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Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic: A Quick Guide

Getting noticed in a busy world is hard. Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your ideas heard? We all struggle with feelings of neglect. But I promise you that your ideas are priceless. You just need a way to be heard above the noise.

We all know that using the platforms of influential people can get you noticed. But is there anything else you can do to get your ideas out there? Insert organic and paid traffic. Knowing when to use both tactics brings real success.

Organic vs. paid traffic: What’s the difference?


Take a look at the image above. In it, we see that the first link is slightly different from the second. The first link is a PPC (paid-per-click) ad, while the second link is an organic link. What’s the real difference between the two?

PPC: Business & entrepreneurs use paid-per-click ads to get their products in front of people who might not otherwise find them, but who are already looking for information about their product. Businesses pay a fee to the owner of a website every time the ad is clicked.

ORGANIC: Organic results show up because of their quality content and use of SEO (search engine optimization). Unlike paid ads, businesses don’t need to spend a dime to get noticed organically.

Neither traffic source is better than the other. You really need both to launch a successful marketing campaign.

Why should you use PPC advertising?

PPC advertising is great for getting quick results. While it may take time to see the fruits of your organic labors, PPC ads drive traffic to your website as soon as you start your campaign. However, as soon as your campaign stops so does the traffic.

This may not be such a bad thing if used correctly. Marketing analysts Liz O'Neill lists just a few reasons why PPC works so well:
  • PPC ads are immune to SEO algorithm changes
  • PPC ads generate more traffic faster, which allows you to test your ideas
  • PPC ads are becoming more discrete, making it harder to separate them from organic links
You want your links to show up on the first SERP (search engine results page). Why? Because results on the first page receive 92% of all Google traffic. But with changing algorithms and increased SEO competition, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Use PPC to stay relevant and ensure that people notice your stuff.

Key takeaway: You should use PPC advertising to generate more traffic to your website when you need it.

When should you use PPC advertising?

PPC advertising is great when you're launching a product. Use it to drive traffic to a specific landing page. Always be sure to have a clear call to action. Without a call to action, you’re going to waste money.

Also be sure to take a look at CPC (cost per click). If a specific keyword has lots of competition, your better off using SEO to reach your audience.

Key takeaway: Have a specific product for a specific audience in mind for your PPC ads. Spend wisely. If CPC is high, your better off using SEO to attract traffic.

Why should you use organic advertising?

I’m going to get real here. People are more likely to trust organic results than PPC advertisements. While it’s becoming harder to differentiate between the two, useful content tailored for SEO will drive qualified people to your site.

A 2016 study found that organic leads converted at 2%, while PPC leads converted at 0.1%. Here are just a few more reasons you should go organic:
  • Organic traffic is and always will be free
  • Organic traffic tends to drive people who are more likely to purchase your products to your site
  • Organic traffic leads to long-term, sustained results due to trust
Key takeaway: Organic traffic builds trust over time between a creator and their audience.

When should you use organic advertising?

Use organic advertising when you have more time to spend on creating quality content. It takes time to attract the right audience, but a smaller group of loyal followers is always better than a herd of uninterested people.

Organic advertising takes more time than PPC advertising. Use it to build trust with your readers and give them useful information that will lead to sales in the future. If the competition for a specific keyword is low, don’t waste your money on PPC when you can use SEO to get the same results.

Key takeaway: Go for organic traffic when the competition for a keyword is low and you have time to build a relationship with your audience.

Think and, not or

In reality, you need a nice balance between both PPC traffic and organic traffic. Ask yourself these questions when trying to decide how you will drive traffic to your site:
  • What is my budget?
  • How quickly do I need traffic to come to my site?
  • Do I have a reason to buy PPC advertising (product to sell?)
  • What are my short-term/long-term goals?
  • Am I sacrificing too much content for PPC advertising
Answering these questions will help you decide when to use each tactic. You shouldn’t depend on either tactic solely to generate traffic.

Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you put all your chips in for PPC advertising, eventually you will burn out of money and have nothing to show for your efforts.
>>click to tweet<<

However, if you only know one speed and never push yourself to the next gear at just the right moment, you will never win a marathon either. Knowing when to get PPC traffic and organic traffic is the secret to success.

For more expert marketing tips like this, be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

How do you use PPC/organic advertising? What benefits have you seen from SEO optimization? From PPC advertising? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


Paid vs. Organic: Which Traffic Source Is Better for B2B? (2017, August 30). Retrieved from

Smith, S. (2016, December 02). Paid vs. Organic Traffic: Which Generates More (and More Qualified) Leads? Retrieved from

Sukhraj, R. (n.d.). Organic Search vs Paid Search: Which is Better? Retrieved from

Wood, B. (2017, November 17). New Findings Show Google Organic Clicks Shifting to Paid. Retrieved from


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