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A good search, a good experience, a good purchase received, would generally produce good Word of Mouth.
Personally, 92.4% of my visitors come from SE of which Google (take a bow!) now generates 61%
Overall conversion rate is at 5%. Don't know how that breaks down non-SE or SE visitors, but it's a good bet that most are directly from SE or at least initially found us that way.
Is it NEW research? Pre-WMW times, I read this sort of information in a few places.
SE referrals for me go like this 1. find 2. look 3. abandon
Not that my site is poor or anything, but from all the possible sources, its most likely that people using the SE just want a snippet of info and leave. If your site is top notch, then they might look further
If someone recommends a site, no doubt they have time on their hands and will investigate it further.
Its amazing how we can generalise millions of people just because they choose to search one day, where on another day, and perhaps another mood (or different colours ;) ) they will use another method
To me, word of mouth is #1, maybe google second since its a great SE ;)
When the sites is targeted nationwide and it is small word of mouth still exists yet it depends on the croud and the market, in this case search engine referals would spread more than the word on the street.
Just look up "search phrase" in Google.
1.Here in Europe I find I am still expalining to some people what Google is (though much less than a year ago).
2. It shows your confidence towards the client that:
- Your site will appear tops (for non-English languages this is a lot easier).
- Your site is superior to the number three and downwards listed sites.
3. You hope the prospective client will use Google more often - and that you will be tops in SERP's again.
4. Some innocent search engine users believe that when you are listed as no1 you are the best or the biggest - and I do not discourage that feeling.
>>Its amazing how we can generalise millions of people just because they choose to search one day, where on another day, and perhaps another mood (or different colours)<<
This is true for all circles.
I WANT A BLUE WIDGET, not a green.
Ok ... today, any color but BLACK.
Hey joe I know where do can get a purple widget for half price!
that seems a huge proportion. I have the reverse situation - 70% of visitors are 'no referral', by which I assume they have bookmarked me, set my URL as their default home page (I can dream!) or remembered the URL for direct typing into the browser ... or even, perhaps (according to the research mentioned above), they were given the URL by word-of-mouth recommendation. I wonder what the 'average' proportions are for 'SE referrals' versus 'no referrals' ?
Google 18598 55.15%
Yahoo! Web Pages 6125 18.16%
MSN 2696 7.99%
AOL 1032 3.06%
AltaVista 962 2.85%
Lycos 559 1.65%
Dogpile 404 1.19%
Overture 403 1.19%
Northern Light 375 1.11%
Ask Jeeves 361 1.07%
Google U.K. 273 0.8%
Excite 186 0.55%
Example: a client sells products but also makes them, develops, produce and publishes.
They did this for 10 years for themselves and when sales were low did contract work to fill the hole.
With SE today, there is no need for contract work. Offline sales are supported by onlines, however, a new market has also opened up due SE referrals. Unsolicited contract work. Those companies that wish to reproduce that same result (whether that is developing a product or producing the marketing results)
My point is, although WOM works great - your conversion rate is dependent on 3 needs now not one.
the customers original need, the referrals need (to be there) and the customers need to remember what the referral indicated about you.
At an SE all of that "need" is right there at their mouse clicks and near instantaneous. Now the only need left is to click the all important buy me button.
I have found that its not a technology failure or even just a lack of understanding that technology. But a marketing failure.
WOM disadvantage - referrals are not company employees that MUST refer and regularly, therefore not reliable revenue stream but a "bluebird" and alway nice to get.
I would say that word of mouth is probably the best way to drive traffic for a number of reasons.
However you need to have a very very good site for this to work fully.
Just how many people visit Google or Yahoo via word of mouth? I bet it would be a high figure.