I sampled a handful of websites where I have access to their Analytics data (Google Analytics shows how many visitors each of those websites received (we call that traffic) and where those website visitors came from). I made a very quick graph:
Overall, 62.63% of traffic came from Google Organic search. That doesn't include other search engines, and I had a load of useless websites in the sample where most of the traffic came from spam, so ballpark about 75% of the traffic to a successful website should probably be SEO traffic.
SEO traffic also converted 22% better than other website traffic. One website was making $1,000pcm from SEO traffic, and I know this becomes regular annual renewal income for him so in year two he's making $2k pcm, and in year three $3k pcm without any extra effort.
Another, an ecommerce site, 56% of their sales by value is coming from search traffic.
So in a free market where we all compete to provide value, SEO success seems to be absolutely essential. Imagine if all things were equal except your traffic was coming from pay per click, and your competitor got their traffic from SEO. You would be paying for your traffic, plus some organisation time, they would be spending time and effort on SEO. But SEO is largely cumulative, so they would be building up a body of work that continues to bring traffic even if they stop for a while. Of course, in an emergency you can stop putting effort into PPC but just keep paying the bills and it will carry on bringing you traffic, but you can't stop paying and keep the traffic.
That graph suggests something more. SEO traffic shows you've made it.
If you think about it, Google's main job is to find great websites to show people who use its search engine.
If you get on page one of Google, round of applause for you because nowadays no-one can say you don't deserve it. Google's whole reason for being is to set things up so you can't get onto page one of the search results unless you deserve to be there.
Assuming you are satisfying a need that a reasonable number of people have, you'll get barrowloads of SEO traffic.
The graph shows a month's traffic volume along the bottom, and on the left hand axis the percentage that came from Google organic search traffic.
And yes, fine, it's a small sample, but it seems reasonable to say that you only really start to get lots of SEO traffic when Google says so. When Google turns on the SEO traffic tap.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if Google thinks you deserve SEO traffic, you've got yourself a success. And if you're not getting 75% of your traffic from SEO, there's something wrong.
For SEO success, you need to be fulfilling a market need. So .. some people who share some problem go searching for a solution and among the solutions Google presents them, they choose you more than averagely often, and when they land on your website they stick around for longer than if they'd gone elsewhere, and they don't return to Google and click on a competitor.
Success doesn't just mean financial success, of course, you might be looking for readers or subscribers or followers or sharers.
And I'm not saying you have to Do SEO Things in order to get traffic from Google. Ideally, you'll just run your business and Google will spot you, measure that you're good, correctly work out what you're good for, and send you that search traffic and you won't have to do any SEO work.
Part of Google's calculations is whether people (other websites and individuals in their social media) are linking to you, a link being a 'vote' in your favour. So if you are, in real life, enthusing people with what you do, they will review you and link to you and Google will spot that and you'll get SEO traffic naturally without having to do any SEO at all.
All SEO does is help you be a better business so that Google rightly judges you well and sends you relevant, quality SEO traffic. Maybe like a window dresser might show examples of things inside the shop to help people decide what's inside, SEO helps Google decide what's in your website and what SEO traffic to send to you.
And yes, we can run a link campaign to get more inbound links so that Google thinks you're really cool. But nothing beats actually being genuinely really cool so that people link to you because they want to. Google knows the difference.
So that's the secret sneaky way to get SEO traffic. Glad to be of assistance.
Speaking of which, if you'd like me to help make you really cool in Google's all-seeing view, I'd be happy to take a look. I mean, it seems unlikely .. have you seen my haircut? But anyway, people seem to think I could get you SEO traffic so here we are.
Here's some more interesting stuff about SEO if you would like to keep reading.
(If you're not getting 75% of your website traffic from SEO or if you are simply not getting what you think is your rightful amount of SEO traffic, think of yourself as student, me the teacher or coach, and Google as the examiner at the end and employer or buyer once you've passed.)