Unqualified Web Traffic Might Be Killing Your ROI (Here’s How to Save It)

Welcome to this page on this website. We’re happy you’ve joined us. Quick question: how many other websites did you visit today? Can you name them all? We’ll even spot you Google and Facebook. Chances are that unless you had a vested interest and spent a good amount of time on any one website, you’ve probably forgotten the vast majority of them by now (we hope we don’t join those ranks, by the way).

As people just sort of jump from one site to another without even thinking, site analytics can sometimes be a little misleading. Huge traffic doesn’t necessarily equate to huge sales. For site administrators, it’s important to not get sucked in by the allure of huge traffic numbers until you know for sure that these page views are actually helping your bottom line. There’s a clear difference between “qualified” traffic and “unqualified” traffic.

What is Unqualified Web Traffic?

Think of unqualified traffic as mall patrons who cut through Saks Fifth Avenue because it’s the fastest route to the Jamba Juice kiosk. Yes, they are technically store patrons and they might even stop to look at an item or two, but they’re not REALLY there to spend any money. Unqualified web traffic essentially comprises those visitors who land on your site but have no intention of buying from or starting a relationship with your company. It’s not necessarily accidental traffic (the Jamba Juice seekers weren’t lost after all). It’s just not likely to turn any sales.

Perhaps a customer of yours shared one of your posts on social media and a few of their friends clicked on it. Or perhaps one of your targeted ads missed the target and was just flashy enough to catch a few unsuspecting web surfers. Or maybe your ad click actually was the fault of nothing more than a slipped thumb and an extra touchy phone screen (we’ve all been there).

So before you get too joyfully ecstatic over a record breaking traffic month, take off the blinders and look at the big picture. Are these visitors helping to grow your business? Are they wanting to learn more about the products and services you offer? Are they making purchases, and if so, are they becoming advocates for your brand? Or are they just looking for the nearest Jamba Juice kiosk? Here are four ways to know for sure:

  1. High Bounce Rates
    If you’re not already, pay special attention to your site’s bounce rates. This reflects the percentage of site visitors who, after landing on your site and viewing a single page, leave for good. If a page is highly specialized and specifically designed to attract SEO traffic and inform the user (a blog or Wikipedia article for example) a high bounce rate shouldn’t be an immediate cause for alarm (but more on that later). But if your CTA landing pages (home page, product pages, promotions, email sign up forms, etc.) are driving people away after a few seconds, this can be an indication that they were not representative of your ideal customer base.
  2. Brief Site Visits
    Going hand in hand with the bounce rates, average time spent on page is another valuable metric when deciphering between qualified and unqualified web traffic. Generally speaking, you have about 15 seconds to captivate a site visitor. If within the first 15 seconds your site isn’t drawing them in by providing engaging content or showcasing appealing products and/or services, then it’s off to someone who will. 
  3. Location Location Location
    I recently had an issue with my car and took to Google to diagnose the problem. As luck would have it, a mechanic in Santa Fe, New Mexico recently published a blog that thoroughly and eloquently shined a light on my automotive inquiry. And though I’m certainly appreciative of his efforts, with all due respect, I’m 1,000 miles away and will likely be finding someone a bit closer to fix the problem. I am, in this case, an unqualified site visitor. If you’re in a profession that targets only regional customers, and your traffic is coming from literally anywhere else, it’s safe to say those visits are in the same camp. Consider adjusting your keywords to be more targeted and local-friendly (a few strategic social media or pay-per-click campaigns couldn’t hurt either).
  4. Wrong Keywords
    Is your site bringing in traffic from awareness-focused or solutions-focused keywords? In a perfect world, the answer is both. Essentially, an awareness-focused keyword is something one might search when they’re looking to get general information about a subject. Something like “What is SEO” or “Do I need SEO” for example. Someone searching for these terms is probably not ready to build a partnership with an SEO agency. However, someone searching “SEO agency near me” is likely looking to do just that. There’s nothing wrong with creating content for both of these audiences as long as you’re not doing it in a silo setting. The trick is to guide those through the sales funnel from awareness stage to interest, decision, sales, and loyalty. For this reason, dive into your website to make sure each landing page is optimized with the right keyword and that you’re appealing to potential customers throughout the purchase journey (not just the ready-to-buy group).

If your site’s traffic looks good on paper but isn’t bringing in the revenue you’re wanting, you can usually get the answers you need by analyzing the data at your fingertips and understanding how users are getting to your site and how they’re reacting once they do. By understanding and appreciating every step of the process, you’re laying the groundwork for more qualified traffic, vetted leads, and more sales. And if you ever need a hand getting started, we’d be more than happy to assist.