The data I reference for all my jWAG Daily Golden Nuggets spans back to 2003. That's when I started working exclusively with jewelry stores and when I started compiling information.
In 2010 I ramped up my data collecting efforts when the jwag.biz website was launched and that data is starting to produce some interesting historical information.
I decided to peek into the data to find the most popular ways that visitors arrived at a retail jewelry store website during the 2010 and 2011 holiday seasons, and compare those measurements to the last 30 days.
For this measurement I ignored all PPC campaigns, all organic traffic, and all direct traffic. I was only interested in referral traffic, which is to say, I only wanted to know when someone followed a link found on another website to a retail jeweler's site.
Changes in the way Google ranks websites has seriously changed the way people find and follow links online. These first few results show how things have changed for the worst.
Blog Links - A common link building strategy prior to 2012 was to put a link to your website on random blogs. For blogs that survived Google filtering in 2012 this method is gaining momentum.
2010 Holiday Season: 9.5% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 13.4% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 21.8% of visitor traffic
Chamber of Commerce Links - You would think that a link from your local chamber of commerce would be a credible way to increase visitors to your website. This used to be the case back when Google was showing Chamber websites in the SERP. Here's how it works now:
2010 Holiday Season: 4.16% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 2.22% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 0.23% of visitor traffic
Google Maps - Here we see the adverse affects of Apple Maps over the last 30 days and the drop in the number of visitors from mapping applications. Drop me an email if you haven't yet paid for Apple Maps.
2010 Holiday Season: 2.46% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 1.92% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 0.68% of visitor traffic
Directory Websites - Systems like City Search and Merchant Circle had a lower level of usefulness in 2011 than 2010. The directory sites that follow Google's terms of service are still quite useful.
2010 Holiday Season: 20.6% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 11.3% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 7.9% of visitor traffic
Links for Local Businesses - Thinking about sharing a link with one of the local stores in town? This still seems like a reasonable idea. Most of the link building I see is from some type of referral site or resource sites.
2010 Holiday Season: 9.83% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 11.32% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 7.16% of visitor traffic
Now let's look at the types of websites that are producing a good level of referral traffic. Each of the sites below has gained in their importance over the last 3 years.
Vendor Websites - For each designer brand you carry in your store you need to make sure you are listed in the zip code search for that vendor. These numbers remain consistent, and even show a recent growth rate.
2010 Holiday Season: 6.5% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 6.9% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 10.3% of visitor traffic
Social Websites - These numbers include Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Google+ and Twitter were not found in my tracking. It seems Social networking wasn't as important last year as it was in 2010, but the numbers for this year are already way up.
2010 Holiday Season: 11.1% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 6.6% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 13.3% of visitor traffic
Paid Ads - Unlike pay per click (like AdWords) the paid ads I tracked in this category were paid related to local services or local advertising. This is like placing an ad in a local circular and getting an online ad for free, or having a newspaper ad and getting an online version for free. This is different than paying for a banner ad and providing a specific banner ad creative. My assumption is that the retail jeweler isn't even aware that their newspaper ads are appearing online.
2010 Holiday Season: 18.80% of visitor traffic
2011 Holiday Season: 25.98% of visitor traffic
2012 Last 30 Days: 22.98% of visitor traffic
Final conclusion from all this: If you are looking for a way to increase your website traffic for the 2012 holiday season you should make sure all your local ads also include a local online ad. You should also get your website listed on any local travel, tourism, or town websites. You should also keep working on your social activities.