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Paid Traffic, Organic Traffic, or Both? What You Should Know

Paid Traffic, Organic Traffic, or Both? What You Should Know

Two major ways to market your products or services online include search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. While both methods are an excellent way to drive traffic to your website, each one has its advantages and disadvantages.

The Differences Between SEO And PPC

You’ve probably visited Google’s search engine a number of times. Have you noticed that paid ads appear at the top of the rankings and organic listings are below them? The listings that you see first are premium spots on the page. These are PPC ads. If you want your business to have this type of exposure, you will need to use Google Adwords, set a daily budget, and pay for clicks.

In contrast, the organic listings below PPC ads are created by optimizing each page of your website with specific keywords and keyword phrases. By optimizing your site, it provides you with a chance to have your listings show up in prime organic spots on Google’s search engine.

If your organic listing is on the first page of search results for a specific keyword that you are targeting, there’s a high likelihood that a visitor searching for that same keyword will click on your organic listing. While organic listings are not placed as high as PPC ads, some people actually prefer clicking on them instead of the ads.

A lot of work goes into SEO. However, when done right, it can create a strong foundation for your website that can continue to bring in targeted traffic long into the future. The cost to implement SEO may be budgeted over time. The results will pay for themselves, but they will take longer than PPC to develop.

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There are a number of pros and cons when considering SEO or PPC:

Awareness And Branding

One of your goals when marketing on the internet is to build credibility and trust. You can increase the visibility of your brand on the search engines by optimizing your website. If you optimize your site to the point where it’s being listed at the top of organic search results, it builds credibility with potential customers and current customers. The down-side to optimizing your site is that, depending on how your website is currently coded, you may have to completely rewrite your entire design. This results in time and expenses being devoted to this project. The benefit is still significant, just plan and budget accordingly.

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Improving Long-Term Traffic

Over time, if you have completed a successful SEO campaign, your efforts will keep improving your ROI. While SEO isn’t easy or cheap, it is the most cost-effective marketing tactic for bringing in targeted traffic to your site. SEO is not a one-time thing you do; as your business continues to grow and develops new products or services, you will need to perform more SEO campaigns. However, the major expenses will be during the first optimizations you undertake; after that, it’s only the expenses of maintaining your website, keyword focus, or other SEO tactics that you’ve incorporated.

Results Can Be Slow

Unfortunately, it takes time to build a strong foundation of keywords and keyword phrases for your site. Google wants to make sure that your website can be trusted. It won’t rank you at the top of organic results until you’ve proved your credibility.

Obviously, while SEO is important for your site, it won’t produce the fast results and benefits of PPC. This is where you may consider a campaign that includes both PPC and starting SEO if your budget can accommodate both.

PPC Provides Immediate Visibility

With PPC, you can immediately place ads on Google’s search engine and direct traffic to your website. If you bid high enough, your ad will be listed at the top of the page of search results. A PPC campaign should be considered when an immediate, one-time response from consumers is favorable.

Quick Targeting

PPC provides your business with a quick way to be seen by potential customers, and you can target for variables such as keywords, language, geography, device, and time of day.

The benefits of Pay-Per-Click PPC also includes some of the following:

  • A/B testing: Allows you to split test ads and determine which one is giving you the best results
  • Stability: Adwords ads are not as turbulent as organic results
  • Agility: Provides a quick way to test a new product or marketing message

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Disadvantages Of PPC

While PPC is a fast way to market online, it does have some disadvantages. Strategically, a competitor can mimic your ads if they notice that you are starting to encroach on their market share. The cost for ads can be driven up if you were to get into a bidding war with another advertiser.

The cost of PPC marketing can also get out of hand if you are not constantly managing your campaigns. To be successful with PPC, it is important to monitor your bids. Click through rates and quality scores are important factors that you must consider.

Utilizing a Combination of Both Methods

As can be seen, both methods have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Typically, a strategy of using both methods to direct traffic to your website will work best. This ensures that you are able to create sales fast with PPC while you optimize your website for organic traffic.

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by Eileen O'Shanassy // Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter: @eileenoshanassy.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.