Every business typically has a solid understanding of its expected market size. But that tends to go out the window or be vastly inflated when businesses launch websites.
The thought process tends to go something like this:
1. We know our physical location brings us X traffic volume within our market size of Y.
2. The Internet is worldwide, so hundreds of millions of people can now find our product or service.
3. With our website available to millions of people, we should get a lot (insert your own synonymous adjective) of new business.
One year after launch, contrary to the business owner’s expectation, the site has underwhelming traffic and business figures. Why is this?
There was a misunderstanding of their Internet market size.
Remedying this involves the buzz word every web marketer will mention first: keyword research.
By researching the traffic volume and competition associated with your primary keywords you will get a clear picture of your industry’s market share. You’ll find out that if you sell hardwood flooring in San Diego you can expect vastly lower traffic numbers than an ecommerce site selling women’s shoes.
Once you piece together your general market size, review the traffic data found in Google Analytics. Analytics provides traffic figures for individual keywords, or groups of like keywords through the use of the custom filter tool.
Compare the expected vs. actual traffic data, but understand that due to myriad factors tied to search results and behavior your actual traffic numbers will always be a fraction of the expected. The good news is this comparison provides a significant analysis of how your site is doing within its market.
Moving forward and expanding your market reach involves search engine optimization
. The basic idea is to match the expected and actual data for each keyword against where that keyword appears in the SERPs. Your keyword rankings will give you an idea of how you need to formulate an SEO campaign to maximize your traffic.
Armed with all this traffic data, you have enough information to critically evaluate the success of your website.