Which is better – Organic web traffic or PPC?

One of the questions I get asked often is: “What’s better, organic website traffic, or Pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google?”

In 2019, Google reported 113.26 billion U.S. dollars in Google’s website ad revenues, clearly claiming the position as one of the most significant advertising revenue-based companies on the planet.

For the purpose of this article, I want to focus on Google and share some of my thoughts on the matter.

Since early 2010, I’ve believed that organic search results, over the long-term, trumps PPC.

My conclusion is based on the fact that organic traffic is inextricably linked to the publishing of content on a robust website platform that receives traffic to the site. We assume that the site is built correctly i.e. page titles, site map, meta descriptions, alt tags, etc.

In other words, three things need to exist for search engine optimization (SEO) to occur:

Relevant Content – Does the content you are publishing on your website prove to be relevant to the Google user’s query? Does the user find the content useful?

Reliable Content – Over the long-term, are Google users clicking on your content and staying on the page to find the answers to their question? Does the user find the content authoritative?

Recent Content – Is your website content being updated on a regular basis? Does the user find the content up to date?

All three of these SEO items are necessary for Google’s algorithm to index your page, and rank on the page one or two of the search results.

Results on the first page of Google (The Top 10 results) receive 92% of all search traffic on Google. Traffic drops by 95% on the second page. Source: Google 2019

So, the big takeaway is that when you are publishing content that answers your audience questions, they find the content to be informative and reliable, and you’re publishing content to your site regularly – you will be found and will drive more traffic to your site exponentially. This is also known as “Inbound” marketing.

Everything you invest in your website becomes an asset to your company – much like your other tangible assets in your organization.

On the other hand, we have PPC – or paid Google AdWords campaigns.

People often say, “I never click on those ads. I don’t think they work.” Well, Google wouldn’t show $113 billion in advertising revenue in 2019 if nobody clicked their ads. PPC means customers pay per click. So, lots of people actually do click on the ads. That’s a fact.

I recommend Google PPC campaigns in short-term situations where websites aren’t ranking organically. Paid search helps you get visitors to your website today and also speeds up the process of optimizing your landing pages for higher conversions, which pays off exponentially in the long run. PPC is more of an Outbound marketing methodology.

These are just the basics of my theory on using content to drive your organic website traffic – compared with paying for traffic to your site. I hope this helps and encourages you to give it a try.

As I continue on my mission to help people with their marketing and advertising across the Mountain State, I want to thank you for reading. If you have questions on this topic, I’d love to talk to you. Please email me: jim@inneractionmedia.com

Until next time…

Jim Matuga is the founder and President of InnerAction Media, a marketing agency in Morgantown, WV. His new book available on AMAZON – Marketing Matters was inspired by his regular column here in the State Journal. You can listen to his weekly podcast “Positively West Virginia” on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. He has extensive experience in leadership positions with West Virginia media companies, including newspapers, TV, cable, direct mail, radio, agency and digital.

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