Over the few years this blog has been up, Google has been bringing many types of visitors. The most notable ones are the Googlers looking to find a quick answer to copy and paste, and those who come in to read and enjoy the content. This is not the most popular place to hang out on the web, it is rare to see someone who comes here without been referred.
The majority of visitors, maybe you currently reading, came here from Google. But not everyone of them are here for iDiallo.com. They see this website as a Google Product. I'll explain.
The internet homepage is Google. When a user types a query, he expects Google to serve him with the most relevant product. If they search for a PHP search algorithm chances are they will click on my website. They can quickly determine if this is what they are looking for. They copy some code back to their application and turn into happy customer. A happy Google customer. The next time they need a, let's say, C# search algorithm, they will not come to my website. Instead, they will go to Google and type their query.
What they do, is make it easy for people on Google to find an answer, and that is totally fine because that's why I wrote them in the first place. But these users are not likely to read anything else on my blog. Even if other parts of my blog answer other questions they might have, they are not likely to find it, unless through Google.
So these users should not have the common experience as those who come on this blog to binge read multiple articles. People who come here to read are easy to differentiate. On Google, they ask questions that have less specific answers: "what do i do now that my idea is already taken." When they come to my website, they are not expecting a couple of line of code they can use to solve their problem. They want advice, and obviously I don't have a bullet proof answer that works in every single cases. But, I give them a story they can relate to and hopefully through it, they can find their way to deal with their taken idea.
If my message reaches them successfully, (like a satisfied iDiallo customer), I notice it immediately. They go to my About Me page and try to figure out who I am. And from then on they browse more articles. They bookmark the website, or subscribe to the RSS feed. I am more likely to see them again.
It is easy to combine these two and just call them google referrals but they are two very different type of users. This particular article will not be very popular, at least not through organic search. But to the few that will read it, it will probably be just what they are looking for.
I was reading the fascinating essay by Cory Doctorow titled "Lockdown" and thought for a second, how would I find this article on Google? The way I found it in the first place was through another blogger who linked to it. Through Google, I'd have to be very creative with my terms to find it, and if I did, I'd probably read a dozen more things from the author, kinda like what I did when I first found it. I was a satisfied Cory Doctorow customer, not of the blog where I found it.
So this is one thing I think about these days before I write. Do I write about a technical and specific subject that is likely to be found on Google or do I write things free form that caters to people who will come in smaller flocks but will be spending more time here.
I think about it because I don't have advertisement on this website. My reward is sharing with my Audience, and the lessons I learn along the way. So I have to think about balancing the output for my readers.
This brings up things like clickbaits and other form of viral content popular these days. These indeed bring more traffic in, but before being excited, it is a good idea to revisit the goal of your website. Is it to get more visitors? or to share ideas?