Paid vs Organic Traffic
Once your website has been beautifully designed and built using the latest techniques it is launched on the World Wide Web. The hard work is over and you can sit back waiting for the flood of enquiries, orders and sign ups. Fingers crossed!
Getting a website live is often the easy part. Getting real quality traffic to the website can be time consuming and costly for your business unless you have a very niche market of localised service where initial on-site optimisation does the trick to get you in first place on Google.
There are two main ways of getting traffic to your website. Paid for or PPC (Pay Per Click), and Organic or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Both have good and bad points so in this article we are going to summarise each one and let you decide.
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Although other paid traffic services are available, the most used and competitive is Google. Businesses use Google AdWords (Google’s paid traffic service) for their results to appear in the Ads section, normally the top one, two or three results and right hand column.
You can use Google AdWords Keyword tool – it will give you an idea of how competitive your phrases are and how many searchers are using that phrase on a Local and Global scale. Once your campaign is running it is very easy to tweak individual phrases and monitor spends, click through rates and conversions. You can create Ads that you should think carefully about i.e. using your key phrases and an attractive two line description to entice potential clients to click your ad. Remember, you will be one of many businesses competing , so do your best to stand out. We will post another article soon and give some tips to get the most out of your campaign.
When setting up a Google AdWords campaign, you can set a daily budget so you control exactly what you spend. You choose what phrases you want to bid on and set a Cost Per Click (CPC) from about 5p going up to £5+. We find competitive phrases are normally around the £3 mark, however it really depends on the market and the competition you are bidding against. The less competitive the phrase, the cheaper the CPC will be. That also normally means not many people are searching for it so you won’t get much traffic.
The great thing about AdWords is, once your campaign is set up it goes live very quickly – once Google has approved. You can get traffic to your brand new site and compete against the established competitors straight away.
Although PPC advertising can be great for your business, if you do not know what you are doing, you could waste a lot of money. Visitors who don’t find what they are looking for leave your site quickly. This is true whether you use PPC or organic SEO but with PPC you pay for visitors even if they don’t convert to customers. Without the correct knowledge you could easily waste your campaign budget on clicks that are not relevant to you i.e. if you simply bid on ‘logo design’ your ad will appear for ‘free logo design’ or ‘logo design software.’ If your company only offers a paid for logo design service these clicks will cost you money and lead to no enquiry. We will explore picking key phrases for your PPC campaign in a future article and give you some tips about using negative words and exact match.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving a websites’ listing in search engine result pages for certain key phrases organically or free. The higher up your website appears the more free traffic it will get.
You probably think your business is the best and most relevant for people searching your key phrase right… but does Google? Google’s robots crawl websites and take into account many factors that control where your website sits in its search engine result pages (SERPs) for particular key phrases. You can’t pick up the phone and tell Google the businesses listed above you is rubbish and you should be first. So, you need make Google understand you are the most relevant. A few musts of SEO are:
- Create new content regularly. Google will get bored of visiting your site if it remains static Write blogs and update your pages with good, relevant content containing your key phrases
- Get social. Comment on blogs related to your industry and be active on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn
- Guest blog. Get your articles published on other blogs that link back to your site
- Be natural. Don’t spam your pages with key phrases, write for your audience and be natural
Although traffic will be free, do you have enough time to optimise your website? Time is not free so there are many SEO agencies offering to write, create links and manage your social networks on your behalf. Prices vary from under £100 to £1K+ per month depending on the competitiveness of the phrases you want to appear for. If you are trying to optimise for non-competitive phrases and your website has been put together in an SEO friendly way, you may have the desired results with no additional work.
When your site is launched it may take a few months to settle down in SERPs however if you are active in running an SEO campaign, your positioning should improve month on month. As mentioned above, for non-competitive phrases you may reach your desired position within a month or two. If you are optimising for competitive phrases, depending on the work going in, page one results can take 12 months plus.
Like PPC marketing, if you do not know what you are doing you could actually get your website punished, or even worse banned. Do not take part in free listing sites or link farms. Google does not like them and will catch on to what you are trying to do. Get advice and do your research. SEO experts spend a vast amount of time researching the latest techniques and can be well worth their fee. Make sure you choose wisely as there are lots of SEO companies offering services that sound too good to be true. Don’t get fooled by promises of page one, nobody can commit to that. Get a few quotes and if one agency says they can do for £10 a month and another for £1000 be careful! Always ask for examples and make sure you know exactly what they will be doing. Cheaper agencies often outsource article writing overseas and you will be faced with poorly written articles that potential clients may see.
Ideally, run both PPC and SEO campaigns if you have the budget. Get the most traffic as possible and both should pay for themselves in the long run if managed correctly. Feel free to comment and ask any questions and we promise to answer.