There are two ways to get traffic to any site. You can either get traffic to your website for free, such as SEO or you can use paid advertising; PPC (pay-per-click).
Often, there is a debate and constant warring between which strategy will be the best strategy to implement in exposing your site to the masses.
In actuality, Internet Marketing is a numbers game, and so the more targeted traffic you can get to your website, the more you will convert, and the more money you'll make.
So which strategy is the best, free or paid?
Search Engine Optimization:
Free marketing strategies; such as SEO, are just as good as paid marketing, if not better. For example, when the majority of people go searching for information online, they go to Google or any other search engine and type in a phrase; such as "How to Cook and Clean". The results they get back are divided into two parts, and that is Organic and Paid advertising. These differences are usually easy to identify. The organic results are listed on the left hand side and are listed 1-10 through a series of pages, while the paid are listed on the far right hand side.
When doing a search people will often decide which way is best to resolve their dilemma or situation, and most often people tend to use the free results. Thus, this is enough to indicate that if you want to get highly targeted and free traffic to your website it would be a good idea to get into the Organic results. However, many things are involved, including getting backlinks to your site, making sure you have the right keyword density, and optimizing your site. The downside to Search Engine Optimization is that in order to get your website ranked high, it can be very time consuming. This is a reason why many marketers choose to skip SEO and use Pay-Per-Click with Google Adwords, Bing, or Yahoo Overture.
*PAY PER CLICK (PPC): *
In short, Pay-Per-Click is when you tell Google; or any other company, how much you want to be charged every time your advertisement is clicked. The higher the amount that you set to be charged will often determine how high your website will rank in the search engines. On the other hand, if you set a low amount then your PPC may not give you good results.
The "pros" of PPC marketing is that it takes a small amount of time to get up and running, but the "con" is that you can not just set up a campaign and expect to make tons of money. PPC is a science and should be implemented with strategy, therefore doing the homework is crucial because if you don't choose the right keywords and/or charges you could end up losing tons of money and FAST. So PPC takes skill, learning, and possibly experience to succeed.
In short, SEO is a great way for beginners to get a site ranked high in organic results. SEO may be frustrating but once you succeed with SEO the benefits are great. This is also true with PPC, but there is much more risk involved since your success is dependent on your money and skill. Overall, it's necessary to research both SEO and PPC as much as possible before leaning upon either.