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Organic vs Paid Media


As the Digital Marketing Manager here at Punchmark I’ve identified core topics, commonly asked questions, and digital strategies that I feel would be insightful to share with our clients. Outside of clients that utilize Punchmark as their marketing agency, the educational webinars we host, and our podcast (ft. the Smithee Group) called In the Loupe, I wanted to provide another place for our clients to gain the knowledge that they need to be successful online!

So, moving forward, we’ll have a “Marketing Monday” post where I’ll drop some digital marketing tips and tricks. This is also a great place to put any related questions in the comments. Today, we’ll be discussing Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic.

First, what is organic and paid media?

Organic Traffic

  • Organic Traffic is the term used to describe visits to a website that comes from the search engine listings that are not from paid ads. So, when someone types a keyword or query into a search engine (like our trusty friend Google), they are served with website pages that are deemed relevant to that search and user.

  • The trick is HOW do you gain the trust of search engines? This is where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) comes in. Well, there’s a long list of factors that go into it showing in the search results, but as a short answer it’s the content on your site, technical components (site speed, 404 pages, redirects), off-site factors like Google My Business reviews, and the proximity/search history of the user.

  • In most cases, SEO is a more cost-effective channel than paid media. Organic traffic usually means more stability and consistent traffic. How you rank for specific keywords should remain relatively consistent if you optimize your site in the right way.

  • Once you rank for those keywords that are important to your business, unless there’s a significant shift in your competitive landscape, you will maintain constant visibility to users searching. More visibility = more free traffic!

  • Also, according to recent articles from Google, organic search results attract more than 10+ times the clicks than paid ads.

Paid Traffic

  • Pay-Per-Click (or PPC) is the term used to describe a type of advertising that allows a business to bid on keywords, within a search engine, so that their ad shows at the top of the results. That business is then charged a small cost whenever an ad is clicked. This is way of essentially buying traffic to a website and allows you to see almost instant results. When you launch a PPC campaign and it goes live, you will start to see traffic filtering through when meanwhile it can take months to achieve these results with SEO.

  • PPC ads are the first thing that a searcher sees, ahead of any organic results. PPC gives you the opportunity to appear right at the top of the SERPs, in positions that aren't even possible to achieve when you rely on SEO alone.

  • SEO takes time, especially for a new business or domain. It can take time for your site to rank in top spots for competitive keywords. With PPC you see results as soon as your ad campaigns go live, as long as your bids are high enough.

  • With PPC, you can go after people with *specific* demographics. Household income, age, physical location, you name it! It’s a great way of driving quality traffic. Pretty neat, yeah?

So, which is better for my business?

  • Really, it depends on you and your market! In an ideal world a business would be doing both and integrating their efforts together for the most effective results.

  • This allows for time to grow a site’s SEO while driving constant traffic to the site in the meantime.

  • Looking at your short-term and long-term goals can help clarify which tactic makes the most sense for you to put your efforts into.

Questions for you:

  • Are you guys focusing on one vs. another?

  • Do you have any questions about how your current site is doing organically?

  • Any specific things you'd like to see highlighted here in the future? I have tons of topics talk about and knowledge in my noggin I'd love to share. Let me know!

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