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What You Should Know But Probably Don't

"9 out of 10 websites won't survive on free search traffic so they need to do more with the visitors they already get and can't afford to have design flaws."

Tony Simpson

In 2009 I published a report showing why a website had to be in the top 10% of sites on Google to get enough search traffic to survive.

The calculations were based on the number of web pages in Google’s database and visitor data from Alexa's traffic ranking tool.

This meant 90% or 9 out of 10 websites known to Google don’t get enough free search traffic to survive as a web business. Other reports I have read put this nearer 95%.

Today, Google continues to stack the deck against the small website, favouring instead the large website and the trusted corporate brand name sites.

These large businesses have resources and money to dominate a market to an extent the small web business owner will find it virtually impossible to compete with.

For the small business website the answer used to be to concentrate on a niche market. Today that has become a niche within a niche, sub-niches and sub-sub-niches. The problem with these small niches is they don’t get much search traffic.

 

The Long Tail

Another solution was to concentrate on the so-called long-tail keywords to get a little traffic across a wide range of long-tail keyword terms.

But then Google struck another death blow to many small and medium sized websites in what became known as the MayDay update of May 2010.

Websites targeting long-tailed keywords reported as much as 50% drops in visitor traffic almost overnight.

The update was meant to remove low quality content from Google's search results that was targeting 'long tail' terms. It should have been a fantastic update, improving the quality of the search results, but it wasn't, or so it seems.

Many sites hit by Google’s MadDay, weren't bad at all
but had high levels of unique and original content.

An analysis of ten high quality websites of mine confirmed the impact of this Google update. An average 20% of traffic was lost across all 10 sites in May and it stayed that way on most. In fact on some sites search traffic fell for several months.

And this was on websites on which I had NOT targeted long-tail keywords and where there was good 90% original content.

Not only did traffic fall by 20% but thanks to Google's update visitor bounce rate increased on average by about 10%.

Google in their wisdom were now sending visitor traffic which was less relevant than it was before, causing the higher bounce rate. My site visitors clearly felt Google got it wrong

It's clear, small business websites can no longer thrive
or prosper by expecting more free search traffic from Google

 

Website Design - Now More Important Than Ever

A website with 1,000’s of visitors a day can afford to put visitors off with links that don’t work, pages that don’t exist and bad site design that converts poorly.

With less visitors the small business website does not have this luxury and must do more with every visitor it gets.

This means NOT turning away visitors through bad links or poor site design and being much more focused on site conversion rates.

Website owners still make the big mistake of
being obsessed with getting more search traffic
instead of getting more out of traffic they already get

Too many website owners are also completely unaware their website has major flaws and problems that need fixing. And site owners place far too much trust in webmasters to design them a good performing website.

 

Did you get a Guarantee from your Web Designer ?

By this I mean guaranteed to attract enough targeted visitors and convert enough of those visitors into buyers to make your online business viable.

I would bet you didn’t get a guarantee, especially if you paid from nothing to $50 per page, or created it yourself from templates.

What a site owner should know but usually doesn’t are:

  1. A website has a 1 in 10 chance of surviving on free search traffic from Google.
  2. Niche marketing is now sub-niche marketing and suffers from even lower visitor traffic.
  3. The long-tailed keyword is no longer the saviour for getting more traffic from Google.
  4. The small website has to do more with the visitors it gets.
  5. The small website can no longer afford to have design flaws.

For the site owner little can be done about the first three items, but they can do something about items 4 and 5.

Item 4
Requires optimizing a website to direct visitors to key landing pages and improve the conversion rate of those landing pages.

Item 5
Requires an audit of the website to determine the major design problems and weaknesses that cause the site to under-perform.

To your Success
Website Auditor
Tony Simpson
Website Audit Expert

 

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Tony Simpson provides website optimization and conversion improvement advice to site owners using a website audit.
The recommendations in the audit can be used to make a website more people and search engine friendly, resulting in increased traffic and sales.
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