Google’s ad business grew to over $27.27 billion in the last quarter of 2017. That’s a whole lot of paid traffic.
These are the top two sources for online advertising. Their numbers indicate a shift toward paid traffic, don’t they? Then why do 61% of the top internet marketers say growing organic search traffic is their top marketing priority?
Perhaps it’s because they realize 70%-80% of users actively ignore paid ads, focusing on organic search results instead.
Building organic traffic is onerous and time-consuming. It requires a tremendous amount of dedication and consistency. If anyone tells you otherwise, he’s lying.
So, why is it worth the trouble? By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have the information needed to judge for yourself. Read on.
Definition of Organic Traffic
Before we jump into the meat of this article, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same things. We pulled these definitions straight from Google’s blog.
Organic traffic: visitors that are referred by an unpaid search engine listing (such as Google or Bing).
Paid traffic: visitors referred by a paid listing or advertisement on the internet or in apps.
Direct traffic: visitors who land on a site by typing a URL directly into their browsers. It may also refer to visitors who clicked on a link in their bookmarks/favorites, links in emails, PDFs, or other documents that don’t include tracking variables.
Organic Search Traffic
Now we know exactly what organic traffic is let’s consider some of the advantages and disadvantages.
The goal of the search engines is to provide their users with the best, most relevant content possible. Google is forever improving and changing their algorithm or filtering system to give users the quality content that matches their search term.
Organic search optimization (SEO) is the process of establishing your website as a useful resource.
- It’s free! Well, it won’t cost you any money but it will take time.
- Will encourage you to build a better website with quality content. If your goal is organic traffic which means higher search engine rankings, then you will need to create content that keeps people on your site after clicking your post in the search results.
- Your site will be seen as being more trustworthy. People trust organic results more than paid ads. If you are ranking in the first few results people will be confident that they will find what they need.
- Long lasting! Once your website attains some good search engines rankings you can continue to rank well for some time, even after you stop working on a post or website.
- It takes times before you see results. This is a longterm investment don’t be disheartened if you don’t see any improvements for weeks or months. In addition, there is no guarantee that you will see the results you expect from your SEO efforts.
- You’re not in control. Google and the other search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to improve the results for their users. This means your good rankings (and traffic) could be wiped out after an update. However, use white hat SEO practices, stay up to date with any major updates and your rankings should stay consistent.
Although there are some disadvantages with organic search engine traffic, overall the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
The Cost of Traffic
By definition, paid traffic requires money. How much money it costs depends on your strategy, timetable, and the number of viewers you plan to reach. For small businesses, costs start at a few thousand dollars and can reach up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Paid traffic covers such avenues as search ads, display ads, video ads, and app ads. They come in every size, shape, and color.
You also have to pay for them upfront. The return on investment (ROI) is low compared to organic traffic’s ROI.
Creating an organic marketing campaign requires little money. In some cases, you need none at all. The costs for small businesses rarely rise above a thousand dollars.
For many, the only costs required are those of maintaining a website.
It’s uncommon for a small business not to own a website nowadays, so they’re paying nothing for organic marketing.
That doesn’t mean small business owners aren’t giving anything in return. Owners may not be paying cash, but they must invest a considerable amount of time. It often takes a year or more to design and implement a reliable organic marketing system.
When you pay for advertising, you get what you pay for. No more.
You may send AdWords a deposit for five thousand pay-per-click visitors. Or you may send your local TV station a massive check to throw your video ad on channel 4 for three weeks.
Once the money runs out, so do your ads. When they run out, so does your paid traffic.
Organic traffic, on the other hand, runs without cost. Once set up, it runs on little to no maintenance. Your audience will reach you long after you stopped putting effort into the system.
You must first set up channels to reach your audience. Then give them excellent content, and connect that content back to you. You can establish an open line of communication through emails, blogs, phone calls, texts, etc.
What matters is that you can talk to them and they can talk to you.
You can keep this line of communication with your target audience even if your marketing campaign implodes. It won’t matter. You’ll still have your email list, phone numbers, etc.
Generating Organic Visitors
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to discuss some of the methods for attracting visitors through organic means.
We know the definition of organic traffic. We learned it above.
So how do you get search engines to send visitors your way without paying for it?
Let’s reframe this question to include another variable: the visitor’s choice. After all, it’s the visitor who is clicking on the search results, right?
Well, users click on search results, heavily favoring results on the first page.
How then do you get search engines to rank your content high enough that users will click on them?
Well, SEO and organic traffic go hand in hand. For search engines to rank you well, you need to jump through some hoops.
They include things like your webpage’s inbound links, outbound links, and backlinks. They include your title tags, URL slugs, and keywords. They also include your visitors dwell time.
Dwell time is an interesting parameter. It refers to the time a visitor stays on your webpage. Search engines created this parameter to discern whether visitors liked your page. If so, then they must have found it worthwhile enough to stick around.
That would imply that you have high-quality content worth sticking around for.
And, of course, your visitors are the jury on this.
If your material isn’t pertinent, they bail. If it’s low quality, they bail. If your webpage is unappealing, they bail.
You’ve got to give them what they need, when they want it, in an appealing package.
According to a Senior Strategist, the most critical website ranking factors are link building and high-quality content.
Here are some other methods marketers use to increase their organic traffic:
- Guest Blogs
- Case Studies
- YouTube Videos
- Social Media Presence
Blogs are a great route. Produce incredible content, content your target audience is dying to read. Then adjust it for SEO, and you’ll have visitors flocking to your site.
Companies that posted 16+ articles per month received 4.6x more leads than companies that published 0-4 posts.
Blogging isn’t nearly as difficult as people think. You just need to generate some great topic ideas. Then be dedicated. Make it a cornerstone of your campaign to increase organic traffic.
Quality of Traffic
Have you heard of a buyer’s journey before? It’s a system marketers use to describe the process buyers go through. It includes stages of becoming aware, evaluating, and purchasing a new product or service.
The journey outlines what material buyers are ready to hear at each stage.
I can hear you asking yourself, how is this relevant?
There’s an enormous difference between paid-per-click visitors and organic visitors.
Visitors who click on the ads haven’t even begun the buyer’s journey. They must still be convinced that they have a problem which needs fixing. Then they must recognize you have a way to fix it. Lastly, they must trust you enough to buy your product.
Visitors who reach you organically, are already into stage 2 of the buyer’s journey. They actively sought you (or your content) out because they realize they have a problem they need to fix. You build trust with them by delivering high-quality content.
Your visitor is already primed and ready go, saving you time and a great deal of effort.
One of the disadvantages I mentioned for organic traffic is you are not in control.
This is also a major problem with relying on social media ads to produce traffic.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and every other social media site operates behind closed doors. It’s a walled system. You have no control over how that site runs.
The owners may hike their prices. They may go bankrupt and take the site down. They may change their algorithms. They may cut you off for behavior which, until today, was legal.
For any number of reasons–or for none at all–they could ruin your ad marketing campaign. You’re at their mercy. They have complete autonomy.
And no matter what they do, you’re stuck with a hefty advertising bill.
Organic traffic works differently.
Rather than placing all your ads (as it were) into one basket, you diversify. You may have backlinks from hundreds of different sites. You show a presence on four or five major social media sites.
You also wrote guest posts on thirty or forty other sites.
And most importantly…
You own your site(s). You’re in charge of all the content. You have the first and last say in what stays and what goes.
You can’t be sucker-punched.
Should I Avoid Paid Traffic Altogether?
Absolutely not. Any good marketing campaign includes all available resources.
They key is to understand your audience. Research what they like, what problems they have, and where they hang out. Then you can tailor a campaign to suit them.
Narrow your audience down. Know them inside and out. Then you can build specifically targeted ads which have a higher ROI.
Remember, part of marketing is building your brand.
That’s exactly what organic marketing is all about. You put out evergreen, pertinent, content that solves your audience’s problems.
They get to know you and learn to trust you.
Use whatever means you have at hand. Remember, successful business always keep the long game in mind. In this case, that’s organic marketing.
What to Do Next
Now that you’re convinced, it’s time to get to work.
Read those articles. You can create a rough strategy by the end of the day, and begin implementing it by the end of the week.
Good luck and let me know below if you have any questions.