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Web Traffic: Quantity vs. Quality


If you-ve ever been involved in running a website you-ll understand the thrill that comes with a large spike in traffic. Visitors, clicks – these are the fundamental currencies of the internet, right? Well, you-re not wrong: a website without visitors is basically the equivalent of a complex Word document saved on your desktop. However, consider what your visitors are really worth. You could have traffic numbering in the billions. But if links aren-t being followed through and leads or sales aren-t being generated, that figure wouldn-t be saying much about your levels of success.

Valuable Traffic

Hopefully, then, we can agree that the amount of traffic you receive is only relevant when it is being useful. It was once a fairly widespread notion in the digital marketing business that quantity was, in some ways, preferable. The idea being that throwing enough bodies at your website will inevitably lead to a conversion. This might still be the case if you offer a huge range of products which are disparate, unrelated and aimed at multiple potential audiences. Targeting each group individually could be tricky and woefully time-consuming.

In most cases, though, we at GML recommend courting quality traffic. By knowing your ideal customer-s behaviour and requirements, you can utilise techniques to encourage conversion and target the traffic most likely to be enamoured with your services. Then you can focus on improving the services – aiming to increase the time and engagement these users spend with your site. After laying down this groundwork, you can ensure that you are only counting traffic which has conversion potential. That means discounting the numbers which are artificially inflating your metrics, doing little more than massaging your SEO managers- egos.

Eliminating Junk

Why filter your traffic data? Well, let-s put it this way: bots, spammers and your own employees are unlikely to buy your products – why wouldn-t you filter them out? If you-re doing any kind of data analysis, it-s vital to set up your software or system to exclude these from your reporting. It could be that your latest traffic spike is mostly attributable to visitors from your own office! So, screen that IP address. Make sure you-re monitoring the behaviour of your proven customers. That way you can be certain you are checking actual, measurable improvements to your objectives and KPIs.

Best Practice Keywords

If you run your own pay-per-click campaigns, you should know another way of driving more quality traffic is through the careful monitoring of keywords or search terms. Google Analytics can be a powerful tool for seeing where your visitors are coming from, what they are searching for, and what they get up to during their time on your site. By analysing keywords- contribution to your business, and by integrating the most popular and profitable keywords into your site and your advertising efforts, you can to force the hand of search engines into sending you the right traffic.

Keywords are a sort of double-edged sword, however. In the same way you can use keywords to lure potential customers, you can use them to exclude unwanted guests. Through the implementation of so-called “negative” keywords, you can tell Google where not to show your ads, who not to invite in. Say your company sells brand new ‘summer clothes-, you don-t want people visiting your site who are searching for ‘second hand summer clothes-, therefore ‘second hand- could be added to your list of negative keywords. This can also be a particularly effective technique for dividing your campaigns along logical lines, reducing any crossover which might negatively affect click-through and bounce rates.

There are lots of tools and resources available to assist in your mastery of keywords. If you-re running a PPC campaign there-s few better places to start than in Google AdWords. Its own Search Query Report will provide plenty of examples of useful – and potentially useless – search terms to get you on your way (but only if your campaigns have been running for a while – otherwise, if you are pre-launch on your campaigns, get familiar with the Keyword Planner).

On the other hand, if this is all a bit mystifying, do contact GML as we are ready on hand to help set up and run a PPC service for you.

Cutting Costs

One of the most major advantages that can arise from your newfound love of quality traffic: lower costs and greater returns. And, generally speaking, isn-t that what business online is about? Removing low quality clicks from the equation can lead to savings in a surprising range of areas. For your paid campaigns, the benefit is obvious. Narrowing your advertising horizons and targeting likely conversions is a great way to increase click-through and conversion rate. With negative keywords, you can reduce your average CPC by avoiding extra spending on those well-meant but unhelpful clicks. Through the appropriate use of the above techniques you might even reduce the burden on your servers, making a saving on maintenance costs.

A word of warning for the uninitiated, though. Combining the above strategies and improving the quality of your traffic is one thing. Monitoring and maintaining that improved performance is another entirely, practically a full-time responsibility. Week by week, the behaviour of your customers might change, keywords will drift up and down in favour, and ad costs will shift in unforeseen ways. With vigilance and a bit of luck, though, you could be on the path to regular yearly progress.

Do you have any questions about your website-s traffic? Need some support in making sure the right people are visiting your pages? Don-t hesitate to get in touch with us at GML either by phone (01603 227055) or e-mail. We-re all too happy to help.