Traffic is down- should I worry?

In Office Hours this week, we attempted to discern why traffic to a website was down and determine whether or not that was a problem.

Sometimes traffic goes down- sorry. This might be the result of picking the wrong SEO tactics. It could be a result of other, outside factors. In this week’s Office Hours we look into the data to see if this is really a problem (or not).

To diagnose this problem we looked into Google Trends (which I also use to find keyword data as part of the keyword research process).

However, don’t forget: traffic is nice but customers are better. If traffic is down but you’re still getting new customers, it might not be a problem. A lot of traffic could be people who would never become customers. Don’t put a lot of effort into chasing those visitors if they won’t help your company’s bottom-line.

Transcript:

So sometimes traffic is down. Yes, you know, sometimes it’s outside factors that don’t. There’s nothing you can do about it. Yeah, an honest people last year and right, because there’s a worldwide pandemic and you can’t We SEL responds to demand, doesn’t create. Honestly, like the weather has been so nice and people are starting to go out again. So there is some attribution. Well, and some of what you do relates to school. It’s the end of the school year. Yeah, you know, that could be. So what I would do to check things is go to Trends to Tre and dies Trends not google.com And look for actual, let’s practice this together. I actually wrote on the reliable Acorn blog about how to do this, but let’s let’s do a live example of this. So, Trends that google.com. So what this is, this is a really cool free tool from Google. If you’ve done the keyword research process you might To experience this because this is one of the ways you can collect data about what people are searching for. It’s a pretty tedious, pray process to do it this way, but it works is so we’re not guessing at what customers are looking for. We have some data to help us but to interject for just a second, would you say this is more reliable than answer the public? Or they’re just two sides of the same coin. It is very different than answer the phone answer. The public gives you ideas of work, Words, this gives you data behind the words. Interesting so okay. Let’s do Autism Services. Okay, so I’m typing and it’s suggesting some things, it search term. How many people are searching for Autism Services Autism Services as a topic? So this is just the fact here that we have two different things, a search phrase and a topic. Tells you something very important about Google So a topic is much broader than a literal phrase, right? It’s it can Encompass that for that little phrase but it can Encompass a lot of things related to that little phrase really are, we are not interested in how many people are searching for Autism Services as a keyword really looking at how many people look for this as a topic, right? That’s much more valuable because it includes the keyword in more. So then this might be one way to do it and we’re just going to go with this one as a Point. But our first step here is to figure out topic a topic, not just a word about which our customers might be searching, right? Right. So for you, it could also be a be a hmm. But we got to be careful with a ba because ABA could mean something besides your specific kind of services. Yeah, I think ABA is American Bar Association, right? That can I tell you want to make sure that that doesn’t get confused. Yeah, Did you ABA therapy? I find behavioral analysis. Yeah they tell me David. So you’re saying to put that in and instead of searched her and put topic for this practice of finding demand yes for the keyword research process I would do search term but for this so what this tells us is a couple things this is interest over time for the last 12 months. A lot more people are looking for the topic of Applied Behavior Analysis than the topic of Autism Services. Interesting, but you can see demand because this is interest. So, last year the last week of the year, Was the all-time low in last 12 months of demand for the hot applied Behavior Analysis, right? So, but you see It’s been going down all year to write to get all kinds of really wonderful information so we could go as we can say. Because we will do you happen to be here. We can limit this data to interest in this topic for New Jersey, huh? And so now we’re getting some really interesting stuff here because you have a focus of an area, you might not be able to help someone in ela. Right foot your service, you offer certifications and things like that to someone in California could potentially work but Not what we’re looking. Here and we can get a little bit more granular, same kind of thing. End of the year, was the decline up down, up down up down, but if you’ll notice last year, it was generally higher and higher than this year. Right? And this is just limited to New Jersey. Now, can you explain what? The Y X? I don’t know what axis it is. The whores. The vertical one is not cool is is called interest, okay? That’s a number between zero, and a hundred that shows how interested people are in a particular topic, what? That means? Who knows. Google doesn’t look tell us what. That number means, it doesn’t correspond to Hundred visitors it corresponds to just like an arbitrary rate. They’re just not arbitrary there but they’re but they’re trying to Baseline it so you can compare different things. So for instance, we are seeing No zeros for Autism Services all the way around, right? But we could if we picked another phrase, let’s just say, Autism as a disorder. Mine up may not want disorder. Might not be the right word we want to use but that’s how Google characterizes it. So we see now we can compare Autism as a disorder is significantly more people looking for it. Then ABA as a topic, interesting and services is next to zero. So this helps us compare phrases with each other. But it also kind of helps us. Look at look at again for some reason. March Biggest Spike we’ve seen in the last 12 months and that was the month with our best numbers. Wow. Get a lot of it first. See look how it’s gone down to yep. See ya. I’ll tell you my bonus is tied to these numbers so maybe I can argue. Yeah. That aren’t necessarily look like we could speculate, but we could theoretically find out like, what? If there was a, the New York Times did a big research project on autism in end of March? So, everybody was talking about it, like, oh, that’s why everybody’s really interested in it right now. Well, they have enough influence where they are. What if, what if the National Conference for your industry was in March What if our 2020 or 60 Minutes to big thing about something that month right? Yeah and also what is Autism Awareness Month like that much? I would think would be like you know a cornice is April you there go. There you go. So right there so that that right there because the internet when that April yeah was actually playing is perspective, right? Because here, I was kind of Of down like oh our traffic stayed stagnant but if I’m looking at the trend it’s actually good that we stayed steady as opposed to decline a yeah only. So that’s really definitely do since get that information right there and show what you all did. Great. Give me a boner. I just wrote for libel Acorn, a way to compare your traffic against the demand. For your topic and the demand for your brand in Google Trends. So here is data from a real client this the blue represents how much traffic they got in this case from organic search because that’s the one that’s most likely to be dependent upon Demand, right? Versus demand for their their topic. And in this case, they are big enough where they have a brand awareness, And you can see that as brand goes up. Traffic tends to go up so sometimes it’s not my awesome SEO Services sometimes it’s awesome. Work of the pr firm you know? Or they’re in the news. Right? So this this little article explains how to come up with here’s another one. This is an interesting case. Boy, there traffic has been sucking all year. But this is a very seasonal company and guess when their peak season, it’s and they didn’t really well last pandemic because they do like stuff on the outdoors. Everybody’s like, I’m sucking being home. I’m gonna pay someone to make them Outdoors, but boy, winter months sucking, because demand for their services, doing calls him to do outdoor patios and we had Mills. Here’s another interesting one. This is a real, another real client, a year ago their Is almost twice where it was this last month. Demand for their services, main constant, but what’s different people are less looking for their brand. Hmm. And so what this is is a PR problem. Whereas people are either, we could be Market saturation, where other companies have emerged in this industry and are now taking market share away from this company, which is problem. What’s going on? But I thought, oh no, I’m a terrible SEO. And then I look at demand for the brand. Yeah, no, it’s a PR problem. Now could you then instead of using it as topic, use it for search term. If you’re comparing phrases that you Pro want to put in your website for SEO. Yes. And in there is in the process. In the keyword research overview, mmm. Knowing deep now. you can use Google Trends to click to, gather data about Your Search terms, okay? And so here’s a the process showing you how to do this, hmm? Okay. Because you really answer the public or I like keyword dot IO, they’re great tools to come up with ideas. But unless you know how many people search for more or less you’re just kind of inferring. You think people might be looking for that. Yes, you don’t need the numbers but but but using Tool like this will help you compare. Yeah, well place value on it because what I did initially is I didn’t answer the public searched, for example, for parenting. And then, you know, I mean, we got like 300 results. So what I did was download that as a CSV and then essentially highlight those that are highly relevant, delete those that are highly on relevant and like leave the ones that are kind of there in the middle that That way, I can, compare the ones that are most relevant now with this tool. All to compare and see. Okay, these are most relevant to us is their demand for it. And if so, which terms are is the highest demand for? But this is just like crazy too. I mean option. Obviously I didn’t get the as far as like keywords search previously that I did a lot of the brainstorming it and that, and looked at it. And because really, we don’t, it’s interesting because prior to ER, to this month. We didn’t consider ourselves to have a traffic problem because arguably, we get too many people, requesting our services, we can’t fulfill it all. But now that we’re shifting into a different service line, in addition, it changes the perspective and it changes what a customer looks like. And so now we have to really re-examine what we’re doing and try to recreate the success of our babies. Services. Now, with the different service line without losing, what you’ve worked without losing, what we already worked with and particularly, you know, for myself, I don’t have a web developer background. You know, I came into this company when it was already on a growth spurt. And so, to help to kind of identify what steps were taken before I started and recreate them and work, and also improve, you know, it’s it’s a little bit daunting. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m going to Share this link with the chat so everyone could look at that. But I recommend going in here, following the keyword research process with the new line and taking the time to work through the whole process. Yeah. To collect data. So you’re making an educated decision about these things rather than saying well I think this is what people are looking for like this will tell you whether people looking for Are coaching. Like bupkis. Well, now that’s Limited in New Jersey, but you can use stuff like Here’s related queries, autism and girls is autism genetic. What causes autism? This is rising. So these are topics that are more popular recently. You can look at the top topics signs of autism. This is again, we’re limited to New Jersey so we could remove that and just go United States. Well, I mean I mean we’ve talked about this Before when we’re focusing on customers, it’s new. As far as like family skull, we do focus on New Jersey. It’s when we do our marketing, professional things that we can learn Excel webinars and things than we do, you know, Nationwide. Well, in the keyword research process because the data in will explain that in a custom data. In Google Trends can be limited. If you limit Yourself by a geography, you might get zeros. Right? But, and that doesn’t mean no one searching. For just means, there’s not enough data when you narrow down to a geography. So you might do search for United States knowing that you really are focusing in New Jersey. But if you can find ideas in the United States, people are in New Jersey at, bro, I’m going to be asking them to write, right? So use the use a, you can zero in on a particular location, but, but you don’t have to, and sometimes you don’t want to or you’re going to Everything will look like no one searching for it. Reality is because Look into granularly, right? So so this is the first thing I check when it comes to traffic down. Is there something going on outside? That could be affecting it and it looks like there might be for you. Yeah, and if that’s the case, then it might not have anything to do with you now over the last month or so, Apple has been making some transitions to prevent cookies and things like that, to make it a lot harder to track in tribute traffic. So it could be something like that. What I would look at is is your direct traffic up? It is that making up for traffic? That’s down in other spots because Google analytics will report direct traffic. When it doesn’t know the source of the traffic. No, because that’s the all visitors. Correct. As compared to new visitors. No, no. This is Cheryl like so direct traffic is a different traffic channel. Like organic is a channel referring to channel. Yeah, our Channel. Typically, I want to say that our Organic search is 70%, direct is like 20, and then like social and others at five to 10, sometimes, maybe like, 60 30, instead of 70 20, but that is pretty steady. But our overall traffic, in addition to our new users has gone down a little bit. In the past couple months, like we’re averaging in the 200s each week. I was supposed to like, at the height of our traffic in April. We were hitting close to 400 every week, you know, I mean, we can pop. Yeah, I mean, in March, we were, we hit, I think about 1,200, visitors in the fort first four weeks of March. And then, by the fifth week, we were up to our highest ever, which I think was like, 15 or 16. Hundred. So it has this affected goal conversions or just traffic it has and it hasn’t because we have been receiving an insane number of phone calls as opposed to contact us on the website so that were not as concerned about like I said, like we really get too many requi get more requests than we can handle more requests than we can. Service. So that conversion is not necessarily the issue were looking at. But that’s not a pause for a moment and say you’re telling me that the Curious ancestry. Oh, program is delivering you more customers and you can handle just be clear. Yeah. Okay, so please continue. I mean it’s true in that and also the peak of this was probably in March there were times. Where the first step we do is verify insurance benefits and there were weeks where I was doing like 10 different benefits in a week, which is a lot of wonderful problem. Yeah, it is, it could be very well that the traffic you’re losing. If it’s not affecting, your customers is Laura like, informational, traffic, not necessarily converting. And so, it could be something like that. Like, sometimes when when I, when I’ll get started on a client, it’s easy to get the traffic ramped up as a lot harder to get customers ramp. Oh yeah. But I mean, we’re sort of the opposite. And I once we convert someone to a customer, the odds of them are turning to our website or actually lower because they’re getting the service from, right? So they don’t need to read information second-hand, right? Because they have a the professional in their home. So it’s definitely just more informational visitors that we have taken a hit on which is why? Yeah. It’s okay to lose those visitors. Like I obviously don’t want to. You don’t want to say goodbye you. Do you not care about him but let’s not focus on them so much that were for Lauren. When we’re still getting a significant number of customers. Yeah, I mean, it’s always going to be more Tire kickers and test drives always be more test drives, right? The car purchases. And so as long as the car purchaser remaining, and the number of people kicking tires is not defective. The car purchases. Mmm, it could be that. A lot of people were kicking tires, never were going to buy buy a car and that might be okay. And we also our newsletter, where re working for next month because I think we identified that it kind of became White Noise, like it was a lot of the same information every month, like just sharing the same things. So we’re in the process of reworking, not to really focus on only A new content and then maybe include like quick links to things as opposed to just reiterating the same things over and over every month because we think people just stopped opening it or stopped really reading it because there’s no new information. So that’s another kind of like identified, you know, that and the linking on social media are two of like our biggest strategies right now and posting more blogs more consistently. To try to get that traffic drive back up well. But again it might not be a problem. Right? Right. So you even if you were to create more traffic from social media, if that traffic is necessarily going to be returning. Customers are you working for something just for a vanity metric of aren’t we awesome? We’re getting a lot of traffic in reality. It’s the faith that Facebook visitors do. A lot of advantage for you brand, awareness. Keeping customers in Loop. You know, there’s a lot of advantages to do but it might be okay that you’re not getting that traffic in. That’s not bringing in New York and you could be doing a lot of work that isn’t necessarily paying off, right? If if it’s just traffic that you’re looking for him, I think it’s or at least the the mentality behind it from, you know, Catherine not is a boost and brand awareness Beatrice and that’s represented by Website traffic because we’re doing this kind of secondary service line now. So we want to spark interest. We want to start getting more people looking at us but that is a good point because I mean really you know no one at our company is is super tacky as far as SEO and website you know, development and all of these different things. It’s something we’re kind of building from the ground up because we’re A small business. And so we’re kind of learning on the Fly and handling things and house until we get to the level, where? Okay, this is big enough to hire someone out to do it. Now, this is that’s big enough to hire someone out to do it now, which is why, like, myself as an operations coordinator, I wear so many different hats because right now, SEO is important, but not important enough to have one person doing just that Marketing is important but not in, you know, so it’s a lot of things like that that are challenging as a business grows from small to large because we are in this sort of in-between where, you know, we do a lot of business and we just open this big Clinic that was not cheap. And, you know, we’re doing all of these things and it’s kind of this in between where we gotta grow. Now, like we hit a spot and now we got to keep growing but also retain our integrity and like, It’s a wild time and it’s exciting. It is exciting. So make sure you spend your time efficiently and not doing things that just are metrics that. Don’t pay for themselves, right? It could be really distracting to be worried about traffic right now in reality, you can increase that traffic. It might not help, hmm, right? If it if you’re not now it could be that traffic down now might Is late and lower leads later by a couple of months, right? As people less people were being introduced to you. Well, blah, but like, I kind of, if the customers are still coming in, I’d almost say great. What’s the problem with? Les Stroud, if if we can do less effort and still get more customers, isn’t that a good thing, right? Like and and if it maybe we need to re-evaluate how we are evaluating when a customer is and how we measure the customers. But let’s just be careful about putting a lot of worry and effort in something that okay? What we could totally turn our traffic around, it might not really help and that’s where we got it. That’s why going back to the reports looking at the bottom line is so very important.


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