How to Balance Your Organic vs Paid Search Traffic

How to Balance Your Organic vs Paid Search Traffic

Wondering how much of your traffic should come from SEO? We've crunched the numbers to reveal the ideal traffic mix. Learn how to balance your SEO and PPC investments for maximum ROI with insights from our latest study.

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Published

10 July 2024

Categories

Strategy

SEO

Acquisition

Graphic representation of organic search vs paid search traffic

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How much traffic does SEO bring?

If you’re struggling to decide whether paid or organic search is a better investment for your business, it’s important to first understand the reality of Google's playing field.

The Google mission

Google’s mission statement is to:

"Organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

To achieve this, it aims to provide the best results and user experience to its primary customers — the non-paying people who use it to search for information.

If Google loses these users, it loses its advertising dollars and its main revenue source. That’s why Google will naturally rank sites that offer an excellent user experience and why it’s in your best interest to ensure your site is up to scratch by investing in SEO.

How can SEO improve your website’s UX?

A properly SEO’d site and providing a great user experience go hand-in-hand. In fact, you can’t really achieve one without the other!

By investing in SEO, your site will:

  • Load quickly
  • Contain quality, useful content
  • Be easy to navigate

Organic traffic vs paid traffic

So, now that you're aware of Google's preference for sites with great UX, what does the data say?

Back in May 2009, comScore produced a study showing the percentage of clicks going to paid and organic search, broken down by generations. Although it's an old study, it remains a classic.

Overwhelmingly, younger users were more likely to visit a site through Google’s algorithm rather than by clicking on a paid ad.

Split between paid and seo traffic by generation

What percentage of traffic should be organic?

To figure this out, our data and analytics team analysed just shy of 100 analytics accounts to provide you with the averages across our client base.

Our findings? A split of 72% SEO traffic and 28% paid search.

Graph displaying the % of SEO traffic vs paid by vertical

While only our clients in the B2B sector had a greater percentage of organic traffic, the 70/30 split serves as a solid baseline.

Keep in mind that there's no one-size-fits-all answer and your ideal percentage will depend on the following factors:

  1. Your vertical - For certain verticals, classifieds (like an Indeed or CarSales ad) have a stronger role to play.
  2. Reasons to visit your website - Maybe clients log in on your website so there is more direct traffic.
  3. Marketing budgets - Larger advertisers are likely to have more paid traffic.
  4. Unique channels - Small revenue products are less likely to use affiliate websites.
  5. The strength of your brand - Stronger brands are likely to produce more direct and organic traffic.
  6. Competition - If you’re the only player in your space it’s easier to drive organic traffic.

Many businesses opt for PPC (Pay-Per-Click) over SEO services as paid advertising is a reliable way to gain immediate visibility and traffic. Even with the growing importance of UX, SEO can seem like less of a priority in the face of quick wins generated by paid search.

To test this theory, we also need to look at the conversion rate of SEO vs other channels.

What is the conversion rate of SEO vs PPC?

While conversion rates for SEO and PPC can vary significantly, we found that for our clients, organic search traffic tends to have the highest conversion rate compared to all other channels (e.g. Direct, Referral, Social, Email, Display and Paid).

When comparing the ROI of SEO vs. PPC (Pay-Per-Click), SEO generally offers a higher long-term return.

This is particularly true for our clients in the Banking & Insurance, B2B and Education sectors who all had over 50% of their conversions coming from their SEO efforts.

Is SEO a better investment than PPC?

Paid search is the most heavily invested channel in the country and for good reason. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an efficient way for companies to display highly targeted ads to potential customers at critical stages of their purchasing journey.

However, users trust organic results more as they find them more relevant to their queries, and Google will only continue to bolster the visibility of well SEO’d websites as it’s in their best interest.

While PPC can yield immediate results, it stops as soon as you stop paying. On the other hand, a well-executed SEO strategy can continue to bring organic search traffic and conversions long after the initial investment.

Conclusion

So, what’s the takeaway? While the optimal percentage of SEO vs paid traffic varies, a robust SEO strategy is indispensable.

At Indago Digital, we specialise in organic search consulting and can help you make the most of your SEO traffic. Our team of SEO experts use the latest tools and techniques to ensure your site is well-structured, fast-loading, and filled with quality content.

Ready to optimise your website? Book in a chat with us today!

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Tahlia Reynolds
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