We only pay attention to what Google does and wants when it comes to search engines. I don’t think that’s a stupid strategy since most of the articles, posts, and podcasts about SEO do the same thing. Google owns the traffic and the king sets the rules. Most of our sites get 80% or more of their search engine traffic from Google and we’re not alone judging from the comments of other webmasters. A few things that happened in the last month or so made me start to rethink that strategy a little. Just a little.
Two of our sites ranked really, really well in MSN and Live versus just so-so in Google and Yahoo. I was impressed by how much traffic the Microsofties sent. Until we got pimp slapped and fell completely out of the rankings that is. It’s not like we’ll starve because of it but I definitely felt it and started figuring out how to get us back on top.
Buy, Buy, Buy!
MSN sends us better traffic. When I go through the analytics, visitors from MSN stay on the sites longer, click on ads like nobody’s business, and come back more often. Heck, give us more traffic like that and we’ll probably do a happy dance.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
One of our sites, that I’d barely touched in months, started getting traffic from Yahoo. This particular site hadn’t ranked organically for much of anything until then. So this little traffic bump was easy to spot. Well, apparently, Yahoo started updating their search algorithm to place more emphasis on relevant content and less emphasis on links. Since this site has almost no links to it yet, that’s probably true. I’ve done some PPC on Yahoo in the past so I know they have traffic. Not as much as Google but not chump change either. I’d love it if they started sending more our way without forcing us to beg for links.
Will You Go To Prom With Me?
Another site of ours gets equally loved by the big three at the moment. Let me tell you. It’s pretty freaking awesome. Now I know what the hot chick feels like (no pun intended). Google sends us the most traffic of course but, if the other two dropped off, we’d really take a hit.
Lost Traffic Treasures
All of this got me thinking. How much search engine traffic are we leaving on the table because we only listen to what Google says? To a certain extent, I don’t think it matters because, at least right now, everyone follows Google’s lead. When we make Google happy we make the others happy by default. Mostly.
What if there’s low hanging fruit waiting to get picked though? I almost completely ignore the Yahoo and MSN blogs. Until one of our sites started getting Yahoo traffic, I’d never even looked at Yahoo’s official blog. I didn’t realize MSN had its own webmaster tools until I tried to find out why we lost our rankings. This wasn’t the cause but it turns out msnbot couldn’t parse some of our robots.txt files (there was an extra * after a user agent when the * user agent already existed). Live’s webmaster tools flagged it but Google’s webmaster tools gave us the green light for the same files. I never would have known that if we hadn’t falling out of the SERPs.
Maybe it’s time we start paying attention to the little two again. There’s only two of us, 46 and 47, so we don’t have a guy to stick on the Yahoo account and a guy to stick the MSN account. I believe in 80/20 but if there’s a 15% traffic boost laying around for doing something easy then I’m taking it (after I spend my 80% on Google).
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