Happy New Year, everybody!
Stuntdubl, in his 2006 Predictions Review, used the term “defensible traffic,” which he picked up off of the Scoreboard Marketing Blog. Defensible traffic is basically traffic with a barrier to entry.
Anybody with a basic knowledge of PPC and a bank account can buy traffic for their website. And if their account is big enough, they can steal your PPC traffic by paying more per click. Therefore, the only way you can defend that traffic is to pay more per click and cut into your ROI. Furthermore, if you’re using PPC for arbitrage, shifts in the PPC algorithms (meant to combat arbitrage) can completely destroy your ROI, thus eliminating your traffic’s usefulness completely.
On the other hand, a well-optimized site with carefully developed content, quality backlinks, good domain age, etc. that ranks well in the SERPs has a huge advantage over newer contenders in the same space. It’s much easier to maintain traffic from such a site, because anybody who want to compete with you in that space will have to develop a site with more relevant backlinks or better content, which is a lot more difficult than simply upping the bid on their PPC dashboard.
While the idea of defensible traffic has long been an argument for whitehat SEO development, it’s nice to have a handy dandy industry phrase to attach to it.