Updated: Mar 26
4 Reasons Organic Traffic Still Matters
1. Organic Still Rocks
Although it may have changed slightly since BrightEdge published its report last year, the data still seem to hold true. Organic is simply better for delivering relevant traffic. The only channel that performs better in some capacities is paid search ads, but that is only for conversions, not overall traffic delivery (Paid Search only accounted for 10 percent of overall total traffic).
So if you are neglecting your organic listings, your paid are not doing as well as they could, either. You are leaving money on the table in both organic and paid search.
2. No Control
When auditing sites, we often see that the client is getting as much as 40 percent to 60 percent of their traffic from Facebook. This traffic is sending their visits through the stratosphere. Yet their Google traffic is low. Yes, the love affair with Facebook traffic is very real and occurs for a good reason. A site sending you millions of visitors via a single referral source is a marketer’s dream come true. Well… it is until it isn’t.
Walled Gardens Have Their Own Rules
With Facebook (or any social media site), you are working inside a closed system, a walled garden. This means that while your section of it may be flourishing, you have no control over how that garden gets fed or if it gets watered at all.
When you are using social media platforms for your site traffic, you are at the mercy of that platform. If Facebook cuts organic viewing, you have to pay. If Twitter decides to segment the algorithm, how do you get seen? And if Pinterest removes all affiliate links, how do you replace that traffic?
When you don’t have control over the environment that’s driving your revenue, you may wind up with a hefty advertising bill to generate traffic that is lost when the company changes how the platform surfaces your content. Generally, these changes happen overnight or over a few weeks. That is not much time to adjust, especially for large companies.
But Google Does This Too, Right?
Well, yes and no. Sure, you can get hit with an algorithm change or penalty that destroys all your traffic. However, if you have good people who know what they are doing, this is not likely to happen, and if it does, it is easy (in most cases) to get your visits back. Panda and Penguin are another story, but if you get hit by those it is typically not accidental.
So though you may have to increase your spend in advertising to help replace the traffic while you fix your issues, the issues are fixable, and the traffic can be returned. You will not be replacing it forever, in most cases. (Again, Penguin and Panda are the exceptions because of the long time between updates.)
3. Site “Stickiness”
Social media and paid ads might be traffic generators, but they are not long-term customer creators. The bounce rates are high, and the number of pages visited is often very low, in my experience.
Of course, this makes perfect sense. If I come from my Facebook feed, I am likely to view one page and leave.
Facebook is meant to drive article visits, not overall site traffic and customer loyalty. Twitter is meant to promote customer loyalty, not create post traffic. Pinterest users hardly leave the site unless you are selling something. In that case, paid ads are offering the user a reason to come visit, but not necessarily a reason to come back.
Organic is different. Matching keywords to user intent means you may be present in many searches. The user may find you consistently, and once they get to your site, they are more likely to stay. Organic users are still your best long-term customers. In my experience, they have lower bounce rates and more pages visited, and they are more likely to return.
So if you want to sell something or gain brand awareness, social is an excellent channel. If you want people to find your store and remember you, organic is the way to go. Diversification is key because each platform has a different ROI potential. Organic is one of the strongest of these, and organic+paid can hit it out of the park.
With large scale social traffic generators, social just can’t deliver the same level of quality traffic, even if your site sees 50+ percent of its traffic from Facebook.
The issue with paid referral sources, whether Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, is that the traffic only lasts as long as you feed the meter. Pull your money, and you will see an instant dip in traffic.
As I already mentioned, these users are not seeking you out; you ran across their path and they thought “Oh, cool, something I need right now!” If they have an excellent experience on your site, they may come back, but the ratio of retained visitors from paid is low in the sites we see.
When you’re paying for your traffic, it is like renting. You get an immediate action, but there is no long-term buy-in from most of the visitors you get this way.
With organic search, the user mindset is different. In that case, the user is looking for you, or at least what you sell/offer/publish. When they find you, if you provided an excellent experience, they often come back. If you are an unknown brand, repetitive appearances across results can start to increase brand recognition and brand loyalty.
Don’t Let Your Organic Die on the Vine
While you are reveling in all your Facebook visits and paid advertising, don’t forget to invest in your organic results. These results will sustain you during those times when you cannot put more money into your paid budgets.
Organic traffic is a completely different type of traffic from what you’ll receive from any paid or social channels.
Organic is what people are looking for; the rest of these simply put things in front of people who may or may not be seeking what you offer. We know that approximately X number of people are looking for Y every day. So if we can get on front of those people, we have a much greater opportunity to create long-term relationships and increase our overall ROI.
Diversification is good, but organic still rocks. Make sure you don’t neglect yours.
Reference: Kristine Schachinger