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Organic vs. Paid Traffic

Want to know whether to focus your online efforts on paid or organic traffic? Here’s what you need to know about which is more effective for your conversion rates!

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard — 13 minute read.

If your site doesn’t generate enough traffic, no matter how beautiful, functional, or well-structured it is, it has no purpose.

There are two types of traffic on your site: organic and paid. Marketers have debated for years about which kind of traffic is better, who visitors trust more, and which delivers better results.

Organic Paid Traffic

Getting organic traffic is a cost-effective and long-term digital marketing strategy. Having a website that attracts visitors is imperative. However, you can increase the number of visitors by paying for traffic.

In the following article, we will introduce you to the characteristics of organic and paid website traffic, and you will learn some helpful tips on how to improve both. Let’s get to business!

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What Is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic refers to visitors who find your website through unpaid or organic search results. Traffic generated organically can be classified as follows:

  • Direct: when the visitor types the name of your website.
  • Search: originates from search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  • Referral: originates from external websites.
  • Social: it comes from social networks.

Google Traffic Sources Paid Organic

An internet user has a search intent, which can be navigational (seeking a specific item), informative (seeking information), or transactional (to complete a purchase). So, to break it down, let’s look at an example:

Using a smartphone or computer, the user enters keywords, also known as search parameters. When you do SEO right, you research keywords relevant to your field or industry. After creating quality content around these keywords, you’ve optimised it so that Google and your readers will recognise it as valuable and useful.

As a result of your efforts, Google rewarded you and ranked you highly on the SERPs.

In Google’s search results, you were listed as the first result when someone searched for a particular product or service. Their next step was to click on your website to learn more. This is an organic visitor who brought organic traffic to your site.

Organic traffic is the opposite of paid traffic. Paid traffic is defined as traffic that is generated by advertisements.

Why Is Organic Traffic Important?

Organic traffic makes up a large percentage of the overall traffic you generate — as much as 53.3%, so it’s essential for several reasons.

A large percentage of organic traffic comes from users with problems or needs that your product or service can solve. So, you can convert all organic visitors into customers over time.

Organic traffic nurtures a long-lasting ranking in the top search engine results because it is targeted, and targeted visitors tend to spend more time interacting with a site that answers their needs.

When you rely solely on paid traffic, many visitors will slowly disappear once you stop with promotions and ad campaigns.

However, if you obtain good organic rankings for valuable terms, your popularity can only grow over time, and your competitors will have difficulty outranking you.

The sites that consistently rank on the first pages of Google are reaping the best results.

Percent Dont Page Google

As much as 90% of all content receives zero organic traffic from Google, so you need to work hard to be in the remaining 10% (and we’ll show you how; keep reading).

Advantages Of Organic Traffic

Among the most significant advantages of organic traffic are:

Benefits Seo Organic Traffic


The most noticeable advantage of organic traffic is cost. If you apply an SEO strategy and do the research yourself, you will get visitors without paying a penny.


While some internet users tend to skip paid ads, most people trust organic search results.


The algorithms used by search engines are becoming more sophisticated every year. Organic search results are often more relevant than their paid counterparts, and people click on them more often.


Suppose you have a comprehensive SEO strategy and constantly adapt your tactics. In that case, your ranking will increase, suppressing and eventually eliminating your competition from the first page of the search engine results page (SERP).

Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI from organic traffic tends to be stable and long-term.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Organic Traffic?

At first glance, it would seem that organic traffic has no disadvantages. How could that be bad if you get a decent number of visitors?

Search engines focus on well-established sites with high-quality content and powerful and authoritative backlinks. However, this type of traffic can be hard to attract if you don’t implement a carefully thought-out SEO strategy. Also, some ranking factors, such as the domain age, play an essential role, so don’t overlook them.

What Is The Best Way To Improve Organic Traffic?

SEO has two components: on-page and off-page SEO.

Page Page Seo Diagram

On-page optimisation aims to make your site more useful and valuable to users. Focus on optimising your keyword density and build your content around that.

Strong backlinks from popular, high-authority websites can significantly increase your organic traffic. So, don’t forget about off-page SEO tactics.

Lastly, optimise your site’s loading speed, and you’ll be on the right way to success. Listed below are some helpful tips:

Research Keywords Relevant To Your Industry

Keywords are the words users type into a search engine to find the information they need. When choosing your approach, don’t just focus on short keywords.

Long-tail keywords or phrases containing 3-5 words have a considerably higher potential that often remains untapped. Still, they can be very competitive and often impossible to rank for, especially if you are a beginner.

Once you’ve found the right keywords for your categories, product descriptions, and blog posts, you’ll move on to the next step, which is content creation.

If finding the right keywords for your business seems daunting, consider contacting an online digital agency.

Creating Good Quality Content

To create quality content, you need to know your target audience and what issues your product or service could solve for them. Once you have these answers, create content they will find valuable and helpful.

People enjoy reading studies, articles that answer frequently asked questions, tutorials, and everything that can inform and educate them about your product.

To increase organic traffic, avoid keyword stuffing — it will not help you rank quickly and better.

You write equally to please Google and your readers, and both entities want natural text that is easy to understand. When writing, prioritise conciseness and substance, not length. Skilled writers can say more in 700 words than unskilled writers in 3,000.

Interlink Your Content

Interlinking is the interconnection of relevant pages on your site. It provides a better user experience (UX), more straightforward navigation through the site, and reduces your site’s bounce rate.

Bounce Rate Industry Pie Chart

Linking to your internal pages positively affects your rankings, helps increase your online visibility, and ultimately generates more leads.

Optimising Your Images

If you’re not optimising for image searches, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on opportunities to drive organic traffic.

Visual searches have increased by 60% in the last two years and represent 30% of all search queries.

Choosing the right image title is essential for your site’s SEO and ranking in image search results.

Before you upload any image, name it with relevant, descriptive keywords. Don’t forget to enter alternative text (alt-text). Visitors may understand the image, but the search engine needs other relevant clues.

Without alternative text, search engines can’t index the content of your image accurately.

Earn Quality External Links

External links or backlinks link other websites to yours. Create a solid link-building strategy to achieve better rankings and earn more organic traffic.

Investigate reputable sites in your industry, check their domain authority, and then reach out and connect with web admins. They will likely link to your content if they think it is valuable to their readers.

With backlinks, your site earns a boost in reputation. In Google’s eyes, they’re giving you a vote, saying your site is valuable.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Everyday life is getting busier, mobile phones are becoming more advanced than ever, and many people find it easier to search on their phones.

In 2021, we performed approximately half of all searches from mobile devices (54.4%).

If your website has a poor loading speed or, worse, if it doesn’t load completely, optimise it ASAP, or you’ll lose valuable traffic!

Make sure your site is easy to access from a variety of devices. In its algorithm, Google favours mobile-friendly websites over those only optimised for desktops.

Promote Your Content On Social Media

SEO is the best way to increase organic traffic, but if you rely solely on SEO, you could miss out on other valuable methods that can drive even more traffic.

Social media marketing (SMM) provides another excellent opportunity to attract users to your article pages.

You can share your posts on social media to help drive organic traffic to your website. Not only does this bring your readers back, but if they share your posts, they will generate new traffic.

Wordstream Benefits Social Media Marketing

What Is Paid Traffic?

Paid traffic is the opposite of organic traffic. It comprises all visitors who come to a site after clicking on a paid ad, link, sponsored post or ad on social media.

So, if you come across a post on social media labelled as “sponsored”, it is a paid advertisement. In addition, you may have noticed that the top search engine results contain links labelled with Ad. Ads like those are paid advertisements.

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Advantages Of Paid Traffic To Your Website

There are undoubtedly several advantages to paid traffic:

Instant Results

Paid marketing, such as Google Ads or sponsored social media posts, brings instant results.

Specify the demographics of your target audience, and run your ad. Your ads won’t take long to appear in front of potential customers.

Although SEO gives invaluable results, you will have to wait a few months for it to become truly effective. However, it’s critical for some industries to publish ads immediately.

If you don’t have the time to wait, paid marketing is a great way to get traffic to your site immediately.

Effective Retargeting

Paid marketing channels are constantly improving. Once your campaign expires, you can retarget your visitors based on the analytics data and results you gathered.

Although you can set up the targeted customers’ age, gender, location, and interests, retargeting and remarketing will provide you with even better results.

Versatility Of Platforms

When aiming for paid traffic, there are many channels available to you to attract it.

Social networks including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, and Reddit give great results, but that’s not all. You also have Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, etc.

All of these platforms have advanced options for targeting your desired audience. You can get paid traffic in many ways; combining the strategy that suits you best is up to you.

How To Obtain And Improve Paid Traffic

Here are some practical ways to increase paid traffic to your website:

Run Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that provides excellent results in attracting paid traffic to your site. There is a four times bigger chance that people will click on a Google Ad (63%) than some other type of online ad.

When the user enters the desired search terms, Google will list pages that offer answers to the query, and among the relevant search results will be paid ads.

Google Ads are a great way to promote your services, especially if you are looking for immediate results. Your ads pay per click (PPC), and your money commitment decreases with each click.

A few minutes after your ad is published, you will notice increased traffic to your site, and part of that traffic will indeed convert to customers.

Use Social Media Marketing (SMM)

In 2022, 4.62 billion people will be using social networks. Their presence in everyday life and the massive number of users make them an excellent opportunity to advertise and get paid traffic.

Social media can help increase your organic traffic, but it is also a great way to get paid traffic to your site.

Run a social media advertising campaign, and target the desired audience with the platform’s demographics, interests, and other data. Within a few days, you will be able to see the results.

Social media marketing will help you generate traffic to your site, and you have a great versatility of platforms available, depending on your targeted customers.

Social media marketing involves the consistent publication of entertaining, creative, and valuable content. The number of likes and shares of your posts matters and could affect your rankings because they increase the visibility of your brand and links to your site.

Keep in mind that social media marketing must be subtle. Users may be turned away by an aggressive or even intrusive campaign.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing Stats

Influencers are prominent figures on social media who have a significant impact on a broad audience.

Influencer marketing is a subcategory of social media marketing, with the distinction that you will not pay for ads but for the services of a person who will promote your business. All major brands, like Nike, Puma, and Pepsi, have used this marketing type in their advertisements.

Influencers generally have a close relationship with their audience. An influencer can increase your reach and sales if they connect your brand with their audience meaningfully.

Keep in mind that Instagram is still the leading network for influencer marketing, although it has fewer users (1.3 billion) than Facebook (2.89 billion).

Organic Or Paid Traffic: What Suits Your Online Business?

Both organic and paid traffic have advantages, and they will provide the best results only when combined.

To help your business reach its potential, connect a comprehensive SEO strategy with the clever use of paid ads. But remember, everything takes time and research, so ensure you have a plan before implementing your online marketing strategy. And, if you are new to the digital marketing world, make sure you speak to our team.

sitecentre® is an award-winning Australian marketing company striving to help small businesses succeed. You can rely on us to develop and implement a strategy tailored to your needs, budget, and target market.

That’s all for this guide. We look forward to seeing you next time!

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey Sheppard

Brodey is the CEO of sitecentre® and a data analyst in the SEO, Paid advertising space that uses machine learning and AI to advance sitecentre® as an industry-leading digital marketing agency across Australia.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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