Almost fooled you on the headline to this post, the fact is, traffic is the objective and with the proper SEO, it is the result; but not all traffic converts which is why you need to know how, when and why to build a better funnel.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, similarly segmenting user intent and commercial viability from leisure time and tangential surfing presents two different opportunities and pitfalls depending on which side you are on as a publisher.
Not all traffic comes in the front door; sometime people find your website from:
- Links on other websites
- Image search
- Video search
- Search engines
The same consumer with different moods can use any or all of these, depending on their intention, however, the page with the most relevance to mirror their intent at that time is the page that wins the click through for that round.
As an example, while searching for motorcycle video games, I found this image.
As a motorcycle enthusiast, it immediately appealed to my inner sense of appeal within seconds and transformed immediately into an emotional stance of “wow, I want one” meaning, I deviated from a passive viewer and shifted into an active purchase mode within seconds. Ironic how easy it is to abandon a fleeting impulse for a different flavor of intent, particularly if the original impulse was nebulous.
At that point, the article was secondary to the original flavor of emotion I drifted in on and the new sense of elation quickly quelled any sense of wasted time or deviation I may have experienced.
There is a fine balance between promotion and overkill and I must say, they nailed it perfectly at http://technabob.com/blog/2008/04/25/the-uno-motorcyle-meets-segway/ which segues (no tens inpunded) into the next point.
Viral Content and Commercialism
A good editor knows the value of stickiness (user engagement) once a visitor arrives and there is a way to balance advertising, contextual ads and social media using related topics after the main course has been devoured.
In this instance the dessert was the image at the lower portion of the post with a snappy headline “more cool stuff you might like” and an image of an attractive model riding a contraption that looked like something straight out of I-robot (below).
Once you’re on a click-tangent time is often irrelevant and the impulsive urge to explore can encourage frequent diversions. In this instance, the image and product looks equally as appealing as the original post I had already enjoyed, so the clicking the editorial link was only natural.
Here is where things get interesting, we often associate SEO with specific keywords, but the ultimate objective of SEO is to transcend individual keywords and when authority develops the domain can rank for virtually any content contained within its pages.
So, the cross-over between contextual advertising, social media positioning and search can triangulate depending on the circumstances.
A user may conduct a completely unrelated search, go on a brief click-tangent and arrive at your website (indirectly) or see something along the way from another website, conduct a search and then find your ideal page positioned accordingly (click and convert).
The gist being that, you can never underestimate exposure but you can optimize beyond your scope through tactful positioning and / or advertising.
Conversion & Monetization Scenarios
Scenario A: As a webmaster, the value of a traffic spike can be leveraged and monetized. Asynchronous spikes (multiple posts going hot deliberately) are even better, but in this instance I could have:
- Positioned advertisements for the Segue (to a dealer) and turned a profit
- Found affiliate programs for the Segue and delivered the consumer to a lead-capture landing page when they were intent on the product to be informed when the product was available, or
- Encouraged them to promote the story via social media (to increase exposure and increase the possibility of motivated buyers) as social media can rank highly in search engines due to the authority of sites like Digg.com, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Scenario B: After assessing the strength of the barrage, if the numbers looked appealing, I may go and set up a website based on the topic (using a keyword-rich domain) and optimize it for a very specific array of search phrases related to the topic.
This way, when the topic matures and there are consumers searching with commercial intent to purchase, I would already be one step ahead of the Johny come lately types, trying to play catch up in the search engine result pages.
As stated previously, not all traffic converts – but to add an addendum to that phrase, I would add “under the wrong circumstances”; the real key is knowing how to create “the right circumstances” and build a bigger funnel than your competitors who may have left money on the table from not assessing the proper angle.
The advantage of SEO is you can use other sponsored methodologies and tactics to measure traffic levels from assessing alternate traffic sources as a barometer to measure consumer intent and how dynamic a trend / demand is for a particular product or service.
For example, by using a PPC bid price, you can ascertain validity (if the price is low, there is low demand, if the price is exorbitant, there is fierce demand or a high payout) and reverse engineer the keywords driving the traffic to the most active bidder using tools such as SpyFu.com and others.
Then, armed with your knowledge of SEO you can create a better mouse-trap (authority or niche site) laden with all of the keywords based on the central semantic theme for that products holistic online conversation.
If and when you cross the tipping point based on mid-tail keywords and search modifiers, the money you save from not having to advertise to acquire traffic allows you to (a) offer the site for ads to others who have a need for visibility (b) build your own list from offering incentives or (c) become an affiliate to generate passive income as a result of your websites topical theme.
So, there is no need to make people do anything other than what they would naturally, it’s all about building the points of interest that allow them to express themselves when “they want to” by positioning your product, website or service to the most receptive prospect, when they need it – and that is the premise of SEO.