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Friday, July 23, 2010

Why website traffic guarantees aren't valid...

Today I was asked again how much traffic I guarantee with my services. There is no way anyone can guarantee that you will get x amount of traffic to your website. If someone tells you otherwise, they are not being honest and here's why:

  1. No one can control the search engine result pages produced in organic search. So when you type in a search for "widget" there is no one who can perfectly represent what will be displayed in what order.

    That being said, if you can't predict what will show and how it will be shown in a consistent manner there is no way you can tell someone how much traffic they will get.
  2. You can, of course, pay to have your ad displayed in the sponsored listings (usually along the top / left of search engine result pages) but again, the search engines themselves determine which paid listings are most relevant and will show in the better positions for the key phrases you selected. You can get close to predicting the position and estimated traffic but it's still not perfect.
    Also, the placement of paid ads is closely tied to the amount you are willing to spend so unless you have unlimited resources, there will always be another company vying for the same spot with their dollars.

  3. People who use the internet (and everyone else for that matter) have "free will." There is nothing you can do to compel x number of people to click an ad, no matter what you do. So how can anyone tell you how many people will click through to your website if you can't control the people doing the clicking?
When you take into consideration all of the above, how is it possible to make a guarantee?

Any guarantee should be related to specific outcomes instead. For example: an improvement in sales, time on site, page views, contact form completions etc. These are things that are within your realm of control and the qualified individuals who work with your online marketing campaign should, with ample information up front, give you reasonable expectations on these types of goals.

So don't be star struck by huge guarantees! If you are shopping for a new online marketing vendor, take the time set your specific goals for the site and then discuss those goals with people you are considering to run your marketing program.

Have more questions along these lines? Need help? Contact me!

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