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A fun exchange of what we think



2:32 am on Jul 1, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is the Referer Log Game

Let me start by saying how much I love my Ask Jeeves entries! They entertain me to no end about how genuine the folks are who ask the big J questions. And I must admit, I do draw some private conclusions about who they are.

I'm in the Consumer Products category, so I get action from AV, Infoseek, Yahoo and MSN. It surprises me when I get visitors from Google (the alleged techie SE) and NL (ditto, I guess). Yet Google produces every day for me. Still, Snap, which is supposed to be so consumer-friendly, is like Tony Soprano's mother: Dead To Me. (Apologies to non-US)

So I don't know, why don't we share our thoughts on who is visiting us from the different SEs. Anyone can play. No need to rush and post. Let's see where this takes us.

I'm Consumer Products, you're heavy e-commerce or web-design tech or Travel; you imagine your target market is: (a) newbie (b) intelligent, but not search-savvy or (c) thinking Exactly The Way I Imagined (d) Other (You name)

Tell us as much as you're comfortable with. Early birds, enrich the rules.



3:46 pm on Jul 1, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

pshea, yes this needs addressing, I think the added dynamic of "who uses which SE" is ignored because this is already a complex game. Most of us have just gone for the numbers, working the engines that have high volumes of traffic. But, as Snap has now proven to me, there are little veins of gold running in the smaller engines, if you happen to hit it, the traffic can be intense. I use "intense" because the numbers may not be high, but the conversion rate can be incredible.

I'm "Travel and Relocation" --most of my traffic comes in on the city, town, or region name as keyword. My site also generates a database of user requests, so I have some additional information that goes beyond the logs. About 60% of my traffic is female, for instance. And I'd place the income as "upper middle class" with an age range of 30 - 65. The content is written to that market on purpose. Here's a snapshot of the last 25 SE referrals on a high-traffic hub page. I'd say it's about normal except excite's a little high and msn is a little low.

(6) excite
(5) aol
(4) altavista
(2) looksmart
(2) ink.yahoo
(2) google
(1) goto
(1) infoseek.go
(1) snap
(1) msn

But I mentioned doing better with Snap. I have a newer "destination research" site that uses the city name and the word "hotels" as keywords. Snap allowed me to deep link its pages (I emailed the Snap editors on this, they like the pages because of their "utility" value). I'd say 70 percent of its traffic comes from Snap's co-branded affiliates like USWest. The conversion rate has been incredible. Though the site only did 166,000 pageviews in June, those resulted in approximately 300 room reservations totaling $70,000.


5:37 pm on Jul 1, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

rcj, you hit the nail on the head with one point. I discovered some time back that the many "smaller" engines/directories do provide "better quality" traffic. The numbers are down but the better qualified visitor tends to make an enquiry. I'm all for quality first, quantity second.


6:18 pm on Jul 1, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>I'm all for quality first, quantity second
but, it's fair to note that our motives are driven by conversion rates, i.e. the "sale" in one form or another. Publishers that only have banner advertising revenue start out more focused on sheer numbers, though, ultimately the low CTR will force them to give quality its due respect.


7:24 pm on Jul 1, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Terry posted this in the UK engine thread, and it's been in some other threads.
I think that most people using the internet simply use their system "straight out of the box". What I mean by this is that the installation routine from the ISP usually sets their home page to its own portal page
This may be a fundamental question in determining search habits of the general public. We know, for instance, that MS used this "acceptance by default" to become the dominant browser and to propel MSN.


1:17 pm on Jul 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

For a client who runs a crafts site, the top Search Engine traffic comes from Google, AOL(dmoz), Yahoo(ink). A lot of the clientele are retired, new to the web, and Google seems to be doing it for them.

A second client site sells products for medically restricted diets, a niche that tends toward an older demographic. For that site its AOL, Google, AltaVista. Again Google doing very well for a non-techie crowd.

Another client is an event planning company, global in scale, not regional. It's definitely a for-businesses-only site with VERY little search engine traffic, but one client means many thousands of dollars, adn they convert wextremely well. The top engines there are Netscape, MSN, AOL. It's a business user, but very much that "right out of the box" kind of thing.

A fourth is travel research. Totally different profile. It's Yahoo, Excite, AV.


11:50 am on Jul 3, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

SE demographic data is a very interesting topic. From what I've felt;

- Alta, more serious knowledgable users.
- Ask Jeeves, second teir newbies; "where do I find a search engine?"
- Yahoo, a general cross section of users with a higher percentage of kids and women. A touch less tech savvy.
- Lyco's. Higher percentage of college age kids. (mp3, pictures, pop culture).
- Google. Who knows. You get only a third of the available refering data becausing thier content piracy.
- Hotbot, a good cross section of users. Some new, some tech, some old, some young.
- Infoseek. Greater percentage of women. I thought we'd see more kids with the Disney alliance, but that has made no difference.

As for referrals:

Alta 18%
combined meta engines 15%
ink.yahoo 12%
ink.aol 11%
hotbot 6%
lycos 6%
msn 5%
web crawler 6%
excite 2%
fast/all the web 2%
google 2%
infoseek 2%
nl .005%
rest...other engines and recip links.


10:42 pm on Jul 5, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I went to the beach for four days. Slept on the beach, loafed on a boogie board and took a kayak out onto the ocean. I'm so glad you guys also "sense" who your visitors are. Let's get some more players . . . c'mon gang -- anyone can play. This is going great.


10:58 pm on Jul 5, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Snap - a good cross section of USA middle-income users. I visualize this as the "straight out of a TV audience" crowd because of Snap's advertising tie-in with NBC. It also seems to have a slightly greater percentage of women. I'd say it falls short when it comes to college kids and youth. My experience has been that they are ready, willing, and able to use a credit card online so they may not be sophisticated users in tech/SE parlance, but they can ring cash registers if you have what they want.

I would also put About and LookSmart in this same profile, but I have far less direct experience with them --it's just a hunch.

> went to the beach for four days.
yeech! gets sand in the keyboard, damn tracball really hates grit...


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