Not All Internet Traffic Is Created Equal

By: Darren McLaughlin

If you're relatively new to the internet marketing arena, I'd like to save you some time and give you a big hint about something I didn't know when I first started. Like most newbies, I was mostly obsessed with traffic, and I didn't care where it came from. I would purchase one cent pop-up traffic just to try to show my website to anyone who may or may not be even remotely interested! I figured any publicity was good publicity and paid for banners are all over the internet, without ever worrying about the source of the traffic. Suffice it to say, once I analyzed my logs, I became very disenchanted with the results.

I came to find out that traffic is meaningless. The only metric that mattered to my business online was conversions. I need people to buy, so it truly doesn't matter how many people start out at the website, it only matters how many of them end up at the order form. The only people who are likely to purchase from a website are a segment of active and interested people who are ready to spend money, and ready to spend it right now. People who are surfing around for related information, or worse yet, someone picked off from an un-related website just can't do much for your business because they barely, if ever, convert. The more people you have like this, the higher the server load, and nothing else. I learned that the best visitor is one who is actively searching to buy a product or service like the one you offer. If the customer isn't ready to purchase, then there's little chance you'll actually be paid anything.

I'm sure this revelation isn't a shock to everyone, but for some people, they might see a bit of themselves in the situation I'm describing. I've certainly talked to enough people who were obsessed mainly by traffic. Who doesn't love to see their log files explode? A huge burst of traffic is appealing to the Ego, if nothing else. However, log files don't pay the bills. If you can earn $20 on 100 page views, you'll realize quickly how direct conversion traffic is worth more than any other kind. Even if your website doesn't directly sell a product, you'll still make the most money with very targeted traffic. Why? Because these same consumers will be very likely to convert at the advertiser's end. Advertisers are willing to pay the most for traffic that results in sales. For this reason alone, you can expect high rates of CPM by keeping your traffic very narrow and primarily focused on the act of buying a product or service. The closer they are to the act of purchasing, the better. This means the best visitor is a time-motivated person in the act of purchasing a product or service. If you derive a large percentage of your website's traffic in this fashion, you're sitting on a gold mine.

Grouping your web pages on tightly focused topics is a great way to ensure your traffic is qualified. The tighter the focus, the more likely the visitor is to convert. A person searching for "buy cheap online widgets" is very likely far into the purchasing thought process. If the visitor lands on your website and is pre-qualified by the landing page, the work of the advertiser in closing the sale is almost done. At this point, a click-through to the advertiser's site is likely to generate a sale. Your compensation for supplying such a pre-qualified lead will be rich. If your entire website consists of pages engineered in this fashion and covering a keyword category intensely, you're extremely likely to succeed as a web marketer. Hopefully this bit of advice will come in handy to someone who's just starting out in the game. Save yourself time and target narrow profitable niches right from the start.

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