  1. Add a description in the Alt text
  • Try to accurately describe the image and this sometimes means including keywords
  • Make them concise, typically two to five words
  1. Make filenames meaningful
  • Make them concise, typically two to five words
  • Filenames and Alt text can be the same but they don’t have to be
  1. Make images web-friendly
  • Gif, Jpeg and PNG
  • Balance of small file size and good quality

We need to be honest when describing images through Alt text and filenames, but where it makes sense we can sprinkle some keywords in to add to the overall relevancy. You DO NOT need to be really strict here e.g. sometimes you can include your P1 and P2 keywords but otherwise, you won’t be able to.

If you have multiple images, they should have differing Alt text/filenames, otherwise, this can look like keyword stuffing.

There isn’t an exact science here and it’s important that the Alt text and filenames are descriptive and accurate first – and contain keywords or related words second. In this case, the Alt text contains one of the main keywords and the filename is a related word that will add to the overall relevancy of the page. You’ll always want to keep the size of images relatively low and often much smaller than the original image size. This helps make the web page load quicker.

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PS: I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you could drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.

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