Posted Friday, October 22, 2004
We surveyed 100 people...
What is the best way to draw traffic to your website?
Our survey said...
Search Engines 53
Article Distribution 30
Ad Swaps / Links at other sites 14 Banner Advertising 8
Signature Files 5
Ironically, it seems possible that we could have selected a different set of people and the answer for search engines would have been zero. At least, a web designer was telling me that this morning.
One of his web design / web hosting clients has hired my company to help with building her website traffic. One of the changes we had suggested was to offer her visitors both a Frame and a No-Frame site, with the express intent of using the No-Frame site to capture spider search engine traffic with her already keyword-rich website.
Our client currently has a Framed site which she likes the appearance of. Otherwise, we would have suggested to only use a No-Frame site.
At every step of the way, her web host has been causing us great difficulty in the process, because as he said, "Search engines do not bring any traffic to a website." Even when his client told him to make the change, he refused because "it is a waste of time." Since he holds the username/password to the site and will not allow me access or his client direct access, we must deal with him. (I have never met a web host who ran his business like this either... I am helping his client to search for an alternative hosts now.)
I talked to him on the phone this afternoon, and he told me, "You know that statistics show that search engines do not generate much traffic to a website."
I don't know whose statistics this man is looking at!
I suggested to him "No, I don't know that. I run more than a dozen domains and all of my domains generate a considerable amount of search engine traffic. My original site knocks down over 50% of its visitors from search engine traffic, and the site serves thousands of visitors every month." I love using this website as an example because I have not promoted it hardly at all since August of 2000.
When I began this particular site, it was intended as a computer technical support destination. Around the beginning of 2000, I began making a shift in my own web activities. As such, this site is now really a potpourri of activity, though more than 60% of the site remains under the umbrella of computer technical support. Due to the fact that most of my computer support newsletter exists in the archives of the website, this site is very keyword rich!
In order to drive my point home about the effectiveness of search engines on the web, I have taken a step that most people would consider crazy. I am making public three and a half months worth of my site's statistics. I can afford to do this because this site, WindstormComputing.com, is not my primary bread and butter anymore.
Be forewarned, these pages are big, so if you have a slow machine, you probably don't want to participate in this exercise.
The first page I will be showing you is for the first eleven days of May, 2001. In those first eleven days, there have been 458 visitors to my website from search engines. In all, the site has been visited by 682 people, and they have looked at a total of 1855 pages. Of those who came calling, 67% of them came from search engines.
You may view these actual site statistics at: (http://imiobc.com/keyword_rich/lrefers0501.html) (134 kb)
The second page is for the month of April, 2001. In April, there were 955 people who came to the site from search engines. This was 46% of the total of 2073 site visitors. These visitors viewed 6521 pages.
You may view these actual statistics at: (http://imiobc.com/keyword_rich/lrefers0401.html) (362 kb)
The third page is for the month of March, 2001. In all, 1441 people came to the site via search engines, which comprised 55.5% of the 2599 visitors. The sites visitors looked at 5899 pages while they were onsite.
These statistics are located at: (http://imiobc.com/keyword_rich/lrefers0301.html) (355 kb)
Going back a bit, the next page I am making available is October of 2000. In this month, 1603 people found my site through search engines. This number represents 53.5% of the sites 2995 visitors in October. All together, these 2995 people looked at 11,843 total pages.
These statistics can be found at: (http://imiobc.com/keyword_rich/lrefers1000.html) (440 kb)
Now, as you look at each referrer, you will note that the domain from which the traffic came is listed on top of each list, then the actual page on the domain is listed at the right side with a link attached to it. You can actually click the link at the right to see the actual search results used to find my site.
If you click on these search engine results used to find my site, keep in mind search engine results change over time, based on new data going into the engines. As a result, you will often be able to see my page listed, in the search results of the page that opens, only in links that are fresh.
Another thing to note is that to the right of the actual page link is a lot of black text. This text represents special form information that was used to narrow the search results. Often, you will see "&query=blah+blah" or "&q=blah+blah". This refers to the search terms actually being "blah blah". Sometimes, you will see something to the effect of "&start=10" or "&first=10". In both cases, this tells you that the search results begin at ten.
As you review these site statistics, you will be amazed at the wide range of search engine terms used to locate my domain. You may also be dumbfounded by some of the keyword phrases that people type into search engines while looking for the results they desire. The one that really got me was "dangerous creatures caused invalid page fault"! If "dangerous creatures" is not a video game, I am lost.
Amidst all of the different search terms listed in these pages, you might also note the frequency of my top site keywords, "free website content", "free ezine content" or some variation thereof. The pages that rely on these key terms see the highest number of visitors on my domain each month. I have done well to place these pages in the #1 spot on several search engines.
This site represents my first domain. If you were to have access to the statistics on my other domains, you would be astonished at the numbers coming through my domains from search engines and from other sources.
My point is that while you should always take a multi-pronged approach to building traffic to your website, you should never dismiss the power of search engines as one of your most viable traffic building solutions.
About the Author
Bill Platt. Among the services offered at (http://IMIOBC.com) , search engine placement, sales copy analysis and creation are very popular. (http://GhostArticles.com)