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.