"Search referrals drive 50-70% of my traffic."
Though this does not raise eye brows anymore, publishers have mostly done nothing different for these search referrals. Direct traffic (from home page hits, RSS readers, Twitter and Facebook) differs from search engine referrals in visitor patterns - all very visible in your favorite analytics platform. But publishers do almost nothing to treat these visitors differently.
- Direct referrals:
- readers loyal to your website.
- readers hooked onto RSS feeds.
- readers tracking you on Twitter or Facebook.
- Search referrals:
- readers coming from search engines, with specific query-intent
- readers coming from news and blogs aggregators - like Google News, Digg etc.
- Traffic pattern: Direct traffic starts arriving seconds after your new post is written (or posted on Twitter, Facebook etc.). The traffic for a page peaks a few minutes, hours or days after writing. It dies a fast death thereon. Yesterday's news is history.
- Visitor type: Most of your visitors are already known to you. They've been to your site earlier.
- Traffic pattern: Search referral traffic takes a while to build up. You often dont know why some pages get more search traffic than others. Traffic does not peak based on your posting time, but is often leveled out over a larger period of time. Bumps in traffic are dependent on macro-scale patterns of querying.
- Visitor type: Most visitors from search are visiting your site for the first time.
Let me exemplify the problem and potential solutions:
- android phone price india: An extremely popular query. Look at the first result from androidos.in. Its kept super updated, and the page monetizes the user intent extremely well!
- iphone price india: Another extremely popular query. Look at the first result from pluggd.in. The article is dated June 30, 2008. There are no updates, but for a link to a newer article. Visitors lose the link. This is a lost opportunity to harvest user intent.
- deal flow: Another query popular in the VC circles. Looks like a site has been dedicated to this. The wikipedia page on the topic has been kept refreshed and up to date. The third result, from Bill's blog is an excellent article, but has no updates since 2005. It has failed to harvest user intent here, and engage him.
- Our Landing Lights widget: You can nuggetize your blog, and install our Landing Lights widget. It fires up only for search engine referrals, especially when you have several closely matching articles for your visitors' intent. Your visitor is matched better early on, and you present nuggets from across the site matching the user intent. This is like generating a hub page pointing to relevant information - on demand. This widget takes away some burden from the publisher for maintaining his search engine-popular pages, and automatically picks up other relevant content from across articles for the visitor.
- Size up your real competition, and update your page: A page like Bill's Deal Flow Is Dead, Long Live Thesis Driven Investing gets traffic from many different search queries. "Deal flow", "Thesis driven investing", "Thesis driven investment" are all relevant. This page is competing with all the other peers in the search engine results - especially the ones above it. Its long been suggested that entire blogs are to be considered as competition. Eg: AVC.com may be considered competition to Bill's blog. However, in the search engine world, the competition is mostly between pages - Bill's article does not have to have worry about everything else AVC.com writes about - to keep visitors happy on this page. How does Bill improve his content? He has to size up his competition fast, see what areas they cover that he does nt, and what areas he covers that they dont. Nuggetize.com is an excellent tool for this. Try nuggetizing the topics deal flow and thesis driven investment. Nuggetize organizes the facts hidden away in all the competitors along side relevant categories, that helps you survey the breadth and depth fast. Nuggets your competition has covered but you have nt - are indicators of the direction in which you have to update your blog.
Moving away from self-promotion, Integrating analytics data, the publishing tool, and web research will assist publishers keep their old gold mine relevant!