Organic and paid campaigns both have the same goal, to have one’s website clicked on more than anyone else competing for the same search term. While the end goal is the same, the way to achieve it is different for both. At the same time, both these types of traffic have a role to play in your marketing strategy. It is best to understand the role of both organic and paid traffic before making a choice.
What Is Organic Traffic?
Visitors that arrive at your website as a result of an unpaid or organic search, through a search engine, such as Google or Bing are referred to as “organic traffic”. This is a pathway that you do not directly pay for. Although your organic traffic may increase due to searches driven by offline and other paid campaigns. Basically, users conduct searches, your website turns up in the search engine results pages (SERPs), they click on it through their own initiative and land up on your page.
How Does Organic Traffic Work?
Why do we click on one result instead of another? There are a number of reasons why people do so. People click on what appears to be the most relevant and useful piece of information available on the page to suit their needs. They choose the information that appears to be from a trusted and knowledgeable source which matches their distinct search intent. People often like to feel empowered by their searches and not coerced or manipulated into clicking on paid ads. If you have the information or business that the search requires then the engagement proceeds for mutually beneficial purposes.
What Type Of Content Works Best For Organic Traffic?
Content that is search-friendly, comprehensive, practical and created bearing SEO in mind will appear on SERPs where users will find it, click on it and generate better organic traffic. Just writing good SEO content does not guarantee a higher ranking as your competition could generate better content that diverts traffic away from your site towards theirs. It is therefore important to keep an eye on your competition and keep your pages updated. Content that works best for organic traffic includes blog articles, product or service focused landing pages, videos and infographics.
What Is Paid Traffic?
Visitors that arrive at your website after you have paid for advertising promotions are considered as paid traffic. These visitors click on an advertisement that has been placed on a SERP for a given search term to reach your website. Businesses pay ad platforms for such advertisements in order to appear first in search engines. These platforms include search engines, social media platforms and media networks. The most common forms of paid traffic are Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising which utilizes Google ads, Pay Per Acquisition (PPA) advertising, Cost per Thousand impressions (CPM) and banner advertisements. Google Ads and Facebook are two of the most popular platforms used to generate paid traffic to websites.
How Does Paid Advertising Work?
Companies can buy paid advertising on an automated open-auction bidding platform such as Google Ads. The platform sets a price for a keyword and companies bid on that keyword.
Once you put in your bid, Google evaluates your maximum bid and assesses the relevance of your proposed ad to the term being bid on. You then receive a quality score as a measurement of click-through rate, landing page quality, and ad relevance. Google decides where to place your ad by ranking it which will determine the position within SERPs in which the ad will be featured. Generally, the higher your quality score, the lower your cost-per-click (CPC). So it is important to make your ads as creative, targeted, and relevant as possible in order to save money.
What Type Of Content Works Best For Paid Traffic?
Paid advertising requires constant bidding adjustments and expenditure. If you are paying for ad space, then you would want that traffic to convert to customers as well. When traffic heads directly to your sales and services pages, it shortens the buyer journey and hopefully ends in a sale. The best practice is to buy Adwords that respond to queries of transactional intent. The content formats should be sales-focused for ads to be conducive to paid traffic. Assets best for paid traffic are product landing pages, services offering landing pages, forms, web demos and checkout pages.
A quick comparison
Which is more measurable?
Ad metrics are automated and easily measurable and trackable for paid traffic whereas it is much harder for organic traffic.
Which is more sustainable?
Organic marketing draws traffic forever whereas paid ads run only when they are funded and can get expensive.
Which produces more ROI?
SEO produces three times as many leads over the long term. Because it takes at least three months to show ROI, paid marketing is more lucrative in the short term.
Which is more cost-effective?
SEO provides long-term ROI for a fraction of the cost. Paid ads which are more commercial and heavily dependent on seasonality and competition.
Which is easier to start right away?
Although paid ads require some level of know-how, they are easier to get running and involve less long term planning.
There is a time and a place for both organic and paid marketing. It is not uncommon for the two to work really well together. If you are weighing the pros and cons of organic vs paid, sit down with your marketing agency and examine your timeline and budget. For the quickest results, paid is better, but organic is more cost-effective in the long run. Take a look at your goals and don’t be afraid to experiment with a combination of the two.
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