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Search Engine Traffic vs Social Traffic: Traffic Generation and Monetization

Getting traffic from all sources is a good way of diversifying your risks. That way a shift in the search engine algorithmn or a social networking site won’t entire rock your traffic picture. But how does organic search engine traffic compare to social traffic?

Lesson 1: Your site needs to mature

This is probably one of the harder lessons for new marketers to absorb, or mentally comprehend. You need to achieve critical content mass and have it indexed to attract either search engine traffic or social traffic.

It could be as fast as 24 hours, or as long as a month before your traffic hits ‘acceptable’ levels. [Acceptable levels could be 1,000 uniques or 10,000 or 100,000 uniques depending on your personal goal and strategies]

Lesson 2: It’s not just purely a numbers game

Traffic quantity is as important as traffic quality alone. What’s the point if you’re going to get 50,000 uniques in a day if they aren’t interested in your content? Perhaps someone inadvertedly did a redirect to your page.

Metrics like traffic quality and traffic ‘stickiness’ (measured by their repeat visits) are more indicative of your success in building a community.

Lesson 3: Search Engines – General Traffic, Social Traffic – Targeted Traffic

I admit there’s some degree of generalization here.

But when I’m new to a specific topic, I’ll google it and check out the results that come up. I’m more inclined to be a browser. My average time on a search result is probably about 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

On the other hand, when I surf through a relevant social site like an affiliate portal, my time on site is likely in the 3 minute to 30 minute range.

What’s the magic pill?

Relevence. Finding content that answers my question, which solves a problem.

Social sites provide more relevant results than the SERPs (search engine results pages) 9 times out of 10.

Granted there are a number of niche search engines focused on affiliate marketing or Internet marketing, though they tend to be geared towards selling your something, rather than building a relationship the way a social site tends to do intuitively.

The general traffic picture in my mind now is:

  • Search engines give huge torrents of traffic, stickiness tends to be lower
  • Social sites give fewer visitors, though they tend to stick around.

Mixing the two will be essential to your online success.

4 comments on Search Engine Traffic vs Social Traffic: Traffic Generation and Monetization

  1. Ben Yoskovitz
    May 16, 2007 at 11:05 pm (4915 days ago)

    Andrew – what social sites are you referring to that are sticky?

    There’s no question that getting relevant results can be tough through search engines, but given the volume of “noise” on social sites, I would expect the problem to be similar. And having seen the “digg effect” (uber tons of traffic from hitting the front page that drops off to almost “regular” levels in a few days) I’m not sure social sites do bring more stickiness.

  2. Andrew Wee
    May 17, 2007 at 4:01 pm (4914 days ago)

    Ben: Sticky social sites are ones where:
    -the members visit multiple times a day
    -are tightly focused on a niche
    -the members are intensely loyal

    There’re general social sites, and there’s sticky tightly-theme niche social sites.

    It’s the latter I’m refering to.

  3. Massive Traffic Report - Alex
    November 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm (4001 days ago)

    From my experience – social traffic is not very targeted. These people are searchers and browsers. I am sure it depends on a niche you are at, and for some niches it can truly be a goldmine. But many, many times I`ve found that other sources are much more profitable, and social traffic is not worth the effort.

    Of course, we all need to be socialize and there`s no business without it, but other activities for me and my business are much more worth the time and effort.

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