Are You After Traffic or Visitors?

A while ago I have written a post about how you should treat the people who visit your blog. My point was that treating them like an amorphous mass of “traffic” is wrong and that you have to think about each and every person visiting your blog or site as an actual human being and guest.

Today I want to elaborate on the topic of traffic vs visitors and show you an example.

I’ve just read a case study on StumbleUpon traffic on The Next Corner. Also StumbleUpon has been boasting recently that they have surpassed Facebook as number one source of social media traffic.

These numbers are questionable but I don’t want to argue with them here, I already have on Twitter and in the comments on some posts about the stats.

Let’s take a look at the actual “traffic” coming from StumbleUpon.

I have been a staunch supporter of StumbleUpon and its traffic a few year back and there is still one article on SEO 2.0 arguing that SU traffic is the best social media traffic around. It’s still true in a sense but in a group of serial killers the simple one time murderer is best as well.

One way to determine the quality of traffic is considering the bounce rate but it’s a fuzzy metric you can’t compare from sie to site really. Another way of finding out whether the traffic actually makes sense for you is the the average time on site as Google Analytics calls it. So how long do your visitors actually stay on your site?

Well visitors from StumbleUpon stay 11 seconds on SEO 2.0 according to Google Analytics. I think the number is even lower as there is at least one user counted a 12 of times in there so the number is artificially blown up.

You could argue it’s my fault and SU users don’t care for SEO but I have several still popular posts on SU and some of them are not even dealing with SEO. Many of them recently got updated.

What we see here is that these visitors are indeed traffic not guests, they don’t even drop in, they just move on. They pass your website while moving somewhere else. 11 seconds are indeed abysmal, even on a blog like mine which gets lots of off topic traffic (Google Image search for instance). Other users, aka real visitors stay 10 times as long.

You should aim to get these real visitors not traffic that moves on.

People who stay in their car and just slow down without even leaving their car are not the perfect clients, unless you have a McDrive type of business. I’d prefer to be a restaurant, not because my name is Chef but because I want to offer my guest more and a better service instead of just getting the stink of the traffic exhausts and a few bucks.

So I ask you again: Are you after traffic or visitors?