What Is Qualified Traffic for Your Website?

Qualified traffic consists of the people who visit your website that are most likely to become leads or customers. 

A Guide to Qualified Search Traffic: How Can You Optimize Your Marketing?

Visibility is a central concern in search engine optimization, and improving your website’s association with important keywords in your niche is a good way of achieving greater visibility. However, the keywords that you decide to focus on can have a dramatic impact on not only the amount of search traffic that your domain might receive, but also the amount of qualified traffic.

Depending on your objectives, you may need to optimize your marketing in order to maximize your qualified search traffic. But how can this be done? This article will discuss the basics of qualified traffic and provide actionable advice on targeting your marketing to maximize conversions.

The Basics of Qualified Traffic

The specific definition of “qualified traffic” will differ from organization to organization; it can be summarized as site visitors who may already be aware of your brand and whose demographics fit within your target audience (as defined by your customer personas). In short, qualified traffic consists of people who are most likely to become future or recurring customers. Qualified traffic is likelier to convert; less qualified visitors may give you clicks and impressions, but they aren’t going to convert and become customers.

Improved traffic is generally — but not necessarily — associated with improved conversions. Without optimizing for the right keywords and implementing a strong internal linking structure (including toward important product or service pages), even securing page-one results might not get you the conversion rates you’re looking for. 

High Visibility, Low Conversion

For example, if you have a website for a local business in Detroit that primarily sells lighting solutions, a piece of linkable content providing tips about energy efficiency may rank well for general queries related to energy conservation, generating a lot of impressions for the page. However, the percentage of impressions and site visitors who access this content through such queries may not be interested in your products, much less live in your area. For this reason, the traffic you earn through this content will not likely lead to many conversions, though it is still valuable for SEO purposes.

Increased impressions, additional keyword rankings, and better overall visibility can help demonstrate your site’s relevance, build topical expertise, and allow you to earn links from more sites, boosting the performance of your site as a whole. This doesn’t directly yield more qualified visitors, but it can be a foundational step toward that ultimate goal.

Low Traffic, High Conversion

Conversely, a piece of keyword-focused content about affordable lightbulb options in Detroit would lead to a substantially lower amount of search traffic. The percentage of these visitors who may be interested in your services, however, would be substantially greater and you would likely see higher conversion rates.

While not all examples will have such drastic differences in traffic and potential conversions, this does illustrate two different types of marketing strategies: conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization.

CRO vs. SEO: Which Should You Focus On?

It’s difficult to measure the success of your marketing efforts if you aren’t clear on what your objectives are. Are you focused on improving your site’s conversions, such as generating sales and prospecting leads? Or are you more concerned with improving the broad visibility and authority of your site on search engines for industry-relevant search terms?

These two marketing objectives can be accomplished by conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization, respectively. While these terms are sometimes confused with one another, they have distinct meanings:

  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Strategies for increasing the number of site visitors who ultimately convert into customers (or take some other desired action on your website).
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Strategies for maximizing the number of total site visitors by improving the site’s rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Ultimately, a well-rounded approach integrates both CRO and SEO, but it’s important to clearly define your objectives in order to fine-tune your marketing strategy.

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How to Measure Qualified Traffic

There are many metrics in marketing to consider, but those that are not relevant to your overall objectives are essentially vanity metrics and should not be rigorously tracked; after all, if your objective is to increase sales, keeping tabs primarily on your monthly site visitors is an imprecise method of assessing your performance. 

Qualified organic search traffic can be measured over time by tracking two key metrics, and some marketing platforms provide easy access to this information:

  • Visitor-to-Lead (VTL) Conversion Rate: Also known as your traffic conversion rate, this is a metric that indicates the percentage of visitors that convert into leads within a determined period of time. This is calculated by simply taking the number of visitors who become leads and dividing that number by the total number of visitors, then multiplying that figure by 100.
    • Example: If you have a website that has 14,000 total visitors in a month, and 500 of those visitors become leads, your site has a VTL conversion rate of 3.57%.
  • Lead-to-Customer (LTC) Conversion Rate: An LTC conversion rate is also known as a sales conversion rate, and it indicates the ratio of leads that become customers within a set period of time. This rate is calculated by dividing the number of new customers your website earns by the number of leads you earned in that time period, then multiplying that number by 100.
    • Example: If your website has earned 500 new leads within the past month and made sales to 120 of those leads, your site has an LTC conversion rate of 24%
Tracking your VTL and LTC conversion rates can help you learn where your marketing approach’s strengths and weaknesses lie. If you have a high VTL rate, but a low LTC rate, you may need to optimize your personalized marketing efforts when communicating with leads. If the inverse is true, you should consider refining your site’s marketing funnel to prioritize drawing in more leads. Note that average conversion rates vary from industry to industry, and it’s helpful to compare against your industry average when assessing your performance.

Assessing Your Marketing Funnel With Qualified Traffic in Mind

Regardless of your current objectives, your site’s marketing funnel should be comprehensive if you want to be a serious competitor in your niche:

  • When seeking improved visibility on search engines, it’s important to prioritize satisfying searcher intent through high-quality, top-funnel content. While this won't always correlate with conversions, it will improve your authority and potentially generate traffic. 
  • It’s also important to create mid- and bottom-funnel articles with good keyword profiles to cover some low-conversion queries, as this will support higher-value keywords relevant to the smaller audience of qualified traffic.
  • Finally, you’ll want to have content that focuses on high-conversion queries centered on highly specific long-tail keywords. Ideally, this bottom-funnel content will drive conversions.

The last of these is vital when it comes to qualifying your leads and improving your LTC conversion rate. People seeking specific products or services are most likely to use long-tail keywords when performing searches. Accordingly, organic search traffic for content focused on long-tail keywords has substantially higher conversion rates than content focused on broader short-tail keywords. 

You can also guide current leads to long-tail keyword-focused content to qualify them and drive further sales. Creating a marketing and internal linking strategy that guides visitors to increasingly specific content and product/service pages is an effective method of converting new visitors into leads, then converting leads into customers.