What’s better: Traffic or Conversions?

- April 25, 2011

The idea of gaining traffic versus conversions has always been a hot topic among those seeking SEO results. The question of traffic or conversions has been debated by the best in the business. In all honesty, the best answer I have heard is… drum roll please: Both.

Ultimately the whole goal of SEO (and PPC) is to achieve both high website traffic and conversions. You need to draw as much traffic to your website as possible, and you also need those “visitors” to convert to customers. Getting those visitors to return to your website as loyal customers is the goal. This is one way to measure the success of your online marketing efforts.

Having a website that gains all kinds of traffic, yet converts little to none of its visitors is of little value. It takes a lot of time and effort to get people to visit your website, and in those few precious minutes, if not seconds, you have an opportunity to convert them into customers.

What are some of the ways you can convert “visitors” into customers, you ask? Excellent question, and a question you need to ask yourself when preparing to invest into any internet marketing (i.e. SEO, PPC, CPC, and on down the line).

Believe it or not, online marketing success comes down to having a solid goal. Start by understanding what your website offers, who your targeted traffic is, and what you want them to do. Here’s an example:

Say, you are a news site that sells white papers and case studies. Your main goal for new visitors may be to get them to sign up for your monthly newsletter. In doing so, you would have successfully drawn a visitor to your site and, in those initial moments (where anything can happen from a bounce to an exit, to action) were able to get them to sign up for your newsletter – a conversion.

While this conversion may not be a direct sale, you have engaged them enough to stay connected. In doing this, there is a strong possibility that they will likely buy a white paper or case study in the near future. Congratulations!

Now let’s talk about a few other types of conversions before we get off the topic. Other types of conversions can be getting people to:

  • Fill out a form
  • Subscribe to a mailing list
  • Register with your website
  • Like your Facebook page  or follow you on Twitter
  • Simply read your content
  • Comment or participate in the community area
  • Share your page with people in their social network
  • Subscribe to your blog or news feed, via RSS. (Hint, hint…)
  • Purchase products or services  

There are a bundle of conversion types you can reach for. In fact, you can set goals in Google Analytics and actually give levels to the types of conversions you have made. This way you can start to separate your traffic and gain a better insight into who you are dealing with to improve the customer experience. Again, it makes no sense to just draw in traffic if you are not also thinking about how you are going to convert that traffic.

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