I’ve picked up an interesting article from Fortune Magazine regarding what makes Google News worth so much to Google when there are no ads. Through this article, I’d like to share some thoughts around measuring the value of your traffic to your website.
Basically, free products offered from Google helps driving traffic to their search engine and tie users into a broader Google ecosystem. This is a similar concept to creating micro sites for any web sites out there trying to market their site, products, or services.
The great question that comes out of this is, how valuable are those sites that refer traffic to your website?
Is it the volume of traffic that refers to the site for increased exposure and awareness, or is it the conversion and quality of traffic that is brought to your site?
What makes Google’s model so great is that, each site connects in a form of “relevancy”.
Google News is relevant to Google search because people who read a news article may get more curious about certain topics or content, and they’ll go off searching (likely through Google).
The Same logic may work for your site when you’re trying to leverage referrals from others. So in order to maximize the value of referring traffic to your site, you need to understand if you’re acquiring the right kind of users. Knowing the content you serve through your website, are there any gaps between the interest of the users, and the relevancy of the other sites and your site?
It becomes more critical to understand this, especially if your visitors are bouncing away or even paying for that traffic acquisition. When you test your website and measure metrics through analytics, look at the key measures by referring domains (or source/medium in Google Analytics). Search engines aren’t the only traffic acquisition method, and quality referrals from other sites could produce a valuable outcome. It can broaden your site’s ecosystem.
Obviously, there is really not much you can control when people are linking to your site on their own will, but assessing and optimizing the referrals could be done if it’s within the reach of your control like:
- Micro sites
- adjusting content
- adding content
- buying ads on other sites
I’m kind of started off with Google and went a bit broad on referring domains. But the point is, you need to track how your website visitors have found you. The value of those referrals to your is determined by rather those people converted or not. Depending on the kind of conversions, the value will differ.
The ideal goal is to track all the way through to sales conversions. However, if you’re building awareness or growing your leads, it is hard to measure the value of those leads who have not converted. However, over time if your cohort of visitors converts, then you could possibly measure the performance based on the cohort who have initially taken the initial key action (like downloading a white paper, sign up for your newsletter, etc).
Over time, you’ll see which source and cohort had eventually converted, very likely on their subsequent visits to your website.
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