I was recently working on our year end traffic numbers for the various internet channels, shows and properties for Sequence Media Group. Once again we had substantial increases in views, reads and listens, as well as reasonably good growth on third party syndication sites such as YouTube.
However as I looked over the numbers and reflected on our rapidly growing business model, it became increasingly clear that how much web traffic or hits we had was almost irrelevant as long as we accomplished three major functions for our clients:
1. First page location in standard and video Google search results for the story, content or topic they look to be dominant in. (SEO Dominance)
2. High quality production values, solid content and clear links back to their professional, corporate or personal web page. ( A coherent message)
3. Demonstrable evidence of our content driving new business or converting viewers/readers to sales through sharing of content on social/professional networks or distributed in an action oriented email to their current client base. ( Measurable results)
What wasn’t important to our clients, and increasingly is less and less meaningful to all internet broadcasters, was our absolute traffic numbers for each channel. Quite frankly our clients don’t care how much traffic they might get, as long as their content is search engine optimized, of high quality and can be easily shared in a way that drives sales.
For the last five to seven years everything had been about absolute traffic numbers, Google ranking and selling ads to the traffic that stumbled into your web site. For a glimpse at how flawed that strategy is simply check out the accelerating demise of MySpace and the death of the big traffic/ad sale model. MySpace bet big on total traffic and the ad revenue it would bring, losing site of things such as quality content, true social networking and the risk of advertisers of having their brand show up on a sloppy or inappropriate site.
However as we have demonstrated, ( See my old story featuring Senator Ensign on traffic manipulation games.) the market place has come to the realization that just because you can generate traffic, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will then generate sales from that traffic. What matters to our clients in the micro-channels we create for them, is where they are in search, when people find my content does it elevate their brand and does the content lead to sales and conversions they can measure.
While Sequence Media Group and our channels such as Legal Broadcast Network continue to grow dramatically, those traffic numbers are increasingly unimportant for our niche content channels unless we decide to start adding advertising to our site. In 2011 you are going to see more and more firms realize what MySpace discovered, which is that unless the content is truly useful, no amount of traffic is going to finance advertising or sponsorship as consumers can instantly click away from sites that are infomercial, spam or just sloppy in their presentation.
Content and measurable conversions are king and we are happy to show our clients how to make that work in their business or professional practice. Next week will be a look at how carefully created, video enhance, professional directories can liberate businesses such as U-Haul and others from wasting another dime on Yellow Pages or online directories that screen their results.
Mark Wahlstrom is the CEO of Sequence Media Group and founder of The Legal Broadcast Network. His media commentary can be found each week on the Sequence Media commentary page or on his personal blog site at MarkWahlstrom.com