Superb SEO Does Not Guarantee Valuable Traffic

November 16, 2014 // Chris Edwards

For years I have heard clients and business owners say that their SEO strategies success was in direct correlation to their website’s traffic numbers. There are a number of reasons why this statement is inaccurate and potentially detrimental to their online core business. This article will explain the reasons behind why this is not the case and what are some better ways to quantify your businesses online success.

There is a major difference to the health of an organization online between traffic and valuable traffic (targeted traffic). Let’s take a look at a sample business to see what the difference actually is:

You own a wedding store and you sell a variety of wedding accessories and related products. One marketing idea you implement is to have someone stand outside your store and hand out $5 coffee gift cards, you are hoping they will enter your store. The first day, you have 200 potential customers come into your store, however, 150 of them are already married and will have no reason to be a customer. They are more than happy to take your gift cards and leave. The other 50 customers did indeed shop your store, but only about half made a purchase that day. This leaves you 25 sales. On the second day, you decided to change your offer to a gift card for wedding products you stock in store. The traffic into your store on this day may be 100 potential customers, half of what you received the day before, however, all 100 are in the market for your services and shop your store with about half making a purchase that day. This leaves you with 50 sales on your second day, this is a much higher number of sales even with less customers.

Now let’s look at why this basic business principle can also be applied to your online website marketing strategy. You could attempt to rank for a wide variety of search terms, however, you run the risk of getting the broad market and few actual paying customers. Instead, you should decide on a very strategic and specific set of search terms that will maximize your efforts and potential profits.

Proper Success Measurement

You can see from the before mentioned example that website traffic is a number that can be misleading. There are some metrics that can be measured that will provide a plethora of valuable information into the health of your online marketing strategy.

Utilizing tools such as event tracking on Google Analytics you can track actions that potential customers are making on your website. This allows you to count not just visitors to your website, but also visitors who are interacting with your website. You can track metrics such as contact form submissions or even seeing extended time on a visit or multiple page views.

Here are some metrics to watch:

  •  Pages per Visit – This number tells you an average of how many pages each visitor went to during a session.
  • Bounce Rate – This number is a percentage of how many people came to the website and immediately left.

  • Average Visit Duration – This number shows the average time a person stayed on your website.

  • Conversions – This number shows you how many times an action you are tracking occurred on the site. This could be a contact form that was submitted, a request to join a mailing list or a purchase being made (e-commerce sites).

Use these metrics to determine the health and success levels of your online marketing plan. The goal is to have more targeted visitors who will spend more time on the site, visit more pages, and convert into a long time customer.



Reader Interactions


  1. Definitely agree with what is stated on this post. I get pages to page 1 all the time. It doesn’t mean the phone is going to start ringing off the hook. Site design may have a lot to do with it but marketing methods with will determine the conversions. You can get 300 hits a day to your site yet not convert one and someone else who get 50 visits may as well convert at least half of that

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Chris Edwards

Chris is Co-Owner of Data Driven Labs and a 17-year internet marketing expert in web design & development, SEO, digital marketing, and analytics. He often speaks at conferences around the world on everything WordPress and analytics.


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