Organic vs. Paid Traffic: Which One’s Right For You?
While both types of traffic have their advantages, the bigger challenge is knowing when’s the best time to pull the trigger on paid and when it’s time to go organic.
Organic vs. Paid: What’s the Difference?
Before you can get a handle on whether you want to target organic or paid traffic, it’s important to understand what is really meant by both terms.
Organic traffic is the audience that’s generated from a standard search engine query results. Because as much as 48% of all organic traffic is generated from the first search listing on each keyword – and nearly 70% comes from the first page – this is some pretty valuable real estate.
It’s important to note that organic traffic is influenced, but not completely controlled, by standard SEO practices, such as keyword linking.
Paid traffic, on the other hand, refers to the end users generated from paid search listings, the kind you see at the top of each search results page.
Sponsors of these results usually pay the search engine a fee based on how many people click on the result, hence the term PPC or pay-per-click.
What Do End-Users Prefer?
You don’t to read Search Engine Watch to know that most end-users prefer organic results over paid results. If you do read it, then you probably already knew that around 94% of all internet users prefer organic results over paid results. (Though that number could be getting smaller as more people access the Web via smart phone.)
That means that almost all of the traffic you’ll ever have a chance at comes directly from organic results and the SEO tactics that influence them.
At this point you’re probably wondering, “Given this massive imbalance, why in the world would anyone ever choose to pay for traffic?”
When Should You Use ‘Paid Search’?
Don’t let that 94% number we mentioned earlier throw you off from the idea of paid search entirely. Remember the scale of the internet can be absolutely massive and 6% of the number of people clicking terms like, “best online casino,” is still worth your time and money.
Paid results are also a good deal when you’ve got a demographic edge. For example, Search Engine Watch also mentions that women and older audiences are more likely to click on paid results than their younger peers.
Paid results are also a good deal when you know you can’t really compete for a certain keyword. Rather than blowing all your time, and your SEO budget, in a futile attempt to rank, you might be better off just going paid in in the first place.
Time is another factor that can influence your decision to utilize paid traffic. If you’re running a time sensitive promotion, like World Cup or Super Bowl deposit bonuses, you might find paid traffic is worth the money.
Which One Works Better?
The bottom line here is that both organic and paid traffic work pretty darned well, if you’re using them in the right situations.
If you’re going strictly by the numbers, organic traffic is your best bet. That’s the type of search end-users prefer by a very large margin.
The problem there, as we’ve discussed, is that competing in that venue isn’t always possible for every keyword, especially when time is a factor.
At the very least, paid search is worth experimenting with as an alternative to beating your head against the wall over never-ending SEO work. In certain situations, it’s definitely got some value.