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Organic Traffic versus Paid Traffic

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

A glimpse into which approach results in a better business opportunity

Online presence is the need of the hour for business expansion. Search engines have become an inevitable part of our online experience. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other portals provide abundant information and answer all queries. 93 percent of digital activity starts with a search engine. On Google alone, users perform 67,000 searches per second. These are mind-boggling figures.

“Search – Result – Website Link – Potential Sales – Revenue Conversion.”

This process is much more complex that is looking. Our target is ‘Search.’ If we get that right, the rest will follow suit. This is where organic traffic and paid traffic come into play. Their goals are similar - to increase your online visibility. However, their modes of approach and strategies are different as chalk and cheese.

Let’s simplify it. We all love our share of movies. We are often spoilt for choices and confused as to which film to watch. For example, Movie 1 has a low budget with good content. Movie 2 has a higher budget with average content. Movie 2 banners and ads are all over the place. It’s on your face. As a viewer, you tend to get drawn towards Movie 2 first. However, Movie 1 sustains over the long run due to its high-quality content. It does not need extra money to attract more audience. They will come on their own. Online traffic works similarly. Movie 1 is organic traffic. Movie 2 is paid traffic.

Organic Traffic

In organic search, relevant websites appear first on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Content is key, as it needs to be SEO-friendly (Search Engine Optimization). Coding, the structure of the copy, and backlinks also help in boosting your website’s ranking on the SERP. The first position gets 30 percent of the clicks. As you scroll down, the click percentage reduces with only 2 percent clicking on the 9th and 10th ranked websites.

Paid Traffic

As the name suggests, you pay to be visible online. They show up as ads on the SERP and appear higher than organic search results. It is also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-Per-Click-advertising (PPC). These ads can be highly influential when it comes to website conversions. However, they don’t come cheap. The average cost-per-click is around $2.69. It’s all about money, honey!

Which is the better option?

Various factors come into play in comparing organic and paid traffic.

  1. Budget: In organic traffic, you don’t have to shell out for online visibility. Paid traffic comes with a hefty price tag. However, in both approaches, you have to spend on generating relevant content. There are also overhead costs.

  2. Sustainability: Web pages continue to show in SERP forever in an organic method. In paid traffic, your website is visible in SERP only till you pay for it.

  3. Visibility: Usually, 95 percent of users click on the links shown on the first page of SERP. In paid traffic, the response is immediate and visibility is higher. Irrespective of the quality of content, your page always appears on top. Inorganic mode, your content needs to be relevant and SEO-friendly to gain visibility.

  4. Business: In paid traffic, your site ad keeps appearing on different pages. There’s a higher probability of users visiting your site. You can convert these leads to business. On the downside, this is relevant only until you have the budget to spend. Inorganic traffic, the probability is lower but it is effective in the long run. The return of investment takes longer than paid traffic but it is much higher in the long term.

Both organic and paid traffic have their pros and cons. A perfect blend of the two will help you gain the ideal online visibility. High-quality content with a little more marketing can make your movie into a blockbuster one. This formula works for websites as well.

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