Anyone who has ever fiddled with paid ads knows how sexy this idea of "free organic traffic" is. It's awesome, it's my #1 source of sales, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
Here are 4 cold truths about organic traffic you need to hear before you go all in on trying to get it.
If you're skimming this article, please don't think I'm insinuating that you shouldn't work to get organic traffic. I am a HUGE fan. I just want you to know everything about it! It's a big investment of time and energy.
1. Organic Traffic Isn't Free
We all know that time is more important than money. Why is it then that so many people will call something "free" when it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve?
Whether you have a good idea of how much your time is worth or not, you'll be passing up on a lot of earning potential if you decide to focus your time on building organic traffic.
It's also, in all likelihood, going to take much longer to get real organic traffic than you expect.
“It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.”
Hofstadter's Law is very true when it comes to growing organic traffic. It is not free. You earn it and buy it with time and effort.
2. Organic Traffic Isn't Passive
Unfortunately, organic traffic isn't a "set it and forget it" arrangement. If you have a blog post that is driving 1,000 organic visits per month, you'll have competitors aiming to take your spot.
They'll build more backlinks. They'll update their content. They'll do all the things needed to bump you down the SERPs (search engine results pages).
You need to continually update your content, build new backlinks and ensure that you are actively staving off your competitors who are hungry for your visitors.
3. Organic Traffic Isn't Required to Have a Successful Blog Post
Some of the wealthiest content creators I know have a fraction of the organic traffic that their competitors have.
Take Lauren and Alex from CreateandGo.com for instance.
They have two blogs that earn money: CreateandGo.com and Advocadu.com.
According to AHREFs (which isn't perfect but is typically pretty accurate) their combined organic traffic is under 8,000 visits per month and their estimated traffic value is under $9,000/month (more on estimated traffic value in a minute).
But, here is their income report...
That brings me to my next point...
4. "Traffic Value" Is Misleading
"Traffic value," refers to how much you'd pay (theoretically) to get the same traffic with Google Adwords as you do organically.
If you get 10 organic clicks to a blog post to the search term "Yoga" and the average CPC for that term in Adwords is $2.00, it would cost the average person $20 to get that same traffic in Adwords (rough estimation, there are many variables involved in determining CPC ).
This number is typically far from an accurate reflection of the true value of the content.
- It doesn't account for social.
- Estimated CPC is often much lower than your EPC would be
- It doesn't account for brand building (which leads to future sales).
- It doesn't account for list building.
- It doesn't account for audience pixeling value (retargeting blog traffic is an awesome way to get high conversion rates).
Don't use your traffic value estimates to measure the true success of your efforts.
In the example of the Alex and Lauren, their combined "traffic value," is very low but they absolutely crush it in other ways.
They're killing it on Pinterest (see above), they do a great job of using retargeting ads (they used them to make me buy their Pinterest Avalanche course) and building and contacting their email list.
The Bottom Line
Blogging for organic search traffic is usually a worthwhile investment, but it is far from free or easy.
Take the points I've mentioned above into consideration before you decide how much time and energy to commit to building organic traffic.