+ Types of Traffic to Measure for Your Site
+ How to Increase Website Traffic Without SEO
+ What To Do If Your Website Traffic is Decreasing?
+ Driving Traffic With Content Marketing
+ Paid Traffic vs. Organic Traffic
+ Are Bing & Yahoo Worth Targeting for Organic Search?
For most online marketers, web traffic is everything. The more web traffic you can earn, the more visibility your products will get, the more conversions you’ll see, and the more revenue your company will get as a result. Content marketing, social media marketing, and other inbound marketing techniques are all developed as ways to increase this volume of traffic, but unless you have a way to objectively measure your increases and determine which strategies are effective for increasing them, you’ll be operating blind, with no real insight into what makes your campaigns tick.
There are four main types of traffic that will be coming to your website, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with all of them: direct traffic, referral traffic, organic traffic, and social traffic. By segmenting your efforts and measuring them against each other, you’ll be able to figure out the core strengths and weaknesses of your business and make the adjustments necessary to keep growing your revenue year after year.
Small business owners and new entrepreneurs sometimes invest in a marketing campaign, either in money or in time, without any formal plan for how to measure the results. Measuring your results, objectively, is the only way to improve your campaign in the future, and it’s the only way to measure your return on investment (ROI), so you can know exactly how profitable your campaign is. For example, if your traffic is growing slowly but your ROI is exceptionally high, you’ll know to invest more money into your campaign, and you’ll grow faster as a result. If your ROI is dwindling and your traffic patterns are unpredictable, you’ll need to analyze what’s wrong and make adjustments before you start losing money.
Analyzing the fluctuations in your four main sources of web traffic can help you understand the scope of your campaign and possible areas for improvement.
Direct traffic is composed of users who found your site by plugging in your URL directly into their browser. People who found you this way must have had some prior knowledge of your brand—otherwise, they wouldn’t have known to plug in a direct URL. Oftentimes, this is the result of a previous website experience, but it is possible to get new visitors in the direct traffic pool, especially if you use printed advertising to advertise your domain.
Few digital strategies can optimize for direct traffic, since the main sources of online traffic are from search engines, social syndication and referral links. However, repeat traffic in the form of direct visits is a good indicator of whether your website is impressive enough to encourage visitors to come back for more. Even if you don’t use printed advertising, monitor your direct traffic closely, especially in comparison with your other traffic sources. If you find that you’re getting insufficient repeat traffic, you might want to step up your efforts to encourage revisits.
Referral traffic is based on users who found your site through external links, such as affiliate links or links from external press releases. Obviously, not all external links are equal, so it’s important to pay close attention to which link sources are earning you the most traffic. For instance, if you notice the bulk of your referral traffic is coming from one specific guest posting opportunity, you should consider stepping up your efforts accordingly. Or, if you notice one of your affiliate links declining in popularity, you might want to find an alternative source of traffic.
Some of your referral traffic might be out of your control—such as links that your infographics or viral content attracted naturally—but for the most part, you have strict control over which of your links are syndicated and where. Keep a close eye on your link profile as well to ensure that your links are getting the greatest possible visibility.
Your organic traffic is the traffic that finds your site after performing a search, either using branded or non-branded terms. If you’re running a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you can consider it responsible for the size and relevance of your organic traffic. The more effort you put into optimizing your site for search engines, the higher you’ll rank, and the more organic traffic you’ll begin to see as a result.
If you’re just starting an SEO campaign, it’s normal for your first few months to see only minimal activity. It isn’t until a few months into a campaign that your momentum truly starts to build. However, for as long as your efforts remain consistent, you should see exponential increases in your traffic, month over month. If you notice a sharp drop in organic traffic, it could be the result of a soft penalty from Google or a negative backlink that’s dragging you down. Keep an eye out for such anomalies, and use them as launch points to perform thorough campaign audits and recover quickly.
Finally, you’ll take a look at social traffic. As you might suspect, this is all the traffic that is generated from your and other social media profiles, such as your Facebook page or Twitter account. It’s worthwhile to take a look at the individual links and posts that led to the greatest percentage of social visits—if you notice trends, such as post subject matter or time of day, pursue more posts that follow suit to increase your numbers.
Like with organic traffic, you can expect this number to grow slowly at first. However, if you ratchet up your efforts consistently, you’ll see explosive growth, month after month. Adding more social media profiles to your repertoire and focusing on positive engagement with your core audience can lead to greater following numbers and eventually more traffic as a result.
You don’t need any fancy tools or subscriptions to measure and analyze this information. It’s all available in Google Analytics, which is free and relatively easy to set up for your site. Once you start pulling information based on the integration code, you’ll be able to log in and check out all this data under the “Acquisition” tab. There, you’ll be able to get a general overview of your stats, with charts comparing each channel against the others, or drill down to each individual channel in order to learn more information about the type of traffic that’s coming through that channel, such as bounce rates, and whether the traffic is composed of repeat visitors.
While it’s important to review your information regularly, it’s also important not to go overboard. Daily fluctuations can be wild and inexplicable, and forming assumptions or taking actions based on such limited data could lead you in an inefficient direction. Instead, try to look at broader trends that develop over time, usually over the course of a month, before you make any major decisions about the future of your campaign.
Dare I say it?
SEO is not the be-all-and-end-all of online marketing. There are sure-fire ways to drive traffic to your site even without Google’s help.
You don’t always have to be at Google’s mercy, if you make use of all the Internet marketing tools that are readily available to you.
Webmasters agree that it’s important to diversify your organic website traffic sources. The real question is, how do you do it? If you’re wondering this, we invite you to check out the following list of real-world ways to drive organic traffic from a variety of search and non-search referrers.
Google, Bing and Yahoo all offer their users image search capabilities. In the recent past, image searches have increased in prominence, particularly for visual topics such as food, fashion, home decorating, and the arts.
It’s increasingly important for web pages to include pictures, even when the page is about a not-so-visual topic.
Think about it like this. If you include images on your web pages, it becomes possible for visitors to find those pages through image searches. If you don’t have images on the pages, there is zero chance that visitors will ever find your pages via image searches. Simply adding pictures to pages can potentially increase the amount of traffic to each page.
To optimize your pages for image search, make sure that each page on your website includes one or more images, preferably sized at 300 pixels or larger. Google’s image-search bot seems to favor larger photos, often featuring pictures in the 500 – 1500 pixel size range.
It’s important to use keywords when you name your pictures.
Try using names like
Avoid using names such as
Additionally, be sure to add descriptive, keyword-rich alt tags and captions to each photo.
DMOZ and Directories
DMOZ (now defunct), claimed to be the largest human-edited directory on the Internet. Not only is DMOZ a valuable source of non-search traffic, but a DMOZ link can also increase your organic search traffic as well.
According to DMOZ, search engines such as Google, AOL, Lycos and others make use of DMOZ data. There are also bunches of smaller directories that incorporate some DMOZ listings into their pages.
You used to be able to submit your site to DMOZ for possible inclusion in their directory. Their editors will decide if your site is a good fit for them or not.
Links from other directories can also be valuable. If your website targets a specific geographic location, it could be profitable to search out local directories in your area. You could also explore topic-specific directories to find potentially valuable sources of non-search traffic.
Privately-owned websites offer ample opportunities for attracting non-search traffic to your website. Topic-specific forums and community websites are particularly useful for this purpose, although many different websites could become referrers.
To get the most out of a community or forum, you’ll usually want to be an active member of the forum, contributing ideas and insights to the discussions that take place there. The goal is to become a trusted and valued contributor, rather than just being a spammer who drops links and disappears without adding any value to the community.
You can use the same approach by regularly commenting on any blogs you find interesting, adding fresh insights to the discussions there. Many blogging platforms allow you to enter both your name and website URL when you comment on a post.
Other sorts of websites could also become valuable traffic referrers. There are two keys to maximizing your inbound links from privately-owned websites:
1. Develop relationships with other website owners and bloggers
2. Offer interesting products, services or content that would appeal to that website’s visitors.
Most of the time, when a webmaster posts a link to a resource, it’s because sharing that link in some way reflects well on the webmaster. It’s a resource that s/he knows his or her visitors would find valuable. With that in mind, it’s important to create resources that other webmasters perceive as being interesting to their audiences.
Back in January of 2014, the head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, famously proclaimed, “Stick a fork in it. Guest blogging is done.” However, I invite you to pay careful attention to the updated title of his blog post: “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO” (emphasis added.)
After writing this post, Matt had to backtrack and clarify what he really meant: that spamming in the form of guest blogging is the problem. Google is trying to fight the practice of spammers disguising paid links as guest blog posts. So, you definitely want to avoid that, or you risk jeopardizing your website’s organic rankings in the Google search engine results pages.
Guest blogging to attract organic traffic is, however, alive, well and still a best practice. This is the kind of guest blogging that we recommend. It has the potential to bring numerous new visitors to your website, and it can be beneficial to everyone involved.
One possible approach to guest blogging: Develop relationships with webmasters who run websites similar to yours. Write some informative, interesting posts that would appeal to visitors of the target websites, and potential visitors of your own website. Include a nofollowed link to your website in an author box at the bottom of each post. Then submit the posts to the target websites’ webmasters for publication. If your posts resonate well with visitors, perhaps they will click through your link and visit your website to learn more about your website’s content, products and/or services.
Social media sites offer significant potential for diversifying your website’s organic traffic.
Google+ is a social media site owned by Google. It can provide valuable exposure and traffic for your website.
Twitter is a social media site where people share ultra-short posts known as “tweets.” Tweets can be sort of like blog posts, only they’re shorter.
Pinterest is a social media network that’s well-suited for sharing pictures, infographics or similar visual content. If you own the copyrights to some interesting photos, you can share them via Pinterest in hopes of driving some of Pinterest’s traffic to your website.
Facebook — In the past, Facebook has been a viable source of unpaid organic traffic. As Facebook pushes its paid advertising platform in front of users, it is uncertain whether this situation will remain the same in the future. However, Facebook is an option that many webmasters are still using to diversify their organic traffic sources. If you invest your time with Facebook, do be prepared to have to pay for Facebook ads to reach your target audience in the future.
Additional Social Media Sites: With social media being one of the hottest buzzwords on the Internet, there are new social media sites and networks cropping up constantly. Take a look at sites like Tumblr, Medium and others.
Regular blogging opens up numerous possibilities for attracting organic traffic to your website.
If you blog on a platform such as Blogger or Typepad that’s separate from your website, the blog itself can become an important traffic referrer.
Additionally, your blog could potentially attract traffic from blog search engines such as Google’s blog search.
As an extra bonus, inbound links you create from your blog to your website could potentially bolster your website’s organic search rankings.
An important part of attracting diverse sources of organic traffic to your website: optimizing your content to make it compelling, clickable and shareable. Here’s a quick checklist of 5 things you can do to maximize the chances that people will share your content with their networks:
1. Optimize your titles: Write catchy, keyword-rich titles that either tell an interesting story or promise the reader some sort of payoff. Be specific. Don’t leave the reader guessing what the page is about.
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2. Deliver on any promises you make in the title.
3. Make the content as fresh, interesting, authoritative and relevant as you possibly can.
4. Include pictures.
5. In each page or piece of content on your website, include multiple links to other pages on your site that would be of interest to visitors. That way, they may become interested in other products, services or articles on your site and keep clicking to find more of your offerings.
The following is a list of additional ways to drive targeted traffic to your site effectively without using SEO.
Focus on building a brand
If you focus your energy on creating a site that is SEO-compliant, you could end up wondering why nothing much happened.
But when you shift your mindset to creating and building a distinctive brand, you have an opportunity to ensure that your reputation and influence grow over time. Don’t forget that creating an online marketing campaign is a long-term process, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
You should focus on starting small and smart, and save your energy for growing big and rich for later.
Create an email list
The money is in the list. That’s still true today.
Once you have an email list, you have a highly targeted audience to whom you can market new concepts, products, or services over and over again. By implementing an email marketing strategy, you will create for yourself a collection of loyal customers who trust you as an authority.
Hit the Question and Answer sites
I love working the Q&A sites. Reading the interplay and getting involved is actually one of my favorite marketing tactics, and not just because it has proved to be an extremely effective way to drive incredibly targeted traffic to my sites.
By responding to questions on Quora or LinkedIn Answers, you will not only provide value to thousands of strangers by offering them solutions, but you will also steadily establish yourself as a trusted expert in your industry. As people discover you, they’ll gravitate to your site as well.
Attend networking events
If you take the trouble to get involved in offline marketing activities such as networking events, you will also drive more traffic to your site.
Go to trade shows and other opportunities for face-to-face interactions with people involved in your niche. There’s hardly any better way to find appropriate prospects who might find your site useful.
But don’t forget to bring lots of business cards along with you that spell out your site’s address!
It happens to even the best marketers. For months, you’ll experience measurable, almost predictable growth, and then one month it happens—your traffic drops. Ordinarily, this isn’t a major cause for concern. You know that random traffic fluctuations are normal for search engines, referral sources, and even social media, and that fluke factors like seasonal behaviors and sudden shifts in user intentions can further influence those fluctuations.
But if your traffic continues to decline without warning, it’s a good idea to take action. The sooner you address a potential problem, the sooner your traffic can be restored to its usual levels of growth, and waiting around when something’s genuinely wrong can only make the problem worse.
So, if your traffic is consistently declining and you suspect it’s due to more than a fluke, try these seven actions to restore your numbers:
Your first step should be to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with your site. By logging into Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll be able to generate a status report. If your domain isn’t loading properly, or if there’s a problem with your server, you’ll be able to tell here. Beyond that, check for other performance factors, such as mobile optimization and site speed. Try loading your site and clicking around and see if you notice anything unusual. Slow loading times, missing content, or other hiccups can cause negative damage to your recurring traffic, and may have an indirect effect on your search engine ranks.
Next, take a look at any major changes you’ve committed to your website or marketing strategy. For example, have you recently added or deleted any major pages or sections of your site? Have you recently made an alteration to your content strategy? If there’s a change in your traffic patterns, it usually means there has been a change in another area. Identifying that area can lead you to the source of a potential problem. Diagnose any recent changes you’ve made for any errors, hiccups, or unintended consequences that could interfere with your search ranks, external visibility, or overall user experience.
If your site generates substantial referral traffic (and if you have any kind of outbound campaign, it probably does), use a link checker tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to evaluate your backlink profile. If you have any existing links that are no longer valid, it could be responsible for the drop in inbound traffic. For example, if a link points to a page that no longer exists and there is no 301 redirect in place, you could miss out on all that potential traffic. If an external source has taken your link down, you could lose that visibility.
While you’re evaluating your link profile, run a cursory check for any “bad” external links. These links could be on low-authority sources, sources that aren’t relevant to your industry, or it could be that too many links have been exchanged between you and a specific other domain. Contextually irrelevant, useless, or rank-manipulating links can also interfere with your domain authority, resulting in lower ranks. Take this opportunity to clean up your link profile by removing these suspects, and your domain authority should rebound within a few weeks.
Look for any recent changes to the patterns or behaviors of your social media following. Have you noticed a major influx or decrease of followers on any of your profiles? If so, can you trace the fluctuation to any major event or change in your posting and engagement pattern? Do you notice any slowed momentum in the frequency or quality of your social media posts? These factors can influence your social media traffic.
Even if your domain authority is intact and your audience is happy with everything you’re doing, you could suffer a drop in organic traffic if your pages aren’t being properly indexed. Again, you can rely on Webmaster Tools for the majority of your diagnostics. If you accidentally included a disallow function in your robots.txt file, it could lead to the sudden vanishing of your pages from Google’s index. Improper sitemapping and broken links can also lead to sudden problems with your visibility in Google’s index.
If none of the steps above have proven fruitful or insightful, you can always take measures to increase the quality and reach of your content, typically through link building or guest blogging. Better-researched, more original, more engaging content is never a bad thing; it can give Google more pages to index, improve your domain authority, and reconnect audience members who might have strayed from your brand. Better content can help you overcome almost any minor traffic problem, and even if you’re enjoying moderate traffic growth, it can always help you accelerate that growth a little further.
Even if your traffic declining is a random fluctuation, and not the result of any single problem, taking these actions can improve your site’s position and ultimately set you up for more productive growth. Small flaws, like 404 pages or broken offsite links, can have a meaningful impact on your traffic, and fortunately, correcting them is relatively easy. Take time on a regular basis to evaluate your position and make adjustments to maximize your traffic.
If you’re not using articles for your Internet marketing campaigns, you could be missing a lot of opportunities.
According to SEO-news.com, article marketing is alive and well. That’s contrary to what many gurus would have newbie Internet marketers believe: they’ve been claiming that the explosion of social media has made writing articles to boost traffic irrelevant.
But the truth is, consumers still place value on high-quality, extremely relevant, and thoughtful articles — articles that provide them with sufficient information, back to which they can refer whenever they need to.
Above all, from an Internet marketing standpoint, whether they are posted on blogs or in article directories, Google and other search engines still give weight to well-written and properly optimized articles.
If you have a blog, an e-commerce site, or a YouTube video, you can use article marketing to your advantage. It remains a valid long-term tool that usually drives highly-targeted traffic.
Let’s take a look at how article marketing, if carried out properly, can drive highly targeted traffic to your site.
Gunning for the right keywords
The benefits of keyword optimizing an article are twofold. First, it alerts the search engines as well as readers as to the content of your article. Second, it’s a proven strategy for off-page optimization, which positively influences the popularity and page rank of your main site.
The following are best practices for optimizing an article:
Avoid overstuffing the piece with keywords.
Create high-quality content that gets snapped up by readers
Content is great, but only if it’s high-quality.
High-quality content creates interest and delivers value by addressing the reader’s needs. It’s best to use an attention-grabbing headline that promises either to ease certain pains or increase pleasure.
The promise or bold claims in the title should then be properly met within the body of the article.
Avoid fluff when writing the body content. Instead, only include information that is succinct and concise.
To help your readers grasp the most valuable points and not feel overwhelmed, cut the article into small chunks. You can do this most effectively by using subheaders, bullets, and ordered numbering.
Be seductive but don’t reveal too much
Try to keep your readers’ interest high, but don’t reveal too much. The goal of article marketing is to write pieces that provide just enough useful or interesting information to leave the reader wanting more.
In other words, provide helpful information, but save the best for your own website, to which you should direct the reader for more information. One popular way to do this is to write a “top 10” list that covers some topic in your niche, and use the article to count down the top 9. If the reader wants to see what the top #1 item is, direct them to a specific page on your website that has the information.
Entice readers with an effective call to action
In pieces composed for article directories, the resource box generally serves as the call to action. Don’t just tell people where your main site can be found; instead, entice them by telling them what else they’ll learn at your website.
Use this opportunity to get readers to click on the link. Article marketing is still a viable online marketing tool that, when used properly, can feed high-converting visitors to your website.
Just remember to write only high-quality, well-optimized and highly informative content; nobody wants to waste their time reading lame articles!
To turn a low traffic website into a high traffic sensation, you will need to adopt a variety of proven online strategies like buying traffic and investing in Search Engine Optimization. But, how do you balance each to make sure you get the best of both worlds?
Paid traffic is a “push” marketing technique that invests in a particular demographic to create demand via broad advertising to a specific segment of a population. It is a reliable way to build interest for your website quickly, but it doesn’t make use of “pull marketing” techniques like SEO. SEO can take that traffic that you buy and create even greater exposure for your online content with techniques like keyword targeting, a/b testing, content marketing, and social media publishing.
SEO tends to attract traffic that is not paid, and it does so from all over the web. Thus, the demographic can be much larger in comparison to a paid traffic campaign’s demographic. To get the best results, a combination of both paid traffic and SEO can catapult your website to the front of the line by leveraging the strengths used in each method.
If you want an instant audience, you can’t beat a paid traffic campaign. Nothing grabs a new crowd’s attention like a crowd that has already gathered. You can specify the demographic you want to an exact level. For instance, you may want to only target countries from specific countries or individuals who are a particular income level. You can choose the “perfect customer” profile to target and this will increase the odds that they will also be more interested in your products and services.
By buying traffic, you begin the process of advertising your site’s potential as well as it gives you an opportunity to convert some of that traffic to sales. A paid traffic campaign can also provide the necessary load on the website to do some a/b testing to find out which offers work best for the target audience. However, before you attempt to do a/b testing, you might want to fine-tune your SEO campaign.
Google updates have made it harder to attract traffic via campaign via a single keyword. Content that is published today has to have a keyword theme so that the entire article is noticed for the content, not just the keyword. Google has learned the art of semantic searching over the course of its lifetime, and this search for meaning in content has impacted how keywords are used within the articles and how they are noticed by Google.
They will also want to see topical content in more than one place, like a blog, a social network, and an article directory. It’s not enough to use SEO just on your website. You need to do it in status updates on networking sites and in articles you publish in other areas. Instead of one keyword, you may target a grouping of keywords to try to convince Google that you are knowledgeable on a particular topic, and not just adding keywords to try to reap traffic without any expertise. Once you have an SEO keyword strategy in place, you will need to publish content regularly to your readers in various parts of the web.
A/B testing allows a marketer to test two different versions of a particular article or email to see which is most effective. By tweaking small changes in the content, like the headline or the call to action, one can direct half the traffic to one version and the other half to the other. You can also play around with keywords in SEO to see which work best this way, too. When you track traffic and conversions for both sets of content, you will eventually figure out what works best or your audience.
Not only is the classic strategy to do A/B testing on your site important for marketing and SEO purposes, but when you combine it with a paid traffic campaign, it can also test the host’s ability to manage larger streams of traffic on your site. You will find out what content works best and whether you have any traffic bottlenecks that affect performance. Without the extra traffic, you can’t collect enough data to make the A/B testing results meaningful. Without the SEO campaign, you won’t know which keywords and strategies are more successful to drive traffic to your website. Thus, you can create a good balance between both paid traffic and SEO to optimize your content as much as possible and generate more sales.
When you start talking about SEO, most people naturally assume you are talking about Google. Google dictates the major changes in the industry with its algorithm updates, and commands the attention of search marketers due to its ubiquity and high search volume. For more than a decade, Google has been the clear winner of the search engine landscape, but now that less popular search engines like Yahoo! and Bing are working to improve, are they worth considering for organic search traffic?
If you don’t know much about competing search engines Bing and Yahoo!, you aren’t alone. Even professionals in the search marketing community often overlook the moves of these major players, and for good reason—after all, Google is so significantly ingrained in our collective minds that we can’t even refer to online search without using the word “Google” as a verb.
Bing first launched in May of 2009 by Microsoft, as a replacement for its antiquated and much-hated search options, such as MSN Search. Bing wasn’t taken seriously at first, taking only a small fraction of all search queries, but Bing traffic has more than doubled since its inception.
Yahoo! came on the scene much earlier, back in 1995, and was a major search competitor for some time. But after a series of bad decisions and lacking updates to its core algorithms, Yahoo! fell off the face of the Earth. Until 2012, few people took the search engine seriously, but in July 2012, new CEO Marissa Meyer took over and started making drastic changes to the company—for the better.
Recently, Microsoft and Yahoo! joined forces for the betterment of both enterprises’ search engines. Bing now powers Yahoo!’s search; while each engine is independently accessible, it’s the same algorithm dictating the results of both. Paid search campaigns for both search engines can also be managed by a single account.
The most straightforward and logical way to determine whether search engines other than Google are worth considering is to look at each enterprise’s market share. According to research from April 2014, Google was responsible for 67.5 percent of all search queries, with Bing generating 18.6 percent, and Yahoo! generating 10.1 percent. Google is still the clear winner, but the numbers suggest that Bing and Yahoo are potentially more formidable than most people think. Together, Bing and Yahoo! are responsible for 28.7 percent of all search queries—that’s nearly a third. A high site ranking in Bing or Yahoo! may be significant in terms of traffic.
But raw traffic isn’t everything. We also have to understand how Bing and Yahoo! differ from Google in terms of algorithms and demographics.
The demographic makeup of Bing and Yahoo! users is the main factor you should consider before adjusting your strategy to improve your position in either search engine.
What browser are you using right now? Chances are, you’re using Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or some other advanced third party browser. Nobody with technical proficiency or skills in Internet browsing uses Internet Explorer anymore. It’s the subject of ridicule for its poor design, lack of functionality, slow speed, and general annoyingness. But still, there is one demographic that continues to use Internet Explorer, mostly because it is a default browser for Microsoft products: adults over the age of 45. And you know what the default search engine is on Internet Explorer? Another Microsoft product: Bing.
As of July 2014, only 8.5 percent of all Internet users held Internet Explorer as their browser of choice, with more than 53 percent of Internet Explorer users being over the age of 45. It’s an interesting, but unsurprising, detail about browser preference. It’s a stereotype that older adults are less capable of using advanced technology, but the data seems to indicate that Bing traffic is largely associated with older users.
What does this mean for your search strategy? It depends on your core demographic. If you sell a product that specifically caters to an older demographic, ranking on Bing is likely a good strategy. Don’t get too carried away, however; while Bing traffic is mostly comprised of older adults, it still only accounts for 18.6 percent of all traffic.
On the other hand, if your key demographic is teenagers or young adults, Bing and Yahoo! (by association) aren’t really worth your time. Together, they do account for almost 29 percent of all traffic, but most of that traffic will be completely irrelevant for your business.
If you’re interested in trying to rank for Bing and Yahoo!, it’s important to understand how these search engines differ from Google. Like Google, Bing keeps the details of its advanced search engine algorithm a secret—and for good reason. Releasing the details of this code could result in more people taking advantage of the system, resulting in worse search results and a worse web experience for everyone involved.
Still, there is much that we do know about Bing’s algorithm (which is used for both Bing and Yahoo!). For the most part, ranking criteria for Bing and Google are the same; both sites favor regular quantities of relevant, high-quality content, a high number of naturally built external links pointing back to the core site, and a website structure that is proficient and valuable to users. Still, the exact process that calculates rank based on these factors is different than the one Google uses; this is evident for anyone performing an identical search in both places.
Bing does place a higher emphasis on local data, such as information in local directories. But it appears that Google is matching this emphasis, especially with its latest Pigeon update. Google also carries some natural favoritism toward its own products, such as Google+, meaning it rewards businesses with a Google+ account, resulting in a different approach to ranking based on social media data.
Overall, if you’re trying to rank for Bing and Yahoo!, it’s best to maintain a similar strategy. Keep writing high-quality content, keep building relevant links, and attract more people to your website. If you want a little extra push, make sure to spend extra time building out your local listing profiles and encouraging users to review your business.
One of the few major advantages that Bing has over Google is its paid search marketing (pay-per-click) campaigns. Bing Ads allows users to easily manage paid advertisements similar to the PPC ads at Google, but for a much lower cost. Obviously, search ads on Bing or Yahoo! won’t get the same volume of traffic as comparable ads in Google, but they are much less competitive and cheaper to place. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to get a boost in traffic to your site, especially if you cater to an older demographic, Bing Ads could be a great strategy.
For the average search marketer, Bing and Yahoo! aren’t worth considering. They offer a much lower percentage of search queries, an uncommon target demographic, and to top it off—you can probably rank for them without even trying. Still, if your key audience is older adults, or if you’re looking to get started with paid ads with a low budget, it’s worth taking a look at Bing and Yahoo!.