Paid versus organic traffic - which generates more leads?

Rabiya Shabeeh/dubai
Filed on December 28, 2016
Paid versus organic traffic - which generates more leads?
Organic traffic, to a large extent, results from the practice of creating search-engine-optimised content that earns high ranking links in search results.

(Supplied photo)

Relevant paid traffic efforts can be a successful part of a marketing strategy

Search engines like Google and Bing, in all their glory, represents two very valuable but completely different traffic sources to inbound marketers - organic search and paid search.

When it comes to traffic generated via such engines, one of the most critical decisions to be made is deciding which of these approaches should the content marketing resources be dedicated to.

Organic traffic, to a large extent, results from the practice of creating search-engine-optimized content, or SEO, that earns high ranking links in search results. Prospects look up terms in a search engine and the web pages with the most relevant results show up.

"As an inbound marketer, I believe that non-intrusive, organic traffic is at the core of marketing's future," writes Samantha Smith, an in bound marketing strategist. "It's the best way to become a thought leader in a digital, global society - and connect with prospects and leads at the various stages of the buyer's journey."

Paid traffic, on the other hand, comes in multiple forms and does not necessarily always have to be clickbait or spam.

There is, however, an underlying concept of a 'middleman' to whom the advertiser pays for placing content in front of an audience - that may not necessarily be looking for it - and can be in the form of affiliated links on blog posts, influencer marketing, and pay-per-click, or PPC, ads.

PPC ads are displayed above organic search results or on the sidebar of search engine pages for search queries related to their topic. Landing page keywords, ad keywords, and targeting all influence how those ads are displayed on the page. They can be an effective tactic for reaching people who haven't yet found what they are seeking, or those who are merely 'surfing' the web and looking at content created by a variety of competitors.

"Relevant paid traffic efforts can be an undeniably successful part of a marketing strategy and that lead visitors to high-quality content," adds Smith. "It can be a healthy method of reaching a new audience if you feel your brand and solution get lost in the spider web of the Internet."

While in principle these two types of marketing often compete, experts believe that the most effective of search engine strategies are those that have struck the right balance between the two.

This balance, of course, depends on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the organization's budget, their audience, and their marketing goals.

For example, organic traffic may take more time to build and to earn higher rankings but is still expected to remain an essential part of future successful digital marketing techniques. Meanwhile, paid traffic can be a bridge to help gain ground while waiting for organic traffic to kick in, and can even boost the number of eyes on a webpage's best-converting content.

According to Smith, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a marketing strategy that combines paid and organic traffic.

"Start small with your paid search efforts, perhaps running a short campaign, instead of investing all of your marketing budget into a method you aren't sure about just yet," she writes.

Only through such trial errors can the most effective rhythm and combination for any webpage be identified. This combination will vary for every business - based on its unique customer personas, industry, and content.

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Dubai. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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