As with many things in life and business, the debate over quality versus quantity comes up with online traffic. Your first thought may be that quantity is better than quality because you just want as many people coming to your website as possible in order to drive business. The truth is though that large numbers of site visitors don’t make any particular customer more likely to buy your product. Treating your site like a marketing funnel is what helps make people buy your product. Focusing on quality traffic is part of that. Here’s why:

More Than a Numbers Game

Let's say it is quantity that is important to you. Tens of thousands of people visiting your website. This seems great, right? You might be thinking, “This is a lot of people who may turn into customers.”

It doesn’t work that way. The operative word here is “may.” The reason is that, of these thousands of visitors, many may have accidentally come to your website, and this traffic may never have really intended to land on your page, so they click-out and leave immediately. Others may just be looking for information, and aren’t sure that what you are offering is really what they want. Because they were only browsing, these individuals leave as well. The point is, you can have thousands of people load your website, but how many are buying?

Focus on People Ready to Buy

Everyone desires customers who are ready to buy rather than window-shoppers, so your focus needs to be on getting only those quality leads. Even if it means that a fraction of the number of visitors are reaching your website, it can still mean more revenue potential with less resources spent. You can do this by partnering with companies that work to bring you high quality leads.

Advertising networks deliver so much traffic that it can “clog the road” for finding the quality leads on your site. That’s why networks like Conversant Media and Clickbooth are very selective in whom they choose to sponsor or join their networks. Using a “cost per action” affiliate marketing model, Clickbooth cuts out fraudulent traffic through continuous quality filters. Any company that helps bring people who are more likely to buy is one you should consider working with.

You can more easily find quality traffic by researching and segmenting your visitors by source type (i.e., referrals, organic search, paid advertisements, etc.). You can also segment the types of campaigns that you have developed and managed. Understand how all visitors use and respond to your website by tracking their web actions, including click paths, what pages they come in on, and what pages close the deal for you with a phone call or online order. There are many tools that help business owners accomplish this research, including Google Analytics, Quantcast, and Clicktale.

Another strategy is to make changes to your website that attract more quality traffic. You can do this by creating stories that truly hook readers, or through optimizing content and campaign messaging, including using tools like Google Adwords or Market Samurai which can help you improve your keywords and SEO capabilities to attract motivated and ready-to-buy traffic.

Lastly, you need to stay on top of where most traffic is originating from so you can target high-quality traffic on those channels. According to a report by Shareaholic, social media platforms are increasingly where traffic is coming from. Organic search is still a very healthy driver of traffic, primarily through Yahoo, Google, and Bing, although it is not growing like social referrals are. In December 2014, the top eight social networks drove roughly 31 percent of overall traffic to websites, a significant leap from the almost 23 percent the previous year.

Quantity of Quality

Be proactive in going after that quality traffic. You can drive results by generating more relevant content across all mediums, including blogs, articles, whitepapers, videos and more, as well as sharing this content on social media to capture a wider audience. To get an uptick in the right leads, you should use paid search tools and also evaluate all aspects of your website to ensure it is SEO-friendly. Lastly, provide comments and thought leadership on industry blogs and online forums. Taken together, these tactics can help garner a higher quantity of quality traffic.

Published on: Aug 13, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.