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Digital Agency Website Survey (2018) – 84% get less than 500 Google visits

This survey of 732 UK digital marketing agency websites revealed that 84% earn less than 500 organic visits per month from Google.

  • 84 % of UK digital agency websites estimated to earn less than 500 visits per month from Google’s search results.
  • 63 % of UK digital agency websites estimated to earn less than 100 visits per month from Google’s search results.
  • 36 % of UK digital agency websites estimated to earn less than 10 visits per month from Google’s search results.

This analysis was conducted on 17th September 2018; organic traffic estimates can vary from day to day.

Organic Traffic Range Number of websites
0-9 visits 268
10-99 visits 199
100-499 visits 154
500 + visits 111
Total 732
Download: Digital Marketing Agency Website Survey

Website survey methodology

I scraped Google UK search results to find SEO and PPC agency websites that were ranking in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

I found 744 urls and I removed 12 that were not deemed digital marketing agencies; eg: digital recruitment and web directories mainly.

Then I used to run a batch analysis of these websites.

What is a batch analysis ?

A batch analysis allows you to compare metrics of hundred URLs or domains.

Ahrefs collect data on the number of backlinks and referring domains, social metrics, URL Ratings and Domain Ratings, and number of links per type.

How is organic traffic calculated ?

To quote Ahrefs :

This is our estimation of how much traffic a target website or URL gets from organic search.

We calculate it based on the keywords we see that website or URL ranking for.

And because we don’t have all possible keywords, we tend to drastically underestimate the search traffic of a given website.

For example, for the Ahrefs Blog, we underestimate organic search traffic by 5x.

Platonik Organic Traffic

Ahrefs estimate my traffic of 965 organic visits per month, with Google Analytics estimating traffic at 1630.

Relationship between referring domains and organic traffic

Next, I analysed the websites that fell into 4 traffic brackets.

I compared the websites in each bracket with the average number of unique domains pointing to their website.

Organic Traffic Range Average number of referring domains
0-9 visits 87
10-99 visits 94
100-499 visits 138
500 + visits 493

According to a study by Ahrefs and Brian Dean “Our data also shows that a site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher rankings”.

And Ahrefs domain rating shows the strength of a website’s total backlink profile in terms of size and quality.

Correlation does not imply causation as those who do surveys say.

However an Ahrefs study produced this relationship between referring domains and search traffic.

Download: Digital Marketing Agency Website Survey

Why do so many digital marketing websites have low traffic from Google ?

This is just an opinion, but many digital marketing agencies and their staff are focused on acquiring and servicing their customers.

There’s an expression, the cobbler’s children have no shoes.

In other words, they are too busy doing work for their customers that they do not service themselves.

Ahrefs does not measure direct, social, referral or advertising traffic so these websites in the study could still drive considerable website traffic.

Why would digital marketing agencies want traffic from Google ?

I can only speak from my own experience but traffic to my website from Google search does result in subscribers and customers.

Of course there are multiple channels that prospects and customers can discover your business.

So could these websites in the survey earn more traffic from Google ?

My little study is nothing compared to Ahrefs who analysed 1 billion web pages by their monthly search traffic.

They discovered 90.88% of pages get no organic traffic from Google.

Digital marketing agency websites are not unique to the low traffic problem.

I would propose 2 strategies to increase your website traffic from Google.

Pick a topic that has search traffic potential and isn’t too hard to rank for

It’s pure economics; supply and demand.

If there’s little search demand or interest, you won’t get much search traffic.

The nearest big town to me is Ayr in Scotland.

If I researched how many people search for “web designer Ayr” or “web design Ayr” there are zero and 20 searches respectively.

Even “web design glasgow” with 250 searches a month is too small a topic.

Glasgow, the 5th biggest UK city which is about 35 miles from me, with a population of 1.2 million and 54,000 business located there is too small a topic to target.

Why is this topic too small ?

Because the web agencies ranking in the top 10 for “web design glasgow” only earn, on average, 183 visits from Google.

So the search demand isn’t very high for this type of service in this city; online.

Breaking into the top 10 results for a service or product category page requires a lot of work and links from other websites to outrank these top pages.

Large topic but too hard to rank for

If you’re a wordpress developer, I bet you’d love to be on page one for “wordpress themes”.

There are 21,000 UK searches a month.

The top pages in the results earn a lot of traffic; on average 8411 visits a month.

How can 7 results each earn 8411 visits (that’s 58,877 visits in total) when there are 21,000 searches for the term “wordpress themes” ?

The websites that rank for “wordpress themes” also rank for 100 to 300 other searches similar to “wordpress themes”.

When you find a keyword that can rank for 100 or more similar keywords then you have a topic.

But the problem with trying to rank for “wordpress themes” is that it’s too hard to rank for.

From the screenshot above you would need around 488 unique websites linking to your page to rank for this query.

Download: Digital Marketing Agency Website Survey

Just right topic; high search volume, many keywords, low difficulty

If you were a digital marketing agency with zero to little traffic from Google, here’s 1o topics I would write about:

  • The best writing software – 1600 visits a month, 6 links to rank top 10
  • I’d write a Convert Kit review – 684 visits a month, 14 links required
  • Royalty Free Images websites – 626 visits a month, 3 links required
  • PostgreSQL vs MySQL – 623 visits a month, 0 links needed
  • How to schedule Tweets for free – 585 visits a month, 5 links required
  • How to create a WordPress portfolio website – 490 visits a month, 2 links required
  • How to Validate Email Addresses in Real-Time – 398 visits a month, 4 links required
  • 4 Ways to Email Large Files – 371 visits a month, 5 links to rank top 10
  • 9 Brilliant Instagram Feed Ideas That Can Make Your Profile Stand out, 276 visits, 8 links
  • How to Write a Business Email (Updated for 2018) – 217 visits, 1 link

Objections I hear

At first you will be resistent to producing this type of content.

You’ll believe these topics are not your core business.

And you would be correct.

These topics are “shoulder topics” that are connected to the body of your business.

If your website was one of the 467 websites that earn less than 100 visits per month from Google then ranking page one for these topics would more than treble your monthly traffic.

To summarise, find the easy ranking topics before you tackling the harder topics (like service pages).

Earn links from websites that have a habit of linking to websites

The clients that you do work for will not link to your website.

They are too busy working in their business.

OK, you get a few footer links from their websites after you build them.

But the best links are in content anchor text links; those in the body of an article.

So how do you earn in context links ?

You could produce a data study like this one.

I know that digital marketers love studies and charts and data and have a high propensity to link to this type of content.

You could reverse engineer how people in the digital marketing industry get their links.

This agency wrote 3 reasons why they hate Wix.

5 websites link to this page.

Wix is a huge online topic and this page earns 140,000 organic visits globally.

This is an outlier example but this agency chose the right high search volume topic to write about.

If you’ve not impressed with a page earning 5 links then be impressed with this page.

They have a mobile marketing guide that has earned 909 referring domains.

908 websites link to that page.

That’s 14% of the total referring domains to their website.

As a result, this agency’s website earn 368,000 organic visits per month from Google.

To summarise the study

Regardless of your industry, there is strong data evidence that growing your website requires you to build quality links to your website and choose large, low keyword difficulty topics if you want to grow traffic from Google’s search results.

Download: Digital Marketing Agency Website Survey
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