There’s Traffic then There’s TRAFFIC

website-trafficSure, your website has traffic, but is it the right traffic? Are the people frequenting your website finding the information they want? Many times, website owners are so concerned with the number of visitors, they lose track of what those visitors are doing, or even if they are the right type of visitors. So ask yourself, “Do I have the right traffic coming to my website?”

To address this question, look at your major keywords. Take a minute and determine whether the information on your website is relevant to your keywords if searched for on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. There are a number of times where I have seen the content of the website irrelevant to the keyword the site owner is targeting.

Second, take a look at your analytics and see what traffic the search engines are sending your way, and what keywords people are using to find your site. In Google Analytics, click on the “Traffic Sources” tab, and then click the “Search Engines” option in the submenu. From here it will give you a list of the different search engines that have sent traffic (both paid and unpaid) to your website. Click on a particular Search Engine, such as Google, and you will see a list of terms that were searched when they found your site.

Your results will look similar to this.
keyword-traffic

This report shows search patterns and keyword terms. It also provides a better understanding of how people are finding your site, and what keywords are being used. This list shows what Google finds to be relevant to your website as well, allowing insight to how Google views your site.

When reviewing the report, take a close look at the bounce rate of keywords used. This indicates whether visitors are finding their desired information on your website. Consider the example above, the keyword “hsplit download” (third from the top), has an extremely high bounce rate of 96.36%, indicating that the 110 visitors more than likely did not find the information they expected from the website. Compare that to the first term on the list “802.11bg wlan driver,” which has a bounce rate of 31.86%. From this report it is easy to determine that the content/page referring to “hsplit download” needs to be refined, and reworked.

Studying analytics will deliver an understanding of past trends, and help you make decisions on how to revise  content  to provide better results. But if you are starting new, or want a better idea of how to prepare for future traffic, there are other ways to plan for the right traffic. Last month David Scoville wrote an excellent article on getting toknow your target market, and learning from a basic focus group. He offers a simple way to find out how to understand the way your “right traffic” thinks.

When I first dove into SEO and SEM, I was taught a valuable principle when planning for keywords and targeted traffic: People who are doing research on a topic use broad keywords to gather information. Once that information is gathered, people search vary specific and generally use “longer tail” phrases to find and purchase a product.

An example of this principle would be when someone is interested in getting a website hosted; they may look up a general keyword such as “website hosting.” However, when the person makes the shift from researching the product to buying the product, they are more likely to be more specific in their search and my look for “VPS PHP web server.”

What does this mean to you? Well the conversions from a visitor to a buyer are more likely to happen with longer tail keyword searches, meaning you will have more of the “right traffic” coming to your website. Now it is apparent that there is less traffic overall associated with the more specific and sometimes longer tail keywords, but the traffic that is coming to your site is more qualified and has a better potential of converting, and that is far more important than just trying to build high traffic numbers.

Take time to evaluate your current traffic, and see what trends in your analytics can help you improve your visitor’s time on the website. The goal of proper SEO is to not pretend to be the most relevant to the search, but to actually BE THE MOST RELEVANT. Sure you have traffic to the website, and when all is said and done all traffic is good traffic, but only the right traffic will keep the website up and the bills paid.

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6 Comments

  1. Jacob Stoops says

    Sometimes, webmasters get it wrong from the start with keyword targeting. They pick keywords that they think they should show up for, even if they’re not what’s actually driving traffic. In turn, this approach will reduce the amount of relevant traffic to a site.

  2. William Paul P. says

    This has opened my eyes actually. Thanks for the great information; I will be visiting this site a lot more. :)

  3. Ralph says

    Great article, good read.

    The long tail trend goes even further in some industries. E.g. people tend to search very specific model numbers – convert very well.

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