Organic VS Paid Traffic - Who's The Winner?

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So by now you've hear the buzz words 'Organic' and 'Paid' traffic sources for your website. You might be wondering which is better and what are the main differences between the two?

We'll grab a coffee, sit back and take a read. We'll be diving into the pros and cons of each and how to choose the best option for your business.

So what is Organic Traffic?

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Organic traffic is simply traffic that is incoming to your website organically - meaning people are finding your site through search and keywords and naturally finding their way to your page.

Sounds pretty simple right? Well, in essence it is. The way to get your traffic organically is to be a SEO zar and optimise your website copywriting, metadata and backlinks. Don't know how to do this? Don't worry, we'll get to that.

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What is Paid Traffic?

So paid traffic is similar to organic traffic in the sense that people will find their way to your website through certain channels. However the channels they move through are some sort of paid advertisement that will take them to your site.

With this method you don't have to be an expert on SEO but you do need to have cash to burn. If you want to learn how to expertly spend money on paid traffic campaigns then stick around, we'll get to that too.

So, what is the key difference between organic search vs. paid search?

The main difference between organic vs paid traffic is essentially just time and money. Whilst organic traffic focuses on unpaid rankings on search platforms - such as Google & Bing - paid traffic is all about paid rankings - think the Google Ads you see when you're browsing the web.

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With organic traffic and searches, businesses will use their time to implement SEO practices so their site is highly visible organically. If they don't have time or the expertise, they'll spend money on ads to grab those highly valuable spots.

Now, you're probably wondering what the core benefits of choosing either organic or paid traffic truly are. Here's our breakdown:

The 5 Benefits of Organic Traffic

Organic traffic can ultimately cost nothing

In essence, organic traffic can present itself with zero upfront costs. Your business doesn't have the stress of finding additional funds in your budget in order to get started. However there is a huge time commitment to counteract this. If you want organic traffic to be truly cost-free, you'll need to spend time researching SEO basics, build a strategy, keyword research, edit and optimise your site and write weekly, if not daily, new content for your blog. Of course you can forgo this time expense by hiring an SEO company to take care of this for you but of course than the organic traffic isn't truly free.

Organic Traffic Can Deliver Fantastic ROI

When something is as inexpensive as organic traffic your Return Of Investment (ROI) is incredibly high. No matter if you end up going with organic or paid traffic you'll want to see a return on your efforts. That's why organic traffic comes out on top almost every time and that's why so many marketers love SEO.

Organic Traffic Compounds On It's Benefits

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When your spend time maintaining and continuously optimising your SEO strategy your business can maximise all the advantages that SEO can offer. As you begin to create better content, attract better backlinks and further circulate hype around your brand, you'll get so much more chatter around your business. It's a strategy that keeps delivering as long as you keep on top of it and your content can quickly snowball into viral sensations and talking points.

Organic Traffic Gives Your Business Credibility

Consumers like to buy from brands that seem to know what they're talking about. Whether it's someone searching for a breathable sports top or a top notch website, your business needs to make a positive first impression when they do find you through organic channels. Not to mention, if your business shows up as a blog, directly answering someone's Google question, you'll ultimately become that individual's source of authority and information in that industry.

Organic Traffic Tends To Be Better Verified

We find that customers who come to a business' website through organic channels, rather than paid advertising, tend to be more likely to be interested and eventually buy. This is because organic searches are high 'intentional' marketing, meaning that people are actively searching for something or a solution that they need to a current problem they have. This gives them a much higher percentage to buy than if you interrupted them with a Facebook ad.

But what are the downsides to organic traffic? Are there any?

Well, like with any method there are always drawbacks.

Organic Traffic Requires A Lot Of Upkeep

Unfortunately, utilising organic traffic via SEO isn't a once-and-done project. You'll need to be continuously optimising your site, researching high volume keyword trends and updating your metadata in order to stay relevant in search results.

It's definitely a long-term plan strategy and if you start SEO you're in it for the long haul. If you stop working on your organic traffic plan after you've launch it, you'll never see the results.

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Organic Traffic Is A Waiting Game

Another drawback is how long it takes to see results with SEO and this is a major point of nervousness for businesses. Whilst you can start seeing results immediately with paid traffic, organic traffic takes several months to start delivering the results you want. That's because it takes time for search engines, such as Google to index your site and give it the correct ranking. However this waiting time can be reduced significantly if you hire a SEO team who knows what they are doing.

Requires SEO Skill Set

You've probably already found yourself asking 'what is SEO and how do I even start?' whilst reading this article. As with any area of marketing, you'll need to know your stuff if you're going to succeed with SEO. Thousands of companies spend millions each year to have experts work on their SEO campaigns so the competition can be tough. That doesn't mean you don't have the ability to learn SEO and become amazing at it, but it does mean you'll need to invest your precious time into mastering this skill set.

So we've spoken a lot about organic traffic but maybe you're thinking it sounds like far too much work and will take too long. That's where you might like the sound of paid traffic!

The 4 Benefits of Paid Traffic

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Paid Traffic Gives You Instant Results

Paid traffic always comes out on top when it comes to turnaround time for your campaigns. Unlike organic traffic, you'll be able to generate instant sales or traffic, basically as soon as your campaign goes live. This is especially helpful if you're running campaigns for a specific event or holiday like Christmas or Black Friday.

Paid Traffic Campaigns Gives You Data For Organic Traffic

When you choose to pay for your advertising online through channels such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you'll receive insanely helpful user data that can include the keywords they found you with, their location, age, gender, job titles, even buying behaviours! This can be incredibly useful for your future organic campaigns, or even just your future paid campaigns, because you know exactly what data lead to a sale. It's a really excellent way to give a lot of data very quickly.

Paid Traffic Campaigns Also Deliver Great ROI

Of course, nothing is as impressive as Organic Traffic when you spend $0 and get $2 back. However with paid traffic you're looking at spending $1 for $2 back - still not a bad ROI. The great thing about paid campaigns is that you have complete control over your AdSets, Creative, Targeting & Keywords. You can choose to optimise the ones that are doing well and cut those that are performing poorly and see the results of the change instantly. That's why it's easy to better optimise paid advertising for great ROI whereas with Organic traffic it would take at least 4 weeks to see the change in campaign direction.

Paid Traffic Can Accomodate Every Budget Out There

In comparison to traditional advertising such as billboards or television commercials, digital advertising offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to your ad spend. For Facebook, you can begin to test a campaign strategy for just $3-$5 an AdSet per day. However this will ultimately effect how many people will see your advertisement, even if your pool of potential viewers are a million plus. So if you're wanting to spend $100 or $10,000 per month, you can ultimately choose that threshold with different channels such as Google Ads, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. For the best results and to determine your profitability you'll need to do a deep research into your industry, average CPC and campaign reach forecast to understand how much you'll need to spend to make an impact.

And what are the downsides to paid traffic?

Take a look at the drawbacks below:

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Paid Traffic Will Cost Money Upfront

Unfortunately, many small businesses (especially right now) are a bit strapped for expendable cash and thinking of spending money upfront on a campaign can be a scary idea. The major problem with this is when you don't have money to advertise, then you simply can't advertise. This is why many smaller businesses choose to run with SEO and organic traffic because at least it's cost-free option even though it takes a lot of time. However if you have a good understanding of paid traffic and advertising (or hired someone who does) and have a solid idea of what you want to achieve with your advertisements and how much money you're willing to spend, you can accomplish a lot with a little money.

Paid Traffic Needs Constant Maintenance.

Similar to organic traffic campaigns you'll need to be consistent with your maintenance and the attention you give your advertisements. The bigger issue with constant on-going work in the paid traffic realm is that you stand the risk of losing a ton of money if you don't keep an eye on your campaign's performance, whereas with organic traffic you'll just loose momentum. So we recommend checking your ads once a day at least, or once a week minimum.

Paid Traffic Is A Short Term Solution

Paid search and traffic campaigns perform as long as you invest in it. So once you stop, the results will too. This makes paid campaigns a very short term solution to an ongoing problem. It has a great benefit of fast results for needing a lot of new clients right this second but doesn't give your business a long life of authority and presence on the internet. This is why we very strongly recommend having both organic and paid campaign running side by side so you can dominate the digital space. So instead of investing 100% of your energy and money into paid advertisements, maybe switch it to 75% paid, 25% organic.

Paid Traffic Requires Skill

Again, just like organic traffic, you'll need to know what you're doing when it comes to paid advertising campaigns. This can be more critical with paid campaigns because you're not just wasting your time, you can also waste money (and a lot of it!) if you have no idea how to run a successful campaign. So yes, you can learn how to pull off awesome paid campaigns but you will need to experiment on campaigns in order to learn - which means spending dollars that might go no where. This is why we highly recommend hiring a paid advertising consultant or agency to do this work for you. That way you know your campaigns are in good hands and have someone else accountable if they're not successful.

Evie! Just tell me if organic traffic or paid traffic is better!!

Okay, okay. We've gone over a lot of info and compared the two side by side. Ultimately we can see that one costs you A LOT of time and the other can cost you A LOT of money. So you need to decide which resource you have more of or which one you'd rather give up more of.

Even with this perspective, you may still not know exactly which one you should go with. Well, most digital marketers will agree that using both is the ultimate way to dominate the digital space AND give you lots of new sales or leads.

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Like us, most businesses benefit greatly from utilising organic traffic campaigns and paid advertising in their online marketing strategies. Organic traffic is fantastic for long term, consistent dominance in the social and digital space. For example, consistent uploads and engagement on your business' social accounts helps with both your SEO and gives you a brand image moulded by your choosing. Whereas paid advertisements help to put special offers and lead acquisition funnels in the right place to the right person to bring in actual monetary sales.

Think of it this way:

Organic Traffic = for those customers who have not yet decided if they will trust you but are willing to watch, wait and find out if they want to buy from you.

Paid Traffic = for those customers that will impulse purchase or intentionally search for the problems you solve and have a shorter acquisition timeline.

So we believe it's incredibly important to utilise both and cast a wide net to leave no customer left behind!

There's so much more to learn about both organic and paid traffic before you take the step to move forward with either. That's why we're happy to help with our free consultation calls where we'll dive deep and formulate a strategy for you in 45 minutes.

Book yours today or call us now on (02) 8006 4212

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(02) 8006 4212

Newtown, NSW