Is Organic Traffic Really Free?

FreeThose who have taken my workshop in Nashville or New Orleans have heard my rant on this subject. So many times people scoff at Adwords or Facebook ads, saying:

That’s a waste of money, I get all my traffic for free from Google/Yahoo/Bing.

I suppose for a select few who still service an area with no competitors, that statement might actually be true. But the vast majority of us have to work for placement on search engines, WHICH IS NOT FREE.  Let’s do some simple math to illustrate my point:

Why Organic Traffic Is Not Free

As a business owner, how much is your time worth?  $50 an hour?  $75?  $100?  $200?  If you’re not sure, how much would you make working your business for a full day?  Now divide that goal by 8 hours.  Now, how many hours have you spent working online SOLEY for seo/ranking purposes?  Our recent poll indicates business owners who do their own website/marketing spend about 8-10 hours per month writing, tweaking, updating, or building their website content, back links, and directory listings.


Organic Traffic Cost Calculator


Your Worth


Your Time




Total Cost



$50 / Hour


8 – 10 Hours




$400 – $500



$100 / Hour

8 – 10 Hours




$800 – $1,000



$200 / Hour


8 – 10 Hours




$1,600 – $2,000

Gasp!  What Now?

Don’t get too panicked.  The most important factor in your marketing cost is the sales it produces (ROI).  If you’re spending $800 a month in time to make your site rank, and that traffic turns into $4,800 in sales, then that is a 6 to 1 return.  But if it’s only turning into $400 in sales, you’re losing money.  Or you’re really bad  at it; don’t feel bad, no one in their right mind would hand me a pressure washing wand.  😉

Start Tracking

Figure out what gets the best return for YOUR business, in YOUR service area.  What works for your forum buddy across the country may not work for you in your area.  The only way to figure that out is to the triple T: Test, Track, Tweak.  Diversify your traffic.  Find your sweet spot: where your customers are.  If your customer demographic is on Facebook, test a few ads.  Who knows, you may be bragging to your forum buddies about how awesome your campaign went.