We’ve discussed the idea that you get most of your income from search engine visitors. Does this mean that increasing your search engine traffic will automatically increase your earnings?
Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
There are many different types of search engine visitors, all with their own motivations for searching and possibilities for outcomes. Are they surfing because they want to buy something online? (We love these guys) Are they surfing because they are bored? (Boo-urns – can’t make money off them).
I’m going to categorize search engine visitors into three simple categories which will be useful for us to understand what type of search engine visitors we want visiting us. I’m also going to do a very rough earnings estimate for comparison. If you don’t feel like reading through my scenarios then I will sum it up by saying that some search engine visitors have a much higher earning potential than others. I would encourage you to look at the examples since they are intended to help you learn how to evaluate potential post topics for their potential earning power.
We’ll list them in order of desirability.
The best kind of search engine visitor
Dude wants to order his new camara NOW. Gal wants to set up a lower cost bank account today!
Dude and Gal are motivated buyers. They have already decided to buy/set up something and they want to do it now and they want to do it online. Drool…$$$$.
It will take a while to get through all the juicy reasons why these people can make you money if they arrive on your site so bear with me.
They are going to take action. It might not be on your site, but it will be on someone’s site. If you can get 100 Dudes and Gals on your site then a very high percentage of them will either order something through an affiliate link or click on an ad which means $$.
2) $$ conversion.
In both of my examples there is a lot of money to be made with the products they are buying. A camera might cost $300 and most camera companies are happy to pay $5, $10, $20 or whatever to get that camera sold. In the case of a financial account like a savings account – same thing. There is no immediate financial benefit for the bank, but over time it will be profitable. Most banks will pay $20 or more for a client who sets up an account and funds it with at least a couple hundred bucks.
If those companies will pay say $15 to sell one unit then that will trickle down to you. Clicks on ads which they buy might pay $1 or $2 which is quite high. If you have an affiliate ad set up then the payoff will be much higher (and of course you will have less conversions than clicks).
3) They can order online.
The fact that both of these products can be ordered and paid for online increases the payout because there is less uncertainty for the product company. They aren’t paying a lot of money for a tv show ad and wondering what the return on investment is. With online sales campaigns every single click, sale and cost can be measured to the penny.
4) Targeted traffic
I’m making the assumption in this scenario that Dude and Gal didn’t just show up on some random page on your blog. Hopefully they landed on a page which directly relates to the product they want to buy. For example if you write a review of the wonderful Canon 200sx point and shoot camera and Dude types in “Canon 200sx” into a search engine – then he might end up on your review. This is good since he will probably check out the review and maybe click on an ad. If he instead ends up on a page about “red light cameras” then your chance of conversion is much less.
If you had a post that received 150 visitors a day from people like Dude and Gal then that post might make the following income:
Click through ratio = 10%
$ per click = $1.50
Monthly traffic = 4500
Monthly income = 0.1 *4500 *$1.50 = $675
Reasonably good kind of search engine visitor
You write an informational post on the Social Security payout amounts retirees can expect once they stop working. The idea behind the post is that people approaching retirement can use that information to calculate the Social Security payouts they can expect and use that data in their own retirement planning.
The post ranks #9 on the SERPs (search engine results page) for the keywords “Social Security payments” and it generates decent traffic – 150 unique visitors per day. You check your stats and it turns out that 2 visitors out of every 100 click on an Adsense ad. (ie Click through ratio or CTR is 2%). The average payment for those clicks is $0.11. While the click values are pretty low, the CTR and traffic volume mean that this post will generate about $10 per month in income for you which is pretty decent.
$10/month per post is a great deal – why complain about that? The problem is that this $10 is mainly made up of volume. While at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how you make your money, the fact is that it is difficult to come up with posts that receive 150 visits per day.
The other issue with this post is that the traffic is somewhat untargetted. What kind of ads are they clicking on? Are there any affiliate ads that will fit the traffic? (NO!).
Earnings estimate for this post
150 visits per day = 4500 per month
CTR = 2% (2 clicks per 100 visitors)
$ per click = $0.11
Monthly income = 4500 * 0.02 * 0.11 = $9.90.
The worst kind of search engine visitor
Little Johnny decides to make a romantic soup for his sweetheart Little Susie. He’s not much of cook so he decides to Google the words “romantic soup recipe”. After perusing the SERPs he decides on a page which has a soup recipe and a nice picture of a soup with some sort of heart design on it.
He then makes the soup, has a great date with Little Susie and is appreciative of the effort that the blogger put into the soup recipe post which was very helpful to him.
While this story is one of the main reasons most of us blog (to help people) it didn’t do much for the blogger’s bottom line. Here are the problems with this search engine visitor:
Didn’t want to buy anything
You can make money from people who don’t want to buy anything, but it’s not as easy and most likely not worth the effort.
Found what they were looking for
Ironically, since the visitor found the exact info they were looking for, they had no desire/motivation to click on any ads or even look at other pages on the site. Mission accomplished.
No financial conversion
Even if the person did want to buy something – what would they buy? More soup recipes? Soup dishes? Valentine’s day flowers? There are possibilities, but they aren’t all that likely. This kind of traffic is very untargeted. This kind of post will often show ads in Adsense that are unrelated to the post which means the odds of anybody clicking are near zero.
You need great volume
Another way to make money is from CPM ads which pay for each page impression. This is one way to monetize a post/site which gets good traffic, but no clicks or conversions. The problem is that CPM rates are typically fairly low and you need some solid traffic to make $$.
Earnings estimate for this post
150 visits per day = 4500 per month
CTR = 0.2% (2 clicks per thousand visitors)
$ per click = $0.08
Monthly earnings = 4500 *0.002 * 0.08 = $0.72.
Actually $0.72 per month isn’t horrible since the vast majority of my posts make much less than that. Of course the vast majority of my posts don’t get 4500 visits per month either. 🙂 Regardless, the $$ from this post pales in comparison with the other scenarios.
It should be noted that it is possible that this post might make more in CPM ads. Given the topic matter however I’m not sure what the fill rate would be so the CPM earnings might be quite small.
Some search engine visitors are far more valuable than others. It is probably not worth trying to get the most valuable search engine visitors (scenario 1) since there is a lot of competition for those clicks. It is worthwhile to write about topics which will attract search engine visitors who will make you at least a little bit of money (scenario 2). There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a post with very little earning potential (scenario 3), but understand that you are only writing that post for fun and not money.