Organic or PPC: The Best Traffic Strategy for a Startup Business

Aug 21, 2014

Business owners of every size and stripe have been wrestling with the problem of finding the best method of driving website traffic ever since the dawn of the Internet, but the issue is perhaps even more pressing for the owner of a newly-minted business.

Between increased governmental regulations at every level, cutthroat competition from established companies, and a tight-money economy, starting a new business today is perhaps even more challenging than it has been in past years. Squeezing the most value out of every marketing dollar is no longer merely important, it’s absolutely critical to business success.

organic or ppc for start ups

Organic SEO (search engine optimization) and pay-per-click (PPC) traffic are the two primary means of generating prospective customer traffic to your website. Each option offers distinct advantages as well as disadvantages which require careful consideration before you finalize your marketing plans.

Organic SEO is the Not-Quite Free Option
Organic SEO traffic is frequently referred to as “free traffic” in that you don’t have to pay a search engine for it. Simply build out a website, get it indexed in the search engines, and the traffic and profits will follow. Unfortunately, organic search doesn’t work that way anymore.

  • Depending on the niche and targeted keywords, online competition for the top search engine rankings can be absolutely fierce. A position on the coveted first page of the search results is a zero-sum proposition: in order to gain a spot there, you’ll have to kick someone else off, and that requires an aggressive SEO effort.
  • Successful SEO requires a certain skillset. Unless you’re a skilled SEO practitioner, you’ll need to find a professional consultant or agency to help you, and the good ones don’t come cheap.
  • Organic SEO tends to provide traffic for the longer term as opposed to PPC traffic which dries up as soon as you stop paying for ads.

How PPC Traffic Works
PPC traffic costs you nothing until someone actually clicks through to your website from one of your text ads; your ads are displayed only when a prospective customer enters a search term that matches one of your targeted keywords.

  • Your cost per click is based on the bid you have submitted for your keywords, which in turn is influenced by the amount that your competitors have bid for those keywords.
  • PPC campaigns can start delivering traffic to your website as soon as your ads are set up.

How to Determine the Best Traffic Strategy for Your Startup Business
Choosing the best traffic strategy for your business will depend on a number of factors including the degree of competitiveness of your niche, your budget, and your business goals. While there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to generating traffic, many businesses may find that a combination of organic SEO and PPC strategies represents the best approach.

  • If you have no budget for PPC, you’ll have to rely on organic SEO to carry the weight.
  • Your organic SEO checklist should include keyword research to determine the best buyer keywords, properly marking up your webpages for optimal search engine visibility, creating social media profiles, writing quality industry-relevant content for your website blog, and pursuing relevant authority links that point back to your website.
  • Remember that organic SEO takes time; a new website may not see results for 6 to 9 months.
  • If you can afford a basic PPC campaign, you may not want to wait for organic SEO to kick in. Devote 75 to 85 percent of your budget to PPC and spend the remainder on organic SEO.
  • As your organic SEO efforts start to bear fruit, increase your SEO budget to help drive your rankings higher.