October 6, 2010
Our CEO is looking for a specific goal in site traffic generated by organic search, based on our implementing SEO recommendations.
We started the year at 2,653 organic visits in January and then, last month, 3,085 organic visits. So we've been creeping upward at a rate of 54 extra organic visits per month on average over those 8 months, using our "B" grade tactics. That's 16% growth over 8 months.
In your experience, when a company goes from "B" SEO tactics to "A" SEO tactics, what range do you see their organic visitor rate increase by? And how quickly or slowly can one expect to see those efforts taking effect?
I want to set a reasonable expectation for what the goal should be as the next three months transpire. Is it reasonable for me to say that we'll double our average growth rate by end of year – e.g., from 2% month over month to 4% month over month?
Just wanted to hear what you have witnessed first-hand. A range is fine as I know you work across many industries.
Great questions, but unfortunately, it's impossible to say. It depends on which keywords you target and whether you do the SEO correctly. Not only that, but the goal shouldn't be site traffic because you could be increasing untargeted site traffic. The goal should be to increase targeted traffic, which converts into leads.
It also depends on how much targeted traffic is available for your particular products or services. I can't tell you that you'll increase x percent month over month – what if you get to a point where you're receiving all the targeted traffic that exists in your particular niche?
In fact, it often happens that, after implementing a good, targeted SEO campaign across a website, their overall organic traffic goes down because they're no longer showing up for the untargeted phrases. Typically, though, bounce rate goes down too, and conversions go up. (Sort of like if you add negative keywords to an AdWords paid search campaign.)
In addition, you probably shouldn't be looking at a month-to-month increase in anything, but how each month compares to the same month in the year before. This is because there are often seasonal shifts in traffic, even for B2B sites, due to vacations, holidays, etc.
That said, I've seen organic traffic increase 500% to 2,000% in a year if they had no SEO in place to start with. And I've seen websites where their organic traffic increased just 5% to 10% in a year if they were already doing some SEO and then started to do more.
It also depends on how much content you put out there to be found. People who write a daily blog that is of interest to many in their industry tend to have more traffic because a lot of content must be indexed and they often receive "long-tail" traffic from it. The same can be said for forum threads. You can have tons of traffic when you have a forum, but it doesn't necessarily convert to anything more than that in the short-term.
So, as with anything in SEO – it depends, and unfortunately, I can't provide you with a straight answer!
I would advise this: Rather than looking for a specific rate of increase, see whether the phrases in aggregate that you're optimizing for start to bring more visitors, and whether they convert for you. Say you've optimized for a keyword phrase like "custom lederhosen." When you review your web analytics, look at all the phrases people used that contain the word "lederhosen." You'll find that users are finding you via many variations on the phrase, such as custom-made lederhosen, custom designed lederhosen, customized lederhosen, etc.
You'll also want to look at the words and phrases for which you optimized that are not bringing you many search engine visitors, and try to figure out why. Is it because your pages aren't showing up in the search results? Is it their position in the search results? Or perhaps the description or clickable title link isn't enticing enough for the searcher to click on?
This is the sort of analysis that will be much more useful to you than how many more overall visitors you can bring to your site (unless you make your money strictly through visitors and page views).
I know it's not what you were asking for, but hope it helps nonetheless!