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Thread: Question on Organic Traffic

  1. #1
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    Default Question on Organic Traffic

    Even after years of writing and earning from the web, I still have questions. So I am going to pose this question to you, and after you have read it, I hope you can provide me your opinion, or share what you have learned.

    I'm going to use an analogy. Let's think of the web as a huge river, and the number of searches on the web as the water flowing through the river. And when we create a website, we are create a channel to divert a stream of water out of that river to nourish us. The quality and size of our website determines the volume of water passing through.

    Now the questions ...

    Would you agree that, regardless what we do on our end, we can't control the size of that main river? Also, would you agree that the size of the river is seasonal, some times more water passes through, some times less?

    If the total number of searches for all keywords per day equals X, then the total amount of traffic arriving on our site is a percentage of X. When we improve our website, what we are actually doing is to try to increase our percentage of X versus that of our competitor, right?

    I suppose our competitor is doing the same thing, to increase his percentage of X against us? So it's really the survival of the fittest, isn't it?

    Can we say that, when Google de-indexes a website (for whatever reason), it is actually eliminating one competitor against another, enabling the surviving competitor a larger percentage of X?

    Now I like to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim-the-traveler View Post
    Can we say that, when Google de-indexes a website (for whatever reason), it is actually eliminating one competitor against another, enabling the surviving competitor a larger percentage of X?

    Now I like to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you!
    This would assume, however, that both sites were getting the same amount of traffic from the same keywords. Even when Google de-indexes a site, how much it impacts the competition would depend on how many traffic keywords they share and where the competition was ranking before. I think there are so many variables it's hard to say exactly how much it would benefit the other site.

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    Hmm ... not sure whether you get what I'm trying to say.

    Let's assume that on a given day, 500 million searches are carried out globally - the total sum of all keywords. These 500 million searches would be served search results from all the indexed pages. There is no correlation between the number of searches and the number of indexed pages. Let's say Page A topped the SERP for keyword X. But on that day, Page A was de-indexed or perhaps offline. The search is still going to be made, but since Page A is not available, the traffic will flow to Page B, which is the second-best for the keyword.

    So if you get what I mean, even if we increase the number of pages on our site, we can't affect the number of searches people make. We can only expect that our increased number of pages provide more keywords for the traffic to come our way. But coming our way means it comes here instead of otherwise landing on someone else's page.

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    Interesting analogy Tim, just the kind of thing I would dream up in one of my sleepless nights (sort of a mini-nightmare). Not particularly negative, just a little agitating!

    As to the competition part of this, I think it is not unreasonable to think that everyone would move up a notch if the top placement disappeared for any reason. It is also reasonable to expect that any site that keeps improving would move up.

    However, the fact is that if you are talking about natural search traffic you are talking about Google primarily and they are unpredictable to some extent. We never know which of us may be the one getting dropped or at least bounced back a page or two. All we can do is try to provide good content and maintain a quality site keeping up with the times as best as we can.

    Google bouncing a site is not a very reasonable way to hope for getting ahead. It is not all that common in spite of the news, at least not so much we should count on it eliminating all the folks ahead of us in the searches. It is much more likely that many sites will deteriorate in quality while, hopefully, ours will improve.

    As to the river, we all should expect to siphon off more of a percentage than a fixed number. The river keeps growing by leaps and bounds so we should expect natural growth. However, a more important concept is what percentage of the folks, or even the actual number of them, are searching for our keywords.

    Just a couple of years ago compact cameras were all the rage; now, before they had time to establish a good market, they are fading (replaced by the cameras on our phones). If you are trying to sell compact cameras, good luck. Even Canon and Nikon can no longer manage that (although I like mine).
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

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    To me, this is something worth thinking about, for it represents a paradigm shift in how we approach building websites.

    At the core of it is this: never expect to gain traffic simply because we build a webpage. I'm saying this because most of us hold the opinion that, "I've just built a website, I am slowing getting traffic. I expect to get more as I add more pages to my site." The reality is this: in order for any of us to get traffic, someone somewhere had to relinquish traffic for us. Why? Because, had we not written our webpage, that traffic would have gone to him.

    Returning to the river analogy, I believe that river is seasonal. At times, there's a lot of water passing through, at times only a trickle. When the volume is high, all downward steams enjoy more water; when the volume is reduced, everybody gets less.

    Although the daily total number of searches conducted globally may fluctuates from day to day, the total number of webpages on any given day continues to grow. It's like, we the webmasters are farmers digging more and more canals to channel the water from that same river. If that river has to irrigate more land with each passing day, we can expect less water in each canal.

    How to increase the volume?
    I don't think we can force people to do more searches. This comes naturally. As the number of webpages continue to increase, there will be more pages seeking traffic from the number of searches that grow at a much slower pace.

    The only way to get more traffic is non organic. In other words, through advertising. For example, if we put up a billboard in Times Square saying "click this link or die!" quite a fair bit of people will click the link, whether out of curiosity, or superstition. In any case, such clicks send non-organic traffic in addition to the ones coming from searches. If the global total number of searches does not grow apace with the growth of webpages, that might be the only way to get additional traffic in future.

    Gone are the days when websites are few and searches plentiful. Nowadays everybody and his uncle has a site or blog, all hungry for traffic, but the population just can't grow fast enough to provide so much traffic to so many.

    So that, is the cloud is our horizon.

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    This is quite philosophical and I do like the river analogy. I see where you're coming from when you say one site relinquishes traffic so another can have it.

    I think more important is the share of a person's attention span you have, and whether or not you are in their thoughts either as a topic/niche or as a URL and brand.

    Sometimes you can create a niche that no one knew existed and create a brand new interest. And because there are only so many hours in the day you could argue that the average internet user would have to pay less attention to what they used to look at on the web in order to look at whatever you have created.

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    Certainly the number of websites is expanding dramatically. If I look at my basic keyword expression (which has three actual words) on my personal finance site, when I started a few years ago a search produced 8,000,000 results. Before long it grew to 12,000,000. Every time I check it has grown significantly, faster all the time. Today i!t gets 1,200,000,000!
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou

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    People who write websites can no longer afford to be na´ve. In the past, we simply write and are confident that the visits will surely come. We don't even pay attention to why people visit our webpages, other than simply because we wrote it.

    Now we should realize (and be grateful) that the traffic arrives on that webpage of ours because what we wrote is worth visiting. It is so good that the traffic comes to this page we wrote, instead of to someone else's page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren View Post
    Sometimes you can create a niche that no one knew existed and create a brand new interest. And because there are only so many hours in the day you could argue that the average internet user would have to pay less attention to what they used to look at on the web in order to look at whatever you have created.
    Even though we may start on an niche that no other webmaster knew existed, the keywords may have been searched before, and had previously landed on less-than-relevant pages. But when our right-to-the-point page comes into the picture, the traffic is diverted to our page, which explains why we get a bonanza in traffic for getting it right on the overlooked and neglected niche. In other words, the less-than-relevant pages now have to give up its traffic to us. So if we ever had pages or whole websites that previously did very well, and now are getting reduced traffic, we need to ask ourselves, "Has my page/site stood the test of time, remaining the most relevant in that niche, despite new pages entering the web?"

    Where the growth in number of pages outstrips the growth in organic searches, it is the survival of the fittest.
    Last edited by tim-the-traveler; 04-20-2014 at 01:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    Lisa, your video "SEO in 2014 - What Google Won't Say", particularly minute-7 of the video, encapsulates what I am trying to say:



    In this example, let's say website A usually gets the traffic for a specific keyword. However, then along came Google pulling out a new feature (the star-rated portion) which is given greater visibility over the organic search result list of website A. In so doing, it pulls traffic away from website A toward the links in the new feature.

    To me, that's an additional barrier between us and the traffic.

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