MSP Marketing: Direct Versus Organic Traffic
Are you following your traffic via your Google Analytics but are unsure of what it all means? Does it matter if it’s organic, direct, or something else? In this blog, we break down the difference between traffic sources and why it matters to how you market your MSP.
Different Types of Traffic
While most businesses are familiar with direct and organic traffic, in reality there are several types of traffic you should be aware of and track. These traffic types are:
- Direct: Traditionally, any traffic where the visitor manually types in the URL of a website in the address bar.
- Email: Traffic from email marketing, such as an email blast.
- Organic: Traffic from search engine results (not paid). An example of this would be someone looking for cybersecurity solutions and your blog on ransomware popping up and being clicked on.
- Paid search: Traffic from search engine results that is a paid advertising (PPC), such as Google Ads.
- Referral: This traffic occurs when a user finds you through a site other than a major search engine, for example, a link on another site.
- Social: Traffic from a social network, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram
- Other: If traffic does not fit into another source or for some reason can’t be tracked to a source, it is considered “Other” traffic
Understanding where traffic comes from is essential to developing a Search Engine Marketing strategy for your MSP website. Remember, the goal of SEO is to drive traffic to your site, so it is important to understand what is driving the traffic. If you understand where your traffic is coming from, you’re better able to develop a marketing strategy to take advantage of what is driving your traffic.
Organic or Direct Traffic; Which Is Better?
Like most marketing, the answer is it depends. Organic traffic is more directly related to SEO; the better you rank for relevant keywords, the more organic traffic you should see. However, the goal of online marketing, of which SEO is a part, is to increase overall traffic. The source is less important if the traffic is high-quality and ultimately provides your business with an essential element you need; conversions. This can take the shape of form completions or phone calls, as long as they result in qualified leads.
While organic traffic is tied to how much your content resonates with your audience, the better “optimized” your content is, the more Google will offer it as a search result. This, in turn, will expose more people to it, increasing the organic traffic your site receives. As direct traffic is the result of people typing your URL directly into the address bar or search engine, they do so because they know your business can provide the answer to their question. This makes direct traffic, traffic that is tied to your brand, or name recognition.
If you find that your direct traffic outstrips your organic traffic, this doesn’t necessarily mean your online marketing isn’t working. It may mean that your brand is so recognizable that people type in your MSP’s name when searching for a service, as opposed to searching for the service and hoping to stumble across a solution.
Finally, direct traffic isn’t always purely “direct.” Organic traffic is often included within the data if Google couldn’t figure out how a visitor reached your site. In such cases, Google will assume they typed in the URL directly and treat it as direct traffic. Back in 2014, Groupon was so concerned about their increased direct traffic that they experimented. They de-indexed their website, which eliminated the ability for Google to show the pages as a search result. In other words, no organic traffic.
Logically, if the direct traffic were purely direct, you wouldn’t expect to see any traffic changes, yet Groupon found their direct traffic dropped 60%. This means, and your miles will vary, that some direct traffic is organic, perhaps even a significant amount. That being said, if you’re focusing on using SEO to drive traffic to your site, you need to increase organic traffic.
How To Increase Your Organic Traffic
The first thing to remember is that SEO takes time before it shows results; this means that any goals you have for your SEO will require patience. One of the biggest mistakes many MSPs make is not giving your SEO plan enough time to establish itself, which provides them with the feeling that their SEO isn't working.
Write For People, Not Google.
Many MSPs are still treating keywords like they did a decade ago, searching for the one keyword that will open the doors to traffic. If you’re still solely focusing on keywords and not content, then you should consider changing the way you think about keywords. Too often, when creating their SEO plan, MSPs generate content out of a desire to please Google’s robots and not the people searching for help.
When an MSP focuses on keywords, they often use technical terms (jargon) out of a desire to anticipate what they think Google wants… not understanding that the average users aren’t searching for or even fully understand the jargon being used. Ironically, Google is constantly developing its algorithms to mimic human behavior better, searching for content that provides valuable information. While searching for one keyword is no longer a best practice, keywords are still valid; they have just evolved.
Using long-tail keywords to provide context to your content increases the chances that your content will be found because you’re providing answers to what people are searching for. For example, cybersecurity is top of mind for most businesses. However, few businesses are just typing in cybersecurity and hoping for a solution. Instead, they are asking questions like, “how to protect my business from ransomware?” or “how to prevent my team from falling for a phishing attempt?” Ultimately, the best way to connect with your audience is by writing for them and not at them at the expense of user intent.
Constantly Create Content
Of all the various tactics you can do to promote your MSP, content creation will provide the best bang for your marketing buck. Content is the primary driver of traffic, as it gives Google a reason to serve your website as the answer to a question. Never forget the goal of Google and all search engines is to provide searchers with answers to their questions. The purpose of your SEO and content marketing is to ensure that your MSP is considered and offered as the solution to those questions.
Additionally, every time you post a new blog or other content, Google crawls your site to note any changes you have made. The more content you post, (assuming the quality is high), the more Google looks at your site, increasing your opportunities to break through the noise of your competitors. Clichéd though it may be, content is king.
Make Sense Of Your Traffic
If you’re not sure how to interpret your traffic or the information you’re receiving for your Google analytics, we can help. We not only understand what makes your industry unique, but how to market it because, unlike many marketing agencies, we are an MSP ourselves. This gives us the perspective needed to help you communicate your services to an audience that may not understand how you can help them.
We don’t have to guess what works to increase your bottom line because we already know. Reach out to us today to learn how our expertise can help you get your business back on track.