Is All Web Traffic Good Traffic?

This podcast audio served as the source for the blog post “Is SEO driving the right traffic?”

The transcript was rewritten to produce the blog post, which is the cornerstone of the Shortcut Content system.

Shayla: Thank you for joining us for the Shortcut Content podcast. I’m talking with founder Dave Young. Dave, SEO is kind of a term that’s all the rage right now, but I want to know, are we trying to attract SEO or are we trying to attract humans?

Dave: One of the keys to SEO to me is that if you’re going to do search engine optimization, you need to take into account what kind of leads you actually want to get. And it’s an interesting topic that’s related to your overall marketing strategy and I’ll relate it to you in a conversation that I had with a landscape company the other day. He was telling me how he likes getting leads, right? And if you’re trying to measure your marketing, of course, you want good leads, you want leads to come in, you want the things that you’re doing to be generating leads. And he said the frustrating leads are the ones where somebody calls and says, “yeah, you put in backyard landscaping?” and he says, “Yeah.” “Well, I want to put in some backyard landscaping and I want you to give me a bid and I’m getting bids from five or six other landscaping companies.” And he said, “That kind of lead drives me crazy and often I won’t even bother, because we do high end work, we do customer work. It’s never just slap a bunch of pavers in and throw some potted plants on them. We require them to come to our design center where we customize everything. They won’t even see a drawing for about three weeks. And that’s why we don’t get involved with deals where they want competitive bids, because we’re never going to be competitive on things like that. We’re always going to do custom work. It’s always going to be work that we designed. And so getting these leads that are asking us to compete is a waste of our time.”

And so throughout the rest of the conversation, he started telling me that he’s working with a local SEO firm that’s helping them become the number one search result for some of these generic landscape terms. So if you search for the town and the word landscape, he wants his site to come up first. And I said, “Why is that important to you?” And he said, “Well, so we get that traffic and we get those leads.” And I said, “Well, those are leads of the people that are being transactional on you and want to compare you and find the guy that’s going to give them the lowest price.” He said, “Well, what do you mean?” And I said, “Well, anybody that searches for the name of your company, which should be easy to find in Google, without a lot of SEO work, if they’re searching for you by name it’s because they already know about your reputation. That means that somebody told them about you or it came from an advertisement that you did that is more of branding campaign than a transactionally focused compaign.” And so that web traffic, that’s not hard to get, because you should always come up first, especially if your name is not generic for your brand. So if you’re in Denver and the name of your company is Denver Landscape Company, well, you’ve got a big mountain to climb, as far as winning the SEO battle, but if your name is Ghiradeli Landscaping in Denver, that’s easy to be ranked for, because there isn’t going to be another one. So if you have a reputation and you have people that are willing to refer other people to you, they already have you in mind, if they search for your name and when they contact you, it’s not going to be the same converstaion. It’s going to be so how does this work? What do we need to do and what do I need to do to get a drawing from you and an estimate, because we really want to use you to beautify our backyard? That’s a whole different converstaion that’s an entirely different kind of lead.

So back to search engine optimization. Think about your business model and if you’re the low cost provider in your market, SEO might be the pit that you want to fight in. You’re going to be duking it out with everyone else that wants to provide the lowest cost service. If that’s what you want to do, then SEO is the game that you need to play. On the other hand, if you’re not the low cost provider, and you want people to find you because you’ve got a good reputation, you should spend your money on a branding campaign in your market that’s focused and well bought, and well written, and I know people who can do that for you, by the way. Give me a call. We’ll that done. And the lead conversations, the referral business that you’re going to have is going to take on a whole different tone. It’s not going to be people looking for the bottom feeder. It’s going to be people looking for you because they already believe in you and that’s a way more powerful phone call. It’s much more fun to do business that way, than to have to justify your price and compete on price for people that maybe can’t even do the kinds of things that you can do.

So think about that when you’re doing SEO. Are you trying to get traffic just because there may be some traffic for those words and you think that all traffic is good traffic? Or are you writing stories that talk about your credibility, but when they come your site they are landing on a blog post or a podcast or something that you’ve done that enhances your credibility, that tells people how you prefer to work, that tells people the value that you provide and show that you are a type of relational business, as opposed to looking for transactional work. It makes a big difference and you’ll be happier because you’ll have conversations with people that lead to the kind of work that you want to do, as opposed to conversations that are frustrating and lead to you putting together a plan that your competitors just going to low-ball and build as your drew it.

Shayla: Like Dave said, he can connect you with people can help determine what the best route for you to take is. If you have questions about anything we talked about today or want to learn more about what Dave does, go to