The interesting point from his speech today is not that he is generating good traffic - though he is with 450,000 visits per month. The interesting story is that his number one source of traffic is affiliate program. He shared that 38% of traffic is coming from a network of 1,500 affiliates (here is an example bellhop.com.au). Search is still critical with SEM ranking number two at 34% and SEO third at 20%.
I was working on the assumption that paid search and to a lesser extent SEO would dominate the traffic feed for meta-search. With no data backing it up was assuming that these would be responsible for 80% of traffic for a meta-search provider, not the less than 65% that Hotelscombined generates. Congrats to Yury of building this great affiliate network.
Yury also passed on this four tips for search engine optimisation marketing efforts:
- Give yourself time - it takes 18-24 months for a start up to "prove" itself to Google as a legitimate content provider;
- Design the site - design the site for both consumers and search engines. The site needs to be specifically designed to be shopped and indexed by Google. As he puts it - it is easy to design a site with great content that Google cannot be "seen" by Google;
- Register and open a Google Webmaster account; and
- Design a long term link strategy - Does not mean building fake links or becoming a hard core "black hatter" but working on links and traffic generation through content optimisation has to be part of marketing plans. For example making sharing of and imbedding of links by customers and easy thing to do.
and the trueth shall set you ....up the search ranking
Couple more SEO related points:
1. Don't forget the growing power of social networks and especially social bookmark services. Search engines have access to information on how people bookmark your pages on sites like digg and stumbleupon and del.icio.us. Our view is that engines will continue to increase the importance of this data, so you should have a basic social network strategy at least for this reason. Check www.AddThis.com to help you setup easy bookmark links.
2. There are other ways search engines can see user behavior on your site. "How quickly users come back to Google after visiting your site" is the simplest example of user behavior visible to Google. Another one is widely used browser toolbars recording the time spent and pages visited. Lastly if HitWise knows where users go and where they spent time, Google probably knows it even better. Our view is that user behavior will eventually be (if not already) a more important factor in SEO then links.
Yury- great comments and great presentation.
Social networks are indeed important. It requires however a lot of time to answer to all emails and reactions you create in the market.
For instance, I have tried to join Yury Shar's affiliate network, but so far I have never gotton any response:)
I guess they are pretty buzzy at Hotelscombined
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