Author Topic: Websites are Dead  (Read 1259 times)

Drastic

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Websites are Dead
« on: July 02, 2019, 12:56:21 PM »
Good article from Chris Carter. A bit fluff and I don't agree with everything he says, but good points and he is putting some language and perspective on traffic trends that I have been thinking/feeling. I didn't realize it was this extreme, so this is timely for me.

https://www.serpwoo.com/blog/experts/evolution/
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 12:59:54 PM by Drastic »

rcjordan

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 01:36:57 PM »
>traffic trends that I have been thinking/feeling.

Just last night, I was thinking that we've finally arrived at the long ago predicted "big company" control of the web.  To bad, because no one enjoyed the Wild, Wild West blackhat days of the web more than I did.

Mackin USA

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 03:24:46 PM »
RIP
Mr. Mackin

CCarter

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 07:34:33 PM »

Thanks for posting the article! I'm happy to see a forum still kicking and active!

I'll say one thing about this, before I wrote the article I was using my phone and happened to look at the App usage and then it struck me, WTF, I hardly use Safari. I had been consuming a ton of GaryVee for the last several weeks and that light bulb went off in my head that if we as "SEOs" keep just trucking on we'll become irrelevant like the Yellow Pages.

I love studying my competition and recently did a "competitive audit" and created a one-off "competitor voice" spreadsheet of how many users each competitors is reaching within the different platforms using the tools I have available. I noticed all the top competitors that people talk about are ALWAYS posting new content on each of the major platforms weekly. The platforms being YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Medium.

Their content game is somewhat week, but since they do have the presence they own the space in the minds of the customers and potential customers simply cause they are sending drops of water into the ocean daily. Meanwhile on the other side of the spectrum all the dead competitors hardly blog once a year let alone once a month or once a week. Their social game is nada, and therefore the "seem" dead cause they aren't active in the landscape.

When you step back it's not hard to see the situation, you either put out more and more content on the platforms where people give more and more of their time and attention, or you die. If you have to wait till someone "Googles" a problem for you to show up, meh, that's not proactive at any level. So this was a wake up call to not only the SEOs out there but myself as well, it's time to evolve.
Software Guy

buckworks

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 08:10:54 PM »
Welcome!!  8)

CCarter

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 08:58:12 PM »
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Adam C

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2019, 02:21:24 PM »
Definitely an interesting read.

Didn't notice any recognition of the commercial intent of a Google searcher (or Yellow Pages reader for that matter) versus a social platform reader, which is the reason SEO/Search is alive and well and not going anywhere for the time being.

But some compelling points made well none the less.

CCarter

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2019, 06:42:06 PM »
which is the reason SEO/Search is alive and well and not going anywhere for the time being.

Until Google decides Video content is worth more than the written content to the audience. I was around when "Maps" were introduced into the organic rankings and SEOs crying about that cause their "pizza shop" directory got hit.

YouTube is the second largest search engine, so not having a presence on that platform means there are tons of people on YouTube searching for "How Tos" and using the platform to educate themselves on different topics. In my scenario I'm tripling down on YouTube since Google tomorrow can push all the "text" organic down and just start ranking YouTube Videos.

They've already started putting out guides on how to make better YouTube videos, and if people aren't reading words already, they are look at visuals: Create a How-to Video Action using templates.

I'll be the first one to tell you that I've completely missed the ball on how powerful YouTube is. Then when you couple that with the audience on YouTube for hours at a time, being able to target them based off of past queries (Google and YouTube), if you aren't in the arena you are missing the boat.

And then there is Voice, where people aren't going to have 10 options for results. They'll get Siri, Alexa, or Google Voice giving them a singular result. It's about consumer behavior, you see more and more people using Airpods and voice to query things like buying new products and services. It's only going to continue growing cause it's more convenient than "searching through the top 10 results" for an answer to a question.
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Brad

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2019, 09:38:09 PM »
CCarter, welcome!

I'm not quite buying that websites are dead. 

1. Website is the one platform you have total control over.

2.  For anti-trust purposes, Google will have a hard time defending putting Youtube at the top of the SERPs since they own it and control it.  People just are not buying Google's warm-fuzzy explanations the way they did in the past.  People will claim bias.  It does not mean they won't try, but I don't see them getting away with it, especially in the EU.

CCarter

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 01:08:49 AM »
1. Website is the one platform you have total control over.

Correct, but if your audience is not on your website then it doesn't matter how much control you have. You are getting your audience from Google with SEO at the moment. You can be also getting your audience from Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and thousands of other websites directing traffic to your website. You can also be getting your audience from non-internet marketing channels as well.

But when people come to your website, if they are filled with a 101 annoying intrusive situations, well you get situations where the audience rather be within APPs and other platforms. The end goal of having a presence on these other platforms is for SEOs not to only rely on Google, but also realize the Safari App is hardly used.


The majority of people using the internet aren't using a web browser. Just look at the APP usage of your family and friends. So if your brand (website) only exist in the Safari App that means you are becoming irrelevant to your potential target audience. If you have zero presence on YouTube, yet the attention and time of your audience is on Youtube 3-4 hours a day, you better believe your competition is on YouTube. And your competition is creating "How To" videos and "Guides" for your industry and your audience is watching them there. Your competition's brand is staying relevant, while you stay buried in the organic rankings waiting for someone to "Google" a problem.

Really think about it - do you really think in 5 years from now the organic rankings are really going to be mostly "text" based? 10 years from now? REALLY?

The only constant is change, and that includes evolving. Go where the audience spends most of their time to get them back to your main site - that's good, but if you are still waiting around for SEO traffic, fine. There are people that still look in the yellow pages for solutions too, they still exist.
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ergophobe

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2019, 01:45:16 AM »
Thanks for dropping in Chris!

>>finally arrived at the long ago predicted "big company" control of the web

I think this is the tough thing with declining usage of websites. A typical conversation at the hotel asks "How do we get more people to book directly?" and then everyone admits that we all just use the Expedia app when we travel. Unless you're a huge chain, you can't "evolve" to an app - nobody wants your stupid app. They want Expedia.

But the one thing we can do is this - Expedia takes at least 15% and keeps the customer info. So a 15% discount to those who book direct is better than break even.

But there's no question it's an uphill battle and that the shift from website to app is also a shift from free for all to Big Guy Wins.

On the other hand, when people say Websites are Dead, I always say that, yes, Print is Dead too. And like the Websites are Dead drumbeat we hear, it's both true and false. If you are a local newspaper or the Yellow Pages, it's true. If you're Colson Whitehead, it's not true. If you're Tim Ferriss, it is both true and false (books bred podcasts which bred books).

But to say that Websites are Dead...

Eight-track is dead. Betamax is dead. Wax cylinder grammophones are dead. CDs were on life support, but I think they finally were allowed to unplug the machine recently.

But what about stone tablets? Nope. They aren't used much, but if you are in the business of putting writing on stone tablets, you're still probably doing okay. It's a niche market and I think it's finally disappearing as funeral practices change, but for now, some people still make a living writing on stone.

So yes, lots of what once lived on websites will live elsewhere in the future. Some types of website will disappear entirely. But for certain types of information and commerce, the web still rules. For example, when is the last time you used an app or Alexa to try to download the owner's manual for your old snowblower?

>> if they are filled with a 101 annoying intrusive situations

That! I just asked this the other day: Does the conversion rate on our email sends justify annoying people with all these email capture popups? Can I test conversion rate with and without them? I feel like I do when I'm enjoying a nice sunset chat with a neighbor... and getting bitten 50 times by mosquitos.

>>realize the Safari App is hardly used

Right, but you're looking at phone data. Of course when they're on the phone they're on apps. On the one hand, the phone has supplanted the computer in many cases. But a lot of the time on the phone is time that people simply weren't on the internet at all in the past - in the supermarket checkout, in the waiting room for the doctor, whatever.

I can't find any longitudinal data, but if I look here:
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-are-spending-most-of-their-waking-hours-staring-at-screens-2018-08-01

I see that TV still dominates in terms of screen time. "Internet on the computer" (by which they certainly mean websites, because like most people, the author doesn't understand the difference) is still about 40 minutes. Time on the phone is over 2 hours, but that includes time on the internet via the phone. So what's the total time "on the internet?" Let's be generous and say almost none of that phone time is "internet" time. Let's say we're at 45 minutes.

If I go back to 2009, time on web was about 49 minutes.
https://atelier.bnpparibas/en/smart-city/article/average-american-adult-spends-8-1-2-hours-day-staring-screens

So sure, when people are on their phones, they are mostly not on the web. But time spent on the web seems to be about flat since 2009.

And then, the other thing I would say, is that I think people have a "research on mobile, buy on desktop" pattern. I say that because I see mobile traffic increase and increase and desktop traffic decrease, but desktop conversion rates go up. So the number of transactions on the desktop continues to rise. I can't prove people are making their decision on mobile and then changing devices to buy, but it seems likely.

As I was explaining to my boss last week, unless you are *selling* ads, then traffic is a *cost* not an asset. Really, if I could lose 90% of my traffic and increase conversions 20%, I would do that in a heartbeat.

Now, I don't doubt that the mobile experience will continue to improve, ways to fill forms and pay on mobile will improve, conversions will improve... but it is a very slow process and for the time being, people may *convert* on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, but for the most part they still can't buy there, so the funnel still has to take them through a website. That may change and it is obviously different if you don't do ecomm, but for ecomm, the website still isn't dead.

Brad

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2019, 10:42:09 AM »
>only

If I were selling stuff, of course I would be on Instagram, FB and the rest, but I would start out with a website on it's own domain and use it for primary posting while syndicating to as many of those other places as I can.  I would be on as many places as is worthwhile for traffic, but would never give up on the website as a permanent address on the internet.  FB, Instagram, Twitter can come and go in popularity or change the rules on you so IMHO you need one place you control.

littleman

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2019, 08:06:16 PM »
What we really need to see is total non-app traffic (mobile browser + desktop traffic) by year -- not as a percentage of total traffic, but in relation to previous periods of time.  I suspect that total human time-in-browser is actually up year over year, not down.

Another indicator would be non-Amazon ecommerce growth over the years.

Rupert

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2019, 05:33:37 AM »
While looking to see if I could find an answer to that, I found this:
https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/amazon-statistics/

slightly off topic but interesting, but also this:

https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/global-ecommerce-sales/

3 years ago I predicted my sites would be dead in 2 years... and here we are, still in business. Those figures include China of course, and Amz are certainly taking more, but it surprises me how much there is still left. Of course my ranking took a big hit a few years ago, so that is my unknown variable, as I rank for different things now but organic traffic has been pretty stable for a good while despite everything else going on.

... Make sure you live before you die.

Brad

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Re: Websites are Dead
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2019, 09:59:30 AM »
>variable

We might not be even having this conversation if we had more major search engines.  The bottleneck is our reliance and the searchers reliance on only one.