Direct Traffic VS Search Engine Traffic: Which Is More Important To You?

I got asked a really good question over the weekend whilst talking to a close friend of mine who’s also a small business owner with a website.

For a long while she’s been happily getting traffic from search engines, mainly from Google, and business was good.  But of course with the recent Google shenanigans late last year and throughout this year, slowly that all changed for her and she’s now suffering like a lot of other small business owners out there.

Anyways, in the heat of the rant, one of the questions she asked me was;

Which matters more to you Fabrizio, search engine traffic or direct traffic to your business website?

This got me thinking and it took me a little while to answer because once upon a time I would have said search engine traffic mattered more, or even a balance of both.

Whilst I’m still learning a lot about the whole new SEO thing (post Panda and Penguin), and I still feel that search engine traffic is important for small businesses to be able to thrive and grow, I now believe that direct traffic is more important.  So that means making a great enough impact the first time around so that those customers keep coming back for more repeat business, that’s whats more important in my mind.

Direct Traffic VS Search Engine Traffic

From a business standpoint, if you want customers to find you then yes search engines matter, but if you want to keep those customers coming back to use your products or services again in the future, you want to get them to take the direct approach, don’t just rely completely on SEO or Google, your business needs to be seen everywhere doing great things, that other businesses aren’t doing.

When you get direct traffic to your site it means your potential customers or blog readers are accessing your site without going to another source first, i.e search engines or a referral site.

Is this a good thing? Hell yes…

Importantly direct approach from visitors mean they consider your site or business to be a trustworthy place for gaining valuable resource and information, somewhere they know they can get hold of reliable content, somewhere they know they’ll find the products or services they’re looking for, they didn’t need to go through Google or Bing or any other search engine for that matter!  They came directly to your site to find what they were looking for.

Should you feel privileged?

Absolutely, and it’s something all bloggers and small business owners with websites should work hard towards achieving.

So is direct traffic more important than search traffic? In my opinion yes, others might be different, but I really think that in this day and age, customer retention is of paramount importance!

From a blogging standpoint when someone visits your blog directly, this is also called reader ‘loyalty’, now the more people you can get accessing your site directly, the more authoritative you can become and you’ll grow an even larger and more loyal audience in the process, just like popular blogs such as ProBlogger and CopyBlogger have done.  But it isn’t easy, you’ll need to work really hard to achieve such status.

So here are some ways to increase audience loyalty and promote consistent direct traffic to your blog or website -

  • Create an irresistible brand that stands out from the crowd, be different
  • First impressions are everything in business and blogging, so make it count…
  • Be absolutely everywhere (increase brand awareness on every marketable platform available).
  • Provide immense value and resource to your audience and your customers always.
  • Provide faultless customer service experience, or and user experience on your blog.
  • Make it really easy for consumers and your blog readers to find your site (use a memorable domain name, something that sticks in their heads, create a unique brand image etc)

…Now ask yourself the question, which is more important to you right now, increasing and promoting direct traffic to your site or working your ass off trying to increase search engine traffic?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comment section below as always.

Now have a great productive week what ever you do :)

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joanet/

P.s before I sign off, I completed reading yet another awesome eBook from Amazon over the weekend, which I shared on our Facebook page (see below).  The eBook titled “SEO 2013 & Beyond” explains in real simple terms the effective methods and strategies of post Panda and Penguin SEO, amongst many other great tips and tricks for creating loveable content and building quality backlinks, if you get the chance it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re new or need to be updated on the new trends of SEO practices.

  • http://threeladdersmarketing.com/ Three Ladders Marketing

    Interesting question. I think both are valuable and both (SEO / Direct) take a considerable amount of time to generate. In terms of which being more important, I think this is likely specific to the website/business. For example, we’ve had clients who had a lot of direct traffic, but it didn’t convert well, so their SEO traffic was more valuable in terms of revenue per visitor.

    Other clients who have tons of content and sell e-commernce goods, find their SEO traffic to be more info-seekers and their direct traffic being return customers looking for additional products.

    Either way, both are valuable in that they result in low cost traffic. Low cost in that it takes time and resources to build strong SEO and brand recognition.