Organic Search: Why Traffic Quality Matters

Every single page on your website can be indexed and ranked by Google, and is a potential source of web visitors. As an ecommerce store owner, however, not all organic search traffic should be considered equal. That’s because depending on the search intent and which pages they find on your site, they will differ in their likelihood of completing a purchase and contributing to your sales and bottom line. 

When I analyze my organic traffic data, I ask myself what web page category each page falls under. Product pages, for example, generate lots of revenue from a few visitors, while informational pages tend to generate high amounts of traffic but relatively little revenue.

I personally don’t believe in worrying too much about the technical aspects of SEO, and instead recommend investing a creating high quality content that visitors find useful. Creating this content is not easy, of course, so I’ve shared my actual organic traffic data, as well as thoughts and analytics, on each of the page categories below.

Product Pages (30% of Organic Traffic Revenue, 1.0% Conversion Rate)

The purpose of a product page is, of course, to explain the benefits and details about a product that you are offering for sale. This is the page that shows the price and “add to cart” button. Most of the search traffic coming through product pages is typically long tail keyword search, because generic and commodity product searches tend to be dominated by the ecommerce giants like Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. In total, 20% of my organic search revenue is generated by customers who find my product pages via Google Search, and the purchase conversion rate is an impressive 1.77%.

Visitors who land on a product page have a very high probability of purchasing, because they have shown a high level of purchase intent by virtue of their product-related search query or decision to click on the search result for your product page. One of the challenges from an SEO perspective is how to best cater to visitors who have never heard of your company. They might initially be impressed by the benefits and features of your product, but might be left hanging with many questions like your shipping & returns policy and whether or not your company is legitimate. This is where it is important to have an easily navigable website, as well as social proof shown prominently.

Landing Pages (25% of Organic Traffic Revenue, 1.0% Conversion Rate)

Landing pages are an effective way to introduce a product, brand or technology to new customers. Unlike product pages, whose primary function is to “seal the deal,” landing pages are a pre-sales tool to help get your customers excited about your product. My products are generally quite technical and require somewhat lengthy and elaborate graphics and explanations to communicate the benefits and features, so the landing page approach works quite well.

My landing pages are designed to be the first page that paid-traffic visitors see, and that has been quite successful for my business. These same pages also rank organically, however, and this has been a very nice boost in organic revenue.

My approach to landing pages is to provide as much high-quality educational material as possible, and explain in simple terms why my products are able to overcome the problems and issues that other products in the marketplace face. Because I am able to provide high quality content, regardless of whether customers eventually purchase from me, Google rewards me with high ranking positions for many of these landing pages.

Overall, 25% of my organic traffic revenue comes from landing pages. Overall, I am seeing a 1.0% conversion rate, which is quite good for organic traffic.

Home Page (35% of Organic Traffic Revenue, 4.7% Conversion Rate)

Your website’s home page is often an overlooked page with respect to SEO. For an ecommerce giant like Amazon, their home page is of course an extremely important page that serves as the start for many customers’ purchase process, and this is mainly due to how ubiquitous is as the place to find a product to purchase online.

In my case, however, even though I am by no means a household name, customers search for my company and complete purchases. In fact, 35% of all of my organic search revenue comes from customers who landed on my home page, and then proceeded to make a purchase. The conversion rate among these visitors is extremely high at 4.7%, though this is not that surprising considering they purchase intent for my product / brand is very high.

It can be difficult to know where these visitors originally heard about my company. Among them are likely to be customers who clicked on a paid ad on their smartphone and learned about my products via my landing page, but then searched for my company later from their computer to complete the purchase. Or, some customers may have simply heard of my brand via word-of-mouth from their friend. There’s simply no way to know the exact numbers, but this does not change the importance of optimizing your home page for organic traffic.

Informational Pages (10% of Organic Traffic Revenue, 0.2% Conversion Rate)

Finally, informational pages comprise of the last 10% of my organic traffic revenue. Although these pages generate a majority of my traffic volume, due to a very low conversion rate of 0.2%, these organic search visitors do not contribute as much to my bottom line.

Informational pages are there to provide general information. Many of my informational pages are on topics or tools related to the products I sell, but are not directly related to the sales process. The purchase intent of these visitors is very low – they may very well have already bought a product from a competitor and are simply looking for free advice and recommendations.

As my actual numbers show, informational pages are not very effective at directly generating revenue. That’s not to say it is not worth your effort – in fact, I would argue that there are numerous benefits beyond the revenue numbers. Unless you are giving away trade secrets or otherwise causing harm to your business, you are getting free marketing and PR in return for the free information you provide. Not only are you putting your brand in front of potential customers, you are demonstrating with high-quality content that you are an expert in the field with lots of information and knowledge. That can go a long way when a customer is eventually ready to buy – they’ll remember and feel more comfortable purchasing from you when the time comes. I certainly suspect that many of the sales generated via my home page fall under this category.

In Conclusion…

More organic traffic is great – unlike paid advertising, it’s completely free! So, you might pat yourself on your back for increasing your monthly organic search visitors. But did these additional visitors actually help you grow your business? Did they lead to more sales, or were they just fishing for free information? That’s not to say that incremental organic traffic that doesn’t convert is bad – you just need to be aware that not all organic traffic is equal, and you may simply want to set different goals and expectations that don’t necessarily directly lead to an increase in sales.

Investing in SEO and quality content generation is a must-do for an online business. Different types of organic traffic can mean different things for your business, depending on the types of pages they are reaching. As a business owner, you must also know that investing resources into the generation of different categories of content will likely provide different levels of returns.