Have you ever considered going organic? In this article, we’ll show you the pros and cons of organic traffic, so you can decide if it’s right for you. We’ll also be giving you some top tips on how to get started.
What is Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic is traffic that comes to your site organically. In other words, visitors find their own way to your site, without you leading them…sort of.
If you want to get people to visit your site, then you’ll still have to find ways to get people’s attention and coax them in, but with organic traffic, you pay with your time rather than your wallet.
The aim of the game with organic traffic is to gain visibility naturally, by creating a website that people like using and where they can find the answers they are looking for.
Getting high-quality organic traffic relies on having great SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is a huge area of online marketing and something that we’ll only touch upon in this article. But as a brief outline, SEO is essentially creating a website that delivers on its promises and contains the key terms people use when searching Google. This should then lead to a better visitor experience, reduced bounce rate (the measurement of people who immediately leave your site if it isn’t what they were looking for), which should then propel your site up the Google rankings.
For more information about Bounce Rates check out our article - Google Analytics and Bounce Rates: How to Analyse your Site’s Performance
Is Organic Traffic Worth the Effort?
Marketers spend a lot of time and energy using SEO to build up a steady stream of organic traffic, but is it worth it? The answer is, it depends on what you hope to achieve but usually yes.
If you are an affiliate marketer trying to make a quick buck, then organic traffic might not be worth your time, especially if you’re focusing much of your money and energy into creating successful paid campaigns and scaling them. However, many affiliates do both and some are very successful at it.
A lot of affiliates will use websites to showcase their offers to a growing audience. In doing so, they can accumulate visitors over time and build up trust. To do this, they will pick a niche and develop a site that meets the needs of people searching for help within that niche.
What does an Organic Affiliate Campaign Look Like?
There are a lot of different ways to build an organic traffic campaign, but one of the most common and most visible is through blogging. You’ve probably seen bloggers showing off about how much money they earn thanks to blogging. What they actually mean is how much money they’ve made thanks to affiliate marketing.
The set up is simple. Start a blog and write about blogging. You then position yourself as an expert on blogging and tell others how they can become great bloggers. In doing so, you also point them in the direction of the tools they’ll need to become successful. Every time a visitor takes your advice and buys the product or service through the link on your blog, you get your commission.
As you can see, the set up is pretty straightforward, but the execution isn’t. Blogs, at least like the one described above, exist in their millions.
There are more than 600 million blogs online and, in the United States alone, there are more than 31 million active bloggers. This makes it difficult to cut through the noise and rise to the top. Fortunately, there are also 4.57 billion active internet users, so there’s still plenty to go around.
Go Niche or Go Home
When it comes to setting up an organic affiliate business, the most important first step is finding your niche, as it will be your basis for everything you do. The best advice for this is to pick something that you are knowledgeable about, so that you already have a head start.
A niche can be almost anything, but it’s important to find a balance. If you choose something too specific, then you’ll have difficulty finding offers to put on your site. If you choose something too broad, then you will find it difficult to target later on.
When deciding on your niche, be sure to do some research and try to find some offers which could be relevant. To do this, think outside the box and look at what other interests people might have.
Let’s say you are interested in photography. This is a good niche as it has a broad appeal and a lot of products available, but it is also very specialised. You’ll probably start out looking for the best cameras to promote. You might then also branch out into camera equipment e.g. lenses, tripods and other accessories. However, you could take it even further still and look at editing software, online courses and materials, framing services and many more. By doing this, you can slowly build up an all-round photography site that helps visitors with every step of their journey.
By creating a site that remains relevant to the niche and helps them to build their knowledge, you should see your visitor count rise, your bounce rate decrease and your site move up the Google search engine. It won’t happen overnight, but persistence will pay off.
Pros of Organic Traffic
Here are some of the major benefits of using organic traffic:
Highly Targeted Traffic
Probably the best thing about organic traffic is that it is highly targeted, at least if you’ve got your SEO in order. The people who find and visit your site organically will be the ones that were looking for it. That means that, unlike with paid traffic, you had their interest before they knew your site existed. If you can then deliver the goods, the chances are you’ll get repeat custom. Not only that, but the more targeted the traffic that comes to your page, the better your page will rank, so when you finally hit the sweet spot, your site can really take off.
Not quite passive income, but close
There isn’t really any such thing as a passive income in affiliate marketing, but organic traffic can get you pretty close in the long run, as successful SEO could return a steady stream of visitors for several years. However, it’s important to maintain your site and adapt as the shape of the web changes, so don’t sit back, relax and assume that your site will live forever.
It’s Free!! Sort of…
Organic traffic is free, in theory, although a lot of companies spend a fortune on SEO experts. Plus, it’s only free in the sense that you don’t have to actively spend money. However, if you put a price on time, then it’s pretty costly. But yes, it’s technically free.
Cons of Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is great, but it isn’t perfect and it won’t suit everyone’s needs. Here are some of the downsides to organic traffic.
It can take a long time to become profitable
Organic traffic is not a quick fix and you can spend years trying to get people to your site and still fail, which is a pretty big risk. This is one of the reasons why a lot of affiliates use paid and organic traffic, in order to help speed up the process and get more people to their site so that they rank quicker.
If you want to get your website listed on Google faster, then check out our article: How to Submit your Website to Google - Step by Step Guide
SEO is harder than it looks
SEO might sound fairly simple, and initially, it was, however, over the years it has grown to become increasingly complex and by the time you’ve learnt the system, you’ll probably find that it’s changed. If you want to build up a successful website then you’ll have to be willing to learn and adapt and stay alert for any scheduled changes.
There’s a lot of competition
One of the hardest things about organic traffic is getting your page in front of people in the first place. As we’ve already discussed, there are millions of websites online and any single search can throw out billions of results. Therefore, getting to the top of the list for certain search terms can seem like an impossible mountain to climb.
The positive thing to take away though is that a lot of websites are rubbish and if you put the effort in where others don’t, then you can succeed.
The Bottom Line
Organic traffic is awesome, but it isn’t easy and it takes time. Is it worth your time and energy though? It really depends on how you use it. If you have a strong starting position, a good niche, knowledge in your area that you can share and a willingness to learn SEO, follow trends and adapt where necessary, then it can be very lucrative. However, it is a long journey and most people drop out early on.