Tips on How to Promote your Web Site:
Choosing Paid or Organic Promotion
Website internet Marketing
How to Increase Web Sales, improve Search Engine rankings, website traffic, visibility
Understanding SEO: Choosing between paid promotion or organic (free) placement-ranking

Overview: Website promotion is an important and large expense to most successful companies, even if they do most of it by building authoritative unique content for organic ranking in search engines. Whether you use paid promotion like PPC (pay per click) or banners or build inbound links, the content still must be informative, interesting and relevant to the visitor-prospect, and placed where they can find it.

The results of unpaid organic promotion remain unpredictable, unreliable and very slow to see and get results.
See How to do Pay per Click Advertising.

Even if you were going to rely on uncertain organic promotion, don't neglect the Google Keyword Tool to do some headlines and appeals testing BEFORE committing to organic marketing of an untested site. NOBODY can predict accurately what attracts and appeals most.
A better slogan, Headline or subhead can make FIVE times the difference in appeal and RESPONSE. Hence TEST.

Also study and testing of keywords and appeals forces a company to study competition and improve positioning, using appeals testing to refine niche, visitor targeting, and what features to emphasize. Keyword testing goes hand-in-hand with site design and improvement. Any management is unrealistic to believe it is not necessary to spend some money on marketing, in addition to labor and study. That is also why we suggest a "hybrid" approach emphasizing one or the other method.

As in our How to Promote your Website article, your marketing strategy and proper promotion are integral with the design of your site, its wording and advertising and promotion campaigns. Promotion must be integrated into the site in cycles of promotion and improvements (updates and ad and keyword improvements). You must know what you are doing and the correct terminology and proven methods. Look at it as a great opportunity to do easy market research to hone your positioning and strategies.

If your web designer and SEO expert are not informing you about this important choice and cycles of improvement, you should be suspicious. Search engine ranking is not simple anymore. It's time to get real:

1) So, your big choice is whether to emphasize organic placement versus paid promotion such as Pay per click (Google Adwords) or paid display ads or banners. --- This depends on several factors:

  • Do your products dominate one niche? Are you the clear leader in the niche and unlikely to have serious direct competitors in the exact niche?
  • Are you the well-known brand leader sought by most prospects, or do they search by product type?
  • Will your market focus be mostly on the web or partly in conventional direct sales or media advertising methods?
  • Are your prospects and customers a clearly identifiable and reachable audience, like long distance runners or certain companies that are findable in references like the Thomas Register?
  • Will you focus on certain territories to dominate, such as regional or certain metro areas (a wise choice usually)?
  • The choices depend on resources, staffing and talents. Both approaches require skill and labor. Can you afford to spend several hundred dollars per month plus staffing to bid for PPC ranking (as well as design and manage SEO PPC campaigns), or do you have the staff and web designer to spend hundreds of hours building an authoritative web site which MIGHT (or might not) rank in the top 10 organically and which ranking you have no control over? For organic promotion, that does not even include hundreds of hours over years to run around posting highly interesting important comments on social sites and blogs, etc. Neither method is easy or cheap. Only one is fast and fairly dependable: Paid promotion PPC.
  • Is your customer base narrow and mostly unchanging, as in some B2B (business to business) niches?
A stark new reality is that organic OFTEN does not work and that Social Media (Facebook, etc.) are not working well. Worse, using the wrong approach or one even a year out of date can HARM your organic rankings (links from spammy sites, duplicative content). So-called SEO experts often still use these methods and blast out copies on blogs that Google sees as spamming.

2) Deciding whether to emphasize PPC or organic ranking depends on your staffing, talents, ad copy writing ability, time, knowledge and budget. If you don't have a few hundred dollars per month for PPC, your choice is to go mostly organic, emphasizing content quality and authority, and seek inbound links and generate interest and traffic in other ways to make your site rated as "authoritative" and popular. Organic ranking is placement by search engines in their regular unpaid rankings under the featured paid web sites (like on Google). Competition is growingly fierce either way. And search algorithms keep changing and biased against many small businesses who are excellent, but too busy working to spend much time on site building and figuring out Google's latest algorithm changes.

It is a Catch-22 or "chicken before the egg problem" to be popular to be ranked as popular! By the time you hire an expert to build inbound links, write authoritative content and revise pages to more focused (relevant), it is often cheaper to use a hybrid approach, part organic, part paid. It may be smart to depend less on search rankings, especially if you are trying to compete nationally or globally. Purchased lists for paid newsletter publishing can help, as can certain quality niche directory listings, which also help organic ranking. Regardless, website improvement (even gradual) is crucial and inbound links are helpful to increase sales, whichever way you go.

3) Organic placement includes the coveted "inbound links" rating factor and great content to be classified as "authoritative". You can't be too broad, or Google can't peg you. An authority is focused and unique. Don't forget, you have to know all the other rating rules and technical aspects. Extensive content also makes for difficult navigation and slow loading. Only web developers-webmasters expert in all this can help balance these complex requirements.

You are usually better off in categories of 3 to 5 word key phrases more specific to your business and/or products. Those should appear specific to each focused web page (product, feature or landing page) about two to eight ten times per page, which are the focus words of that page. These pages are usually about the product, features or a target customer segment's needs. Write good informative content interesting to humans. Good keywords usually result if the outline and focus of pages is good and the author is expert. Keywords can then be found by a tool that analyzes your site.

WARNING: The SEO "expert" who does not mention what editor they use, what tools they use to examine the SEO status (available on the internet for free), and does not talk to the webmaster or designer who maintains code and site integrity---is giving you a big "Red Flag" waving. Ask your web developer what to ask. See our article on SEO Scams and Dangers.

4) Google's constant changes in algorithms for organic ranking drives many companies to Paid PPC advertising for some control over their ranking. To build unique, extensive authoritative content, there is little chance of achieving a high organic ranking without major effort and carefully narrowly-focused keywords pointing to and upon focused landing pages.

It is likely that after all that work someone else may find a better way to take your organic position, or simply steal most of your content and improve it! Therefore other methods of selling and advertising can be more predictable, such as building mailing lists for newsletters going out through Newsletter publishing companies like Vertical Response and an effective sales force which mails, calls and gives your pages links to prospects (great for business-to-business or the wholesale trade). For consumer sales, you must find niches and be on Google and elsewhere such as quality search engines and quality niche directories (a small percent) and search engines and some blogs. Your web designer can help with the basics of getting your site clean and spidered properly, and your products seen and uploaded.

5) Time is important in site promotion. With organic, many months are required for a site to fully propagate. Paid promotion has the advantage of being immediately near the top of a Google page if you can afford it and have a good relevant matching keywords-subject page to promote. Organic is hard to test and tell what is happening. We would use at least some paid promotion, such as for brief focused specials and promotions, to test headlines and appeals.

Paid PPC is easier and quicker to test appeals and headlines and screen prospects. But it can be expensive, ranging from about $.60 to $16 per click. (Typically about $1.40 to $2.50 per click which is roughly $10 per real lead, due to curiosity seekers, competitors).

The nice thing about PPC on Google is you can really limit where and when the ad appears and vary your bid by percent and time of day. Learn the tricks of that, and that can become a competitive advantage. No matter what your emphasis, some paid testing of appeals in PPC ads is useful to see what draws buyers.

Study and inclusion of popular PPC keyword phrases is essential to include in your website and design even for organic ranking. But that is not enough. Also headlines and sub-heads must be tested to improve what sells in a website.

Don't expect much traffic or to make much money in less than 6 months unless you do everything right and use paid advertising with a high-demand product in a growth field, a product only available through YOU. If yours is me-too small company with a weak budget, little staffing and a me-too product available from many, your marketing job is going to be very tough and the outlook is dim either way, organic or paid. (ie: find a better business)

6) Good promotion begins before the website is named, preferably having main keywords within the names of main pages and the site itself. The entire site design, look and strategy follows the web strategy within the marketing strategy based on competition and niches matched to the overall business strategy, based on resources, strengths and budget of the company. The first question is how much staffing and budget will be dedicated to web site development and promotion? Do you have money for expert staffing and a real SEO expert and good web developer, for PPC clicks ... or are you and your web designer going to do most of it yourself with no budget for advertising? The latter is usually unrealistic unless your people are knowledgeable and your web designer very competent in SEO, SEM (PPC Search Engine Management) as well as design (like BG Design).

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If you do not have at least $5,000 to $10,000 and one or two dedicated staff expert webmaster and promotion persons to build and promote your site, you should be doubly careful, depending on how complex your site is. If you expect to dabble at web marketing part-time with a tiny $500-1000 budget, don't expect much. You would have to be extremely unique and lucky in your service/product offerings and how and where you offer them. You would likely better supplement search engine ranking with non-Search Engine ranking for traffic, such as special offers, email blasts, direct sales calls and Groupon-type offers. (Don't do email blasts yourself. They will shut down your mail account and other large providers will blacklist you. Your limit per day is about 20 emails from one domain like Yahoo or Verizon before you are banned.)

We can usually get you started in Adwords for much less than others, so you may be able to get started getting business for about half the above numbers. But allow at least $2000 for Paid Promotion over 6 months if your site is new and you don't already have a following of buyers and prospects (plus or minus about 50% depending on the type of business and local or wide area).

7) When choosing paid or organic website placement, you must understand the difference between traffic, qualified traffic and conversions. Conversions are what matters: people who buy.. In paid promotion, you work to "qualify" and "screen" prospects before they click! Paid placement, PPC or ads must screen out those not really interested or who can't afford your offering. You also select search words to omit, so those searchers don't see your ad-- called "negative keywords". All that is high priority.

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In sum, carefully choose to emphasize paid or organic ranking and promotion based on your resources, your strengths and what kind and level of competition you face. Consider a hybrid approach, emphasizing paid or organic. Use paid promotion wisely, such as for testing appeals and wording and for brief specials.

Either way, your site must be interesting and have focused pages and good keywords and page naming. You should do much competitor and keyword research before you even name the web site and pages, to choose the niches and gaps in keywords and product offerings, based on your main marketing strategy modified by how and where you reach or hook your prospect audience segments.

Organic ranking is unpredictable, whereas paid promotion gets you seen pretty much immediately where you want to be seen with the offer and hook you want. You can control when, where and how you are seen and control special offers and means of getting prospects and names to follow up in other ways, such as by email and newsletters to those identified prospects. With Google's trend of making organic ranking difficult and unpredictable, the best choice seems to be heading toward paid placement which Google pushes. But that causes a rise in bid prices. The real issue is that we have made Google a near monopoly because they are so good, and the internet is getting crowded and competitive. That is the reality --- it is expensive and risky either way you go. Welcome to marketing on the internet today. (Invest in Google???)

Finally, it should be obvious that most web designers and consultants could make more money by leading website owners down the complex and convoluted, ever-changing, long difficult content path of organic marketing, and web developers could also profit more that way. That is short-sighted. The customer won't survive long that way.

We only suggest what we believe is likely to result in real success and profits long term. Our clients appreciate that. (We do not accept many prospects as customers because they do not have what it takes to succeed. Why waste time and anyone's money?)

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Good Luck

Note: If you would like more helpful information about starting a website or a web business, then browse our other information guides and tips on our menu above with many Web Business Success Tips and Guides. Especially learn what NOT to do, mistakes to avoid.

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