90 Percent of our Traffic Is Not From Google, And I Like It!

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You heard me! I’m glad that most of our traffic doesn’t come from Google. And here’s why.

Traffic

photo credit: Daniele Pesaresi via photopin cc

Since all of your company information, request for demos, call to actions, and downloadables are on your website and blog, building traffic is very important! The almighty Google has a lot of power. They can decide to make major changes with their search-ranking algorithm, at any time. One day, you could have decent rankings on the first page, and the next, Google could magically blacklist you because of algorithm change, losing a major part of your traffic.

Now I’m not saying that SEO isn’t important. We do the basic SEO tricks at SteamFeed:

  • We optimize keywords in the URL
  • We optimize keywords in the image alt tags
  • We make sure the meta description represents the topic and keywords
  • We have keywords in the page title
  • Our keyword appears within the first and last paragraph

But that’s the extent to which we spend time on SEO. Why? Any more effort would be too time consuming for the results. SteamFeed topics are very saturated when it comes to keyword optimization. How many people are competing for social media marketing related keywords? LOTS! In order to rank well on Google for the keywords we operate in, we would need to spend all of our digital strategy time researching opportune keywords, which is just not feasible for most small businesses.

Instead, we’re focusing on a few different things.

Focus on Social for Long Term Traffic

Despite what some people think, social media is here to stay. It is the future of the internet. Facebook has literally changed people’s daily habits. Anything that changes the way of life for the majority of a population is here to stay, whether you like it or not.

But this creates a wonderful opportunity for brands. Building a social media community of loyal followers will bring you lots of traffic. Twenty five percent of our own traffic comes from Twitter. Why? Because we’re actively building a community of evangelists that keep spreading our content over the internet. The best part is, that community is there to stay!

Other Things We Will Be Working on at SteamFeed

There are a few other things we will be focusing on in 2013 to build up more permanent traffic :

  1. We will be focussing more on building up our RSS subscribers. You could say that RSS subscribers are the most loyal followers you can get. These are folks that absolutely don’t want to miss a thing that you have to say. But make sure that once these folks subscribe to your RSS feed, that they still visit your site and share your message. Using a plugin like “Bring My Blog Visitors Back” will help with this. Fifteen percent of our total traffic comes from our RSS feeds, so it’s definitely worth the $37 dollars for the plugin.
  2. We will be starting an email newsletter. Newsletter subscribers aren’t as loyal fans as RSS subscribers, but they’re still interested in getting extra information from you. They expect exclusive content and major announcements. Treat your newsletter like an extension to your blog, and don’t forget to add social sharing buttons to it.
  3. We will focus on growing our network of authors. We already have an extensive Triberr network. We have people that are interested in guest posting for SteamFeed, and we guest blog on other sites. We also have others that are interested in becoming featured authors on SteamFeed. Every time we expand our writing network, our traffic grows. A lot of traffic can come from guest posting, so I would recommend that your small business tries to get a few people to post, and try to post on a few industry related websites.

I’m not saying that SEO shouldn’t be part of your digital strategy. I’m just saying that if your digital strategy is solely focused on SEO, that could cause a problem when Google changes their algorithm. Just like investments, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Diversify your “digital portfolio,” and focus on what’s getting the most traffic for YOU!

What digital strategies do you use to bring constant traffic to your web presence? What has proven to get the most consistent traffic for you? Please leave a comment below!

*Here’s our traffic breakdown for those who are interested – 25% comes from Twitter, 20% is direct traffic, 15% is from feedburner, 5% Facebook, 5% Linkedin, 5% Triberr, 5% G+, 5% Hootsuite, and the other 5% diversified between random backlinks and new aggregation websites.

The rest (10%) is from Google.

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Daniel Hebert

Daniel Hebert

Marketing Lead at InNetwork Inc.
Daniel Hebert is an award-winning graduate of Mount Allison University, Marketing Lead at InNetwork Inc., and Co-founder at SteamFeed.com. He has a passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship. If he wasn’t a marketer, he would take his love for food and become a chef.
Daniel Hebert

@danielghebert

Growth Manager, Social Media at @newsrooms, Co-Founder at @SteamFeedCom. Love to play guitar & pretend I'm a chef :) http://t.co/hX7kZ1DPEh
@TacticsCloud Oh no! I was about to go build new segmented lists. Working on an alternative? - 40 mins ago
Daniel Hebert
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Comments

  1. Kittie Walker says:

    Exactly you need to cover your bases – search traffic, social traffic, email, RSS are all important. Search and social are the main ones that you need to mitigate for loss of traffic because they are both outside of your control. You don't know when the company that you're relying on might change the rules of the game – can happen with Google, Twitter, Facebook or anything that you don't own!

    Great post, Daniel!

  2. Glad to see you are not depending on SEO and are just focusing on the basics.

    Far too many people rely on pleasing the likes of Google only to suffer heartbreak at the next update. Diversifying you traffic is crucial. Never put your eggs in one basket.

    I did an update a couple of days back on a similar topic that might you might find interesting: http://www.dodouniversity.com/see-how-easily-you-

    Kind Regards,

    Chris

    • Daniel Hebert says:

      Thanks for the comment Chris!

      SEO can work wonders for some (especially if you're in a niche), but it can go away any time that Google updates their search algorithm. You need to mitigate that risk with other things, such as email lists and social.

      P.S. good advice in your post!

  3. You still didn't reveal where you got 90% of your traffic? Did it come from a social network, which one?

    • I was thinking the same thing Roshan.

      It isn’t from an email newsletter. They’re going to start one in the future.

      So, do we assume that all the traffic is from RSS subscribers and guest posting?

      The answer is never revealed.

      Maybe we’re looking too deep, and we should stay on the surface with this post.

    • Daniel Hebert says:

      Hey Roshan!

      Most of our traffic comes from social. A specific breakdown would be – 25% comes from Twitter, 20% is direct traffic, 15% is from feedburner, 5% Facebook, 5% Linkedin, 5% Triberr, 5% G+, 5% Hootsuite, and the other 5% diversified between random backlinks and new aggregation websites.

      The rest (10%) is from Google.

      • That's interesting because you dont even have a lot of followers on Twitter. I think the key here is to make content rich articles and make them attractive enough to get automatic shares from visitors.

        Thanks for the detailed explanation. It was really helpful

        • djoneslucid says:

          Roshan I think part of the Twitter magic is having guest posters. Not only does SF tweet the posts but I suspect each author spreads the word in their own networks as well. When my posts go up, I spread them on Twitter, FB, G+ and LinkedIn.

        • Daniel Hebert says:

          Derrick is right on this one! Our twitter account doesn't have a lot of followers when you look at it separately, but take into consideration that we have around 40 authors on SteamFeed, and they all have their own twitter community. Add the twitter communities from our Triberr network, and you're looking at a massive twitter audience of people that are interested in social media, marketing, business, and tech.

          You also make a good point about having rich content. It definitely helps with social shares.

          • Dave Gallant says:

            I agree. Those that follow and engage with Steamfeed on Twitter have larger audiences, so in actuality SteamFeed does have a large amount of followers, just to the second degree. :)

          • Daniel Hebert says:

            Mhmm! Consider everyone that share our articles on a regular basis. A lot of them have 30K+ audience on Twitter. Adds up to be a pretty big Twitter community :)

          • This was my first time visiting SteamFeed but trust me it won't be the last. You guys make great articles. I will keep visiting here for updates. Keep up the good work :)

  4. djoneslucid says:

    This post is timely. I threw in the towel on the SEO madness months ago. Like you said, get the basic stuff but focus on building an audience through social media. A friend of mine with a ton of subscribers on his blog and lots of google traffic was amazed at my low bounce rate. His bounce rate on the other hand is extremely high. He does very little on social media outside of some FB posts. He relies on SEO for everything else.

    With social, you get better qualified traffic and much lower bounce rates because visitors generally know what they are getting when they show up. I suspect SEO will become less relevant as time goes on. Great piece.

    • Daniel Hebert says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment Derrick!

      The thing is with SEO that there is way too much competition for certain keywords. There's no way you can compete against sites like Mashable, Social Media Today, and Fast Company when it comes to general business related keywords. A lot of research is required in order to find keyword opportunities, and most small businesses just don't have the time or money to do that research.

      The thing with social, as you pointed out, is that you get a chance to know the people that read your stuff. You can build loyal followers and evangelists, something that SEO won't do.

  5. That's a great balance if you can get it. Most individual blogs don't have the luxury of having 2 guaranteed posts per day. These posts generate a lot of social promotion. If the individual user has only 10% traffic from Google, there are going to be some slow days when not publishing. I know from experience. Until recently I almost had the identical balance, but now ranking in 1 and 2 spot for a few keywords and I have to say its nice to have a 200-300 visitors a day without publishing. It won't change my posting frequency, but it is delicious gravy.

    • Daniel Hebert says:

      I understand what you're saying. On my personal site, the traffic I get is from Google. But it's all possible with the basic SEO tricks that we use at SteamFeed.

      I didn't write this post to say not to spend time on SEO, but to diversify your traffic sources. I know at my work, we will have an intricate SEO strategy, because we have the time, resources, and staff to focus on finding opportune keywords and optimizing our site and blog on a regular basis.

  6. I found this post through a twitter RT, by the way. So twitter us working for you guys.

    The comments here grew some legs over the past couple of days. Good to see.

    Let post to twitter and send some more traffic over.

  7. sandyappleyard says:

    I find the most popular of my blog posts have been ones with lists, and titles like "5 steps…." etc. My traffic explodes when I use this method. Also, anything with Twitter or social media buzz words in the title.

    • Daniel Hebert says:

      Thanks for the comment Sandy!

      It's been documented in several places that posts with titles like "5 steps…" or "How to…" usually generate a lot of traffic and social shares.

      • sandyappleyard says:

        They definitely do and I can attest. I even like reading posts like that; they just seem simpler to read, so I understand why they're so popular :)

  8. How very interesting.
    I would say that about half of my traffic comes from google.

  9. Gaurav Gurbaxani says:

    Up until a year ago, I would say that 100% off our traffic would come through Google. We have built ton's of anchor text links and it worked like a charm, Come the Penguin update boom! Vanished..

    It was scary.. We invested our resources in learning the ropes using Social Media…

    Not only do get get way more traffic than in the past, we aren't afraid anymore of being penalized..

    Its not fun whatsoever in building dull boring backlinks, though its a thrill when you get re-tweeted, pinned or liked on the Social Networks..

  10. Those are nice figures, actually. It's a pity that the use of RSS in Latin America is not that high.

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