Organic vs. Inorganic SEO: Key Differences, Explained

The world of search engine marketing and SEO is full of jargon. Even those with a trained ear and experience in digital marketing can get confused at times, especially when terminologies overlap.

Two very common terms that confuse newcomers are the concepts of inorganic and organic search rankings. Here, we’ll explain a few key similarities and differences, and make suggestions about which practice is best.

SEO: A Quick Refresher

As you probably know, search engine optimization refers to the process of using different on-page and off-page strategies to move a website higher on a search engine’s results list. The general goal of SEO is to bring more traffic to a website, and since Google’s top links get the most clicks, moving up the rankings is one of the best ways to get more views from people who are searching for topics that you cover.

Organic Search Rankings

Generally, your website can move up the search rankings through two types of strategies: organic and inorganic. Organic search engine rankings don’t have a direct cost, as you don’t pay Google to rank well, organically. Instead, the site appears near the top of the list without paying for a promotion because Google’s algorithm finds the page content to be relevant and useful.

Common Organic SEO strategies include:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Content development and blogging
  • Streamlining website structure
  • Link outreach
  • Meta-tag optimization

Inorganic Search Rankings

On the other hand, inorganic search rankings refer to high placements that a website pays for. In a nutshell, a website gives the search engine money in exchange for a higher spot on the list. You might hear this referred to as SEM or PPC (Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click). Often, inorganic rankings aren’t directly paid for, but bid on in a keyword auction.

Some inorganic SEO strategies include:

  • Pay per click advertising
  • Paid affiliate marketing
  • Banner ads
  • Re-Marketing

Is One Better Than the Other?

Many experts consider organic SEO to be “better” because it’s cheaper and often results in higher-quality traffic. Organic search rankings tend to bring users who genuinely want to learn more about your business or topic. Think about it, these are people who are actively searching for something that you offer. That’s someone looking to become a customer. On average, over 40% of a website’s revenue generated comes from organic traffic.

However, inorganic SEO can also be effective when managed correctly. Organic SEO takes time, while inorganic methods can move a website up the rankings almost instantly for a short period of time.

So, to answer the question above: Which one is best? Well, generally, it’s best to use a mix of each. Consider your budget and time frame before selecting an SEO strategy.

If you want to learn more about which approach or combination of approaches might be better for you and your organization, get in touch with us.

Request more info from us!

Let Edgewater get you started down the road to digital success
Get Started