One of the major problems that Internet Marketers tend to run into, is not really knowing how to choose which traffic source is best for them. In this article series, I’m going to go over with you the different traffic sources, and, the Pros and Cons of each one, so that you can make a more informed decision on which traffic source that you’d like to master.
Ultimately, you should really only have one traffic source that you really master, and of course, you can dabble in the others, but that’s really optional. So, the traffic sources we’ll be covering are: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), Pay Per View (PPV), Real Time Bidding (RTB), and of course, Direct Media Buys.
Search Engine Optimization
The first traffic source we’ll be looking at, is SEO. Most marketers are really drawn to SEO, because let’s face it, coming into this, most people don’t have huge marketing budgets, so the idea of Google, or one of the other search engines, sending them free, quality traffic is very appealing.
So, there are several different upsides to using SEO, but two primarily. The first advantage to SEO, is the obvious one: it is “technically” free traffic. That is to say, you don’t actually pay for traffic directly, like you would with AdWords or MSN adCenter. And, of course, you can “technically” do everything for free, by building all your own backlinks (though people usually pay for these), doing all your own On Page SEO, and everything else that goes along with it. Pretty nice. The other big upside to SEO, of course, is the quality of the clicks that you get. Google has built a reputation on providing quality listings in their search results, and for this reason, if Google decides that you should rank in position number one for a given keyword, you now have instant authority. People will look up to you as a site that they can trust, and because of this, they’ll be far more likely to purchase what you have to offer, or, do whatever it is that you want them to do, such as sign up for a list, fill out a lead form, etc.
While SEO does have those two great Pros, it tends to have more Cons than Pros. First of all, SEO isn’t REALLY free. If you don’t end up paying anything for SEO, it’s because you took the time to build all of your own backlinks from scratch (which believe me, is time consuming).
The alternative of course, is to pay someone else to build these links for you, but then it isn’t really free anymore, is it? Another big downside with SEO, is your complete lack of control. You can learn every trick in the book, you can stay up to date with exactly what Google is doing, and can build all the right backlinks, but, no one knows Google’s algorithm exactly, except Google. What this means is, whether you ultimately end up getting any traffic, and how much you end up getting, is ultimately, totally up to Google, and since you’re not paying them anything for it, it’s completely out of your hands. With the paid traffic sources, if you increase your budget, you get more traffic, it’s that simple. This isn’t the case with SEO, it’s a much trickier beast.
Another problem with SEO, is that it isn’t at all scalable. With Media Buying for example, if you want to scale up, all you have to do is buy more impressions, from more websites, and you’ll get more traffic. Not so with SEO, you have virtually no control over how much traffic you get. All you can do to scale up, is try to rank for more relevant keywords, but that’s a long, arduous, and unreliable process. The last disadvantage to SEO, is of course… the dreaded updates. Panda, Penguin, Zebra, you know what I mean. You get countless websites into a great position on Google, you spend tons of time and money to get free traffic, and, with one fell swoop, Google takes it all away OVERNIGHT. This is one of the most painful things that an Internet Marketer can experience, so of course, this makes the list of one of SEO’s biggest Cons.
So, that was Part One of this three-part series. It was important to dedicate a whole section to SEO, because there’s so much that needs to be said about it. Ultimately however, SEO is a great traffic source, but should be looked at as being free bonus traffic, and NOT your primary traffic source. If you try to rely on it as a primary traffic source, then eventually, Google will change their algorithm, and you’ll likely end up losing most, or all of your traffic, so be very careful when using SEO.