|What do you give the visitors that Google does send you?|
I hear for the last four months how Panda has decimated traffic and there are thousands of posts about what it means, how it is done, why it has affected some and some not, but the most important thing i hardly ever hear, is what do you do with the remaining visitors? Are you doing enough to make them come back? (which begs the questions why havent you done that way before Panda)...
...what are the most effectiv ways to make your site memorable, sticky, make them come back for the Google visitor, so with all the free traffic Google has given you, what have you done with it?
This is almost a rhetorical question for the online business owner - unless they got lost in the maze of 90s style "SEO" and took that loophole/leverage mindset into their approach to ranking in Google.
The answers to these question might be as varied as the types of businesses with websites. And the paradox is, when our focus is in this area, we begin to need Google traffic less and less.
Google is a middle man. We can go direct. Email newsletters, RSS feeds, true social interaction (and not just because we want the UGC for better rankings) and most of all, really giving awesome service.
tedster, of course you're right, but part of the point of Panda is to re-focus webmasters on this thought process, if perhaps they have strayed from it in various ways.
I've thought a lot about this question in the past, of course, and done my best to give my visitors what they want. However, I'm revisiting the question with renewed focus now.
I have a couple of ideas I've been cooking for a while for technical features which would add significant value to my existing content -- make it much more useful to my visitors -- and which I don't think any of my competitors have. I think it's time to get to work on these in a serious way.
What can you do for your visitors that your competitors don't do?
Add a large banner saying "Use Bing!"
Of course, code it in a conditional: "if googlebot do not show banner." :)
Tedster: some web site owners cannot do as you suggest. Some sites only get visits from each specific visitor for a few minutes a year, if that often. Not all of our sites are "re-visit often" types, especially ecommerce ones. I buy one thing from a site and probably never return - no need now I have what I want (how many washing machines would you buy in one year?). If I want a single fact I find the site, read it and maybe never need the site again.
Some of our sites get visits to a few dozen pages - hobby visits - and chances are they will never come back. They certainly would not register for newsletters and wouldn't link to our sites because they are domestic users with no web site to link from - probably no social account (fb/twit) either.
Without SEs feeding them such sites have no traffic and since most people will not "register" for anything on most sites one is stuffed.
Personally, I recently began working through our web sites changing "Search google for more info" to "Search bing..."
dstiles, that's a good point but presumably that would apply to the entire niche, right? "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you." That is, you don't have to be sticky like Facebook, just stickier than your competition.
I get a lot of drive-by traffic too. They need one of my widgets for a school project or a flier or something, and they get it and never come back because they never need another one. But there are a few who do come back next time they need a widget. That percentage is small, but it also varies according to the quality of the content. My more popular widgets get a lot more Facebook likes, links, and repeat visits than my less popular ones do. So even if the percentage that stick is very small, its variance is still a good indicator of quality.
It's all relative.
Interesting points, sadly I cannot run a newsletter, for very specific reasons (user confusion) or I'd have hundreds of thousands of users. Now I gotta do what you gotta do now.
Probably need a good 6 month to a year of not caring about Google to work an invest on the site.
|how many washing machines would you buy in one year? |
how much information about their washing machine can you give them when they need it while they own it to keep them coming back till they need a new one? work out a deal where you can send them coupons for detergent every month, whatever.
|and they get it and never come back because they never need another one |
And when someone asks them about their widget did you do enough to ensure that they tell them they got it on your website and not just "oh I got it online"?
Become a destination, not just some place someone has been.
Become a destination, not just some place someone has been.
"I'm trying to baby, I'm trying to." -Ford Prefect
|Personally, I recently began working through our web sites changing "Search google for more info" to "Search bing..." |
In one case I added Bing search to address a visitors feedback that 'information was hard to find on the site'.
|Tedster: some web site owners cannot do as you suggest. Some sites only get visits from each specific visitor for a few minutes a year, if that often. Not all of our sites are "re-visit often" types, especially ecommerce ones. I buy one thing from a site and probably never return - no need now I have what I want. |
Then the site owner is kind of screwed, eh? Personally, I would find that a faulty business model, because I'd be relying on an entity over which I have no control whatsoever to send me traffic that I'd be unlikely ever to entice back. Not only is the whole thing built on a house of cards, but all there would need to be is one smart competitor who *does* figure out a way to make his site sticky to take me out of the running - Google or no.
Just saying, if it were me, I'd revisit the core strategy.
The options here are: do not have a web site or do not have a web site.
As I said, not all of these sites are BUSINESS sites. Many are hobby sites with no monetisation at all: we provide useful info because we like to.
We provide a lot of useful info but unless search engines refer traffic to the sites our traffic is low. We do have a lot of links to one or two of the sites but the actual traffic is almost entirely google because few people find us on other sites: links are not always highly visible!
We do not especially care about the info sites not being used except that we believe others will find them useful - IF they can find them.
Not all of the web is commercial - not by a long shot!
You were the one who brought up ecommerce sites, I didn't.
But it doesn't really matter, because an information site that doesn't monetize has to fight for rankings along with commercial sites (there's still only ten spots on the first page - and not even that in many cases), and the same rules apply. If you're depending on Google to send you traffic and not making any effort to keep your visitors coming back on their own, you're in trouble no matter WHAT kind of site you're running.
As many have realized.
what are your top five ways to make your google visitor come to you again, but next time without Google?
...my most effective ways so far is
1. Newsletter form prominently on every page (including offer for a free book by signing up)
2. Discussion Forum, every page invites the user to participate to talk about this page in the forum, even if they might not talk about it, many sign up
3. Making every page as easy as possible for the user to bookmark, and to contact me
4. Internal search function on every page
5. Every page has an incentive to contribute/share (call to action)
The average user is still far cry from being sophisticated, sad but true, most of my visitors want to be told what to do next once they arrived on my site...
|The average user is still far cry from being sophisticated |
I'll say. Every time I try a banner that doesn't say "Click Here" it under-performs.
I don't know that I can add too much to your list, at least not that's universal. For ecommerce sites, letting visitors know that coupons or special sale offers will be in the newsletter can be a big motivator to sign up.
But before all that, the primary thing you do is provide content that is so compelling/useful/necessary/entertaining/whatever-applies-to-your-niche that they think to themselves "I'm gonna wanna remember this one."
That's usually what I spend most of my time and resources on.
netmeg has it, IMO
however,One thing i am finding is that on my commercially focussed sites, the textual informational content doesn't rank for anything on Google,
Okay, my sites are low traffic, but their traffic really plummeted last year sometime after the informational articles lost all rankings, and no, the articles where not scraped, I checked, and they where certainly unique, tho not always focussed.
Indeed, the visitors who arrive from google eventually do make their way to the informational articles, but google itself offers
Thing is, observing goggle for a while has led me to also believe that they do give credit of sorts to non textual content, the extent of that credit , how its measured, i cannot say, but does to me seem to account for some anomalies in how they treat otherwise similar sites
|Are you doing enough to make them come back? |
Based on my earnings post-Panda, definitely not!
|(which begs the questions why havent you done that way before Panda)... |
Hindsight is 20:20 vision. Needs to say, I've learned my lesson!
|...what are the most effectiv ways to make your site memorable, sticky, make them come back for the Google visitor |
Greatly depends on the niche, but I am firm believer that something CAN and WILL be done (eventually) in every situation/ context. It's Darwinism at play. If you're not racking your brains, be assured someone else is.
|so with all the free traffic Google has given you, what have you done with it? |
Squandered most, which I promise never ever to do again Google, if you'd only let me have another try.... please
Seriously though, two weeks ago I completely rewrote my business model, finally addressing the fundamental weaknesses I'd glossed over in the good times. Also, started an offline busines in our niche. And a plan B for online. Panda has been the kick up the backside I needed.
|As I said, not all of these sites are BUSINESS sites. Many are hobby sites with no monetisation at all: we provide useful info because we like to. |
I think that you will have a difficult challenge because the sites that ARE business sites will be doing everything to promote them, and most likely will rank higher than yours.
I am sure that the same link building techniques that work well for promoting commercial sites would also work equally well for non-commercial sites. Probably better, because you can mention that it is just a labor of love.