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Paid traffic Vs SEO, Which is better?

Profile photo of Gordie Chase Submitted by Gordie Chase August 11, 2016

ppcvsseo

This is a question on the minds of most bloggers but the truth is both have their pro’s and cons. According to Jupiter Research 81% of users find their desired destination by using a search engine and organic searches are almost ten times more likely to be clicked on than paid searches. However PPC and PPV is targeted to a specific audience and has a higher conversion rate.

The only problem with SEO is it could take forever to rank high enough to get noticed. While page one can generate a huge amount of traffic, being on page two will make that traffic fall off significantly. Google may be experts on their own algorythms but even they can’t tell you how long it will take for you to get to page one of their search engine.

Paid advertising on the other hand produces immediate measurable results. With a PPC campaign you can be on the first page for a multitude of targeted terms within a day. PPC also allows you to measure your results in real time instead of waiting weeks or even months for SEO to provide measurable data.

But for long term growth and branding SEO has proven to be 94% more effective than PPC. What this means is, If you want to test a new element or product on your website PPC will immediately drive the neccessary traffic for measurable results, whereas depending on SEO to accomplish this would take time to rank high for a lot of your keywords.

The problem most bloggers experience is competition for their chosen keywords is feirce and normally dominated by the top leaders in thier space. Trying to outrank the Niel Patel’s and Jeff Grodin’s through your SEO efforts alone will probaly require a significant amount of resources. Sure you could attempt to develope a better strategy than they use, but with the experience and resources their SEO’s posses it may be close to impossible to achieve the same results.

So for the short-term,and to help get an edge over your competition PPC is generally your best bet, the minute your ad runs, it delivers results. So if your goal is short-term conversions, testing, and/or product sales? PPC is definitely the way to go. However, If you are interested in building a lot of traffic over time and establishing trust with your visitors? A solid SEO strategy should always be your goal.

In my opinion, PPC versus SEO is not an either or issue, you should be using both methods in your overall startegy to increase your brand, ranking and traffic.

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Profile photo of Gordie Chase
I'm just here to help! I served 18 years in the military and have raised 3 wonderful kids. I've been in Internet Marketing for about 4 years and have made a few pennies here and there. My journey is not about making quick money on the internet it's about learning, discovery and building a business on a solid foundation. I get excited about helping others and meeting new marketers focused on developing their own businesses. The energy created by helping others has not only motivated me to learn more but has also given me more advice and resources to share. I'm here for all marketers so don't hesitate to ask me for help, and never give up on your dreams.
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71 Responses to “ Paid traffic Vs SEO, Which is better?” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    I agree with you that both PPC and SEO should be used to increase brand, ranking and traffic. A balance needs to be struck in the timing and the use of the resources at disposal for traffic generation and ranking.

    While most small businesses and newbies will not have the financial capacity to increase traffic with PPC, they may be keen to apply this method when they are more budget friendly.

    SEO is a long term strategy and while PPC is suitable for short term result – I am glad you clearly pointed out these facts!

    As a closing thought, I completely agree with you on this:

    PPC versus SEO is not an either or issue, you should be using both methods in your overall startegy to increase your brand, ranking and traffic.

  • Profile photo of Carl Profile

    Hi Gordie

    You make it clear that indeed both are important and should be used.

    However, SEO seems to be almost a science so maybe it’s best left to experts. Paid traffic is great for everyone else because we get the immediate feedback on how it’s working.

    Paid Traffic also offers variety, from Solo ads, Banners PPC. PPV. Plenty of ways to waste your money! I mean invest your money because if you don’t track the results it probably will go to waste.

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      SEO is relatively simple it’s all the articles that make it complicated. Everything online is about testing including SEO. Google is only looking for relative content so broken down it’s about keywords and sharing.

      If however you feel it’s complicated, there are plenty of free plugins that help you tremendously. You should probably check out my article about Google myths it should comfort you some.

      As I always say you should track everything and test everything you’re tracking. You only loose money if you’re not testing and tracking. Small budgets tell you what’s working then your ramp up your successes, it doesn’t get any easier than that.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of Obinna Patrick Profile

    Paid traffic and SEO serve two different purposes.

    Paid traffic is good because you can drive people there immediately but in most cases its best to drive paid traffic to a squeeze page.

    SEO is also good because you can get traffic fro free but in most cases its only good for getting traffic to your blog.

    It all depends on what you want to focus on, time or spending money. For the average internet marketer, he or she doesnt have time to waste so they are going to pay for the traffic to send people to their landing pages.

    However if you are a SEO whiz and you know how to get backlinks, keyword generation and optimising your website then SEO can serve you very well, as long as you’re willing to spend the time.

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Obinna,

      I agree with you. PPC is cool with driving traffic to squeeze page while SEO is needed to drive traffic to the blog.

      There is an advantage to either of these. Timing is of the essence because I am sure there is perfect time to implement PPC and the time to implement full SEO.

      However, the best bet always is to balance the implementation of both!

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      The key to being a success at internet marketing and driving traffic is consistency no matter what the venue.

      Being on the front page of Google for some of your keywords won’t exactly give you the targeted traffic you want, but being consistent with your content will.

      SEO isn’t hard it’s just a lengthy process, but if you’re not good at something or you think it’s complicated you can always outsource it.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Or money. Spending money to have your SEO done for you is actually the most cost effective way to produce quality results with SEO. Buying the proper tools and paying for backlinks can get you to page one a lot faster than your own efforts. The problem is few people are willing to invest in their business, which makes it a hobby not a business.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of Sherman Smith Profile

    Hey Gordie,

    They are both important. Coming from my own experience, I had more success in getting instant traffic and conversions with using PPC as oppose to using SEO.

    But in the long run, I started to get more organic traffic and conversions (mainly email subscriptions). This was due to the fact I grew a following of bloggers and email marketing played a major role.

    So in all I agree 100% with you on this!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…Why Solopreneurs Struggle With Generating Blog TrafficMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      A lot of marketers don’t understand that SEO is the long game a lot of regular actions that they already participate in help to increase their page rankings over time.

      For example, posting articles on this forum, links from social media to their blogs, guest blogging and you tube videos.

      All of these actions that we do daily will increase our SEO score if done properly, but it is the long game.

      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    For their selfish purposes, Google wants all of us to do PPC instead of SEO and they seem to be frustrating all SEO efforts.

    Google also is rewarding bigger brands now with search traffic, than they used to.

    If you ask me, PPC or paid traffic is the future, not SEO.

    It might not be better now but in future we might all have to pay for nearly all the traffic we get, to stay in the game.

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Most people making a living on the internet already buy traffic because it’s more reliable and easy to measure.

      It’s simply common sense to those who lost a fortune when Google changed it’s algorithms.

      Putting all your eggs in the Google basket or even most of your eggs is just plain irresponsible.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

      • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile

        You are right, Gordie.

        For a company that says it doesn’t do any evil, it’s evil when thousands or even millions of people lost their fortunes to algorithm changes.

        And there are many who didn’t even do anything wrong.

        • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

          Well you can’t really blame Google for people trying to game the system. Google was just responding to the millions of complaints they were receiving about excessive SPAM.

          I understand why they had to do it because some websites were just entirely padded with key words to achieve rankings.

          Cheating actually dominated Googles ranking system and made it less likely that honest websites would rank. Google is after all a business and advertising is its product.
          Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

          • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile

            You have a good point, Google had to protect themselves from those trying to game their system.

            But still many thousands of innocent webmasters lost fortunes, even those who didn’t do anything wrong.

            They got caught in the middle, unfortunately.

            That’s why some say Google hit everyone with each update, to scare all from SEO to PPC (adwords).

            Do you buy that?

            • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

              The problem was all of these marketers that were affected depended on Google for their success by gaming the system. Those who had built a business with a good foundation didn’t depend on Google for their income and built their own audiences.

              Most marketers have totally forgotten that, first and foremost, Google generates revenue from its advertising business, which consists of two complementary advertising programs, AdWords and AdSense, both of which charge advertisers. Now tell me if you owned Google would you hurt your own bottom line or create a workaround to ensure your profit.

              Google provides a lot of value for free but they to have to adjust to maintain profit.

              Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

              • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile

                Thanks, but you don’t really think every single webmaster who got affected by algorithm changes gamed the system, do you?

                • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

                  What most webmasters don’t understand is Google didn’t design the SERP for them to dominate. It wasn’t designed as an advertising tool for webmasters it was designed as a search engine.

                  Webmasters have to pay to be included in most niche based search engines but with Google they just created work arounds.

                  Google’s vision statement is “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.” So there job is to make sure that click is relevant.

                  So yes anyone who uses keywords or any other method to get ranking is trying to game Google so they can be relevant to that “one click”.

                  Google sells advertising so why would they want to give it away for free. We all game the system for relevancy so we can rank high in Google’s search.

                  That’s the truth.
                  Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of Dennis Seymour Profile

    For me it depends. Sometimes, there are businesses that PPC just wont work good with. The costs are simply too high to justify hence making SEO the better choice and the only choice.
    Dennis Seymour recently posted…The 2 Sides of Guest Posting: I’m on the “It Works” Side, How About You?My Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Aren’t you an SEO? Well I’m a PPC marketer and the most I’ll pay for traffic is one and a half cents. Which of course means a lot of keyword research.

      SEO is just one of the strategies marketers should be using not the only one. I’ve seen marketers go from a substantial income to zero income by relying just on SEO.

      Relying on SEO alone means you’re just one algorithm change from being broke and Google get’s paid from PPC not SEO.

      Remember, everybody can’t get to page one and page two won’t get you much traffic, it’s time to evolve..
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

      • Profile photo of Paul Profile

        I agree with you at this point “everybody can’t get to page one and page two won’t get you much traffic”.

        Sometimes, even I get page 1 ranking but fail to be in top 3-5, the traffic doesn’t change significantly compare to being at page 2.

        As for low & medium search volume keywords, doing SEO yourself can get you good ranking in couple months. But if the keywords is moderate or high competitive, you have to spend budget for outsourcing SEO team to increase the number of backlinks to rank keywords within desired duration, and there’s hardly any genuine SEO service that can guarantee you page 1 ranking in xyz time. Even if they do, the price won’t be cheap.

        So, I think it doesn’t hurt to try paid traffic ( CPC, CPM,… ) if you want fast results. Well keyword research & target the right audience will bring you good ROI.

  • Profile photo of Ivana Dee Profile

    Hi everyone,

    I use both of them for different purpose.

    PPC is about arbitraging. We get money but we surely have to spend specific amount of money to get specific amount of revenue. The risk is, usually, the cost will always be higher since eventually, there will be competition.

    On the hand, SEO is good because when our content is well-distributed and well-ranked, we can have the revenue without spending too much cost.Sometimes, we can even get the sale without doing anything. The thing here, we need to learn about basic of On Page and Off Page SEO and also there is potential risk of google update.

    Everything has its + and –

    Just choose the one that suits you the best

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      SEO isn’t free. I spend about $100 monthly on SEO and if I didn’t I’d be spending hours each day trying to keep up. Off page SEO is really the most important step to getting ranked by Google and creating link backs to your site. If you don’t have the time to do it you have to outsource. Neither PPC or SEO is free and if you became an expert in either one it will most definitely increase your profits.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of darrellantonio Profile

    Hello Gordie

    Great Post I agree with you SEO and ppc should be used for traffic and ranking.

    I believe SEO is a long term strategy and ppc when selling. I have used twitter for advertising but never have used ppc.

    Gordie after reading you say ppc is the best thing to do for a business,I’m gonna check out ppc for myself more thoroughly.

    But as of now because of cost,I will have to go with SEO
    darrellantonio recently posted…9 Ways to Kill Your Blog !My Profile

  • Profile photo of Janice Wald Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    I enjoyed your article. I try to help bloggers at my site. Many of them don’t have a budget, so I appreciated the encouragement your article offers. Even bloggers without a budget can increase their visibility.

    Janice

    Janice Wald recently posted…This is What You Need to Know to Get Subscribers at MediumMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Rocky C Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    Your post is an absolute eye opener. Until now i always felt SEO had edge over PPC in majority of departments. But after going through your post it has embedded clarity over my illusion.

    Thanks mate.

    Regards
    Rocky.
    Rocky C recently posted…Can Social Media Save Kids’ Lives?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hey Gordie,

    Yes, using both SEO and Paid traffic method is better because one strategy alone cannot help in delivering the ranking that is desired!

    There are pros and cons for each method but truly value comes with knowing which method to implement at a certain stage of a marketing campaign!

  • Profile photo of James Ling Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    SEO is for beginners while PPC is for the experts. This is not to say one is better than the other. The strategic implementation of both would readily help in achieving the needed objective for the traffic and rank hunters.

    You have said it all and I agree with your conclusion: “…PPC versus SEO is not an either or issue, you should be using both methods in your overall startegy to increase your brand, ranking and traffic.”

  • Profile photo of Christopher Jan Benitez Profile

    Ultimately, your conclusion is correct. As a marketer, you must use both tactics to maximize your digital marketing efforts. Covering your bases in SEO (link building, on-page practices) and PPC (creating different campaigns testing which PPC campaign is the most profitable) is essential in the success of your online business.
    Christopher Jan Benitez recently posted…How to Get Twitter Shares 10x the Usual for Your Blog ContentMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hello Gordie,

    I think both are important but SEO – to me – is preferable. If one masters SEO and all its intricacies it would be easier to practice and benefit from PPC.

    There are times when the combination of both systems makes for perfect targeted traffic generation in both short and long term.

    The key is to understand and implement the best practices and follow the necessary changes there of!

  • Profile photo of Amit Sharan Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    A good SEO strategy leads to increased traffic and the propensity to increase conversion.

    I think there is a perfect time for PPC and there is a perfect time for SEO. Indeed, both are useful and getting the most from them means adopting a workable strategy.

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      You hit the nail on the head Amit, a good strategy should involve both PPC and SEO in support of each other. PPC adds more real estate to your online arsenal so strategy involving low budget PPC targeted to the keywords on your site is like a 1-2 punch for SEO. Together they work a lot faster at ranking than they do separately. Keep your budget low and target specific pages and it should work excellently to rank those pages.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of Abigail Chow Profile

    I will say simply that the better one is the one you can afford to do, to get the best results or profit from.

    If you have the money and experience to do Paid traffic to get more profits than doing SEO, then Paid traffic is better.

    On the other hand, if you have more experience and success doing SEO to get more profits than Paid traffic, then SEO in this case is better.

  • Profile photo of Samson Oluwabiyi Profile

    You are a bomb bro. You just cleared the air now!

    Honestly, I have been doing SEO for roughly 5 months now and the result have been awesome. Now am thinking about doing PPC.

    Do you think it’s necessary?

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      PPC is great if you’re trying to achieve a specific result I wouldn’t recommend it for blog traffic.

      The only time I use it for my blog is to send traffic to a specific page or offer that helps to build my list. I use it to send traffic to my affiliate offers because it allows me to laser target my audience and increase my conversions.

      So if you’re thinking PPC for increasing blog subscribers it’s not necessary.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…The 4 Google myths that can hurt your SEO!My Profile

  • Profile photo of admin Profile

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  • Profile photo of Helen Black Profile

    Hello Gordie,

    I really enjoyed readind this article.

    I completely agree with your thought that both SEO and PPC are important. I strongly believe that in order to receive a satisfying result that will make your traffic rates grow and attract real target audience, it is important to take into account all basic components of internet makreting strategy, such as social media, email, advertising, content marketing, etc.
    Helen Black recently posted…Netpeak Spider 2.1 review: classification of issues, parameters selection, new results arrangement logicMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Black Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    I agree with your conclusion and the opinions of commenters that agree that “PPC versus SEO is not an either or issue, you should be using both methods in your overall startegy to increase your brand, ranking and traffic.”

    Paid traffic and SEO are important, hence a proper practical combination of both is important!

  • Profile photo of Winford Moore Profile

    Hey Gordie,

    Search engine optimization for me is better because it provides the marketer with the basic means of implementing traffic generation.

    If one is able to get hold of SEO properly then it becomes easier to implement Paid traffic successfully!

  • Profile photo of Lawrence Berry Profile

    Great topic.

    I am not an expert when it comes to marketing, but I do know that both of these strategies are great ways to increase traffic. I think PPC Is more of a short term thing, but is a excellent strategy when you are selling products.

    With your own creative ads, you have a better chance of turning potential customers into paying customers. SEO is more of a long term strategy and not the best for products.

    It is the best when you just want traffic to your site. It is the best way to generate traffic without having to do any work.
    Lawrence Berry recently posted…How To Have Smooth Clear Glowing SkinMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      They are indeed, Lawrence

      PPC and SEO really go hand in hand you’re only optimizing your business if you implement both in your strategies. The problem with most people is they feel intimidated by the procedures you need to take to implement them, but my answer to that is you only learn by taking action, you can’t learn from something you’ve never tried.

      PPC is SEO dependent if you want conversions and SEO is PPC dependent if you want to increase traffic. Thanks for joining the discussion, your insight is highly appreciated.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…What do you base your buying decisions on, Hype or research?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

    In case anyone needed ideas on how to use PPC in your business Coastal Digital in the UK has great PDF to give you some ideas.
    http://www.coastdigital.co.uk/...gital-PPC-Idea-Book.pdf
    Gordie Chase recently posted…What do you base your buying decisions on, Hype or research?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Hafiz Akinde Profile

    It’s really difficult to determine which is better. It all depends on the user’s intent. Both systems are effective and users can get scalable results if they can learn the ropes.

    Google definitely loves those who use the PPC since it brings in money for them. Users who have lots of money to invest can also tap into the PPC world but they still need to incorporate other SEO techniques to boost their results.

    Lastly, if we look closely, PPC can also pass as an SEO strategy since ads also appear on search results.
    Hafiz Akinde recently posted…Personal Branding For Bloggers: 10 Strategies That Actually WorkMy Profile

  • Profile photo of steven Profile

    Hey Gordie,

    You have a point by stating that neither SEO nor PPC is the issue. While both have separate conversion rate, there is need to implement them strategically so that the blogging goal can be achieved.

    A combination of these two system strategically would bring about increased traffic, exposure and conversation for the brand!

  • Profile photo of Grace Joseph Profile

    While both methods are quite effective, where one is fast and temporary, the other takes time and its effect can last for years, and is more profiting. It all depends on ones aim. If it’s a product as you said, then PPC would be better than having to wait for months to finally see the positive effects of SEO.

    One will always have to pay with PPC even though they’ll see quick good results with their given keywords, but I would always go for SEO, because one time SEO that is DE well could aect the blog’s Ranking engine positively as long as the blog is in existence
    Grace Joseph recently posted…Tecno Phantom 6 Specs & PriceMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Thanks for commenting Grace,

      Both methods are quite effective but experience has already taught me personally that they should be used in tandem.

      For example, I use PPC to drive traffic to articles to increase the SEO score.

      I also use SEO techniques to find key words for my PPC campaigns.

      In my view you can’t really have one without the other.

  • Profile photo of Omar Saady Profile

    I`m totally agreeing with you Gordie in terms of both of them are important for our online business.

    If you want a guaranteed source of instant traffic, it doesn’t get any easier than PPC advertising. However SEO is a long term strategy that translates to real profits over time.

    Thanks
    Omar

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Thanks for your input Omar, it’s my hope that bloggers realize the importance of using both methods.

      Every SEO strategy I’ve learned involves using PPC to some extent. It’s a great way to accelerate your SEO efforts.

  • Profile photo of Krystsina Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    thanks for opening this topic for a discussion!

    To my opinion, it is impossible to judge what is better, PPC or SEO, as everything depends on every individual case.

    PPC requires investments, SEO requires specific skills and knowledge to do it right and useful.

    It seems to me quite impossible to choose the best out of these two. If I have enough budget, I don’t see a reason not to go for PPC as it is a really great tool to get traffic. But if I have enough skills and no budget for it, I would go for SEO.
    Krystsina recently posted…Top 27 Edinburgh Coworking Spaces for Your StartupMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      My personal philosophy is they both go hand in hand. I can’t do PPC without first using SEO research and tactics, and I can’t do SEO properly without showing Google some traffic and love.

      Paying Google for ads to boost your website significantly improves your SEO ranking that and posting your link on every Google property.

      I’ve used ad-words to point at links on Google plus and my Google article was number one in a week and still remains there for that keyword. To me SEO and PPC are eternally connected.
      Gordie Chase recently posted…Did you know that Online Marketing and MMO are the lowest converting niche’s?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Jeff Miller Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    I have to agree with you. There is no one better method, they both have their upsides and their downsides.

    Something I think a lot of people overlook is that SEO isn’t necessarily free. Sure, it might not cost a dollar amount if you are publishing your own content. However, ranking in SEO takes time. And time is money. You have to decide how much time and effort you are willing to dedicate until you see results.

    However, if you do create content, and you do rank, that traffic can continue coming for a very long time. Usually it will also require little maintenance.

    Paid traffic gives you instant results, which is very valuable. However, you need a budget. But if you can get traffic to convert. That means you make more money from the traffic than what you spent to get it, then you’re basically printing money.

    I agree with your conclusion that you should focus on both, though.

  • Profile photo of Hannah Edia Profile

    Hi Gordie,

    Thanks for this post

    As you have said, both should be used to grow your business.

    One part that has been left out of the discussion is that social media can be a huge part of SEO.

    If you can get people sharing your post on social media, it tells Google your content is valuable and that can have a significant impact in your rankings.

    It all depends on the strategy you have to grow your blog. Whether PPC or SEO, the most important thing is you meet your ROI
    Hannah Edia recently posted…50 Things to do when Business is Slow [to help put your Business on Fast lane]My Profile

    • Profile photo of Gordie Chase Profile

      Thanks for your comment Hannah you were spot on about social media. I consistently tell folks to post their blog article on Google plus because it will increase their SEO. I noticed that the marketers that consistently post articles on Google and social media always land on the first page of Googles search engine for the keywords they use. It seems it’s more about the relevancy of your content than it is about sharing. If your content addresses a specific subject that Google searchers are looking for it’s likely to make it to page one even if it isn’t shared by others.

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