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By: Miles Anthony Smith
Every site, no matter the type of business, needs new traffic to survive and grow. Building your site’s traffic can be a difficult task, and many don’t know where to begin. Even worse, many spend time and money on methods that won’t grow their traffic.
So, where do you begin? Let’s talk SEO first …
Organic Search Engine Traffic and SEO
Thinking you have to pay for traffic is a common mistake many newcomers to website ownership make. While paid traffic has its place to boost traffic immediately, organic traffic is king if you have the time, money, and patience to see this longer-term effort through.
Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site organically from Google or another search engine without having to pay that search engine to be placed there. To drive this point home, consider this: of the sites on the first page of the Google search results, the average traffic gained by all of those ten pages is a collective 91.5% compared to 8.5% for the paid ads that appear at the top of search results. That’s a huge portion of traffic!
To capture that sweet, free organic traffic, you first need to focus on creating content that is optimized for keywords and building quality links to that new content. SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the art of optimizing your site and content to capture the visitors searching for keywords related to your business on Google.
For example, if you want to rank for “leadership books,” you’ll need to make sure you’re creating content that’s centered around that, and that your site is targeting the right terms with its pages. There’s a whole slew of things that go into optimizing your content and site, and fortunately, there are tons of free resources.
Content Marketing vs Paid Search (PPC)
The powerhouse of organic traffic is undoubtedly content marketing. Content marketing is the practice of creating content that targets specific keywords within a piece of informative, entertaining, invaluable, and shareable content.
The “marketing” aspect comes in by subtly promoting your brand, either through a soft sell to “contact us” or “get an ebook” somewhere in the article or simply through the indirect exposure to your brand people will have by reading your content articles.
On the other end of the spectrum is Paid Search (PPC). PPC is an ad for your product, service, or content that’s placed around various sites, often through Google Ads. These ads will target specific users based on data and parameters set by you. This allows for a more aggressive targeting than the passive model of organic, but it can also be costly, especially over the long term.
See my friend Robbie Richard’s video to see how to effectively and strategically create PPC campaigns that steal your competitors’ best-performing ads and keywords.
The upside of PPC is that you aren’t charged until your ad is clicked, so you stand to lose less than you would if you purchased a piece of traditional marketing, like a billboard or flyer.
Both PPC and content marketing have their place. If you’re just starting out, it makes more sense to start with the paid approach, but don’t forget to get started on an organic strategy as well. Organic will be slow, but over time you can build a stream of traffic that keeps coming back.
For more insights, check out my in-depth article on content marketing:
About the contributor:
Miles Anthony Smith, an author and digital marketer, delights in delivering solid content for people hungry for answers to their most vexing questions or challenges.