Times and times again I hear webmasters saying that while they lost traffic in Google’s update, the quality of their traffic improved. They typically see:
- Increased time on page
- Decreased bounce rate
- Improved conversion rate
- Increased percentage of returning visitors
While it might seem strange at first there is nothing mysterious about it when you think of it carefully. When you are no longer number one in Google’s search results, but, let’s say, number seven (ouch!) people who bother to explore your site have different qualities than those who simply click on whatever comes first.
- more time to explore your subject (which should be obvious because they reached you at no 7)
- more interest in the subject
- or both!
These people actually do have time AND desire to read what you have to say instead of just skimming through the pages, click on your links and perhaps even purchase what you are offering. Because they have these qualities they actually read what you have to say and do so mindfully, hence they are more likely to come back.
While I don’t suggest for a second that it’s better to be no 7 than no 1, what I am trying to do is to explain improved user metrics.
It’s somewhat similar to what happens in Google Adwords. Bidding on first spot in Google Adwords is unnecessary and is often regarded as waste of money. You can be number two, three or even four in Adwords, receive less traffic but have much higher conversion rate for exactly same reasons I mentioned above.
The difference between organic search results and Google Adwords is that in Adwords you can control your placement by bidding more or less, you can tune in to optimal position, getting same number of conversions as advertiser in no 1 spot while paying less, but in organic search results you don’t have this level of control. In addition, many webmasters earn by selling advertising based on CPC or number of impressions. This monetization model will of course cause your income suffer greatly when you lose your rankings in no 1 spot.