This loud title was born after the analysis of a long-term work involving more than 150 sites. Tourism and real estate are the hottest and most expensive ones (of course in Russia). Cost per click in Yandex is $0,2 — $0,31 and in Google it is $0,68 — $0,98.

Nobody believed me when I began to say that bad contextual advertising negates any successful search engine optimization activities. It simply kills all the SEO effectiveness. Now I have enough evidence to convince those who did not believe me and share it with you.

How does paid traffic work? We gather semantics, then write ads. Then we set up advertising campaigns. We pay money for it – and there we go! We get tons of traffic, convert it into leads, the sales department closes the deal. We get some profit. And reinvest it into advertising campaigns. It goes on and on. We get even more profit. You don’t regard money as money anymore because it just some numbers on some accounts. The bottom line is the leads. That’s the reason behind this whole advertising Sabbath.

However, while this process is going on, you don’t know that Yandex is monitoring the behavioral factor of all hits. And, perhaps, is already turning into rubbish the other part of your investments – the SEO budget.

Marketing realities. Yandex.Direct vs SEO

During the season, paid traffic is switching on and off smoothly because this period comes and goes the same way. I am not talking about one-week businesses like Christmas trees or Santa. A good example is the real estate sector. The new developments in St. Petersburg, for instance.

Developers bought a land plot («spot» if we use slang). You go to the state government and get the construction site approved. You tell all the contractors that a housing estate «Cheesecake» is to be built here. Great.

All contractors rushed to buy domains in dot com  – cheescake-apartments.com.

Each of them wrote their unique sheets of texts so beloved by Yandex.

All of them put the same pictures because they took everything from the developers’ sources. Everyone did their best to add some unique feature. Each of them started indexing. 50 housing estate «Cheesecake» websites. And all of these websites are pretty the same. How does Yandex rank their positions? We will discuss this in the next articles.

Out of 50 websites, 10 have paid traffic. Another 10 websites have SEO-traffic as the key for lead generation. Another 15 struggle, they have part of SEO-traffic, partly from social media, partly from the forums, part of paid traffic, the cheapest one. The remaining 15 are completely traffic-less because they have low positions in the search engine.

So, housing estate «Cheesecake» sells apartments like hot cakes, but in fact, these cakes are no longer the same. Like iPhones after their presentation. And I am not joking. The most liquid apartments will be sold out in a month after the launch of sales. It’s hard to realize for those who are off this base. But when you see the flow of applications from the inside of that business, sometimes you simply cannot believe your own eyes.

Farewell to SEO traffic!

In a month, there are fewer apartments, the boom is subsiding. It takes six months for the phase one apartments to be sold out. What happens to paid traffic in this case?

Right.

You’re received a command to press the «stop» button. Traffic is sharply chopped off. Yandex records this in its metrics. And then, using some unseen forces tells the SEO-traffic — follow my lead!

If you have your own Adwords marketers, somehow you’ll correct their work, make sure that there are no abrupt changes, that the landing pages are perfect and the notifications are all adjusted to the TA. If the context is on the client’s side, the game is over. They take a list of pages and flood it with traffic without even looking. Do you have only one apartment on the site page? So what? Bounce rate? Screw it!

3 paid traffic scenarios

  1. Paid traffic is good.
  2. Paid traffic is bad.
  3. A lot of good traffic at once and an abrupt stop.

What happens in each case?

  1. Good paid traffic results in a rapid increase of SEO-traffic. The algorithm here is obvious. Yandex «sees» that the site is visited based on the targeted queries which coincide with the website theme. People spend as much time on the website, as it relevant, according to Yandex, to the statistics of usual visits to a high-quality website with a specific theme. The same is true for the parameters of bounce rate and other behavioral patterns.
  2. Bad paid traffic. The situation here is completely opposite. Yandex watches the hits parameters. Bounce rate and time spent on the website immediately show that the visitors got to a wrong place. Their behavior on the website shows that they do not interact with the content at all. Yandex makes a conclusion that the traffic is not a target one. Behavioral factors are bad. The site itself does not know what it wants to tell the visitor – throw it out from the organic results!
  3. And there is the third scenario. The traffic is good. We flood our website with it. We get satisfaction from the quantity and quality of leads. Once the theme has ended, we disable good paid traffic immediately. And then the most interesting starts. SEO-traffic is also falling down. To the very bottom. Completely. And this is not a one-off event so that you can say: wow guys, I had no idea this would happen! Because this is a real pattern!

There are five examples from the first hundred websites that have obvious features of the above

Example 1

Rapid growth of advertising traffic, observed during two months, affected negatively on SEO-traffic.

Example 2

This graphic shows that we had a lot of advertising traffic in May.  That caused a decline of SEO-traffic.

Example 3

This graphic shows that in June we had a rapid increase of advertising traffic that practically turned the positions of SEO-traffic into zero results. 

Example 4

In May we had a rapid growth of advertising traffic that caused low positions of SEO-traffic for the next two months. 

Example 5

In August we had a rapid increase of advertising traffic that caused a collapse of SEO-traffic in the next month. Later we had swinging advertising traffic which made SEO-traffic also unstable. 

What should we do? How can we promote websites without putting the sticks in the wheels to ourselves?

Since 2018 we will completely separate paid traffic from the organic one. Different domains. Different metrics. Different everything.

Conclusions:

  • Beware of the low-quality paid traffic.
  • Monitor the quality of the landing pages.
  • Turn the paid traffic on and off smoothly. Rouse it to action for a month and calm it down for another month.

The further story of this case will be published on this blog.