An analysis of 1 billion pages shows why most websites fail to generate organic traffic and how you can do better.
The SEO tool provider Ahrefs has investigated in a large-scale study, where the organic traffic flows from Google. The analysis focused on how large is the percentage of websites that generate direct traffic through the search engine, and why some fail. The database is just under a billion pages.
The majority of sites in the network do not generate organic traffic from Google
Tim Soulo, Head of Marketing and Product Strategy at Ahrefs, presents the results in the in-house blog. The analysis showed that nine out of ten websites do not get a single visitor through the search engine. The overwhelming majority in the network is therefore empty.
Another 4.5 percent have less than ten visits per month.
Only 0.3 percent(2.7 million) of the one billion websites considered, reach over 1,000 visitors per month.
Soulo points out that while one billion websites sound good as a basis, they are relatively small compared to what gets purged every day. Also, the Ahrefs tool pre-selected the pages and only included those that were shared via social media. As a third point, he notes that not all longtail keywords were included. So, some of the 90 percent could generate traffic through extremely unusual keyword combinations.
Nevertheless, the analysis shows a large cross-section of websites, which makes a tendency clear. The question is, what are these 90 percent of pages that are ignored by Google? Soulo names two things that he thinks are crucial.
Reasons for the lack of organic traffic
I. Lack of link building
One trend stands out clearly: over half of the websites examined (55.24 percent) could not gain a single backlink. One third comes just once on three links and only 3.4 percent have over 10 backlinks.
Soulo illustrates the number of backlinks related to the monthly visitors through the search engine.
Correlation does not necessarily mean causality, but the number of pages rewarded by Google with traffic without a single link is relatively small. Links have always been considered a powerful ranking factor, although Google is working hard to push that opinion aside.
II. Bad keyword research
There are pages that have a good link profile, but still, go out empty-handed. In those two scenarios are obvious.
Either they were penalized by Google (perhaps due to aggressive link building?) Or the keywords that are in the focus of the page are simply not searched. Google remains a search engine and no matter how nice a page is constructed and how carefully the link profile was built – if no one is looking for the topics covered, no traffic will be generated.
What do we learn from the analysis?
The learning of the study is very simple: If you want to serve Google and generate traffic through the search engine, you should do decent link building and, above all, a solid keyword research. It should be noted, however, that Ahrefs is a tool for link building, so there is a certain self-interest Soulos to underline the importance of link building. But it sounds quite logical that links still weigh heavily in Google’s decision on giving the Search engine Ranking Position (SERP). Other studies come to similar conclusions. Also, the meaning of the appropriate keyword selection seems sensible – but it is easier said than done to find a thematic focus that corresponds to a relevant search intention of many users.
Finally, the question remains whether the majority of the published websites seeks this approach to be indexed in Google. Ahrefs did not scrutinize the topic clusters. Maybe it’s more about countless new diary entries in private blogs?