There is no point in creating a great website if you aren’t getting the traffic you need.

Traffic can be broken down into two types – organic and paid traffic – each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we are going to be comparing these two forms of traffic to help you better understand how you should invest in your website with a view to building traffic. However, it’s important to remember that both organic and paid traffic are useful and cost-effective for your business, provided they are used in the right way.

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is simply any traffic that comes to your website naturally. Content viewers or readers, customers interested in your product – these visitors all contribute towards your organic traffic. 

This organic traffic can come from many different sources. It can emerge from Google searches or other search engines, social media, friends’ recommendations and word of mouth, or a number of other locations. The uniting factor is that this is traffic that you have not paid for – it is natural traffic that comes to your website without you needing to advertise or engage in any other kind of transaction.

But just because the traffic is organic does not mean you can’t influence it. So, how do you get more organic traffic? Through content.

What type of  content is best for organic traffic?

In order to expand your scope and get more organic traffic, you need to be releasing lots of different kinds of content. Let’s take a look at some of the content elements you need to be focusing on.

Blog articles

Blog articles are classic pieces of content. These short – and sometimes not so short – written articles give your users further insight into what you offer and what you are all about. You can use these blogs to provide updates on what your company is up to, tease future product releases, offer support for existing products, or comment on anything you think your customers may be interested in. Your blog articles form the backbone of your content.

Landing pages

Landing pages are static pages on your website that provide an access point for your users. For example, if a user is moderately interested in a product or service you offer, they probably don’t want to have to head to your homepage and then navigate around your site in search of what they need. Instead, they want to be taken to a specific page that introduces this product or service. This is why product- or service-specific landing pages are so important for organic traffic.

Videos

Your users love video content, and they want to see more of it. Fifty-four per cent of users say they want more video content from the brands they work with, demonstrating just how valuable this kind of content is for engagement. Videos are also shareable, potentially expanding your reach on social media and putting your content – and your business – in front of more pairs of eyes.

Infographics

Like video content, infographics are also highly shareable and draw upon the power of a visual medium. It’s far easier – and more enjoyable – for your users to digest visual, graphical content than it is for them to read a long-form article. While there is space for both elements in your content strategy, make sure these visuals are abundantly available to your users.

The Downsides of Organic traffic

It’s not all plain sailing with organic traffic, however. There are a few downsides you need to be aware of.

You have minimal control over your organic traffic.

An organic traffic strategy requires educated guesses and estimations. You cannot guarantee that your new piece of content will be picked up on social media or will perform well on search engine results pages. While you can take steps to push content in this direction, there is always an element of risk.

It can take time to build momentum.

You will need to make some initial investment in your content strategy, even though you are not paying for traffic directly. This investment may take a while to begin to see returns, and you may find it difficult to trace direct revenue increases back to your content initiative.

You can be left behind.

Even if you work really hard, partner with a digital marketing firm, and fully optimise your website for organic search, paid ad results are still going to feature above your organic results in the search engine rankings.

What is paid traffic?

In one critical sense, paid traffic is the opposite of organic traffic – i.e., it needs to be paid for and will not come naturally to your business. With paid traffic, you will be using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising services and other paid channels to encourage traffic to your site.

You still need content, however. Content is what makes your paid traffic strategies really work for you and your business. This is how you get the best out of the traffic you attract.

What type of content is best for paid traffic?

Which types of content are you going to deploy to make the most out of paid traffic? Consider the following;

Landing pages

Landing pages are crucial once again as these are the pages that your visitors will land on when they click your ads. Make sure they are optimised for success.

Forms

Data capture forms give you the information your business needs to nurture a lead. As you have paid for the site visit, you want to make sure you are receiving something in return, so direct visitors to these forms.

Checkout pages

Your checkout pages are where conversions occur. When you craft landing pages for your paid traffic, make sure they are directing users to your all-important checkout pages.

Web demos

Web demos are a fantastic means of swiftly delivering the information your users need. Direct paid ad traffic to web demos and achieve an informed, educated, and qualified customer base.

The downside of paid traffic

There are some downsides to paid traffic. These include:

You cannot guarantee results.

Paid traffic is transactional – you pay for an ad or a paid listing, and you receive traffic in return. Only, this traffic is not guaranteed. Customers still need to click on your ad and then convert, which is not always the case if your ad is not well designed.

In many cases, you pay for clicks and not conversions.

If you use a PPC service, you will need to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. This user may not convert, but you will still have to pay.

Paid ads do not generate authority.

Your customer is savvy – they understand that the reason a paid ad is at the top of the search engine results is because someone paid to put it there. For this reason, paid ads do not generate authority in the way organic listings do as they do not require the same amount of digital marketing expertise.

Organic traffic vs. paid traffic: How do they measure up?

What is best: paid traffic vs organic traffic? Let’s take a look at how they measure up.

Which is more measurable?

Paid traffic is perhaps more measurable as you can analyse the amount paid for each ad vs the value of conversions achieved. Measuring organic traffic is more complex.

Which is more sustainable?

Organic traffic is more sustainable as you can keep on providing great content to your users at a relatively low cost.

Which produces more ROI?

Again, organic traffic can provide the best ROI as content marketing can be extremely effective without too much investment, provided it is handled correctly.

Which is more cost-effective?

Both forms of traffic can be cost-effective, providing you adopt a data-driven approach.

Which is easier to start right away?

Organic traffic is easier to start right away. Write a blog post, publish this on your page, and you are already encouraging organic traffic.

As you can see, there is no out-and-out winner across all criteria. Aim to use both paid and organic traffic together, and merge the benefits from both sources.

Diversify Your Marketing Strategy, and Get the Best of Both Worlds

Deploying organic and paid strategies side by side is the best way to get results. Reach out to our affordable web design, SEO, and social media management company today and discover more about how this is done.