Google receives 65,000 searches per second on any given day. Now, if you are a small business owner or an e-commerce store, you may already have pondered how you can channel some of this traffic to your business.

There are two ways to get traffic to your website: paid traffic or organic traffic. The challenge is to make the right choice when debating on whether to go with paid traffic versus organic traffic.

Paid traffic is clearly what the name suggests – it is paid! It is completely dependent on your budget. You have to bid for keywords, and your website will start to see traffic very soon. The more competitive the keyword the higher the price you pay.  Budgets for Pay-Per-Click ads can range from $50 to $500,000 per month.

On the other hand, organic traffic is free. However, it does come with its share of research and requires due diligence and patience. You need to select the right keyword or set of keywords and start developing quality content around them. The website has to provide value and a reason for users to keep coming back.

The decision on whether to use paid traffic versus organic traffic thus depends on your budget and your level of patience. We’ve attempted to break it down in order to help you make a decision.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic can be applied to your website via offline as well as online marketing methods. Offline marketing could be any means of creating brand awareness such as telemarketing, television ads, pamphlets or billboards. Online marketing consists of paid banner ads, email marketing or Pay-Per-Click ads.

Paid traffic generation methods may include:

  • Display ads – This is a picture ad that you see on the side of a page when navigating a website
  • Google AdWords  – These are paid advertisements via Google
  • Social Media ads – This sponsored content is seen when you browse Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  • Influencer Marketing – A seasoned blogger or a well-known personality who has a large audience markets your brand

Pros of Paid Traffic

  • Provides your business with instant traffic
  • It is measurable, i.e. you get to see how much traffic comes to your website for every dollar that you spend
  • It can be targeted to your audience and narrowed by age, geographical area and more. Example: Baby boomers who live in Arizona and have an interest in nutrition.
  • Offers and campaigns for a product/service can be split-tested to observe the response of a particular audience
  • Multiple traffic sources can be selected
  • Multiple markets can be tapped to get visitors to your website
  • Once a campaign is successful it can easily be replicated

Cons of Paid Traffic

  • More effort needs to be put into the website design to ensure higher conversion ratio is achieved
  • The sales funnel for the product/service has to be streamlined to ensure that incoming traffic is converted to customers
  • Traffic may not be as sustainable as organic traffic
  • You could often land up paying a lot of dollars for traffic that does not necessarily convert
  • Network campaigns need continuous maintenance by a paid traffic expert
  • An ongoing budget is required to maintain steady flow of traffic

Since we’re on the topic of paid traffic versus organic traffic, let’s now take a look at organic traffic and its pros and cons.

Organic Traffic

Visitors could arrive at your website if they have your business card or if they know your web address. But the chance of a visitor coming to your website via a random search is highly unlikely unless you have spent time organically ranking your website.

Organic traffic or search engine optimization (SEO) is following protocols to ensure that your site appears in a search engine’s top 10 search results and gains visibility.  To start, here’s what you can do:

  • Quality Content:  Search engines have algorithms that give a higher preference to websites which have a regular supply of quality content. This is done by article writing and posting blogs around topics related to your niche
  • Back Linking: Setting up a link-building strategy to build links from reputable websites to your site will boost search engine ranking, which in turn will increase traffic to your site.
  • Social Media:  Feedback and review of your brand and products on social platforms will increase viewership
  • Advanced  SEO Techniques: These include contributing to other websites and blogs via guest posts, commenting, bookmarking and creating RSS feeds

Pros of Organic Traffic

  • Conversion of traffic to customers happens naturally without investing heavily in the sales funnel
  • An established online presence will result in a continuous flow of traffic
  • Many niche websites generate more traffic organically than PPC
  • It is easier to get a higher ranking where niche or keyword is not very competitive
  • Marketing cost for organic traffic is low especially when trying to rank low competition long-tail keywords
  • Generation of traffic takes time, but once successful, leads to repeat and loyal customers
  • There is a higher trust factor when visitors reach out from organic search and are more likely to convert into customers

Cons of Organic Traffic

  • Results depend heavily on your SEO skills (or those of the company you hire to do your SEO for you)
  • It takes months to start seeing results
  • It may not be possible to rank for every keyword on the campaign list
  • Making keyword changes to rank your website is a long process
  • Often the results are not highly measurable as compared to paid traffic
  • Low-quality links can often be seen as spam and can do you more harm than good

Make the Right Decision!

Still contemplating whether to go with paid traffic versus organic traffic?  Often, the best option is to choose a combination of both.

Whether you are new in business or are looking to grow your existing operation, a mix of both paid traffic and organic traffic will help you get some instant traffic, while gradually building content and followers to increase your flow of organic traffic.

Here at Cleverplugins, our aim is to provide you with the tools you need to boost and analyze traffic to your website, empowering you with the knowledge you need to increase your brand awareness and grow your business.