Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic

Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic

Getting new visitors to your website doesn’t have to be challenging. Whether it is through paid advertisements or with a Google search, a well-rounded marketing strategy can help you attract new potential customers into your site. In this blog post we’ll cover the main differences between organic and paid traffic.

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic refers to the website visitors that discovered your site through unpaid sources such as search engines. Brands that focuses on improving their organic traffic are most likely to focus their efforts in strategies related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

Most SEO experts agree that Organic Traffic is more important than paid traffic as it yields a higher return on investment, improves brand loyalty, and results in higher lead generation. Nonetheless engine optimization requires constant improvement as search engines ranking may change without warning. Not complying with these guidelines might result in a huge decrease of people visiting your website on their own.

What is paid traffic?

Although the goal is the same, paid traffic refers to the visitors that arrived at your website through an advertisement on a Search Engine Result Page, another website, or social media. 

Now, when it comes to results, paid traffic triumphs as it drives more visitors faster than organic strategies and they are easier to get running. Plus they offer higher insight on the platforms that work for your brand and the type of content that peaks interest in potential customers.

Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s make a comparison between organic and paid traffic.

Organic TrafficPaid Traffic
MeasurableTools like Google Analytics provide insights on incoming website traffic but it requires a certain level of expertise to profile visitors.Ads metrics are available on-demand. As soon as a campaign is launched, results can be easily tracked.
SustainableOptimizing a website to drive organic traffic is an evergoing task.Paid traffic requires funding to launch campaigns across search engines and social media.
Higher ROIProduces three times as many leads than paid traffic in the long run (6 months or more).Generates faster results but if the campaign is not optimized, spending can increase out of control.
Easier to implementWhat drives organic traffic today might not do in the future. As such, it requires more planning, talent, and adaptability to potential algorithm changes.Requires little-to-no technical knowledge and less long-term planning.

This is how paid traffic and organic traffic look like on a Search Engine Result Page:

In this example, I searched for the term: “digital marketing”. If I were to click on the result that says: “Ad”, I would contribute to Kellogg’s paid traffic as the way I entered their website was through an advertisement.

On the other hand, the Marketo’s result has good optimization, thus is the first organic result. By clicking on it, I’d be part of their organic traffic.

How to integrate a paid and organic traffic strategy?

As explained above, organic and paid traffic are not mutually exclusive. This means that brands can work to drive traffic both ways at the same time. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the limitations and capabilities of online ads and search engine marketing.


Remember, at the end of the day brands are looking to increase their visitor count, and the best way to do it is by creating appealing content that speaks to their business personas by solving their needs / pain points. 

Focus on your organic traffic in the long-run but launch online ad campaigns to gain new visitors on a daily basis. Once they are in your site entice them to learn more about your brand through creative content and you’ll see how traffic turns into sales.


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