Nearly every SEM professional has a different opinion on PPC versus organic search. Personally, I believe natural search will bring you the best ROI long term. However, paid search has its advantages too. Below I’ll opine with my thoughts on each:

Natural (organic) search advantages:

  1. It’s free (duh!)
  2. Natural search results are trusted more
  3. Natural search results are clicked on more

Natural (organic) search disadvantages:

  1. It takes time to get results
  2. SEO hourly rates can be pricey
  3. You can’t possibly rank for every search variation (long tails)

Pay Per Click (PPC) advantages:

  1. Instant ranking
  2. Ability to rank for any search term (long tails)
  3. Ability to test best converting keywords for natural search
  4. Ability to send visitors to more targeted landing page

Pay Per Click (PPC) disadvantages:

  1. It’s very expensive. In some industries, you can pay several dollars per click
  2. Click fraud is prevalent

While each method has it’s pros and cons, I strongly believe that together SEO and PPC have a synergistic effect. For example, appearing in both natural and paid sections increases your visibility. Possibly, and visitor will click on both results and one will resonate more than the other. In addition, I’ve found PPC is a great testing ground for which keywords to optimize naturally for.

Check this post for more Pay per click optimization tips.