Paid Traffic (PPC) vs Organic Traffic (SEO) Which is Better?

Real Estate Agent with Dakno Marketing

I have to admit, I can sometimes be a numbers geek. I’m one of the few people who actually enjoy looking at Google Analytics.

There’s one graph in particular that always seems to stay constant no matter what real estate website I review. It’s the graph that compares Organic Traffic (the traffic that comes from natural search engine optimization) vs Paid Traffic (Google Pay Per Click advertising). It always shows the same thing. Organic Traffic yields far better visitors than Pay Per Click. But, don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at some numbers.

You can see that the particular site we are looking at has about the same amount of Organic Traffic vs Paid Traffic.

But, that’s where the similarities end.

The organic traffic has almost 3 times the amount of pageviews - Wow!

That’s not all. Let’s take a look at time on site. Pay Per Click traffic only clicked around the site for 2:30 vs 4:16 from Organic Traffic.

I can go on and on with numbers like these but I know not everyone is a data geek like me.

What Does PPC Really Cost You?

Looking at these stats, it’s easy to see that Pay Per Click Traffic costs more than just the cost of advertising. It can also cost you quality traffic.

The "Why" Behind the Numbers

I think one of the key features (and conversion points) of a real estate website is to be a solid resource - a research tool. Many potential home buyers and sellers start out in the “information gathering” stage. As a result, they want a site that has quality information and doesn’t put everything behind a forced registration wall. Most people automatically assume a company that is buying keywords to be in the “sponsored results” is going to try to sell them something.  Sites that show high in the natural rankings are there because they have killer content (amongst other ranking factors). As a result, people know the site will probably be information rich.

So, What Do You Do?

If you know people are seeking killer content, then give them killer content.  Be THE resource for Hoboken condos. Offer extensive information about Maui real estate. Whatever the niche, make it abundantly clear to your target audience and to search engines that your site is the information hub. You’ll not only grow your organic rankings but also gain higher quality traffic.


Micah Hoffmann
Northwest Video Tours - Seattle, WA

Hey Brad,

Thank you for the information.  My website is pretty new so I have been approached with many ways to go about promoting my site.  A lot of SEO campaign managers swear by PPC marketing and have been pressing me hard to get signed up.  You have made it aparent and confirmed my beliefs that organic, page #1 through 3 on google and other search engines, is the premier and most effective way to be succesful.  I guess PPC is nice because you can track your auidence, and your investment is easy to follow and adjust, but if we want to be truly successful, we have to get to the first page in our relevant keywords!

Thanks for the post,


Oct 02, 2010 08:51 AM
the Chris & Lisa Grus Team
Premier Realty Exclusive - Saint Louis, MO

Good content!  I've always been curious about the benefits of pay per click as I am a professed organic search guy.  Never tried pay per click, this gives me good ammo to keep on keepin' on :)

Oct 11, 2010 02:22 AM
Carmine Pantuso
Realty Exchange - Palm Coast, FL

Good statistics! I was wondering why Google sent me a $100.00 coupon to comeback to ad words!

Oct 19, 2010 11:28 AM
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

Quality post, Brad. Thanks!

Nov 05, 2010 01:23 AM
Evette Cecena
Technology Monsters - Internet Marketing & IT Support - Mesa, AZ

Great post Sir and way to utilize some stats.  When you put those big pics out there who wouldn't want to look at the numbers.  Organic and paid are both good forms in my book.  Organic is better of course, but some people prefer to buy the leads, traffic, clicks and so on.  They prefer something over nothing and nothing is what they would get if they didn't pay.  You give sound advice and back it up... hope to see more of your posts in the future. Definitely bookmarking you. 

Nov 12, 2010 08:24 PM
Real Estate websites

Hey I think in ppc campaigning and orgainic seo both have thier own advantages .Google give a weightage to both the things  as for tarffic  is concern. But in PPC keywords play a important role in terms of traffic genration because it is mailny depends upons search query.

Dec 13, 2010 12:03 AM
Bill Byrd
Byrd Property Group - Charleston, SC
Charleston SC Real Estate Expert

Thanks for sharing the stats! I'm finally starting to get my share of the organic visitors and it's really cool where they come from. I can see how you get addicted to the analytics! It's easy to forget what your real job is when you spend so much time playing on the web. The web traffic is great but I still get most of my business by the old school "interruption" marketing but much like's all necessary to have a good balanced attack!

Jan 31, 2011 12:48 PM
Sham Pathania

Brad, thats true, even have noticed this very critically.

@Bill. You are also correct.

Feb 07, 2011 12:18 AM
Shannon Lefevre
John R. Wood Properties - Naples, FL
Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl

I nearly passed out when I read, "I'm one of the few people who actually enjoy looking at Google Analytics".  I analyze mine when I wake up in the morning and throughout my day.  :) Glad to see Im not alone!

Shannon Lefevre, PA

Naples Real Estate

Feb 10, 2011 04:45 AM
DJ Morris
Springbok Realty - Jupiter, FL

Brad, I am assuming you designed the Maui Real Estate site....if you did, then good job!

Mar 13, 2011 07:41 AM
Paul Rikk

Nice topic as well as posted gives good details,thanks...

Regards, <a href="">Web Design Dallas</a>


May 06, 2011 02:35 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

Brad, thank you for sharing this info. It's certainly good to know!

Jul 02, 2011 12:14 PM
Portal Developer

Thanks Brad ! i really like your post as its informative as well as interesting. I also like your statistics and your data, that will definitely remove the confusion which generally faced by too many business organizations, as they are unable to detect which is better organic traffic or paid traffic.



Thanks & Regards

<a href="">Portal Developer</a>

Jul 07, 2011 01:15 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Love to read your blogs, follow the lessons of SEO.

Sep 27, 2011 11:46 PM
Mike Grumbles
Gray Fox Realty - Franklin, TN
The Relocation Engineer in Franklin TN
Great points i would like to see update on these graphs in 2011. I bet it is more slanted now. We teach brokers and agents to get off of the PPC bottle. Mike
Oct 07, 2011 05:27 PM
Paul Antonelli
Antonelli Realty - Saint Cloud, FL
Broker Owner; Antonelli Realty

This is great info. I guess I really need to start paying more attention to my numbers and start tweaking the sites.

Keep up the great blogs.


Dec 26, 2011 11:47 AM

Really nice information about Paid Traffic and Organic traffic. Thanks and keep sharing.

Jan 22, 2012 11:14 PM
Paul Viau
Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog - Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Real Estate Blog + Photo Services

i couldn't agree more! Paid traffic is hardly worth wasting money on . Why not invest that money (It's easy to go through $500 bucks in adwords ) in a paid blogger! get 10 articles prepared with keyword density in each one. Surly there is a starving journalism student near you! That will earn you credibility, traffic and maybe a sale or two!

I work in Nova Scotia, Canada.  The other side of the world to you. Ha    Condos Nova Scotia

Mar 11, 2012 12:13 AM
Shari Posey
Berkshire Hathaway HSCP - Long Beach, CA

I'm a Realtor but my husband is in the wedding business and started using Google Pay-Per-Click in January. I was very skeptical but he got a $100 credit from Google so he tried it. He started getting tons of calls immediately, but most of them were not the right kind of customers. Over the past couple of months he learned how to reduce the bad calls but putting "negative" keyword in his account, meaning words that he doesn't do, such as "bi-lingual." It has reduced the number of calls (and cost!) and he's been getting better calls. Also, the time spent on the site and number of pages people are looking at are getting closer to the organic numbers. He is converting many of these callers into customers. He's gotten so much activity from Pay-Per-Click that I'm getting ready to start doing it with real estate. I think the key is adding negative keywords to be excluded and limiting the search terms. Well, we'll see how it goes with real estate.

Apr 16, 2012 04:31 AM
Robert Havana
Park and Protect- Alberta Real Estate License Parking - Calgary, AB
Alberta Real Estate License Parking

havent seen you active for years, are you still in real estate? 

May 19, 2016 05:26 PM