If you start a project to write interesting content on your site, it’s likely that some of it will hit the bullseye with Google. When that happens, you may see a significant rise in visitors to your website. One of our clients started to add useful features and authoritative Q&As to its site a few years back, and now these pages represent 8 of the top 10 most-viewed pages on the website. The overall increase in website traffic looks sensational, and makes a great slide at the board meeting. But what’s the real impact?
One thing to remember is that useful resources and Q&As will attract visitors from all over the world. Google is great at automatically sending people looking for products to suppliers in their region. You’ll see very different search results for ‘blue widget suppliers’ in different countries. But for background information, locality is much less important and you’re as likely to be shown in Aberdeen as you are in Auckland, wherever you may be based.
Our client’s new content may have doubled its website traffic, but 90% of that is coming from overseas. The company only operates in the UK, and normally most of its traffic is from this country. So only a fraction of the additional traffic is likely to be commercially useful. It’s still a great investment, but it’s not going to deliver a doubling in enquiries.
Secondly, much of the traffic will be early-stage research. If somebody is asking: “How does a blue widget work?”, they’re not going to be as ready to buy as someone searching for “blue widget suppliers in Luton”. So even the additional traffic from the countries where you do business isn’t all going to be potential enquirers – at least not straight away.
This shouldn’t put you off adding useful content to your site. The numbers can be so large that if even a couple of percent of the visitors it generates turns into something interesting, the impact may be substantial. Then there’s the ‘authority’ which this sort of material lends to your website; don’t underestimate how much good this can do you. Finally, Google loves this stuff, and it may also generate links from other sites which feed back into the Google loop. All in all, it’s another reason why vanilla ‘website visitors’ is a terrible metric by which to assess the success of online marketing initiatives.