Organic Traffic vs. Paid Traffic

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoPaul Dufour

When it comes to website traffic you need to understand the differences between organic traffic and paid traffic. It may seem obvious but sometimes its all in the details. Allowing yourself to create a better understanding of how these work will allow you to uncover the direction you need to move to create results. This will lead to better marketing plans and a clearer idea of which content to devote time and energy to produce.

There are basically two ways traffic arrives at your site. Organic and Paid. In a nutshell organic traffic is site views that come from people directly visiting your site or finding you via a search on google, bing, etc., or from a Facebook post or other social media source. Paid traffic is from paid advertisements on google, Facebook, other social sites, etc.

Helping to increase organic traffic is tougher and more of “long play” type situation. You won’t see results from your efforts immediately but over time they will compound nicely. Paid methods obviously will drive traffic immediately to your site as long as you keep funding them. The benefit of paid ads is that you can target your ads to a very specific audience and then track the outcome and ROI.

Below I will cover the workings of organic and paid traffic and how you can improve both.

Organic Traffic:

This is the kind of traffic every website strives for. It is free traffic and if you are reaching the right audience you can in effect produce similar results to paid traffic for a fraction of the cost. I should note, we say its “free” traffic but there is a indirect cost. You have to produce the content that will cause visitors to find your site. You have to work to get links that link back to your site from other sites. You need create a community around your brand and website. I will discuss how to go about this below.

Every website needs content. Without it what are people coming to your site for? If they are looking for your phone number or address this is great but that is likely not a new customer. Your website hasn’t caused this person to take this action. They maybe have been to store already or have used your services and they don’t have your number or location written down. This touches on the first aspects of building your organic traffic, who is your target audience? Before moving forward you should build an understanding of what your target customer looks like. If you already have a Facebook page, check out the insights tab to help you get a good starting point. This is a great article over at Hubspot covering how to create a detailed customer persona.

Creating content geared towards the audience you are looking to gain views from is going to be the best way for your site to gain credibility. Lets look at an example:

Lets say your company produces accessories for home exteriors. If you are looking to generate more traffic from the average home owner looking to modify their current home, you may put together some design resources or even a checklist for finding a good contractor. These resources will benefit the user and provide value which helps get them to your site. Once there you can showcase an offer, deal, or something else where you are encouraging them to take an action on your website and engage with you about your products and services. The quickest way for any business to start growing their relevant content would be to start a blog. Even just writing an article once every month or two will start to build your available content. Remember that once it’s created its always there so after a while your page count will just continue to grow.

When creating content, consider looking at what your target customer is searching for on a monthly basis and this can provide direction for keywords and phrases that you can focus your content around. Disclaimer: do not load your posts up with the desired keyword or phrase as this will not improve your rankings. This is just a guideline to give you an idea of what they are looking for and how you can appeal to what they are searching for.

When it comes to actually ranking your content at the top for search results, a core factor is your sites backlinks. This means the links on other webpages that link back to your site. You might think, but I don’t own any other website how to do I get links back my current site? Lets think outside the box.

You can start with social platforms. Just create an account and make a business page on all the major ones like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. This will net you 5 -10 very good links back to your site as you are able to add your URL in your profiles. There are other social sites you can join as well like google+, etc. You can also sign up for accounts on other relevant sites like forums, classified sites, or directory listing sites that pertain to your industry. They all allow you to create an account and can add links back to your website in your profile and listings. Depending on the industry you operate in there may be more or less options for your business but there are 1000’s of websites that you can sign up for and create a profile often with a link to your website. If you need help with this type of optimization check out The Hoth. They have an incredible link building system that creates results.

Creating a secondary or sub-site to your site that includes a forum as well as Facebook groups and Google+ circles are all ways you can create and control but more importantly lead and influence the people in your target audience. For example, with a Facebook group linked to your business page you can post new products and events to your followers. In addition, they can chat among themselves and create buzz in the local or online community for you with little to no work done by you (except at the start, setting all this up is a lot of work, front end effort = continued backend results).

Paid Traffic:

This pretty much speaks for itself. Paid traffic is…. paid traffic. You spend money and advertisers will show your links to users and hopefully they click and come to your site and they like what they find!

This gets tricky when you don’t know what you are doing and it can get expensive very quickly. You need to start with a goal. There has to be something specific that you are trying to achieve through your ad campaigns. If you want a bigger email list, then list signups is your goal. If you are just creating brand awareness then it may be new unique user visits. Either way you need to have a clear idea of what this is otherwise you won’t be able to make key decisions regarding targeting your ad correctly.

There are several platforms out there that you can use to advertise your website. The biggest ones would be Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. To successfully create advertisements that produce results for your website you should have some kind of a customer persona as mentioned earlier. This is what is going to allow you to picture who your trying to reach with your ads and you can target those specific people. You need to tailor your ad for this type of person. Meaning the wording, images, landing page, etc. all needs to be in a language and format that appeals to that type of individual.

If you have multiple groups of people that are your target customers, create ads specific to each group. This will produce better results as the content they will be seeing will be made for them as opposed to trying to use blanket content to cover a broader audience.

When you are creating your ads you are going to want to incorporate tracking methods. You want to be able to see the results of each specific ad and its outcome. This is how you are able to build a understanding for what works for your business and target audience. This is where knowing your goal is helpful, you can build tracking around the goal you are trying to achieve. Things like tagging your links with utm parameters, as well as installing website analytics software will greatly improve the picture you’ll get of your results. Google analytics is free and allows you to monitor every aspect of your website. You can create event tracking for things like form submissions, clicks on certain links, viewing a page for a certain period of time or even tracking views of a page at the end of a funnel.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this gives you a picture of where the traffic to your site comes from and how you can go about improving it. Please share any questions or feedback in the comments.

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