To improve the quality of your website visitors, reduce your reliance on Google
Google’s the number one search engine in the world – so why do some experts believe that relying on Google for your Web traffic is a mistake? The message is this: Optimizing your website or content for Google without a specific objective beyond attracting eyeballs (e.g., increasing qualified leads or decreasing bounce rates) draws a lot of meaningless traffic.
Unfortunately, many publishers have become overly reliant on Google to drive traffic. How can you lessen your Google dependence in order to attract and retain higher quality visitors? Try these three tips.
1) Understand how users think of (and search for) your brand
Mastering Google begins with understanding not how you see your brand or the topic you cover, but how others see it and converse about it, says Andrew Davis, chief strategy officer of Tippingpoint Labs. In other words, focus on keyword optimization based not on industry or marketing jargon, but on common phrases that people use when describing your industry or coverage area.
Davis offers the example of a collaboration tool called Central Desktop that assumed “collaboration tool” would be its sweet spot of keywords. The trouble was that many potential customers weren’t searching for a collaboration tool. According to Davis, “wiki solution with collaboration capabilities” was much more effective in driving search traffic to the Central Desktop website.
The lesson: By putting yourself in users' shoes when it comes to describing your content, you can change the conversation within a competitive landscape and gain a new, more relevant audience, Davis says.
2) Use analytics to expand your marketing efforts beyond search engines
Website visitors referred by Google average 1.2 page views per visit, according to Karthik Krishnan, vice president of interactive media and sales management for Reed Business Interactive. Krishnan has helped to grow audience engagement for Broadcasting & Cable and other Reed online brands to upwards of four page views per visit.
The key is converting those visitors to newsletter subscribers. If he does that, subscribers are likely to visit the website two to three times per week - providing a measure of consistent, reliable and targeted traffic.
Reed's online brands have the option to “pop” visitors with a conversion offer. Rather than prompting every user that wanders onto one of its sites from Google, Karthik and his team look at the sites, emails and blogs’ referring traffic and identify visitors who are more engaged with the subject matter. Those are the targets of newsletter subscription offers.
By keeping tabs on what sources are sending traffic to your site, Reed has been able to increase overall traffic with highly qualified leads while lowering its dependency on Google search referrals, according to Krishnan.
3) Create a broad online reach to generate non-Google traffic
“It’s no longer good enough to optimize for Google,” says Bernie Borges, CEO of Find and Convert. “Marketers need to create a broad footprint with their online reach through relevant content that gets spread across many Web properties.”
Borges lists services including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Reddit, Twine and StumbleUpon, among others, as tools to build an inbound marketing strategy that includes drawing traffic to your site by building relationships online. For example, publishers and editors should have LinkedIn and other relevant professional social media profiles completed that are consistent and support the brand. Think relationship management.
“The cool thing is that creating a broad footprint on the Web also increases your listings in Google,” says Borges. “In the end you get two benefits: better rankings in Google and a broader footprint on the Web.”