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Differences between organic traffic and paid traffic in content marketing

6 min read

paid traffic vs organic

Getting people interested in your work can be quite difficult. You can’t simply publish a blog or video and expect people to become immediately interested.

Producing amazing content is not enough, you need content marketing.

It takes a certain type of effort to attract potential customers and visitors. There are two methods to get traffic to your website: paid traffic or organic traffic. The challenge is to make the proper choice when debating on whether to go with paid traffic versus organic traffic. 

I’m sure that if you’re reading this article, then you probably already have some sort of “content” published out there.

At this point, you might be confused about which option should you take to increase traffic and awareness to those content.

Paid or organic?

As the name suggests, paid traffic is paid. It’s completely dependent on your budget. You have to bid for the keywords you need and your website still starts to witness traffic in a reasonable time. The more competitive the keyword is the higher the price you have to pay. Budgers for Pay-Per-Clicks ads can range from $50 to $500,000 per month.

On the other hand, organic traffic is completely free. Although, it does come with its share of strategy and requires due diligence and patience to pull off. You need to choose the proper keyword or set of keywords and start building quality content around them. The website has to be able to provide value and a reason for users to return for more. 

The decision on whether to utilize paid traffic versus organic traffic all comes down to your budget and patience your willing to hand out. This article will help break down the order to help you come to a decision. 

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is when traffic comes from an “organic search.” Organic search only occurs from a search engine result. It’s never a connection from another site or an advertisement. People simply input a phrase or keyword. They see the website on the results page, and they decide they want to click on it.

At times, you’ll be able to influence their decision. By the time they’ve inputted the keywords, they’ve already made their decision as to which link they are going to click on, sometimes. 

There are many factors to what makes an article rank high in search engines like Google and Bing, but it requires a lot of keyword research and good SEO practice. I won’t cover that in this article, but we have a few resources from other articles that you can check out.

Read through those and you should be able to brainstorm some great ideas.

Paid traffic

Paid traffic is what happens when someone clicks on the advert you paid for. Google Adwords, Yahoo! Bing Network, Linkedin, Facebook ads, and many others allow you to set up an advertising campaign where you only pay each time someone clicks on the ads. The option to pay the amount you wish to is possible.

And the ad service will charge your account until you’ve either decided to end it or you run out of funds. Another possible option is to set up an ad run time and get charged for how many clicks happen in that time frame. 

The placement of ads is determined by various factors such as a bidding process, ad relevance, and audience response rates. The better you bids or ad performance are, the better position your ad ends up in a page. With paid trafficking, you are simply utilizing a middle man, in this case, the ad platform to get your website shown to people you wouldn’t normally have access to. 

Paid acquisition works, but there’s also a lot of testing involved..

Pros and cons of Organic Traffic

Research has revealed that over 70% of link searchers click on are organic. And that’s absolutely consistent with the definition of organic traffic. Usually, when people decide to use a search engine, their intent isn’t to select an ad, it’s to search for what they need, or something specific. 

 

Pros

One of the greatest benefits for organic traffic is that those who click on your link already trust that what they will discover is what they need.

Essentially, if you have a high ranking on a search engine, the user will already have a positive bias towards your site or product. But this requires you to be near the top to be a fact.

This is where SEO or search engine optimization helps out. And this is where your work comes into play. SEO may seem quite daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. And you may already be optimizing your website for search and not even realizing it. 

Google has managed to become the standard for SEO mostly due to the massive share of the search market it holds. And since Google makes all the SEO rules, everyone needs to keep an eye on what Google is doing with its search engine.

Basically, Google is trying to prevent spam and give search engine users the best possible content they ask for. By doing this, Google has increasingly improved and transformed their filtering systems to seek out quality, non-spam content.

Additionally, their whole playbook revolves around whether a site has quality content, natural connecting relationships with other websites, and what type of traffic is flowing through those sites. Even so, Google does look at much more than those things.

But your main focus should be quality content with quality links to other quality content on the internet. That is how you can successfully optimize your site for organic traffic. 

Improvements

If you haven’t begun developing your website with quality content, you should consider doing it as soon as you begin an organic traffic campaign. If your goal is to achieve a higher ranking in search engine pages, then you should concentrate on providing quality content that keeps people on your site once they visit it. Once you begin utilizing SEO, you are going to strive to keep your high rank, meaning more and better content. This should improve user satisfaction and boost brand favorability. 

Cons

While organic trafficking may not cost you money, it does cost you another vital resource. Time. 

And if you decide to concentrate your efforts on organic trafficking, you are going to be spending quite a bit of time. Depending on your keyword strategy, it can take months or even years before you see any increase in ranks.

At times, you don’t have that kind of time to commit to boosting your website traffic. While there are plenty of free tools available on the internet for anyone who wants to try their hands at SEO, they still have to be aware of which tools to use and when to use them. As stated before, time is the main factor here. If might take your precious time to gather the appropriate resources. 

 

Paid Traffic 

If you manage to come up with great paid ads, you will discover that paid traffic is another great source of traffic. In a matter of fact, if your ads appear at the top rank, it gets an average click-through rate of 7%. Some brands specific or product-specific will result in even higher clickthrough rates than organic traffic. 

Pros

The ads you decide to pay for will be designed to fit a very specific audience. You can target your exact customer or potential customers with the help of ads. Organic traffic doesn’t always allow this to happen.

If you don’t measure user intent when deciding your keyword, you will probably not gain the traffic you wanted. The options available allow you to target people by age, income, marital status, education level, and anything else you can think of. 

Cons

If your budget is on the short side, then organic traffic may be your best possible option. But even those with some minimal amount of finances can get something out of paid traffic. That said, if you wish to generate a ton of leads in a short amount of time, you may have to invest some serious cash. The good news with paid ads is that you can turn them off as soon as you gained what you needed. 

 

Paid Content on Facebook ads

Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms on the planet, with over 2.2 billion people using the platform. Because of that massive global audience,

Facebook has managed to become a prime marketing platform for just about every business. But the shifting Facebook algorithm can make it quite the challenge to link organically with potential customers.

That’s why Facebook introduced ads into its platform. With micro-targeting features that allow you to reach your exact target audience based on demographics, location, interests, and even behaviors. You can always get the message across in front of the people who are most likely to purchase your product or services. It’s a great deal for your budget, conversion rate, and return investment. You only pay to reach the most valuable customers. 

Monitoring analytics

There are a lot of apps out there for monitoring, measuring and analyzing website activity, and it’s sometimes hard to know which ones to try. Here are some tools to consider using for keeping track of your activity. 

I’m not going to list all of them that we use, but the two below is a must-have.

 

Google Analytics 

While there are plenty of tools available to monitor web traffic, Google Analytics is free and comprehensive. Although, while simply integrating standard Google Analytics tracking code and reviewing basic traffic metrics is a decent start, the actual power of Google Analytics is revealed when events are being added to every link, button and action on the web page. This allows for an extensive range of analyses. 

 

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a great tool for monitoring traffic, domain authority and keywords. You’ll be able to see which keywords are ranking the best and assess improvement opportunities to generate more traffic to your website. It also allows you to see which site connects to yours to identify potential guest posting partner, increasing your backlink profile and drive additional referral traffic. 

So paid or organic traffic for content marketing?

When deciding to use either paid, organic or a combination of both for content marketing, you need to first consider your goals. Are they mainly short-term goals such as increasing traffic quickly’? Or are they long-term goals for developing a consistent body of traffic over time?

A combination for both of these can be ideal, with paid being generally your best bet.

The minute your ad campaign starts, it delivers results, but once the budgeting halts, so do the benefits. Since organic trafficking relies on your website’s content linking structure, and metadata, developing a strategy that delivers actual results takes even more time than setting up a paid campaign.

Although, by combining both by driving traffic with the help of paid ads and then reverting to organic trafficking, results may be more valuable to you and your website in the long run. 

There isn’t a “best method.” Certain companies like e-commerce stores might need more paid traffic, whereas a SaaS business can scale less on paid.

Looking for content that actually drives results? Get in touch with us and we’ll double your traffic 🙂

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