The Myth of Free Traffic – PPC Versus SEO

I was reading an article titled “Why PPC and SEO are Game Changers for Your Business” not because I need to know why (after 15+ years “doing” online marketing I already well know Why) but because the opening remark really caught my eye and I have to admit, sort of angered me a bit. Here’s the opening:

“Both search engine optimization and pay-per-click marketing help businesses boost traffic to their websites. You can either build traffic for free by trying to achieve high rankings in organic search results or pay for traffic by running PPC advertising campaigns.”

Here’s what spurred my anger: “You can either build traffic for free by trying to achieve high rankings in organic search results…”

There is no such thing as FREE TRAFFIC (please excuse the ALL CAPS).

Someone or more likely someones need to work at SEO. Moz defines SEO as: “…a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.”

These efforts are not free. Someone(s) needs to work at it and needs to continue to work at as Google and the various other search engines (yes Virginia there are other search engines) constantly tweak and refine their algorithms in an effort to provide the best organic search results possible. One does not (or at least one should not) put up a website or a blog or whatever and just hope for the best. The days of built it and they will come are at least a decade+ gone (if they ever really existed).

To call these efforts free is a terrible misnomer. It’s simply not true. What is true is that you (the collective you not necessarily you who are reading this) are not paying for clicks on organics but you are absolutely paying for the expertise that got those organics at top of page which is why they were clicked on.

So next time a client or potential client or anyone tries to tell you that SEO is FREE…remember that its not and feel free to share that fact with them.

By the way you can read the whole article here: Why PPC and SEO are Game Changers – its worth your while.

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