Does Google SEO success 'suck’? I asked rhetorically last month, noting Rich Skrenta's love-hate relationship with Google, and the traffic it drives to the company he leads, Topix.
While Google SEO traffic is theoretically "free," Topix is betting its future, and its sharholders' millions, that greater ROI will be had from branded, direct navigation, I underscored.
John "The (Google) Search" also apparently has mixed feelings about the visitors Google "drives" to his Searchblog, and he is doing something about it!
Battelle announces "Cool new search referral widget live on Searchblog."
What's up? Battelle is fighting against the search "Hummingbird" problem!
Folks who come from search, I call them hummingbirds because they come via a very specific search, read one post, and leave.
That's no fun! Who needs those hummingbirds, if they are not going to stick around, or ever come back?
Skrenta undoubetdly feel's Battelle's search pain! He wrote last month in his post "What do you do when your success…sucks?”
We took a hard look at ourselves at Topix last year. We had built up a strong local audience on the site, but a lot of it was SEO, and while users were clearly getting some value out of our product, we hadn't made something that people really cared about.
Battelle is determined to make Searchblog something that Google searchers (in particular) "really care about."
Folks who come from search now get a box greeting them and giving them some search-driven options on the site. (see below)
Has Battelle cracked the Google SEO (Hummingbird) problem? Searchblog commenters weigh in:
ANTONIO: I believe there's a couple of plugins for wordpress that do this, there's even a "what would seth godin do" that checks for previous visits and if this is your first/second displays a "welcome and why don't sign up for my feed"..:)
John, tried google with 2 different TLDs, one didn't work. Also the highlighting script didn't work well on Firefox.
ROCKY AGRAWAL: News.com has been doing this for a while now, with a similar "Welcome Google User". They also offer the ability to get email alerts on the topic that they searched on.
1) Don't get in the way of what the user came for. Move the related stories below the story they came to see.
2) Don't spook them with the special welcome. Maybe that's less applicable to this site because your readers know the search business.
JAKOB LODWICK: It's a cool idea!
I had something like this on my personal site a couple years ago: when someone came from a Google search for some variant of my name, instead of getting my site, they got a huge picture of me and it said, "WELCOME, STALKERS".
Battelle is hoping to "merchandise" Searchblog, he wrote in January:
A brief dip into nearly every blogger's referral logs shows that a very large percentage of readers - nearly 40 percent in some cases - come directly from search - someone who put "steve ballmer throws chair" into Google, for example, and lands here.
Now, this person doesn't have any frame of reference about Searchblog, or its grammar, audience, or ongoing conversation. He or she is most likely to hit the post in question, read it (perhaps), and move on. This site loses a potential new reader, and this community loses a potential new member, because, in the end, I, as the publisher of Searchblog, have done nothing to demonstrate to that reader the wonders and joy that is Searchblog. In short, I've failed to merchandise my site.
HAS BATTELLE NOW FIGURED OUT HOW TO SOLVE THE SEARCH HUMMINGBIRD PROBLEM? WILL GOOGLE SEARCHERS STICK AROUND?