If you’re just looking for a face value answer to “direct traffic vs organic traffic”, then organic traffic is any traffic that comes from search engines and is earned, not paid. Direct traffic is any traffic that does not come from a referring website.
Most people think of direct traffic as visitors physically typing your URL into their web browser, but there’s a little bit more to it than that. If you want to dig deeper and learn where all of your traffic is really coming from, keep reading.
To really get a handle on the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference, it’s worth it to understand how all of your websites’ traffic sources are classified by analytics tools like HubSpot or Google Analytics.
Types of Traffic Sources
Most website analytic tools will organize your traffic sources into the following categories:
Direct Traffic — As we mentioned, direct traffic is categorized as traffic that does not come from a referring website. If traffic is coming from an unknown source, it will likely be categorized as direct traffic as well.
Organic Traffic — Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site from a search engine, but that isn’t paid for. Any organic traffic is going to be a result of your inbound marketing and SEO efforts.
Paid Search Traffic — Paid search traffic is any traffic that comes from a paid search campaign you’ve launched on a search engine like Google or Bing.
Social Traffic — Any traffic that comes from a social media website, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Email Traffic — If you are properly tagging your email campaigns with email parameters, any traffic that arrives to your site from an email will show up as email traffic.
Referral Traffic — Traffic that comes to your website from any other website that is not a social media platform or a search engine. Someone clicking over from a backlink on another blog would be considered referral traffic.
Other — If you have any traffic that doesn’t fit into the above categories, or has been specifically tagged as “other”, it will fall into this traffic category
Now that we have a clear understanding of all of the different types of traffic sources, let’s dive into two of the most important: direct traffic and organic traffic. We’re going to start with direct traffic because honestly, it’s a little complicated.
Understanding Direct Traffic
Direct traffic is supposed to be any traffic that’s coming directly to your site. That means anyone typing your URL into their web browser or clicking to your site from a bookmarked link. Unfortunately, direct traffic really isn’t as clear cut as that.
Well, browsers don’t always report where visitors arrived from when they make it to a website. If your analytics tool can’t figure out where traffic comes from, they just assume it’s direct traffic. Since that visitor doesn’t have a referral, your analytics don’t know where they came from, and they automatically dump them into the direct traffic bucket.
Why Do I Care If My Direct Traffic Is Miscategorized?
Does it really matter that a bunch of your traffic isn’t being properly categorized? What’s the point of knowing where your traffic is coming from, and doing all that work to minimize false “direct traffic” visitors?
The answer is data.
Any digital marketer knows that the best way to improve marketing tactics and draw in more qualified leads is to first know where your leads are coming from, and why.
If you can’t figure out where much of your direct traffic is coming from, you’re missing out on a big marketing opportunity. You can’t see what keywords those visitors are clicking over from or what terms they’re searching for.
So where is my direct traffic actually coming from?
If your direct traffic isn’t really direct, then what is it? Well, the internet isn’t perfect. To give your website analytics tool the proper referrals for every site visit, every little aspect of a link has to be in perfect shape, and that just doesn’t always happen. That said, here are a few specific reasons you might be seeing really high direct traffic numbers:
If you haven’t yet secured your site, you have an HTTP site. That means you won’t see tracking on any visitors coming from a secure, HTTPS, site. This is a function of the secure protocol, and it’s actually a fairly easy fix.
You just need a third-party SSL certificate, and you can update your site to be secure. Then, you’ll see all the referral information you need from visitors coming to your site from other secure websites.
Bad Redirects & Missing or Broken Tracking Codes
Another big culprit for unnecessary direct traffic is that something’s not working on your end. Maybe you forgot to put in the tracking code on a new landing page.
Anyone who clicks through from that landing page to another page on your site will appear to Google Analytics as a new user when they hit that second page. To Google, it seems like you’ve self-referred your own visitor. When that happens and your domain has been excluded, Google will automatically dump that visit in the direct traffic bucket. The same thing happens if your tracking codes fail or break.
Bad redirects can also be to blame, in a similar way. If you’re using anything other than SEO best practices for your redirects, you run the risk of UTM parameters being stripped out. Complex redirect chains can wipe referrer data, contributing to more direct traffic for you.
Traffic from Mobile Apps, Desktop Software, and Some Email Clients
Unfortunately, sometimes there’s just no way to avoid direct traffic that really isn’t direct. Many mobile apps, desktop software programs, and some email clients, like Outlook just don’t pass on referring information.
You can tell if you’re having an issue with email if you see a spike in direct traffic right after you send out a big email campaign, but it can be difficult to identify traffic coming from mobile apps and desktop software.
Legit Direct Traffic
And sometimes, some of your direct traffic really is direct. Maybe you wrote an awesome blog that people keep bookmarking, or maybe you have a great reputation in your area and people just navigate directly to your site.
If you haven’t blocked your employee’s IP addresses, you could be getting direct traffic in your analytics from them navigating to the website. Direct traffic is an actual traffic source, so it’s important to remember that some of your direct traffic visitors can really be navigating right to you.
There are a variety of contributors to unnecessary direct traffic. While these are the most common and the easiest to identify, you can still see direct traffic coming from offline sources, people sharing your site through direct messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, and more.
While you can’t address all of these instances, there are a few you can fix, so that you’re getting the best possible information about your site visitors, what they want, and where they’re coming from.
How Can I Address Miscategorized Direct Traffic?
Moz has a really great Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics that shows you not only how to figure out where your direct traffic is coming from, but also how to fix it. Head over there for some detailed specific principles to follow to fix any concerns you have with direct traffic. For now, two of the best ways to make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to manage unnecessary direct traffic are:
Make Sure Your Site is HTTPS. If your site still has an HTTP web address, you’re going to be missing out on referrals that could tell you a lot about your site visitors. Migrating to an HTTPS site will ensure that you can track referral traffic as best possible, and it has the added benefit of helping you keep up with the future of the web.
Master Campaign Tagging. You can only control what you can control when it comes to direct traffic. You can’t control browsers coming from mobile apps or from sites that aren’t HTTPS. You can control your campaign tagging. The better you are at tagging your campaigns, the better analytics you’ll see from those new site visitors. Again, check with Moz for an in-depth how-to here.
Now that we’ve cleared up what direct traffic is and is not, we can get to organic traffic, which in my opinion, is much less complicated. Remember that some of your direct traffic might be organic traffic that just doesn’t have the proper referral information. If you’re still not sure how that works, take a look at this study by SearchEngineLand.
Understanding Organic Traffic
As we’ve talked about before, organic traffic is any traffic coming to your site from search engines that has not been influenced by any paid advertising. Not sure what that looks like? Check out our Anatomy of a SERP for a visual guide to where your organic traffic is coming from.
How do I get organic traffic?
Organic traffic is generated by your ranking on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks for search terms related to your company, the more organic traffic you’re going to see. Most inbound marketing tactics and strategies are founded on the goal of increasing search engine rankings to drive more organic traffic.
What’s the Biggest Difference Between Direct and Organic Traffic?
The biggest difference between direct and organic traffic really has to do with user intent. When you have a lot of organic traffic, that means that you’re doing a good job of developing your digital presence to cater to search engines. You’re ranking highly for specific search terms, which is driving more traffic to your website. When you have a lot of direct traffic, you’re either suffering from some of the issues we mentioned above, or you have a ton of brand awareness in your industry.
For example, let’s say you’re searching for running shoes. If you’re ready to make a decision and are super loyal to Nike shoes, you’re going to type in Nike.com in your web browser and make a purchase. That’s a great example of quality direct traffic.
If you’re not sure what shoes are right for you — let’s say you’re new to running or aren’t particularly fond of Nike shoes, you’re going to type into a Google search, “best running shoes for beginners.” When you click on one of the top results that isn’t an ad, you are organic traffic for that website.
For any marketer or website owner, it’s important to understand the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference. We hope this blog helped you identify key differences between the two, and gave you a bit of context behind some of the issues with direct traffic. If you have more questions about analyzing your website’s traffic sources, be sure to get in touch with the team at Evenbound. Our SEO experts are happy to answer any questions you might have.
If you’re looking at your website traffic for the month and are disappointed by it, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter what your product, service, or industry, there are things that you can start doing today to boost web traffic to your site.
These 5 strategies are proven to boost web traffic and can help you turn around those disappointing numbers.
Write More Content
More isn’t always better, except that it is, especially when it comes to content on your website. The equation is simple: more content = more keywords used = more opportunities for searchers to find you.
We can complicate that a little by adding that your search engine ranking will increase the more you use keywords in unique instances in your content (i.e., the more blogs and pages you have on a subject, the higher your ranking for the related keywords).
But aren’t people’s attention spans shrinking? I thought no one read anymore?
Here’s the deal: people aren’t necessarily reading all of your content. They’re skimming it. The more content you have, the more they’re going to get out of it, since they’re only seeing and digesting less than a third of the words on the page.
Plus, it establishes authority for your organization—the more you have to say about something, the more it seems like you know what you’re talking about.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media is one of the best tools for reaching potential customers and leads. Everyone (or nearly everyone) is using at least one form of social media, if not several.
For those reasons alone, not to mention the advertising, sharing, and engagement capabilities of these platforms, social media is a critical part of any digital strategy, and for increasing traffic to your website.
So, first of all, have a social media presence on all of the platforms that are relevant to your industry, whether that be LinkedIn and Twitter or Instagram and Houzz. Ensure that your website URL is in your bio (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) or in the designated profile field (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Houzz) so that people can find it.
You should also be using your social media to promote your content. Share your blog posts across your social media channels so that followers and their followers can read, like, and share them. You can also refer users to relevant content when they have questions about your company, products, or services. Those shares will bring users directly to your content on your site, boosting traffic.
Use Mobile-Friendly Design
Mobile-friendly design or mobile-responsive design is web design that accommodates different types of devices and different screen sizes, as well as the differences in the way that internet users interact with websites on different devices.
A website with mobile-friendly design will have pages that adapt to various screen sizes, ensuring that design elements and text scale to the appropriate size for the screen they’re displayed on and that text, buttons, menus, etc. are readable and usable.
Additionally, internet users searching on mobile are going to have different behavior than those using computers. They’re less likely to read long content (scrolling thumb is realllll) and they’re also less likely to complete long forms.
So, you may want to consider how your content presents to the mobile user, as well as shortening or autofilling forms.
Over 60 percent of searches are performed on mobile devices, and, according to HubSpot, 63 percent of people expect a mobile-responsive website design. What this means is that website visitors want to view your site on their tablets and smartphones. If they can’t, you’re going to lose their attention and they’ll navigate away from your site.
More to the point though, mobile-friendly design is crucial if you want to boost web traffic. Why?
The answer won’t surprise you: Google’s algorithm.
Since 2015, Google has been using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile searches. In 2016, Google began mobile-first indexing, meaning that rather than the desktop version of sites being what the algorithm uses to determine the value of the content to the user, mobile pages are indexed first.
People are using Google all day, every day, everywhere.
That means that people, all day, every day, everywhere are seeing Google ads. And that’s why they work.
Google ads are a simple, comprehensive, and targeted way to reach your desired markets and direct them to your website and landing pages. Whether through paid search or the Google Display Network, Google ads can drive traffic to your website.
Write Guest Blogs
Guest blogging is the practice of writing blog posts that are featured on other blogs in your field or industry.
You might be thinking, Why should I write content for someone else’s blog and boost their SEO and web traffic when I could post it on my blog?
Well, guest blogging:
Builds credibility—By being invited or allowed to guest blog, you’re having other industry professionals vouch for your knowledge and experience.
Reaches new audiences—The site you’re guest blogging for might have a greater or slightly different audience than your blog, and by writing a guest blog, you’re reaching a new audience for whom your products and services are relevant.
Gets your site a link—The site you’re guest blogging for is going to include some information about you, the guest blogger, and your organization. This will include a link to your site (or it should!). Google takes into account the number of inbound links to your site in search engine ranking, and higher search engine rankings equal more web traffic.
Doesn’t preclude similar content on your own site—Obviously, you can’t just copy one of your existing blogs and send it to another site as a guest blog, or they’ll get penalized for duplicate content. But what you can do is write on the same subject as a guest blog you wrote on your own site. Make sure the wording and formatting are fresh, but the ideas conveyed can be reimagined and posted.
More content to promote on social media—just because it’s not on your blog doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it through your social channels. Your followers may find the content interesting and useful and choose to engage with it and with your company.
While you’re at it, you should have guest bloggers on your blog as well. The benefits of guest bloggers on your site include:
Building credibility by linking to other, credible industry professionals
More content and unique instances of keywords
Outbound links to reputable, relevant sites
Social sharing of the content by the author, amplifying your social media activity
Tried everything and still not seeing a traffic boost? Let’s chat. Inbound marketing is our thing, and we’re experts at driving the right, qualified traffic. We’d love to see how we can help.
Even if you don’t know what the term inbound marketing KPIs means, you probably already know what they are. Here in the inbound marketing world, KPI is short for Key Performance Indicators. You might just know them as metrics. Tomato, tomahto.
Just kidding — it doesn’t really matter what you call them, so long as you use them.
Inbound marketing KPIs, or metrics, provide your best estimate of success. They tell you how well your marketing efforts are working and what results they’re producing. They can also tell you where your marketing strategy could use work.
While there are dozens of KPIs to measure depending on what your marketing, sales, and growth goals are, here are a few of the KPIs that every team with an inbound marketing strategy should be keeping track of:
#1 Qualified Leads
You want leads. Who doesn’t?
But, not all leads are created equal. There are leads you’re actually interested in — leads who are a great fit for your product or service. And there are leads you’re not interested in — leads who aren’t a good price fit, don’t really need your product, or who aren’t ready to buy.
The qualified leads KPI tells you exactly how many qualified leads you’re getting. Sounds basic, but qualified leads vs. plain ol’ leads is key.
Even if your campaign is seeing a relatively low number of leads, but all of those leads are highly qualified and likely to close, then you know you’re doing something right.
That’s a much better sign of an effective campaign than one that delivers a ton of leads who never convert into prospects or sales.
#2 Organic Traffic
Inbound marketing is built (loosely) on an “if you build it, they will come” mindset. At its core, the inbound marketing methodology believes that if you are putting out the right, helpful content that speaks to your target audience and that is optimized for the way your consumers search, then you will draw in the right leads.
Organic traffic is one of the best inbound marketing KPIs to measure your website’s success in drawing in the right people.
The organic traffic KPI is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s been around for a while because it’s relatively easy to track, it’s straightforward, and it can tell you a lot. The higher your organic traffic rate, the more your content is resonating with the right people. When you have a high organic traffic number, you know that your content marketing strategy is working to 1) place you ahead of the competition in search rankings, and 2) speak to your ideal audience.
And when you’re drawing in big numbers of organic traffic, it means you’re getting a whole bunch of leads without paying for them. Major win.
#3 Social Media Traffic
Social media traffic is also a great inbound marketing KPI to watch because it can help you figure out which platforms are best to focus your efforts on.
These days, there are tons of social media platforms. They’re all great for engaging new potential clients and keeping your existing clients in your inbound marketing flywheel. But, not every social media channel works for every company or industry.
By monitoring the traffic coming to your website from social media, you can determine:
Which channels are driving the most traffic and the most leads to your site
How many conversions you’re seeing through social media channels
How much website traffic is coming to your website from social media
This inbound marketing KPI helps you determine which channels are delivering the most qualified visitors who stick around and tend to read your content or convert into leads. And when you know that Facebook is the one delivering you 15 new leads every month, while Pinterest has delivered none, you can invest more money in your Facebook strategy, and forget about Pinterest for now. That’s marketing optimization at its finest.
If inbound marketing is your focus, the time-on-site KPI is an important one to keep track of. Again, the point of inbound marketing is to teach and engage new potential clients and qualified leads with content that solves their pain points and answers their questions.
The time-on-site KPI tells you how much engagement your content is getting.
If you have a long average time-on-site, then your visitors are browsing around. They’re reading your content and navigating deeper into your website.
A short time-on-site is a good indication that it’s time to change something up. Consider adding a different image or a different content offer on your front page. Change up your calls-to-action and make sure you’re really working to answer the questions your ideal buyer is asking the most.
Time-on-page is just as important as time-on-site. Though it might sound obvious, the time-on-page metric measures how long a site visitor spends on a particular page of your website.
This is an especially useful metric if you’ve been working to incorporate pillar pages, or are working on developing longer-form content.
It’s not easy to get readers in the digital age to stick around for long, so when you start to see pages with lengthy time-on-page metrics, you’ll know your content marketing strategy is working.
#6 Bounce Rate
On the opposite side of the time-on-page coin, you have bounce rate. As an inbound marketing KPI, bounce rate means what percentage of people make it to a page on your site and bounce right off, or navigate away immediately.
The bounce rate metric is useful for everything from a web design standpoint to understanding if your landing pages are working properly.
If you have a high bounce rate, your visitors probably aren’t resonating with the particular page they’re being sent to.
Are they bouncing off of a landing page? Consider taking out some of the required fields on your form. Maybe tighten up the content a little, and take away the navigation bar.
High bounce rate on a piece of content? Your hook might not be strong enough, or your content might not seem like it’s offering enough information. Add in an exciting first paragraph, make sure you have plenty of eye-grabbing, but informational headers, and check to make sure that your content is actually saying something.
High bounce rate on your home page? Maybe you’re not being clear enough about what you do. Consider changing up your headers, adding in new visual elements like images or video, and see if that KPI starts to improve.
#7 Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is one of those KPIs you hear about all. the. time.
That’s because it can tell you quite a lot about your inbound marketing strategy.
Like bounce rate, conversion rate is used in a variety of contexts. It can be used when talking about a landing page, about an ad, or even about how many site visitors convert into leads.
That could be downloading a content offer, clicking over to your site from an ad, or even closing on a sale.
No matter what version of the conversion rate metric we’re talking about, it’s always important to track, because it tells you how effective your campaign is.
If your weekly newsletter has a high number of content offer conversions, for example, that shows that you’re doing a great job of nurturing those email subscribers closer to a sale.
If your landing page has a low conversion rate, that might be a sign that what you’re offering isn’t attractive enough, or that you’re asking too much in return for what you’re offering.
Conversion rates are always important to follow because they tell you more than just how many people are seeing an ad or a page or a content offer. They tell you how many people are actually interacting with that item. And engaged visitors are leads.
#8 Customer Acquisition Cost
Your customer acquisition cost KPI is a measurement of how much it actually costs your company to acquire a new customer. For most companies, it’s more expensive to pick up a new client than it is to retain an old one. But your customer acquisition cost (CAC) can tell you more than that.
It can also tell you if your marketing strategy is effective. If you’re spending thousands of dollars on Facebook and Google Ads, but you’re only bringing in one or two new customers, then you’ve got a pretty high CAC, and it’s probably time to change something up.
For example, if your outbound marketing strategy isn’t converting at the right CAC, you might want to invest more heavily in inbound marketing.
Your CAC can also be used to help calculate the overall ROI of your marketing campaign. We’ll talk more about that later, but read this blog about Calculating Marketing ROI for more info.
#9 Lifetime Value of A Customer
Just as your CAC tells you how much it costs to acquire a customer, the Lifetime Value of a Customer tells you how much you earn from a customer over the term of their engagement with you. To figure out the overall value of a customer, check out the following equation:
(Amount of average sale per customer) x (Average number of times a customer buys per year) x (Average retention time for a typical customer (whether that’s a year, a month, or more))
Typically, the lifetime value of the customer shows you how important it is to keep nurturing leads, even after they’ve closed on a sale. On average, most companies find that it’s more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to retain consistent business with an existing client.
#10 Return on Investment
Return on Investment (ROI) is the KPI that everyone wants to know. We probably don’t have to tell you that you need to be tracking it, because who isn’t?
But, we do have to include it on this list because it truly is one of the most telling inbound marketing KPIs that exists.
This is an important metric if you’re trying to convince your boss that inbound marketing is legit, but it’s equally important after you start using inbound marketing.
The ROI metric tells you when your efforts are paying off, and when you might be spending too much on an effort that’s not performing.
Let’s say, for example, you still take out a Yellow Pages ad. That costs you a few hundred dollars each time you place the ad. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you never get any referrals from that Yellow Pages ad. In this situation, there is virtually no ROI. You’re spending money on a marketing effort that isn’t returning any revenue.
So, you see that your Yellow Pages ad isn’t working out. You decide to take the money you would’ve spent on that ad, and use it to hire a content writer to start your blog. After a few months, you have a ton of leads calling in, and they’re all referencing information they saw on your blog.
When you close on some of those sales, for more than you spent on the content writer, you have a positive ROI.
In the end, if you’ve got a great ROI percentage, then you know your marketing strategy is working. If you’re spending more than you’re making, or if you’re not seeing a great return on your marketing strategy, it’s probably time for a change.
As you probably know, there are way more than just 10 inbound marketing KPIs to track. But, if you’re just getting started with the inbound methodology, these 10 are some of the most important, and the easiest to make sense of.
If you’d like to learn about more inbound marketing KPIs you can track to better optimize your marketing strategy, or if you’re interested in an inbound marketing agency, let us know. We can help you determine which KPIs make the most sense for your goals, and we’d be happy to explain a little bit more about the inbound marketing methodology, too.
If you’ve ever used the internet, you’ve seen a SERP.
SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the pages that return a list of web pages in response to a query you enter into the search engine. You’ve seen them on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even Ask Jeeves, if you’ve been on the internet for a while.
For the most part, we as consumers don’t give SERPs a second thought. They return the answers and the web pages we’re looking for — so we get on with our day. But as digital marketers, SERPs play a huge role in everything we do.
We need to know how SERPs work, so we can optimize our strategies to get on the first page as much a possible. So, whether you’re new to digital marketing, or are looking for some insight about ranking highly on SERPs, this blog will offer a complete breakdown of the anatomy of a SERP. We’ll tell you what everything is, how it got there, and what that means for you as a marketer. Let’s get started with a basic query anyone might type in:
Let’s say you entered “how to open a coconut” in Google’s search bar.
You’ll end up with a page like this after you hit the enter button. This is your SERP.
It’s a list of results a search engine has pulled together to offer you the best possible answer to your question. Let’s look a little closer at this particular page because it’s returned some interesting results.
The first thing you see on this SERP is the “snippet” Google has published at the very top of the page.
What is a Snippet?
A snippet is a piece of content that a search engine pulls off of a webpage in an attempt to answer the user’s query immediately.
Usually, a snippet comes from one of the first page SERP results. Let’s take a closer look at this snippet:
This is an example of excellent SEO at work. Food Network is obviously a huge platform with tons of ranking authority, but they’ve done a good job of optimizing for this specific query by titling their page “how to break down a coconut.”
Google recognizes that this page title is very similar to my query, and thus returns Food Network’s short, one paragraph answer in a snippet.
This is a big win for Food Network. A first-page ranking and a snippet callout will drive major traffic to their site, especially for a common search query like this one. (This specific query is searched about 14,800 times a month.)
Suggested Queries, or “People Also Ask”
Next up on the SERP, you’ll see Google’s suggested queries based on the one you just entered. If you’re not seeing the answers you wanted, you can choose one of those other questions, and the dropdown will offer up a different snippet.
These “people also ask” suggested query snippets are great places to get ideas for blog posts that will rank well, and they’re a wonderful place to rank. For example, HealthfulPursuit took advantage of the key phrase “opening a coconut in 7 simple steps.”
They rank highly for that specific key phrase, and since it’s a very targeted phrase — telling people how to open a coconut, step by step — they’re going to see qualified traffic. Any consumer who didn’t find enough information in the first snippet Google provided can scroll a little further down the page to find a perfect breakdown about opening a coconut.
Finally, you’ll see the rest of the results on the SERP. All of the videos and the suggested web pages displayed are organic results for this query.
You might notice something odd about this SERP. Can you guess what it is?
There aren’t any ads.
It’s likely that “how to open a coconut” is just too general a search term for any company to spend money on. It doesn’t signal any buyer intent and actually shows that the consumer probably already has a coconut. They just need help opening it. There’s little incentive for anyone to buy anything here unless you had a coconut-specific machete company, I guess.
Let’s look at the SERP for my query, “where to buy a coconut,” instead.
This is a search query with significantly more intent. I searched “where to buya coconut”, which signals to Google that I might be interested in actually buying a coconut. So, this SERP looks much different than the previous query.
I’ve only included the top part of the first page on purpose, to call out: 1) the ads, and 2) the local search results.
Search Engine Ads
We’ve all seen Google Ads before. It’s not really a revelation, but it is important to see how ads show up in SERPs if you’re considering making paid advertising a part of your outbound marketing strategy.
Because this a perfect example of how search engine advertising works, and how you can do it well. Google Ads appear at the top of SERPs and display the products most relevant to the user’s query.
If you want to have ads that appear first on relevant pages like this, it’s important to consider the users’ intent when bidding on keywords, and make sure that every phrase you bid on is relevant to what you’re offering.
The last component of SERPs I’m going to talk about today is local search. Though local search results do appear under ads, they tend to get the most clicks, no matter what.
They’re specifically relevant to each unique user. When I searched “where to buy coconuts” Google offered me results that were close to my immediate proximity.
This is important for you if you have a brick and mortar business that encourages foot traffic.
If you do, you should make sure you’ve claimed your business on search engines, and work hard to boost your website’s SEO so that you’re ranking well for local search results like these. The more Google associates you with your location, the more you’ll show up organically for relevant searches in your area. (Want to know more about local search? We got you.)
SERPs are an integral component of any digital marketing strategy. You need to know how they work, so you can leverage them for the best traffic, whether it’s from paid or organic search results. We hope this little guide gives you a bit more insight into the anatomy of a SERP. If you’ve still got questions, we’re here to help!
Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And if you’re looking for more digital marketing support, just let us know. We’d love to offer any advice or guidance you need to grow your business and your brand.
Before we get started, I promise we’re not throwing shade. We love designers, and we know that a beautiful website goes a long way to establishing authority and building trust in any business. That said, what makes a good website is not design.
What makes a good website is functionality.
When it comes to digital marketing (which is what you’re doing if you’re building a website) your website is a tool. It matters that it looks good, but what’s more important is that it functions as a tool — driving new traffic and leads to your company, and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals.
So, if your website is a digital market tool, then what makes a good website? Here are a few of the key components that add up to a quality website that will work for you, even when you’re off the clock:
If you learn only one thing from this blog, please let it be this: DO NOT have a developer custom-build you a website from the ground up.
Yes, they can do it. And yes, it might be a wonderful website.
It will never compete with the searchability and support that a more traditional CMS (Content Management System) can offer.
A developer might be able to design you a fantastic custom website. The problem is that if it’s custom-built, and doesn’t make use of a convenient, sustainable CMS, when that developer leaves for a new job, retires, or wins the lottery, it will be very difficult to change or update your website. With a custom-built site, only the developer will know how the site works, is built, and how changes can be made, which means your site is now effectively dead in the water.
Beyond that, CMSs offer some very attractive benefits, like SEO ranking power, immediate translation, security, and more.
Let’s back up for one second — what is a CMS?
A CMS or content management system is an application that allows you to publish and manage content on the web.
You’ve heard of WordPress? What about Joomla or Drupal?
You don’t have to choose WordPress, but you should use a reputable CMS to build and manage your website. Why?
A CMS supports a variety of website templates, it should include intuitive publishing and content management options, it allows you to easily format your website content however you please, and it’s customizable. Essentially, it’s the first building block of a quality website. It’s the foundation that your excellent website will be built on, which is why you need to choose a quality one to start with.
A CMS helps you keep your website secure, and it makes it sustainable. Choosing a reputable CMS is investing in the future of your website. The CMS will always be there, and it will always be simple to update, change, and alter as your business grows and changes too.
Mobile Responsive and Quick Load Time
Your website has to keep up. If users have to wait for your site to load, or if they can’t view it on their phones while they’re in line at the sandwich shop, you don’t have a good website.
Start by choosing a website theme that’s mobile responsive. Mobile traffic makes up more than half of all the internet traffic around the world. Believe us when we say it’s important.
If your website automatically resizes to fit any screen, seamlessly, you never lose a potential client for something as silly as, “I couldn’t read your site.”
In the same vein, your website has to load quickly. More than 50% of web browsers will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load the landing page. That means, no matter how beautiful your website is, if your consumer can’t see it in 3 seconds or less, they’ll never see it.
It’s easier than you’d think to improve load time. One simple solution is to just minimize image sizes on your site. We use a plugin called Smush to optimize and compress all of the images on our site, ensuring that our site both looks good and loads quickly too.
We’ve gotten through most of the technical aspects of what makes a good website. For all intents and purposes, the thing is built. But now you have to get people to come to your website. Blogging is the first, easiest way to do that.
Any good website should have blogging capability. When you can publish blogs to your website, you can create a steady stream of content to draw new traffic in. A blog is important for a number of reasons:
Regular posts help you rank for strategic keywords
You can share your content on social media platforms, engaging more potential leads
Blog posts help you teach and delight new leads with quality, relevant content that draws them through the buyer’s funnel.
When your site is seeing regular, qualified traffic, you can convert that traffic with great content offers and landing pages, collecting contact information and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals. That all starts with your website’s blogging capability.
So, we’re making a good website that functions as a tool to convert leads and close deals, right? Right.
Well, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key factor for any good website’s functionality.
Search engine optimization is the process of, well, optimizing, your website to attract the right attention from search engines like Google. When Google knows your site exists, then it will share you with potential leads who have a relevant interest in what you’re selling.
A website that is SEO-friendly has:
Content that’s written for target keywords. (You should do some keyword research to figure out what those keywords are first)
On-page SEO, like site titles, title tags, social media sharing buttons, and more.
The point, for the purpose of this blog, is that SEO is another way to make sure your site is getting plenty of the right traffic. The more optimized your site, the more likely you are to see high-converting traffic that cares about what you have to say.
A Digital Marketing Platform
In the end, a good website is one that functions as your company’s digital marketing platform. It should be the hub for any digital marketing effort you make:
Digital ads should lead back to a landing page on your website
Social media posts encourage followers to check out your blog
SEO efforts bring new, qualified traffic into your website
Your blog converts new visitors into leads
Content offers convert those leads into sales opportunities
And if you’re looking for a little help building a website that delivers leads? Get in touch with the Evenbound team! We live and breathe website design for inbound marketing, and we’d be happy to offer up a few pointers to help you improve your site for better performance.
Last month, we talked about why inbound marketing matters for B2Bs, specifically industrial manufacturers, and in that post, how crucial it is for B2Bs to have digital content that is optimized for search (if you missed Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers, read it here). Your website is your company’s primary representation in the digital world, and it’s important that your content is optimized to best attract future customers.
In case your manufacturing page content could use a little love, here are a few tips to optimizing B2B page content for the clients you actually want:
Additionally, digital content has many more capabilities than print, including linking, embedding video, and searchability. These are all capabilities you should take advantage of, as interactive page elements like links and video work well to gain viewers’ attention.
How Do You Optimize Manufacturing Page Content?
Like all digital content, your website page content should use SEO principles, specifically, by including the keywords that relate to that page and your business. These should be words and phrases your ideal customers are typing in when they search for your products or services. (For more on why SEO matters for B2Bs, click here.)
But unlike blog posts, content offers, and other digital content, the purpose and tone depends upon the type of page:
Blogs and the like are primarily informative, used to refresh your site’s content, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and provide prospective customers with information they need about your product, service, or industry.
Website page content is also informative, but it’s more explicitly promotional—it informs prospective customers about your specific products and services, as well as your company itself. Your page content needs to tell website visitors what you do, what you sell, how you do it, and who you are, and you need to do it in a way that speaks to the kinds of customers you want to attract.
Check out how we’ve optimized our site for our target buyers: in the main navigation bar under “Who We Help” we have each of our client segments— Manufacturing & Industrial Marketing, Developer & Home Builder Marketing, and Professional Services & Small Business Marketing.
For each of those segments, we have page content that addresses how our inbound marketing and growth services will help clients in those industries meet and exceed their marketing and growth goals. These pages include links to relevant case studies, testimonials, and clients who are in the specific customer segment, to demonstrate our experience in the needs of the industry.