Do the majority of your website hits come from social media?
They should. I was bumbling around in the website statistics of various sites the other day and thought I’d do a bit of calculation. If found that, in every case, our websites get more hits from social media than from search engines.
This is remarkable for two reasons. The first is that, a few years ago, anyone involved in websites or search engine optimization would trot out the statistic that at least 85% of website visits come via search engines. And it was true then – in the ‘olden days’. The second point is that businesses and individuals are still stressing over search engine optimization whereas it’s clear that their energies should be devoted to social media.
Remember too that the sites I was studying have great search engine presence. This isn’t a case of fewer hits coming from search engines because the sites don’t rank highly – they do.
We also have to bear in mind that search engines are becoming increasingly personal. Unless you have covered your computer tracks very carefully, search engines know where you are located in the world. Try it – search Google for ‘pizza’. If you’re in Fort Lauderdale like me, you’ll get a list of local pizza places. Do the same search in London and it will be places local to you that are high in the results.
Andy and I sometimes conduct a highly unscientific experiment. We sit at the opposite sides of our worktable. Our monitors are back-to-back. You can’t get much closer than that. We’ll both search for exactly the same thing in exactly the same search engine. Usually, we get different results. This will obviously be the case if I am signed into Google+ as I will see personal results and he won’t. (Or if he;s signed in, he’ll see his own personal results). But even if we’re not signed in, results will usually differ.
If anyone ever tells you that they know exactly which algorithms Google uses to determine search results, they are lying. No-one does, apart from the big bosses at Google itself. So what causes the change in results? Previous browsing history? Previous searches? Browser preferences? All the above?
In the sites I studied, over fifty percent of the hits came from social media. From search engines (all) it was just below 30%. So, what should you be concerned about when it comes to website traffic? Search engine optimization or social media? You know the answer.