Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic
Organic and paid traffic are 2 of the 6 sources of website traffic as defined by Google Analytics. They are typically the sources that make up the largest percentage of total web traffic.
- Organic traffic is website visitors that were referred by the organic, or unpaid, results of search engines, principally Google.
- Paid traffic is website visitors that were referred by paid campaigns such as Google AdWords, Microsoft Ads, or Facebook Ads.
The next section compares organic and paid traffic, describing the advantages & disadvantages of investing in each.
Investing in Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic
The main differences between running an organic traffic campaign vs a paid traffic campaign are listed in the table below. While the two can cost similar amounts, the amount of resource and time investment is quite different, as is the ultimate ROI.
|Cost||$8,000 – $15,000 / month||$5,000 – $20,000 / month|
|Time Until Results||6 months||2 months|
|Resources Needed||Strategist, Writer, Web Developer, Graphic Artist, Manager||Campaign Manager, Copywriter|
Most businesses benefit from investing in a mix of both organic and paid. Targeting organic traffic is a long game and is dependent on creating high-quality content consistently. Success requires knowing your audience, keyword research and developing content that aligns with search intent. The payoffs can be quite substantial in terms of consistently increasing traffic to your site, high rate of conversions and ROI and establishing your company as a thought leader in the industry. Paid traffic channels provide much faster returns than organic ones. For example, short term promotions or new product introductions can benefit greatly from support from paid campaigns.
Paid vs Organic by the Numbers
The above discusses the most immediately relevant statistics for most businesses. Below, we share interesting insights gleaned from our internal data:
Paid vs Organic: Traffic Split
Google is the most powerful driver of new visitors to your website, and companies who don’t leverage PPC as part of their marketing program will find that the majority of their traffic comes from organic sources. Even for those companies that do invest in PPC, organic traffic should remain the primary driver of new leads. Our survey of client data showed the following average split for companies who invest in both SEO and PPC:
Average Organic vs. Paid Traffic Split
|Organic||Paid||Email and Social||Other|
Note that the above split is only representative of companies who have actively invested in organic traffic growth for 1-3 years. Businesses that have only recently begun to invest in SEO can expect to see a lower percentage of organic traffic.
Paid vs Organic: Return on Marketing Spend
While, Return on Marketing Spend (ROAS) is most commonly used to measure the success of paid campaigns, we recently applied a similar approach to SEO, dividing total attributed campaign revenue by total campaign spend. This allowed us to compare the per-dollar performance of SEO and PPC campaigns across 30 industries. The results of our study are shown below:
Executing Your Traffic Generation Strategy
Generating an acceptable amount of traffic to your website is the foundation of any digital marketing strategy. Doing so can be a bit complicated. For example, simply having visitors to your site is not enough. A reasonable number must convert to justify your investment. There are well-defined campaign strategy techniques that will produce good traffic that includes high-quality leads, provided you devote the time and resources required to execute an optimized marketing campaign that is built on SEO and may incorporate timely paid channel traffic generation.
At FPS, we have well over a decade of refining a SEO and Thought Leadership Marketing strategy that not only creates traffic, but traffic that translates into increased growth and ROI for our clients. If you are interested in learning more about organic traffic vs paid traffic and how to maximize your traffic generation, contact us.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.