In the early days of web development, business owners had
learned the very expensive lesson that a Web site with no visitors is of little
value. Once the business owner learned that methods could be utilized to
increase their visibility through search engine optimization, it then became
apparent that the traffic that really benefited them, was "targeted traffic".
It only made sense that if you were selling a solution, the person who will buy
the solution are the ones experiencing a problem or challenge. It also became
obvious that the best products and services to sell online were niche or
specialized markets. Large volumes of "general visitors" (general volume
traffic) may have looked nice on a statistics report but only the truly
"targeted visitors" (target traffic) were usually the visitors making purchases
or doing business at the Web site.
While some search engine marketers were simply offering
placement for keywords chosen by their client, other SEO's realized the value
of researching keyword phrases and built strategies that were focused on
attracting a specific target market. This is why you would sometimes hear
conflicting stories about the effectiveness of search engine marketing. People
often had their sites optimized for the wrong phrases. These might be keyword
phrases that attracted no traffic all or perhaps even keywords that attracted
high traffic but the wrong audience. If targeted traffic was important for
success back then, it is absolutely essential that we optimize for targeted
traffic now. The reason is that as the web continues to age, peoples behaviour
appears to be shifting again.
Plan for the current shift in online visitor behavior
The early online consumer compared to today's average user was
thriving on search engine use most of the time. They'd search out one site then
search out another site and literally travel all over the place half of the
time, unsure what they were even looking for.
Back then people "surfed the
net" but todays online consumer is not surfing as much. Today's online consumer
is becoming educated much more quickly and a whole new trend of online branding
is becoming more increasingly important according to a recent survey.
Volume traffic of any importance is decreasing.
A California-based research company (Websidestory) that measures
Internet audiences, recently stated on Feb. 6 that "nearly 52 percent of Web
surfers arrived at sites by direct navigation and bookmarks, compared with
about 46 percent during the same period last year." Even compared to just last
year, clearly more people KNOW where they want to go and are directly entering
the web address into the browser.
What does this mean ? To me, it is a great indicator that people
who have been online for a while, are developing business relationships. People
just don'r need to "surf" as much because once customers start doing business
online and they like the service, why should they change? If they are happy
buying a product from www.barnesandnoble.com, are they not likely to go back
and just type in the web address or use a bookmark? As the web continues to
mature, watch and see if a whole new wave of branding does not become of major
importance on the Web of the future. Businesses who have chosen domain names
that are easy to remember and have some branding built in, may see some
Advantages for Search Engine Optimizers
The latest trends in Web behavior spell opportunity for some
search engine marketers. These will be those SEO's who realize that targeted
traffic are now (and really have always been) the only way to go. Someone
recently asked me if I thought a decline in the use of search engines was bad
news for the search engine optimization industry. I believe there will always
be a need for good search engines. More and more, people will remember their
favorite URL but this means that top placement and accurate relevancy will also
be needed more than ever before. People searching the net don't care so much
for paid ads, they want relevant search results. This is not to say that bid
for placement search engines don't have some advantages, because they do.
SEOs who are going only after old fashioned, non-targeted general "volume
traffic" (just big numbers with no target audience), things are about to become
much quieter, as more online consumers KNOW where they want to go.
However, for those SEO professionals who really know their craft, the "targeted
traffic strategy" can still render pure gold to the Web site owner and these
are the times when top relevancy mixed with a targeted strategy should place
those search engine marketers in the know, in even higher demand. High and
accurate search engine relevancy for any online business Web site, counts more
than it ever has before.
About John Alexander
John has taught onsite search
engine marketing sessions to people from over 80 different countries, and he's
worked as a professional in the search engine industry for years. John operates
a Web site for professional search engine optimizers,
Beyond-SEO. He's also a popular chat moderator at
the Academy of Web Specialists. For onsite training by
Robin Nobles and John Alexander, visit
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