We often get caught up in the fact that Google is big and powerful, and we forget that there are other search engines and means of finding your business that are important, too. Depending on the site, and its SEO, search can account for up to 1/3 of website traffic, based on a recent study by Shareaholic. This study also revealed a lot about the value of different search engines—turns out, Google is not always at the top of the totem pole.
During the time of Shareaholic’s study—Dec ’13 to May ’14—Google provided 31-37% of traffic to the websites observed. This high number of visitors coming from Google is 17 times the amount of visitors coming from Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, and AOL. These search engines contributed to anywhere from 0.04% – 1.31% of organic search traffic during this study. You will probably find this to be true of your own website, and this information can be easily found through Google Analytics. Once you’ve signed in to Google Analytics, click the Acquisition button on the left hand side, then go to All Traffic. Under Source/Medium, you’ll see a list of the top 10 ways visitors were directed to your website. To the right of the source, you’ll find the number of sessions that came from the source, and Google even gives you the percentage of total sessions from that source.
This study continued to observe specifics about the engagement with these visits, and, surprisingly, Google ranked 4th among the search engines for the most engaged users. Engagement was measured by average time on site, averages pages per visit, and average bounce rate. Ask.com, Bing, and Yahoo, while contributing to very few website visits, offered the most engagement—AOL offered the least. Shareaholic concludes that users of these Google alternatives are more likely to stay on your site longer and view more pages during the visit, and they are less likely to exit your site after viewing only one page.
Probably the most interesting thing to take away from this report, was not the engagement from search engines, but the change in traffic from each source from the beginning of the study (Dec ’13) to the end (May ’14). Every search engine dropped in traffic anywhere from 17% – 32%. Shareaholic points to another study for the answer to this sudden drop—a report from the end of 2013, which shows that social media referrals are growing at an extremely high rate, while organic search traffic is dropping. This data greatly supports the importance of a social media presence, as it is clearly taking off as a great referral source for websites.
The bottom line is that you should take advantage of the resources available to you to learn how people are finding you and which areas may need some more work. Google Analytics is a great example of a free tool that can give you a powerful look into your website traffic. Remember, though, it’s not all about Google—there are other sources out there that are driving people to your website.