Ranked #1 at Google for Invisible Entrepreneurs But No Traffic?

I am ranked #1 for that silly phrase at Google. So What?

Here's a secret. You can be ranked #1 at Google for the phrase "Waterfall Watches" if you put the phrase on your page 4 times and in metatags twice. How do I know that? I did it in 2001 and still rank number one in Google for the phrase in 2005. On another of my sites I rank #1 for the phrase "Screeching Camels" by simply putting it on the page once in a comment about silly SEO guarantees.

I'll wager that many phrases you've targeted for your business are almost as silly and deliver NO traffic to your pages from the search engines. Don't take that too personally. Simply look at your traffic statistics to see what phrases are bringing visitors to your web site. If your logs show no delivered traffic for keywords you thought were golden, you've targeted the wrong phrases.

I'm always fascinated when discussions of search engines focus excessively on ranking of a particular site in one particular search engine without checking corresponding statistics about referred traffic delivered to the site from the targeted keyword phrase. Referred search visits from engines is not taken into account. Anyone who looks at their rankings without looking at how much traffic is referred and DELIVERED to your site through the rankings is missing the most important part of the story!

When you check your site traffic statistics for where visitors are coming from and in what numbers, for which keyword searches and from which search engines, you will be astonished to see that things you think are important are sometimes not so important. I've struggled for years to gain top rankings for "Small Business Ecommerce" and have achieved #1 at Google #5 at MSN and #13 at Yahoo (at this writing).

But guess what? Nobody searches for that phrase in significant enough numbers to deliver any traffic from it! I'm not saying that this was wasted effort, because in the over 1000 pages at WebSite101 we have enough related phrases that the targeted phrase contributes to the rank of hundreds of related phrases. "Open Source Ecommerce" gets huge traffic for one single page, ranked at # 29 in Yahoo, #7 at MSN and #1 in Google (as of this writing).

But the really interesting thing is that even on phrases that rank equally well across all three major engines, Google delivers referred traffic at a rate of 65% compared to MSN at less than 1% and Yahoo about 5% of all referred visitor traffic. In NO case does Yahoo or MSN refer any clickthroughs at higher than 10% of all referred traffic.

Referred traffic being visitors that clicked on your link from search results or links. This applies both in single instances for specific keywords and cumulatively for all referred traffic.

Hear this very clearly - it has nothing to do with ranking! There are dozens of search phrases that visitors have searched on all three of those engines that deliver traffic to my site that I can't find my own site for in the top 100 results at ANY search engine. In every case, Google delivers more than twice the traffic for every keyword combination than does MSN or Yahoo!. In many cases, I rank HIGHER on both Yahoo and MSN for many of those phrases, yet Google delivers far more referred traffic for those phrases ranked higher at MSN and Yahoo! Does that make any sense?

If your referred traffic from top rankings at MSN and Yahoo send you no traffic, why be concerned that you rank well with either of them? This same scenario has played out across dozens of client sites I've reviewed traffic statistics for. No matter how the site is structured, no matter how many pages they have, no matter what keywords they are targeting.

Search engine referred traffic from Google is always ALWAYS 2 times higher than the other two and very often as much as 10 times. If we ranked engines, NOT on number of searches performed, but on how much traffic they refer, then Google would be more than twice as highly ranked in all cases.

If Google disappeared tomorrow, there would be some dramatically reduced visitor numbers for ALL sites across the web. We would, every single one of us, lose over half of our (organic) search engine referred traffic. Look at your traffic statistics for natural search engine referred traffic (not PPC) volume and which keywords are currently working to deliver that traffic as far more important than your specific # keyword ranking on those search engines.

Avoid the practice of "Keyword Voodoo" to rank for words that nobody searches. Google "Keyword Voodoo" and you'll find me ranked 5 times for that phrase on page one of the search engine results page. "Reciprocal Linking Turkey" will give you the same result, showing my article on several web sites. Each of those does me no good at all and brings no more search engine referred traffic than does my number one ranking for "Invisible Entrepreneurs" used in the title of this article.

Target the wrong keywords and you will become one of those Invisible Entrepreneurs.

copyright © July 14, 2005 by Mike Banks Valentine

Mike Banks Valentine practices ethical search optimization through content aggregation and creation for your website Optimizing press releases for keyword density - distributed online for visibility & more effective link building

Contact Mike at: http://www.seoptimism.com/SEO_Contact.htm

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