For quite some time now, marketers have continued to debate the best approach to attract more traffic. While some marketers swear by organic traffic, others emphasize paid traffic as a far superior option.
But the fact of the matter is that both of these options are viable – each in its unique way. So, naturally, both organic and paid traffic have their strong points, as well as limitations.
However, the question is not which of these two options is better than the other. Instead, the question is which one will bring more value to your business in particular.
It is not rare that, in fact, the combination of both organic and paid traffic brings the most favorable results. But the approach you end up taking will depend on numerous factors, such as your marketing budget, business goals, the amount of time you have at your disposal, and so on.
That’s why it’s extremely important to understand both of these options first before you decide which one to choose.
Here, we will explore the main differences between organic and paid traffic approaches. Additionally, we will also explain how you can combine both approaches and create a well-rounded marketing plan for your business.
Organic vs. paid traffic – main differences
The first and the most obvious difference between the two lies in their names. Organic traffic is the one that comes to your website organically, i.e., through organic rankings in search results. On the other hand, Paid traffic is the one that comes through the online ads you had to pay for.
That being said, it’s safe to say that the first main difference between the two is the cost.
When it comes to boosting your organic traffic, businesses can rely on various methods that will allow them to increase their traffic organically. Here, SEO plays one of the biggest roles.
On the other hand, when talking about paid traffic, do know that you will need to spend money to earn money. By paying to appear in the “paid ads” section at the top of search results pages, you will boost your chances of bringing more traffic to your website.
Naturally, since these two approaches are so different in their core, the type of content that suits them also varies significantly.
Organic traffic focuses more on creative and informative content that brings value to your audience, such as:
- Blog posts
- How-to guides
While paid traffic relies more on sales-focused type of content, such as:
- Landing pages
- Product pages
- Checkout pages
As mentioned previously, and after exploring just some of the most obvious differences, it becomes quite clear that there is no straightforward answer regarding the question of which one of these two approaches is inherently better.
Instead, many businesses usually rely on the combination of these two approaches and even interchange them periodically for the best possible results.
Again, keep in mind that because the approaches are so different, your budget, marketing plan, and overall goals of your business will also play a huge role in choosing one over the other.
Organic Traffic – Benefits
The methods are free
Earlier, we’ve mentioned that organic traffic methods are free, which is extremely important for some businesses. And even though it is true that you can invest in improving your organic traffic, the best part is that you absolutely don’t need to.
This is particularly great news for small businesses, solopreneurs, startups and similar organizations that have yet to grow their endeavors.
With organic traffic, the main currency will be the time you put into growing your online presence. And yes, organic traffic will require some time to grow and reach its designated audience, but the results it produces are well worth it in the end.
It increases your ROI
Since you will have to put virtually no money into growing your organic traffic, the return on investment will basically be pure profit.
However, aside from bringing more people to your business, organic methods will also help you improve your website overall. This will result in better on-page positioning in SERPs, which will bring a whole new set of benefits to your business.
It brings additional benefits
We’ve mentioned earlier that one of the strongest assets of the organic method is the content you create. This content will help you reach your audience and spark their interest in your business. But, arguably, more importantly, it will also help you polish various aspects of your website.
High-quality, relevant and informative content that’s well-created and optimized will help your website get noticed not just by your audience, but search engines as well.
And the more appealing your website is to search engines, the greater the chances that it will be moved closer to the top of the SERPs.
So, it’s safe to say that optimizing for organic traffic will not only result in more leads but will also boost your search engine rankings and, in turn, your revenue.
It increases credibility
Aside from being seen by a large audience, you also need to aim at boosting their trust in your business.
Businesses that appear high on SERPs usually appear more trustworthy and credible than those stuck on the 10th page of Google.
Moreover, organic searches are generally more appealing to users than paid searches, as there is no money involved in the promotion.
Attracts more relevant visitors
When talking about web traffic in general, it’s important to note that not all traffic is of equal value.
Some users will only visit your website once, make a purchase or not, and never visit it again.
However, visitors that come to your website for the content you create – aside from the products or services you offer – are far more likely to decide to stick around longer.
These visitors will oftentimes revisit your website, make repeat purchases and generally be of greater value for your business.
Offers useful data
Organic methods also offer the chance to collect various useful data for your business, particularly when combined with an SEO toolkit or data analytics manager.
By doing so, your marketing team can easily track and identify the most relevant keywords and target specific audiences based on their online behavior. Aside from this, you can easily track your content’s overall performance, which will prove to be invaluable in the long run.
Naturally, with all of this data collected, you’ll be able to easily improve your SEO strategy, aside from all the other areas of your business.
Leaves room for connected marketing
In the end, organic methods leave enough room for a holistic and more connected marketing approach.
This means that, aside from your content and SEO efforts, you can also rely on email marketing and social media marketing efforts to boost your organic searches. That way, you will only further boost your exposure and bring even more visitors your way.
Paid Traffic – Benefits
One of the strongest benefits of paid traffic is that it promises instant results. Unlike the organic traffic attempts, you will be able to see the results of your paid efforts as soon as they happen.
For some businesses, this brings more value, particularly in instances where instant results are the main goal. For instance, if you’re a new business looking to grow its visibility fast, get in touch with a top PPC agencies that will help you reach instant results.
And once you manage to “get your name out there” fast and start seeing the results, you can then consider adding the organic methods into your efforts – if you wish to do so.
Useful SEO data
Just like with the organic methods, paid methods also offer plenty of useful data, particularly when SEO is concerned.
With paid traffic, you can easily target specific audiences based on their location, demographic, age, and so on. This, combined with local SEO, can bring huge benefits to your business and help further improve your targeting efforts.
Additionally, you can research which keywords from your paid ads bring the most positive results and include those keywords in your SEO strategies as well.
Even though paid traffic methods require you to spend money to earn money, they still bring quite a decent ROI.
As a matter of fact, according to Google, businesses can expect to earn as much as $8 for every $1 spent on Google Ads, which is quite impressive.
However, it’s important to note that the price of the paid ads may vary greatly depending on the industry and niche your business is operating in, so that’s another thing you need to keep in mind.
Generally speaking, users who decide to click on a paid promotion are generally the ones that are already ready to make a purchase.
Unlike the leads brought in through organic methods, the ones that are attracted by paid ads are simply looking for a place to spend their money at. These leads already know what they’re looking for, so you should make sure that they come across your business when searching.
Targeting these specific leads with your ads will not only bring in more traffic, but will also significantly increase conversions for your business.
Last but not least is the fact that paid traffic can easily fit into any budget, really.
Paid ad campaigns offer plenty of different options that can easily fit your budget – no matter how big or small it may be. On top of that, the price of paid ads rarely changes, which enables businesses to plan their strategies well ahead of time.
How to boost both organic and paid traffic?
Now that we’ve explained the main differences between organic and paid traffic and brought to light some of the strongest points of both of these approaches, it’s time to see how to make them even more viable.
If your marketing budget is not the main deciding factor when it comes to choosing the best approach, we advise you to go for both. There are two ways you can do so:
- Method 1 – first focus on paid, then switch to organic
- Method 2 – use both at the same time
As mentioned earlier in the article, businesses looking to boost their online presence fast should always focus on paid methods first. This way, they can speed up the process of gaining exposure and focus on expanding their online presence after.
Since organic methods can take some time to bring in visible results, it’s best to focus on the paid approach first.
On the other hand, the second method is great once you manage to establish your business online. Once you reach the desired exposure and visibility online, boost your paid efforts with the organic methods that complement them. That way, you will notice a significant increase in traffic while giving your marketing budget a little break.
Organic and paid traffic combo for best results
With everything that we’ve mentioned, it becomes quite clear that the answer lies in combining both the organic and paid approach instead of choosing one over the other.
Simply put, both of these approaches have their own specific benefits compared to the other, but the key is actually in reaping the best of both worlds.
Sure, one method may be a bit more viable than the other in specific instances, but the fact still remains that they bring in the best results when carefully and creatively combined.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for SEO Turnover.