Organic search or paid advertising?

There are many opinions on how to maximize the flow of visitors to a site.   Let's take a step back and think about how the major search engines function before jumping into the answer...

All search engines are developed to find relevant content based on what users search. That is their primary value.  All of them continuously improve their algorithms as users will always gravitate towards the search engine that offers the best results for a particular search.

The search engine players know that as more users use their particular service, the potential for selling paid keywords and ads grows.  For example, 81% of Google's revenue came from various advertising services in 2020, so paid keyword advertising is certainly not a trivial share of their business.

So back to the question...  Is it better to invest in paid keywords and ads or to focus on organic search by creating rich and compelling content on a site?  The best answer from my perspective is; it depends...

Organic search, or the ability to find a site purely based on the site's content, is very cost-effective as no paid advertisement is required. At the same time, creating compelling content is neither free nor fast. Paid search yields results almost instantly, yet at the same time, it will become a costly endeavor if used continuously and inefficient if not carefully monitored and optimized.

As with most things, the truth often lies in the middle between the two extremes.  We typically advise clients to use paid keywords and advertising for time-limited campaigns or immediate calls to action while continuously creating fresh and compelling content for their sites and webstores, creating an attractive, sustainable, and constant flow of organic traffic.