Time for me to ruffle some SEO feathers again! Today I decided to download my stats from Google Webmasters and really do some digging on the traffic that I’m getting from organic search. The Marketing Technology blog ranks incredibly high on a number of keywords with dozens of #1 ranks on highly competitive, high volume keywords. We all know that the higher the rank, the higher the click-through rate on a search engine results page. But does that matter in the bigger picture?
Don’t discount your overall organic search traffic from keywords you don’t rank on or that have low search volumes. On our marketing blog, 72% of our organic traffic comes from entries that are not even on page 1! Even more interesting is that we get more traffic from a rank of 8 than we do on a rank of 1!
I realize this sounds blasphemous, but you really need to think about this as you’re looking at a content marketing strategy. Is it more important to invest in ranking on high volume, highly competitive keywords? This can be timely and expensive. Or, could you invest time in effort in providing a variety of content on longer-tail keywords that aren’t that competitive but are highly relevant to your organization?
To be honest, we’ve chosen the latter. I used to think that ranking #1 was critical to our success. But I’ve since found that putting more energy into great content was gaining us more attention overall. The stats don’t lie… while the click-through rate on a search engine result page may increase substantially as you get to the #1 spot, our traffic based on ranking doesn’t matter nearly as much. We know we can get into great results with great content… why not simply work on that and increase our organic traffic with relevant, quality content instead of shooting for a bullseye every time?
Do your own evaluation of your organic ranking. Where is most of your traffic coming from? Even better question, where is most of your business coming from? My guess is that it’s coming from a variety of long-tail, relevant searches. Prove me wrong! 🙂
I’m not totally dismissing ranking high on highly competitive terms. It’s a great indication of authority and can drive a lot of traffic. As well, ranking high on some keywords seems to correlate with ranking high on lots of related keywords. The combination can drive a ton of traffic. I’m simply advocating a balanced approach. Instead of trying to get a homerun with every at-bat, it’s good every once in a while to just try and get on base!
Update: After sharing this post, I found that I’m not the only one who has noticed this Chase Traffic, Not Rankings.