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The Sustainability of SEO over PPC

Inbound Marketing StrategyIn a previous blog post, I discussed the main differences between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC), the two main web traffic drivers.

For short-term marketing goals, PPC is a great source of immediate traffic, but for a traffic source that consistently drives high quality long-term traffic then SEO is the best option.

The sustainability of SEO makes it the most cost-effective driver of website traffic in the long run.

To demonstrate, the chart below shows organic traffic to a client’s website over an 18-month period four year period by month.


When we started working on this website, the monthly organic traffic was just over 18,000 visitors a month. Eighteen months later, the website was getting 115,000 organic visits.

What makes this chart stand out is when you add in the cost per organic visitor. With a fixed SEO cost of $2,000 per month, the cost per organic visitor drops the longer the client engages in SEO services.


In the first month of the website, bringing an organic search visitor to the site cost eleven cents per visit. Within 18 months, the cost of an organic visitor dropped to under two cents. That’s less than two cents per visit!

More importantly, the organic traffic was targeted and high quality even at the higher traffic levels. When we started working on this website, the client was earning about 15 cents for each search visit. Eighteen months later, they were earning almost the same (13 cents per visit), but on 6X more traffic! And their cost per visitor had decreased from 11 cents to 2 cents.


That kind of dramatic decrease in cost per organic visitor over time is something you will never get with PPC. You cannot increase in traffic via PPC by a factor of six without a corresponding increase in your PPC budget.

That’s why SEO is a more sustainable and cost-effective driver of website traffic than PPC is in the long run. The longer you engage in good SEO practices, the lower the cost of driving each visitor to your website. No other traffic source allows that.

Ready to integrate SEO into your business strategy? Contact us today!