"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
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.
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
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
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
or prosper by expecting more free search traffic from Google
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.
Website Design - Now More Important Than Ever
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
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
By this I mean guaranteed to attract enough targeted visitors and convert enough of those
visitors into buyers to make your online business viable.
Did you get a Guarantee from your Web Designer ?
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:
- A website has a 1 in 10 chance of surviving on free search traffic from Google.
- Niche marketing is now sub-niche marketing and suffers from even lower visitor
- The long-tailed keyword is no longer the saviour for getting more traffic from Google.
- The small website has to do more with the visitors it gets.
- 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.
Requires optimizing a website to direct visitors to key landing pages and improve the conversion
rate of those landing pages.
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 Audit Expert