It seems like the debate is never ending and SEO experts claim getting so-called free organic search engine traffic is still the best way to build a successful online business. Traffic is the lifeblood of any website and unless you have traffic, you might not even have a website. Although every form of we traffic has its place and its value, the real question is not price, quality or even volume but rather return on investment or ROI.

Paid traffic like Pay Per Click traffic from AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing has become very expensive. For some competitive keywords, the costs can be as high as $20 per click and although this might sound insane to most marketers, the fact remains that there are advertisers paying this much and they won't keep paying it if they aren't getting an ROI further down the line.

With SEO, traffic is free since you are included in search engine listings and the real challenge is to get high rankings. Getting on Google's page 1 for any particular keyword can translate into a lot of free traffic and possibly a lot of money. While you don't have to pay for this traffic directly, you still pay for it indirectly. SEO is an arduous and constant task that can really drain your time. From this point of view it can be a very expensive form of traffic and the fact that there is no guarantee of a ranking and no consistency in the way you get ranked, means its a bit of a guessing game.

Pay per click traffic on the other hand is instant. With a decent budget and a good ROI it can also be a very consistent source of traffic. What's really great about paid traffic is that you can quite easily scale it across many different traffic sources and, in theory at least, multiply your profits.

The difference between paid and free traffic is quite significant. It requires a completely different mindset in your market since people finding your website via a Google search are far less skeptical than people finding your website via an advertisement.

As for which one of these traffic sources is better, well it all depends on your product or service, your budget, your experience and a host of different factors. In reality you should not be concerned about which one is better but you should use both if you are serious about building an online business and scaling it.

Do you want to buy web site traffic? See my blog to learn more about getting targeted web site traffic.

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Article by John C. Burrow - Please visit John's website for more infromation and advice.