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A great website is actually a pretty poor one if it’s not being visited by people and more specifically, the right people; its target audience. With increasing competitiveness, it’s becoming harder and harder for most businesses to get traffic to their site, so they are desperately turning to digital marketing more and more. A question that we’re commonly asked as a digital agency is which is best – organic traffic or paid traffic? You’re likely reading this post because you, yourself, are wondering should we pay for digital advertising, such as Google AdWords, or put in some effort and play the long game with SEO?

We’ve been around long enough to know that it’s a tough question and one that needs careful consideration before embarking on either, or both, paths. All businesses are different and operate in a unique space so there is no right or wrong answer for all. Your business objectives, budget and time constraints will play an important part in the direction you take.

Search Engine Optimisation – Organic Traffic

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are the activities conducted to enhance a business’s visibility on search platforms such as Google. Studies suggest that as much as 80% of the search traffic for each query is shared among the businesses ranking on Page 1 with the top position-taking at least 40% of it! Organic search results are more trustworthy and considered more relevant to most user’s searches compared to Ads. Google Ads has been around long enough for (most of) the world to be wise enough to know when they are advertised to, and their attention is being bought. Statistics indicate that a high organic ranking attracts 50% more click-throughs than the top AdWords listing.

SEO is a long-term strategy meaning results won’t come after one sleep like an overnight sensation on TikTok experiences success. We’ve seen changes happen within days of commencing our optimisation, however, for the most part, SEO usually takes months to bring about significant results. Organic SEO takes effort, focus and a lot of patience but, once your website catches Google’s eye, it yields incredible long-term results that will help your business grow.
Given that Google isn’t going anywhere and that higher rankings equal increased conversions and revenue, businesses are prepared to pay SEO agencies big dollars to get their site sitting pretty on the top position of Page 1.

Since our inception, we’ve been working alongside businesses of all industries and sizes to optimise their site for Google and users. We’ve witnessed amazing results for every one of our SEO clients, but the hard work doesn’t stop. Optimising for Google is a moving target. Google is regularly updating their search algorithm, for example, the monopoly made big changes to Core Web Vitals in June with more changes slated for the remainder of 2021, which impacts how websites and webpages rank each search.

Google Ads – Paid Traffic

While there are many forms of paid advertising, we’ll be focusing on Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) in this article. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Google Ads directly competes (in a way) with a business’s SEO endeavours.

Google Ads is a powerful Pay-Per-Click (PPC) platform helping millions of businesses (small and big, physical brick and mortars all the way through to digital services) win new customers through their search platform. While Ads are a great wat to elevate your business to the top of Google’s Search Engine Result Pages, it does come with a price. If not managed correctly, that price can be pocket emptying.

Google Ads currently utilises several different bidding methods including Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM), Cost Per View (CPV), Pay Pay Per Click (CPC) and Target Return on Ad Spend (Target ROAS). Costs for your Google Ads campaign is going to be largely dependent on the advertising network (Search v Display), method (such as bidding on keywords or display banner ads on YouTube), audience targeting alongside industry competitiveness. Whatever strategy and targeting selected is going to require you to put in the budget. Unlike SEO, the moment you stop investing in paid advertising, you’ll lose your visibility.

A lot of businesses are going gangbusters for Google Ads and given its benefits, it’s not surprising. One of the biggest advantages of PPC is that you can almost immediately (as in within 30 minutes) bring about more brand awareness, website visibility and visitors to your site.

Experience Greater Success With Both

Often businesses see Google Ads and SEO as competitors; it’s one or the other. We’ve seen again and again that the two marketing strategies shouldn’t be viewed in comparison but rather complements. While every business is different, for most a hybrid strategy involving both organic and paid marketing yields the greatest results and return on investment. Ads enable you to generate engagement and placement in the now while developing a strong foundation for the future with SEO as we’ve done with HelpingMinds (amongst many other clients)!

“HelpingMinds has received SEO and AdWords support from Start Digital in the last 12 months. Our site health has improved significantly with SEO support and our Google keyword rankings place number 1 for the most relevant searches related to mental health carer services. Start Digital consistently monitors and advises on website improvements to increase site speed, performance, and user-friendliness. Their assistance is professional and consistent and by combining SEO with AdWords management our organic and paid website reach almost doubled in the past year. We highly recommend the team at Start Digital for SEO and AdWords management.” – Nienke Rozendaal, Marketing Lead at HelpingMinds

At Start Digital, we develop and execute paid advertising and SEO solutions that are tailored to your business situation and objectives. Our experience in organic SEO, Google Ads and social media alongside other, more traditional marketing methods that help get your business in front of the right people. For more information on how our agency can transform your business’ digital presence, drop us a line!