Paid Traffic vs. Natural Traffic: What’s The Difference?
So, you have a website. Now you are finding yourself in the position of wanting more visitors to your website. Okay, you share a common problem with tens of millions of other people.
Now, if you have done some research on the topic, you are probably aware that there are two primary ways to get more traffic to your site: organically (a.k.a. naturally) or via paid search.
In Internet marketing lingo, getting more traffic via organic search is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. Meanwhile, the practice of paying for your traffic is called search engine marketing, or SEM. Or Pay Per Click, PPC for short.
So, which should you choose? Here are a few benefits of each:
Benefits of going all-natural:
1. You do not need to pay for each action (ad impression or click) that gets someone to your site
2. The effects of a strong SEO campaign can last for a long time
3. Often, the off-site content (e.g., in blogs, etc.) created to drive traffic to your site creates a higher value for would-be visitors, potentially leading to a higher conversion rate once they reach your site
4. The content you create online (out on the Internet) with backlinks to your site might last for months or years, unlike with paid ads which go away the minute you stop the campaign
Benefits of paying for it:
1. Takes no time to build up its effect: you get instant traffic with paid ads
2. Due to the large amounts of traffic you can “turn on” all at once, you can use that reliable, steady stream of traffic to do testing (e.g., conversion or A|B split testing, whereby you see which types of messaging, images, pricing, etc. help drive more desirable user actions, such as purchases, on your site). This can help you draw conclusions about how to build a better, stickier, and more user-friendly website.
3. The cost of getting the traffic to your site can be measured very precisely in dollars and cents, such that it is very easy to calculate return on investment (ROI) of your campaign
4. You can experiment easily with different types of paid traffic and then quickly and accurately measure the effectiveness of each campaign
Which do I recommend?
Well, of course, it depends upon your situation. If you need traffic… today…then I recommend at least starting with a paid traffic (SEM) campaign. But, on the other hand, building up a solid SEO campaign does take time, so the sooner you start, the better.
One final note: SEO and SEM are by no means mutually exclusive. Rather, you can (and probably should) implement both in tandem – and if you do good job, they will complement each other very well. For example, doing good SEO work on your website can actually result in your paying less for clicks with your SEM campaign due to your site having a higher “quality score.”
I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further details.
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