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Organic SEO: Is It Better Than Buying Traffic Directly?

No one is arguing the fact that you need traffic in order to be successful online. End of story. But where you get your traffic from; now that’s a debate that will rage for ages. Proponents of organic SEO claim that the cost per visit in the end is much less than from a more direct form of traffic purchase, primarily pay per click marketing. PPC management firms, on the other hand, claim that SEO is hampered by high entrance costs made worse by a lack of return.

The truth is, they’re both right.

Cashflow or Cash Efficiency?
The two competing economic drives for any entity — but they are particularly pressing for small businesses — are cash flow and cash efficiency. Think about it like a grocery store: you can buy a small package today for a small amount, but the cost-per-pound will be high; or you can by a big package today for a bigger amount, but the cost-per-pound is lower, so you actually save money in the long run.

In this scenario, pay-per-click advertising is like buying those small, high cost-per-pound steaks. You purchase 1.5 lbs. of meat for $4.98, and you’re happy to do it because you only have $10 in your pocket, so you can’t afford to pay less than $2.99 per pound. SEO is like buying a Family Pack — you buy 12 lbs. of meat for $15.78, and you’re happy to do it because you’re only paying $1.49 per pound.

Traffic Now or Traffic Later?
This works because, in PPC, you only pay when someone clicks through. That means, if your conversions are decent, you should make a sale for every 50 or so times you have to pay for a click — in short, you make your money as you spend it, so you have better cashflow even if your cash efficiency sucks.

With organic SEO, however, you’re essentially investing — you pay $400 this month for 3000 visitors that trickle in over the next three months. Your cost per visitor is quite low, but the cost is all up front and the income is all a long ways off. If you don’t have the financial backing to stay in business for those few months, SEO simply won’t work for you.

In short, the answer is that SEO isn’t actually better than buying traffic — not for everyone. Different business in different circumstances will find one preferably over the other, but neither is clearly superior overall.

28 thoughts on “Organic SEO: Is It Better Than Buying Traffic Directly?”

  1. First I would like to tell that I am not a newbie website owner.
    My site is 2 weeks old and gets 200-350 unique visitors a day – organic google. most of the leading keywords drive the traffic.
    I am an SEO in my country and it is the first time to work abroad (global world).

    I uses Digg, Stumble, Carnival , site directories, SE submissions, Propeller, google bookmark, technocrati and also comment on blogs.

    I don’t take into account Linkedin, facebook and twitter- they drive 100 a day As the moment I stop promoting the site, these sources will dry out.

    Now, I need a VALUE-ADDED advice from an SEO expert – how to step up the ladder to the 2000 daily organic visitors.

  2. Can any one tell me which one is most beneficial?? Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Optimization??
    Please help??

  3. Hi

    I’ve recently created a new website http://www.justkrissi.com selling all sorts of Nail polish and nail care products.

    It’s not been live for very long, can you tell me if the SEO is any good?

    Plus any feedback on the look and operation of the site would be really appreciated.



  4. Hello friends.

    My name is Ivan from Toronto, Canada. I am a copywriter for a SEO company located in Montreal, Quebec.

    Me and my colleagues have run into a little dilemma and I was wondering if you could assist us with your expertise.

    We are a search engine optimization company, and are currently working of a FAQ section of our site and by our very nature tend to ask more technical, advanced questions and are afraid of overlooking the obvious. Since SEO is quite a niche practice, I was wondering if you could give us a hand and ask a couple of questions.

    SEO – Search Engine Optimization, what would be the questions you would ask if you came across that phrase. For Example:

    – What is it?
    – Who does do?
    – and so on, anything that comes to your mind will be of great value to us.

    We would greatly appreciate any questions on your part, no matter how small or big! Anything that can help us get that FAQ up there!
    I will try to answer all of them. Thank you, hope to hear from you

  5. Hello friends,

    I know this might be a little elementary, but what is the main difference between SEO and PPC? Do you consider PPC to be part of SEO?

  6. please tell me the highest paying seo job positions in ascending order.
    SEO Account Manager
    SEO Analyst
    SEO Consultant
    SEO Director
    SEO Engineer
    SEO Manager
    SEO Specialist
    SEO Strategist
    SEO Technician

  7. Hello friends………I want to become a SEO professional. But i am unable to get the grip over this. I am unable to decide what i have to learn and how i can learn to become a better SEO professional. Meta tags preparation, Blogs, Directory submissions……only these are SEO topics are there anything left.Plzzz guide me. Can anyone suggest what are the things i have to learn about to become a professional in SEO

  8. Hi, i want SEO (search engine optimization) e- book or pdf filed book, it should be suitable for beginner as well as experience ones. please provide download link if possible.

  9. Please spare me the sarcastic jokes… I appreciate any help anyone can offer… I had several organic SEO sites that were racing up the Google rankings. They started climbing from page 3 or 4 all the way up to the first page of search results in just a few weeks. Then, hoping to improve the rankings even more, I slightly modified the Titles, Meta tags and text on the sites, and Google immediately knocked all of the sites off of the search results and now they don’t come up at all, not even 50 pages into it! I didn’t “cheat” or do anything Google should have rejected. Please help! 🙂

  10. Hi everyone,
    Could anyone tell me what is the SEO and and other things related to it iam sorry but iam little new to such things..If I have a website so how I can promote it to Top Rank??

    Thanks in Advance.!!

  11. please can anyone tell me the real meaning of search engine optimization(SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)

  12. henryshensbcglobalnet

    hello friend…if u have any ideas how to increase the website search result…I heart seo is the best way to get optimize your website ranking as well help your site to generate my traffic from one to the best search result site like google,yahoo & msn. please help me to get how seo work & what are imp tools are use while optimizing site

  13. hello everybody.

    I am kinda OK web designer. I just got my personal web design done!

    Now I wanna know what is SEO and how to use it. SEO stands for search for “Search Engine Optimization”. Please tell me and guide me. I am nooob in it. Dont know noting about it, but wanna use it.

    So please tell me little bt abt it and GIVE ME GUIDE HOW TO USE IT!

    THANKS in Advance guyz!

  14. I am doing some SEO work for a company and I have a few questions. First, there is a company trying to get my boss to pay $11,000 for SEO work. This company says they are doing the SEO by adding links and descriptions to web pages. On one page alone, there are a bunch of links towards the end of the page and this company is telling my boss that this is the “secret” to SEO. Now, the only way I can think how this would be effective, is by actually having the key term and description linked to the page and inserted into the met tag keywords. Whatever this company is doing it works, because one of our competitors is #1 in rankings on Google, Yahoo and others for basically all of the keywords we can think of that have to do with our industry. So, my question is, do these large SEO companies have some sort of agreement with the search engines where they get precedence in the search listings? Or is it more likely to get listed higher in the listings by having the keyword on your website multiple times (what they have is multiple keywords and when you click on one, there is a web page describing the term). I am being pressured to improve our ratings without the use of an SEO company, and I am really unsure of what I can do. Would an SEO program work well for me?

    I am not looking for a company to pay thousands of dollars to. I have been hired to do this and am looking for people who are not part of SEO companies to give me tips and advice.

  15. I was learning about seo techniques from a professional seo trainer!

    The first he started to teach me about seo is marketing techniques like posting ads!

    When my friend heard about this…..he said dude..he is teaching you wrong! the first thing you have to learn about seo is
    Introduction about search engines & directories and their differentiation, search terms (keywords) and ranking of website in search engine.

    and he said, at last i should learn marketing techniques!

    What do i do now? is my friend right about this?
    is my learning is not sequential?

    please help me about learning it sequential

  16. When using rank checking tools, many of them run too many queries in a short amount of time causing the search engines to temporarily ban your IP. The same can happen if you use too many tool bar tools at once.
    But are there any ways to stay search engines friendly?

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