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How To Optimize Your Company's Organic To Paid Traffic Ratio

The information age brought business owners the opportunity to project their enterprise into a global playing field, developing a website and social profiles that could feasibly reach international viewers. But this even playing field isn’t just a free-for-all, and making sure your business is visible online naturally means following a set of rules. 

And now, as we transition into the digital age, a working understanding of search engine optimization as a discipline has basically become a prerequisite for managing a successful enterprise today. In other words, it’s safe to assume that virtually all business owners are aware of the importance of SEO today. Search engine optimization is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy, supporting business owners in finding new customers, increasing their brand visibility, and boosting online sales.

SEO can increase your online traffic in two different ways: organic traffic and paid traffic. Whilst paid traffic can naturally be increased by paying for ‘cost per click’ digital ads, organic traffic has to be grown a little more meticulously and over a long term SEO campaign. Businesses need to find the right balance between their paid and organic channels to make the very most of their digital marketing budget.

So what’s the gold ratio? Well most marketers believe it’s actually an 80/20 split between their organic and paid traffic stats respectively. In this article, we’ll outline how modern business owners can maintain this optimal 80/20 split, alongside providing more tips on how you can boost the cost-efficiency of both your organic and paid campaigns.

Organic To Paid Traffic Ratio

Understanding Organic and Paid Traffic

Before we explore how to balance your organic to paid traffic ratio, let’s first take a closer look at the key differences between these two avenues of search engine marketing.

Organic strategies developing content strategies and site upload and update processes that align with Google’s ranking parameters. In other words, boosting your organic traffic means making your content “more attractive” to search engines, ticking all the necessary boxes that will prompt Google to rank your web pages higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for the keywords or search phrases that you target when developing your content. This is known as natural digital marketing and includes tactics like web optimization, content marketing, keyword research, backlink building, and optimizing content for the purpose of attaining featured snippets on SERPs.

Contrastingly, paid strategies involve using digital ads and sponsored content to rank higher for specific keywords and search intents. For instance, a Chicago-based beauty salon might pay Google to boost the SERP rankings for their website under every search involving the keyword “Chicago hairdressers”.

Both strategies aim to boost visibility through search engines, but each operates using different principles. Although paid advertising will attract more visitors to your site by propelling your website to the top of SERPs as a sponsored listing, you will have to pay for every click that your ad receives. These clicks can add up depending on how in-demand or competitive the keyword you’re looking to target becomes. This is why search marketers agree that paid should only be allocated as close to 20% of your total digital marketing budget as possible.

Focusing on boosting your organic traffic by adopting SEO best practices should be your main priority, as thoughtfully developed SEO content that considers user search intent is more likely to both strengthen your brand reputation as an authority in your industry, and optimize your sales funnel so that customers feel more inclined to go through their entire buying journey using your exceptional resources.

8 Tips for Balancing Organic vs. Paid Traffic

Now that we’ve outlined what organic and paid traffic really is, let’s finally turn our attention to how you can maintain that golden 80/20 ration between your organic and paid spend. These following 8 tips will ultimately help your enterprise stay within its marketing budget, maximize ROI, and optimize your site for both search engines and humans alike.

1. Set Goals & Objectives for your Digital Spend

To achieve the right balance between organic and paid traffic, you must first set realistic expectations and goals for both your budgets. For instance, are you looking to develop a killer blog for your website that helps kickstart your sales funnel? Are you looking to boost paid traffic to particular high-converting pages? Are you looking to optimize those landing pages for your paid campaign, combining both your organic and paid strategies?  Determining your objectives will help you organize your marketing efforts appropriately and delegate more of your resources to organic approaches while keeping a smaller but still healthy amount for paid ads.

Defining your goals will also allow you to monitor your digital marketing campaigns more effectively. You can assess key metrics that align with your goals and identify areas in need of a resource boost to achieve your objectives.

2. Utilize Dedicated Google Ads Managers

Running paid ad campaigns isn’t as simple as writing your ad copy and publishing your ads. There’s actually a fair amount of keyword research and even competitor analyses involved to make sure your ad efforts stay current and maintain optimal performance. 

Many small businesses will find that they don’t have the adequate time or resources to invest in their digital ad campaign optimization. That’s where dedicated Google Ads management services come into play. Outsourcing your Google Ads management to dedicated PPC specialists can help ensure that your paid marketing campaigns are being routinely optimized and consistently monitored to ensure their performance.

Dedicated Google Ads managers will also be able to offer expert insights into how you can plan your paid ads to maximize your ROI, such as during promotions or seasonal campaigns. They can also provide tailored services to build strategies that suit your brand, budget, and requirements.

3. Consider Short-Term vs. Long-Term Strategies

More often than not, organic channels are considered to be a long-term investment, whereas paid digital ads are a short-term investment. These paid short-term strategies will boost your traffic quickly, but they won’t be as effective for retaining customers and building credibility in the long term. Contrastingly, investing in your organic methods can help businesses establish long-term trust with their client base.

Achieving an 80/20 ratio of organic to paid traffic is necessary for sustained success because the credible and authoritative foundation built by organic strategies will boost your paid ads during promotional and other short-term campaigns. In other words, your organic content will help ensure that your paid ads are backed by substance – by a website and wider web presence that offers dynamic value to your prospective customers and repeat customers.

Short-term strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising should be employed sparingly but strategically, while long-term organic strategies like backlink building, keyword optimization, and social media engagement should form the majority of your digital marketing approach.

4. Use Paid Ads for an Instant Boost

Just because paid ads are a short-term strategy, this isn’t to say that you can’t use this model to your advantage. In fact, pay-per-click advertising is a cost-effective method for companies looking to gain immediate spikes in both their visibility and sales.

You can use paid ads strategically by targeting profitable keywords, capitalizing on global trends, and pairing them with organic SEO strategies to maximize your outreach. Paid ads should also absolutely be used to your advantage during promotional sales periods or other time-sensitive commercial opportunities (i.e. stocktake sales, warehouse clearances, etc.).

5. Enhance Your Credibility with Organic Marketing

As we’ve mentioned, tactics like keyword optimization, improving page loading speeds, and targeting featured snippets like Google’s “People Also Ask” section can not only help boost the visibility and usability of your domain, but will also position Google to view you as an authority in your industry or informational niche. And a higher domain authority means a greater likelihood of attaining even more first position rankings and featured snippets on SERPs. 

It’s like a positive feedback cycle – bolstering your website's credibility through a combination of content, on-page, and off-page optimization techniques, will position Google to see your content network as highly authoritative, which means that new content you write is in a far better position to rank first for their targeted keywords.

So play the long game when it comes to SEO, and prioritize producing quality content and ensuring your site usability in the long term. A solid organic foundation will boost the performance of both your organic spend as well as your paid ads, ensuring both strategies work together to deliver effective and far-reaching results.

6. Optimize Your Landing Pages Regularly

One thing that all business owners should keep in mind is that Google favors current and dynamic content more than static content that’s never updated. Not only does updated content reflect that your site is active and being thoughtfully managed, but it also boosts the likelihood in Google’s eyes that your presented information is the most up-to-date and thus, the most authoritative. 

This is why optimizing your landing pages is a great way to enhance both your organic and paid traffic. For one, improving the content quality, layout, and loading speeds of your landing pages will demonstrate trust and credibility to search engines, ultimately boosting your SERP rankings and attracting more organic traffic.

Additionally, you should optimize your landing pages to prompt site visitors to join your mailing list. This means that during promotional email campaigns, which are often implemented alongside paid ads, you can maximize the effectiveness of PPC advertising and attract higher levels of paid traffic.

7. Align Your Keywords

Another strategy for achieving the golden ratio between organic and paid traffic is to align your keywords with your marketing goals. This ensures you target the right audience and helps you create a consistent brand identity, strengthening your online visibility and maximizing your chances of ranking on SERPs.

Organizing your keywords between paid and organic search engine results will also help you avoid keyword stuffing, cannibalization, and other less than ideal SEO practices. These common SEO pitfalls involve neglecting your content’s quality by prioritizing too many keywords so that your content appears poorly written and ineffective. Aligning your keywords between strategies will prevent this and stop individual web pages on the same site from competing against each other for the same keywords.

8. Monitor Both Your Organic & Paid Campaigns

Finding the right balance between organic and paid traffic naturally requires vigilant monitoring for both campaigns. Tracking your marketing campaigns will help you determine which strategies are working effectively, which ones could be improved, and which ones may need to be taken out of circulation.

You should use industry tools like keyword research and analytics software to uncover data like search volume for your targeted keywords, or even specific key performance indicators (KPIs) which will help you judge whether you’re relying too much on organic or paid traffic. Analyzing metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and keyword rankings can help you adjust your marketing strategies to achieve a perfect 80/20 balance between organic and paid methods.

Final Thoughts

Finding that optimal 80/20 balance between your organic and paid traffic is crucial to ensuring that your digital spend is working as efficiently as possible for your business. Thankfully, the 8 tips we’ve outlined above should help you build a foundation for developing and improving your organic and paid channels incrementally and both over the short and long term.


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