iamlost - 3:16 pm on May 11, 2013 (gmt 0)
Thanks to diberry for starting this thread: it is a topic that I have great interest because as he said
I suspect that as with me he has had this concern for years or he wouldn't have Google traffic at 30-50% of his total.
That's why I'm trying to figure this out. If it's the start of a trend, we need to get ahead of it.
The number of web discovery points have been multiplying for years. General search, especially via Google (in much of the world), remains dominant despite that. Even with my years of hard work to increase traffic percentage from elsewhere (while maintaining or growing absolute search traffic) Google at 20-25% is still far and away the single largest absolute traffic referer bar none. While my dependance is no where near that of those where Google sends 80-100% of traffic it is still acute.
I watch my logfiles to track what hardware and software changes might provide access points; they led me to developing social marketing efforts, mobile apps, etc. I also lurk and participate in niche fora and read prominent niche blogs and comments, read general webdev fora posts such as this one, all in order to try and get a grasp on how my audiences are changing how they find whatever. Some people hang on Googler words, I hang on those of my audience/customers.
Internal search on the enterprise web whales is probably well up as they increasingly become initial specific destinations. The two logically should increase in lockstep. To webdevs that compete with such behemoths this is likely a problem, although whether general, i.e. Google, search would actually be more beneficial or simply give the illusion I'm not qualified to answer.
The real question with regard to a likely increase in direct internal search is whether and how much it impacts the competing smaller webdev. Or if it is more a loss to Google as such folks would have previously gone via Google rather than direct; in either instance ignoring (except perhaps for comparison checking) the smaller sites in a query return.
It is not just a metter of whether google traffic is diverted but whether such traffic used to convert for the smaller webdev. That is something for such sites to parse from their metrics analysis.
Regardless: as Google has increasingly emphsised named entities including brands, as web users increasingly look directly to brands (including inputting navigation directions into Google), as users utilise numerous social communications, as mobile apps direct site access usage increases... it is ever more important to be a business, a brand, recognisable and not just a query return link.
Google can look out for Google. I like to know where my audience congregates, how they go about finding, sharing, buying... And it has long been elsewhere as well as general search. Increasingly, it is elsewhere instead of via general search; not hugely, but noticeably. Which does make marketing a continuing challenge.