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Organic vs Paid Traffic – What’s the Difference?

June 28th, 2016 No Comments

When it comes to getting more meaningful traffic to your website, you basically have two options. You can opt for trying to get more traffic organically through search engine optimization (SEO), or you can opt to pay for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns. Each of these strategies has its pros and cons. For most businesses it’s not a matter of choosing one over the other, but instead choosing a balance between the two. So let’s take a moment to explore the difference between paid and organic traffic, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

SEO and Organic Traffic

When people talk about getting better organic search results, they’re referring to manipulating a site’s SEO to help it appear higher in search engine rankings organically. In general, you’ll do this by populating your website with quality content that has relevant keywords sprinkled naturally throughout it. You’ll also establish active social media pages that you’ll link to from your site, and you’ll take other steps to ensure that your site is ranked higher by Google and other search engines’ algorithms for their SERPs (search engine results pages).

The main advantage of going with SEO and organic traffic is that getting higher search rankings won’t cost you any money, if you do it yourself. However, to ensure you get the best results, you’ll likely want to pay an SEO expert to optimize your site for you and to help you set yourself up to continue creating quality content to stay on top of search rankings. This would be a one-time charge for the on-page optimization, and you’ll need to optimize new content as you add to your website.

The only real disadvantage to SEO is that Google and other search engines are continuously upgrading and updating their search algorithms to provide more accurate and useful results for their users. This means your SEO efforts will likely need to be an ongoing process if you want to keep your site high in search rankings.

PPC and Paid Traffic

In general, paid search results will have an annotation that says something like “Sponsored Content,” or they may be set apart to the side or in a shaded box at the top of search results. Unlike buying ad space on a website, billboard, or in a magazine, though, you won’t just purchase the ad and see it pop up for every search result for a given period of time.

Instead, your paid search results will appear when people enter certain search terms and you have the winning bid on those terms. Thus, your paid search results will only ever appear for people interested in your products or services. Likewise, you won’t pay anything if the person doing the searching doesn’t click on your link.

Paid search results like these are a bit tricky because they’re significantly less likely to get click-throughs than organic search results. However, when people do click on them, they’re actually 1.5 times more likely to convert from a lead to a customer than those who click on organic search results.

So you can see why a mix of the two strategies could serve you well. A bit of effort with your site’s SEO could get you better search rankings for more click-throughs, and a well-planned PPC campaign could get you more conversions per click. Together, you’re looking at more meaningful traffic coming to your site, better lead generation, and more conversions – all of which spells success for your company.

Want to learn more about online marketing strategies and how to drive more meaningful traffic to your site? Contact us today!

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