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Thread: When Buying a Site, Where do You Want to See Traffic Coming from?

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    When Buying a Site, Where do You Want to See Traffic Coming from?

    I'm new to this and have seen a few comments in this forum saying that you don't want to buy a site that's overly reliant on search engines for traffic. I understand that's because algorithms change and that traffic can disappear overnight. What's a realistic ideal mix of traffic sources then? Aren't you worse off if the site relies more on advertising for traffic? Should a buyer just be looking for sites that have a lot of traffic coming in from referring sites? Any advice would be appreciated.

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    Hey, welcome

    Good question. Like many people when I think 'traffic' I think 'google google google' so a discussion about alternate traffic sources, how to attract and keep that traffic, and whose interest you're going to acquire through having non-search engine traffic is something really useful that I can learn from.

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    Lots of referring sites is good. No site accounting for a sizeable chunk of your traffic is good. Captive audience (RSS subscribers / newsletter database) is good. Community (forums) is good. Traffic from referrers who have a stake in sending you traffic (affiliates) is good.

    There is no ideal mix. There's only variations in how secure your future traffic is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    Aren't you worse off if the site relies more on advertising for traffic?
    Not at all. Personally, I prefer paid advertising to organic traffic any time of the day, especially if it's nicely diversified (more than one ad campaign, preferably across more than one provider).

    It's also important to to distinguish different forms of paid traffic. While PPC, for instance, can be quite risky (a new competitor coming along and overbidding you, or even the person selling the site keeping to bid on the same keywords - not at all a rare occurrence!), proven media buy campaigns can be very sustainable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monica View Post
    Should a buyer just be looking for sites that have a lot of traffic coming in from referring sites?
    Referring site can mean anything. It can be the seller linking to the site from one of their other sites, it can be a paid link, it can be a blog that featured the site, literally anything.

    If you get a lot of traffic from other sites then it's important to dig deeper and look into each of the main traffic sources (sites) individually, trying to determine whether they can be considered sustainable traffic sources or not.
    Last edited by Bryan; 20 March 2012 at 9:52 am. Reason: typo

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    GA_sources.jpg

    Looking at the above example (actuals removed as irrelevant)
    I would want a balance of all three:

    - Direct Traffic is likely to be those who already have a relationship with my website - using bookmarks / typing in my domain
    - Referral traffic is likely to be new traffic but potentially of high relevance as they are already aware of thesite / purpose / content and are coming from a contextual location where they have chosen to click through
    - Search Traffic can be a mixture, but is more dominant to new people / but with a higher chance of lack of relevance / bounce as they may have mistyped a search term - been looking for something else...

    Ideally you want all three - the mixture or ratios depending on the nature of the website.
    If you are getting mainly referral / direct traffic, in theory it should be more focused / less bounce / more likely to convert - but you are less likely to grow your market
    Market growth comes from those who know you, but not been before, but also those who don't know you, but on finding you remain - both are available from search...

    Alasdair

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