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Targeted Traffic is More Important than Ever!
In the early days of web development, business owners had learned the very expensive lesson that a Web site with no visitors is of little value. Once the business owner learned that methods could be utilized to increase their visibility through search engine optimization, it then became apparent that the traffic that really benefited them, was "targeted traffic." It only made sense that if you were selling a solution, the person who will buy the solution are the ones experiencing a problem or challenge. It also became obvious that the best products and services to sell online were niche or specialized markets. Large volumes of "general visitors" (general volume traffic) may have looked nice on a statistics report but only the truly "targeted visitors" (target traffic) were usually the visitors making purchases or doing business at the Web site.
While some search engine marketers were simply offering placement for keywords chosen by their client, other SEO's realized the value of researching keyword phrases and built strategies that were focused on attracting a specific target market. This is why you would sometimes hear conflicting stories about the effectiveness of search engine marketing. People often had their sites optimized for the wrong phrases. These might be keyword phrases that attracted no traffic all or perhaps even keywords that attracted high traffic but the wrong audience. If targeted traffic was important for success back then, it is absolutely essential that we optimize for targeted traffic now. The reason is that as the web continues to age, peoples behaviour appears to be shifting again.
Plan for the current shift in online visitor behavior
The early online consumer compared to today's average user was thriving on search engine use most of the time. They'd search out one site then search out another site and literally travel all over the place half of the time, unsure what they were even looking for. Back then people "surfed the net" but todays online consumer is not surfing as much. Today's online consumer is becoming educated much more quickly and a whole new trend of online branding is becoming more increasingly important according to a recent survey.
Volume traffic of any importance is decreasing.
A California-based research company (Websidestory) that measures Internet audiences, recently stated on Feb. 6 that "nearly 52 percent of Web surfers arrived at sites by direct navigation and bookmarks, compared with about 46 percent during the same period last year." Even compared to just last year, clearly more people KNOW where they want to go and are directly entering the web address into the browser.
What does this mean ? To me, it is a great indicator that people who have been online for a while, are developing business relationships. People just don'r need to "surf" as much because once customers start doing business online and they like the service, why should they change? If they are happy buying a product from www.barnesandnoble.com, are they not likely to go back and just type in the web address or use a bookmark? As the web continues to mature, watch and see if a whole new wave of branding does not become of major importance on the Web of the future. Businesses who have chosen domain names that are easy to remember and have some branding built in, may see some significant increase.
Advantages for Search Engine Optimizers
The latest trends in Web behavior spell opportunity for some search engine marketers. These will be those SEO's who realize that targeted traffic are now (and really have always been) the only way to go. Someone recently asked me if I thought a decline in the use of search engines was bad news for the search engine optimization industry. I believe there will always be a need for good search engines. More and more, people will remember their favorite URL but this means that top placement and accurate relevancy will also be needed more than ever before. People searching the net don't care so much for paid ads, they want relevant search results. This is not to say that bid for placement search engines don't have some advantages, because they do.
SEOs who are going only after old fashioned, non-targeted general "volume traffic" (just big numbers with no target audience), things are about to become much quieter, as more online consumers KNOW where they want to go.
However, for those SEO professionals who really know their craft, the "targeted traffic strategy" can still render pure gold to the Web site owner and these are the times when top relevancy mixed with a targeted strategy should place those search engine marketers in the know, in even higher demand. High and accurate search engine relevancy for any online business Web site, counts more than it ever has before.
About The Author
John Alexander is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with Robin Nobles. Together, they teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe. John also teaches online search engine marketing courses through http://www.onlinewebtraining.com, and he's a member of Wordtracker's official question support team.
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