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Is organic traffic important?

In a world where you are bombarded by ads promoting pay-per-click (PPC) as the key to helping your business grow, it would be easy to get the impression that organic traffic does not matter. Is this now the case, or is money spent on SEO content and organic traffic still a good value? Let’s look at this issue in a world of changing consumer behaviors.

SEO and the SERP

Search engine optimization (SEO) means creating content that will match how people search for businesses like yours when they do a search query. The more closely your keywords match what the person typed in the search, the more likely your page will be shown to them on the search engine results page (SERP). This is a simple explanation, and many other factors play into whether Google shows your website to a searcher, but you get the basic principle.

The advantages of ranking high on the search results page should be clear. It has been established for some time that searchers rarely go beyond the first page of search results before trying a new query. This means that the farther down you appear on the search results, the less likely someone is to see your content and visit your website.

Competition for top spots using the most popular keywords is tough. Larger companies spend big bucks to create content that will help them rank for certain keywords. This introduced the problem of what to do if you are a small fish in a big ocean with a smaller advertising budget.

Of course, there are strategies that involve going for less frequently used keywords with lower competition and long-tailed keywords, but these strategies will still only get you so far when you are competing against big-box merchandisers. This led to the popularity of PPC advertising, both using Google Adsense and popular social media channels. This was a goldmine for these platforms, but once again, those with the bigger advertising budgets win.

Is Organic Traffic Still Important?

You might be wondering where the happy medium is when it comes to whether to spend your advertising budget on organic traffic or PPC. The answer is that a little of both might be the perfect combination for smaller enterprises. You know that Google now shows a few selected PPC ads at the top of the search results page. Then, there is a section of other terms people frequently search for in the results. Finally, you get to see the websites that are related to your query.

This is where understanding search intent comes into play. The new search approach that Google uses is directed toward people who are specifically looking for products and services. This type of searcher is already well along the path of the sales funnel. They are ready to make a purchase decision. For searchers who are in this category, PPC advertising that places you at the top of the results makes sense, but what about those who are just beginning to research a major purchase or just want information?

Consider Search Intent

Statistics show that over half of people who perform a search have the intention of looking for products and services and plan to make a purchase soon. This is the half of the audience that PPC advertising targets, but advertisers tend to forget about the other half of searchers. This portion of your readers are still out there doing research and performing searches, but they are not ready to become a customer.

This other half of the audience is where organic traffic comes in. The best -case scenario is if you appear both at the top of the PPC results and at the top of the organic search results. This helps establish credibility and build brand authority. When the person is ready to make a purchase, it increases the likelihood that the searcher will convert to become a customer.

Focus on Quality

PPC only focuses on conversions as the ultimate goal. This is an excellent philosophy if you depend on the impulse buy, but if your product or service requires a major expenditure of money or a long-term commitment, such as a car or house, then establishing yourself as an expert in your field becomes more important. This is where SEO and organic traffic can help drive sales and help build a long-term strategy.

When a searcher makes a query that is for information rather than purchase related, your business appearing at the top of the results will help you build credibility. It lets you showcase your knowledge and expertise in the area. For instance, if the searcher is looking for information on how to tell if your brake pads are worn, and you happen to have an article titled, ‘How to Tell If Your Brake Pads Are Worn” with the appropriate keywords in the content, you just established your credibility.

You have done two things in this scenario. You have solved the problem that customer had the intention of resolving, and you established yourself as an expert. Organic SEO content gives you a way to establish your brand personality in a way that PPC advertising cannot do. You can present your business as friendly, helpful, and trustworthy. PPC ads that are focused on conversions cannot do this, and in some cases, hard-hitting salesy language can work against you.

Organic Traffic Is a Long-Term Strategy

When deciding which pages to present to a searcher, Google places an emphasis on sites that appear to deliver useful information rather than simply a sales pitch. The longer visitors stay on your website, the more Google thinks that your website provides valuable information. This makes it more likely that your business will be presented to others making similar searches. Over time, this traffic builds up and results in conversions.

Building organic traffic can be thought of as a long, slow process but one that creates longer term customer relationships. PPC advertising can be thought of as a way to get more instantaneous results but one that places creating long-term value second. The perfect solution is a content strategy that does a little of both.

Unlike a PPC campaign, once you have quality content on your website, it continues to work for you 24/7. It will not stop working once the campaign budget runs out. The importance of organic traffic is not likely to go away anytime soon and is one of the most important long-term strategies for building your business.

Post Author: Ginger Patterson

Ginger is a passionate brand builder and has been helping businesses with content services for over 20 years. She has worked for a long list of clienta in diverse industries. When she is not busy providing awersome SEO copywriting to clients,, you can usually find her hiking, spending time in nature,, tapestry weaving, spinning, volunteering at Malabar Farm State Park, or doing historical reenacting.