About a month ago, an interesting image was circulating around a lot of SEO blogs and forums (that one over there —>). It outlines the percentage of available real estate on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for Organic Search Results.

Essentially, the article said that SEO in Canada and the rest of the Digital World was quickly evaporating because of the decrease in real estate to paid ads on any given Google SERP. I’m here to tell you that this just isn’t the case. The proverbial sky is not falling! Organic SEO is still hugely important to the success of your website and business.

Why Organic Search?

Let’s talk about why organic search is and will be (for the foreseeable future) still important. Firstly, organic search is free. It costs you no extra money (other than paying your SEO agency) to show up in the organic results of any SERP. Conversely, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is expensive. As you have to “bid” on specific keywords in order for your ads to appear, daily budgets can quickly be maxed out or exceeded in order to stay competitive.

SEO vs. SEM by the Numbers

Despite the overwhelming advantage of SERP real estate given to SEM over SEO (Google would rather you pay them for your brand’s visibility, so naturally more space is given to those willing to pay), only 6% of clicks on page 1 are on Paid Search Results. With¬†Branded Searches, the first organic position gets an overwhelming 80% of all clicks. The biggest differentiator of SEO vs. SEM is trust. 86% of all searchers trust the organic search listings over the paid results and, therefore, more likely to click on the organic options.

Original Content Drives Organic Search

With Google’s latest round of algorithm updates, nicknamed Penguin, there has been a renewed emphasis on content and context. The content on your site needs to be informative, interesting¬†and engaging while being relevant to your overall message. It is this contextual content that is going to help your website’s rankings the most.

The Organic Search Game isn’t going away, but with Google writing the rules as we go, it is definitely changing.

What have your experiences been like between SEO vs. SEM? Have you had success with Search Engine Marketing? Let me know in the comments below.