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Also, I believe there is a critical ratio from which your traffic should spike. For instance, you would probably start getting traffic only when you have 20 pages on your website and the OTIR ratio should gradually increase with more pages added (more content and more ageing,etc.) Once it reaches 1:1(not established,just an example), the traffic should grow exponentially from there.
If we establish the value of this critical ratio, we will also be able to know that we are doing something wrong if the traffic does not spike from there.
Let me give you a live example. I have one personal blog and one website I work for. The website I work for has been around for 5-6 years, but with bad history (freelancers we hired had put in lots of duplicate content). Now, after 12000 odd pages in the website, we still have only around 11500 organic uniques daily. On the other hand, my personal blog of 500 odd pages, already has 400 daily uniques from SERPS.
Now, given both these websites operate in the same niche, I would be able to infer that OTIR for the bigger website has not grown enough in 5 years; so something is wrong - probably it is because of the bad history.
I hope I am making some sense here. Could people give more inputs on this idea..
I agree with you. But what I find is, with comprehensive data, we will be able to establish a pattern for niches.
Like now we know that a health niche would pay better than a 'buy pencils online' niche - this is based on Adsense. Now people within the 'buy pencils online' niche may discuss their performance with each other comparing the eCPM values.
I think this metric is an extension of the same. Of course people selling red widgets will not need to know the OTIR of green widget makers. But then, if both you and I sell green widgets, then if you have an OTIR of 2 and I have 0.5, it definitely means that either you are doing too well or I am doing too bad..there comes the green widget industry standard!
I do something similar, by associating a "primary keyword" with a page, looking at the number of sites which possess outbound links for that particular keyword. Granted it's non-scientific and unreliable, but it's pretty good as a relative metric (mostly).
If your "OTIR" hasn't grown as the site has grown, I'd agree with you that something is likely wrong, although I wouldn't state that conclusively without a look at the logs.
I also think that analytics and toolbar data is playing a much bigger role than it did even 6 months ago. Not sure if that's playing into what you're seeing, but think about it. I've seen results that I can explain from my logs, but the SEs shouldn't know about it....
It's especially good for forecasting - breaking things down into the smallest manage-able pieces is good practice.
I definitely wouldn't assume there is a gold standard here though - YMMV is especially true depending on the niche you're playing in - so it's more for internal controls for me.