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Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic Source

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Ever heard of Sitizens? Up until today, when I looked at my traffic sources in Google Analytics, I had never heard of them. So, imagine my surprise when it turned up as my third source of overall website traffic and my top source of referral traffic! How am I getting a significant amount of traffic from a source that I was completely unaware of and wasn’t a member of?

Sitizens an Online Social Game

According to their website and Facebook page, Sitizens is “an online social game where you get to explore the web with your friends, and compete to be King of your favorite domains.” I can find very little information about it which leads me to believe that this site is still very new and has not been widely adopted yet. (They created their Facebook page in October 2010. I started getting traffic from them this August.)

There are a few YouTube videos promoting Sitizen.  I found this one informative and the blogger who created it gives the impression that he’s driving traffic with it. (He mentions in this video that he got his “kings” pre-launch and he offers a free month upgrade to his “Traffic Exchange” if you join his “Guild”.)

A Closer Look at Google Analytics:

Before I got too excited about this new source of traffic, I looked a little closer at my Google Analytics and saw that the bounce rate is very high (95.6%).  (According to MoreVisibility.com, bounce rate refers to “the percentage of single-page visits to total visits of a certain Dimension”.) Now, a high bounce rate is not always a bad thing. It can mean that the person who landed on your page found exactly what they were looking for and left.

When I looked closer at the average time spent by those visitors from Sitizens, it became evident that not only were these visitors coming to my site and leaving from the page that they landed on, their average visit was only 37 seconds. (Compare that to visits ranging between 14 and twenty two minutes from visitors coming through organic searches.) Still an average of 37-seconds does indicate they didn’t immediately bail when the page loaded.

Should Sitizens be Part of my Social Media Strategy?

I’m not impressed by the quality of the traffic that I’ve gleaned from Sitizens but I certainly won’t scoff at it either. Since it happening organically, I plan on sitting back and seeing what happens. I did register my KeepUpWeb ID (in part to prevent anyone else from using it) but I have no plans to actively participate (at least at the moment). It’s free to join. So why not?

There may be potential on Sitizens for businesses that want to engage their customer through social media (but there’s already sites like FourSquare for that). In the tour of the Sitizens site, they indicate that businesses can offer rewards such as discounts to their customers (like a 20% off coupon) and to tap into the viral marketing aspect. (There’s competition to become the “king”.)

Personally, I don’t see value in participating on this particular social media site but it may be a good fit for someone else. What do you think? Are you a member of Sitizens? Are you getting traffic from them? Please let us know and if you come upon any relevant reviews or have a personal experience with them that you’d like to share.

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By Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

61 replies on “Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic Source”

I’ve heard of this site before but I haven’t really participated nor did I find any value to it on first impression. I guess it’s billing itself as the internet version of FourSquare and there might be something to it as far as monetization for them goes, if it becomes mainstream for ecommerce sites. I didn’t realize it can generate a lot of traffic, now I’d have to look more closely — maybe the bounce rate wouldn’t be as high on ecommerce or coupon sites?

Hi Manny,
Your observation that Sitizens may drives traffic that sticks around longer on an eCommerce site or a coupon site may be right. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has these types of sites. My blog doesn’t lend itself well to someone who is taking a quick look around. To get value here, you pretty much need to read the content and (hopefully) engage in the comment section. This more of a learning and sharing environment. However, sites that offer daily deals, may really benefit from a site like Sitizens. That’s a very interesting thought! Thanks for sharing. You may have given someone here an idea.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Why You Should Be Your Own Google Analytics Ninja and 4 Steps To Do It – Part 1My Profile

When working on iNest.com, a real estate site, we used to get a lot of referrals from porn sites. While I did not want to put my job in jeopardy by doing too much exploring as to the source of links, I discovered that it was due to webmasters that left out a “c” within their hyperlinks. Must have been a surprising experience for the perv’s that ended up on our real estate site. The visitors did not stick around for long. I wonder if your traffic from Siticens is due to a miswritten link. Then again, it could be that they realize that quality of the content on Keep Up With the Web

Hi Randy,
I bet that traffic source had a 100% bounce rate! 🙂

Thanks for the compliment about my content. I believe my site was discovered on Sitizens thanks to Rob Paris (who introduced himself to me in the comments as “King” of my domain). It will be interesting to see what happens with that traffic source. I’m certainly not going to complain about it having a high bounce rate. It’s still additional traffic. Considering I got on their radar screen in the first month that they went live, who knows what will happen.

Hi Sherryl.
Reading between the lines I get the feeling that you are carefully considering the value of your traffic sources.
This is something that I have started to look at lately. I was spending far to much time chasing traffic for the sake of traffic and not targeted traffic.
I know that a lot of bloggers disagree with me from the comments on my blog. Many take the view that all traffic has value. Whilst I don’t disagree with this, my opinion is that time is money. You wouldn’t go to work for $1 per hour so why do it online.
It’s refreshing to see a really honest opinion about what sounds like a good source of traffic that brings little worth.
Having said that, traffic that you have done nothing to get is good traffic:)
Steve Hippel recently posted..Ninja Affiliate – A Great WordPress Affiliate PluginMy Profile

Hi Steve,
Whenever I take a peek at my Google Analytics, I always go right to the traffic sources. Since most of my referral traffic usually comes from my social media efforts, I want to know where I should be spending my time. I completely agree with you that time is money. If I’m getting zero traffic from a site like Pinterest (which I am), why waste my time there? (OK, I have a slight addiction to infographics. So, I do “pin” them but that’s partly to keep my hat in the ring and maintain some sort of presence there.)

I also agree that traffic that I’m getting without having to do anything is a bonus. Besides, it builds awareness and there’s always the possibility that someone will like what they find here. Maybe they won’t become a client of mine but they may help spread the word. Thanks for dropping by Steve! 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Cloud Computing Safe for Your Business?My Profile

Hi I read the title of your post. I had never heard of citizens nor had my wife who is always on social media. Thought it would of cropped up on her Facebook. She is going to check it out though. Maybe I shouldn’t of mentioned it?

Only joking great heads up thanks lee

Hi Andreea,
I don’t think we should rule out the potential value there could be from the traffic from Sitizens because you don’t always know for sure how someone found you in the first place. It’s possible that someone from Sitizens may potentially turn into a valuable and loyal reader.

Lots of times, I’ll introduce myself when I leave a comment on a blog that I’m new to. People like to know how you found their blog. If I can, I’ll give credit to the source. For example, I found you through one of Andrea’s tweets or from a conversation on a LinkedIn group. That’s valuable information to pass on. There are already three comments here from Sitizens players who have taken the time to comment. They’re helping to build awareness of my blog and I haven’t had to do anything extra. Hopefully, you’ll gain some new readers from them too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic SourceMy Profile

Interesting. I get a ton of traffic from a site that once used a blog post of mine with an attribution so tiny I could barely find it. I wrote to them and from time to time I try to figure out why I still get traffic from them when there is nothing visible on their site that refers to my blog. Is a mystery. I don’t get excited anymore about getting a lot of traffic from search (Google) because people come and go (high bounce rate). It’s most often not quality traffic. Quality traffic for me comes from LinkedIn and other referral sources where the bounce rate is lower and people stay on my site for several minutes. Also, don’t get too concerned about a high bounce rate. One of the social media authority sites recently was making a point about something and showed his dashboard and they routinely get a 75-80% bounce rate. So even the best struggle to keep people once they get to their site.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Social Media Measurement and ROI Next Focus of Inc. 500, Fortune 500My Profile

Hi Jeannette,
That is strange that you get that traffic. Are you certain that hey haven’t linked anchor text to your site?

I certainly agree with you about LinkedIn being a wonderful source of referral traffic. I still manage to get some good traffic from BizSugar as well. When I look at my bounce rate, I also take into consideration the average time spent on a page. If the website visitor is immediately finding what they need and leaving, that contributes to a 100% bounce rating. However, if we’ve just solved their problem, chances are we’ve made an impression on them and they’ll be back. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Content Writing: The Most Formidable Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

Receiving unexpected traffic from a source that you don’t even know about is such an exciting revelation! This is the first time I’ve heard of Sitizens, thanks for the share!

My only suggestion on how to “optimize” for Sitizens, is if you have a blog.. Keep new content coming. I was King of a blog for a few weeks which meant I was coming back every day to keep anyone else from being King. I stopped going because the guy stopped blogging and it got boring seeing the same old post.

Personally I like to use the explore tool to find new sites, and then add them to my favorites inside Sitizens. Whenever I’m doing any Google Searches especially I like to arrive at those sites if the content was good. That way someone else exploring later might end up finding the site too.

Anyways – Thanks for the blog post and noticing! We’re having a lot of fun and really hope people start blogging about it. Nothing cooler than building a site that your “offline” friends start playing and having fun with 😉
Tim Linden recently posted..Having fun with LarryMy Profile

Hi Tim,
You’re very welcome. I was really surprised that not only had I not heard about Sitizens yet but I couldn’t find blog posts about it either. I did find several YouTube videos though.

New, valuable and relevant content is always going to win in my opinion. I’m glad I was one of the first to notice. It looks like a lot of people are just discovering Sitizens and I’m glad to help build awareness of it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Content Writing: The Most Formidable Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

Let’s see if I can bring to light why some of you are getting traffic and lots of it from Sitizens.

From a players standpoint they are battling to become King or Queen on a domain/website. To do this a player must “Arrive” at that domain/website. Once a player arrives at a website (let’s say Keepupwiththeweb.com) we then index KUWTW.com and ask our players to place that domain name into a category. Maybe for KUWTW.com it’s placed in Blogs or Business.

We have another feature in Sitizens called “Explore”. This allows a player to select their interests than start to explore domains we have indexed in the categories they say most interest them. From a players standpoint this is an excellent source to find websites that might interest you that they would have never found on their own. The more popular a website is within our system the more often it will be shown to those exploring and appear in our Hot/Recommended sites area.

Personally I’ve found several dozen new websites that peaked my interest in this manner. I even made a purchase with one for a stretched canvas photograph.

From a website owners standpoint it doesn’t require you to play the game, signup to our site or even understand the game. All you have to know is people are going to visit your site based on their interests. How you convert them into raving fans is up to you. We are working on ways to help website owners accomplish this if they so wish.

I hope this helps and didn’t add more to the confusion. I’m always available on skype for anyone that would like to discuss this further. My skype info is justin.ledvina

Hi Justin,
Thanks for the explanation. When I look at my analytics, I see that the vast majority of the visits from Sitizens are coming from “Explore” and only 5 are coming from “domain/keepupwiththeweb”.

I think it was to my advantage that my site was found relatively early on. (Special thanks to Rob Paris who recently introduced himself to me as “King” of my domain.) The idea of exploring to find sites in interest areas reminds me of StumbleUpon. I definitely intend to keep an eye on what happens with Sitizens. I certainly appreciate the extra traffic. Hopefully, if players find my blog, some of them will stick around.

Thanks for sharing your Skype info. I’ve followed you and @Sitizens on Twitter. I’m always looking for good content to share.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

Hi Sherryl: You always have something interesting on your blog! I don’t know how I missed the Google + one, but I’ll go back in and read that one after I finish posting this comment.

I’m not an game player either, so likely won’t bother going to Sitizens. But maybe … I’ll check out my Google Analytics! I haven’t done that in a very long while. Though I have finally made some progress on SEO. One step at a time!
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..look for opportunities to promote your writing expertise: guest post by Irene Ternier GordonMy Profile

I try to check my Google Analytics once a month. About every 2 or 3 months, I find a surprise. Sometimes it will be an unexpected source of referral traffic and other times it will be a drop in traffic based on a change I made to one of my social media strategies.

Since you’ve made progress with your SEO, taking a peek at that and comparing it with the prior month may prove interesting. (That’s so easy to do on GA.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tracking Changes to Your Website Blog and Social Media StrategyMy Profile

Sitizens seems like an interesting concept. I\’ve never heard of it before reading your post, but I\’ve just created an account just to check it out. It seems like it can quickly become addictive! I haven\’t noticed any traffic from there on my site or blog, but I\’ll keep an eye out. Thanks for sharing this with us!

G’day Sheryl,

I am a Sitizens player and I am also the King of your domain. 🙂

Sitizens is a social game that also offers cash prizes (I am not necessarily in favour of that part but I will have to wait and see) There can be advantages in the increase of website traffic through this medium I have already on a couple of my sites received sign ups and membership applications.

The developers are from the Traffic Exchange industry and are only 1 month out of beta testing the site so it is early days to say if it is good or bad.
I hope this post makes more of them stop and have a bit more of a read and I will personally send your link to their publicity officer for him to see what the outside world is saying.

Have a great one and I hope you can think of a way to benefit from the extra traffic.

Regards
Rob P.

P.S. If you want to be King or in your case Queen of your domain you will have to join Sitizens and battle me for it.
If by chance you do let me know and I will make it easy for you but bear in mind others are battling me for it and I am popular hit there for been poisoned and my domains been taken over. Link to join is in my website address.

G’day Rob,
Thanks for introducing yourself and shedding a little light on Sitizens. You can rest assured that I have no intention of battling you to be Queen. 🙂 Instead, I’d like to thank you for the additional traffic.

I’m actually surprised to learn that other people are battling you to be King of my domain. (With any luck, I’ll pick up a few new readers. Who knows, maybe there will be fodder for another post on this in the future.)

This post has generated quite a few tweets and I am not the only one who wondered what Sitizens is all about. I did register (mainly to reserve my user ID) but I don’t have any plans at the moment to participate in the fun.

Bounce and time on site look pretty similar to any other traffic exchange. People are visiting the site for credits or points or the opportunity to get traffic to their site. Rarely does this produce viable traffic. However, as you’ve noticed, there’s a chance some are having a look around. I personally wouldn’t bother optimizing for it.
Kim

Hi Kim,
Until you just mentioned “traffic exchange”, I hadn’t even thought of Sitizens in that light. I honestly didn’t know what the purpose of it was. I am definitely going to just sit back and watch this one! At least now, I know who the “king” of my domain is. Maybe I should thank him. There’s always the chance that I could pick up a reader too. Stranger things have happened. 🙂

I agree. I don’t think we should ever “run off” a traffic source (even poor ones). And being a little nosey isn’t a bad thing. I simply however would not take effort to try to optimize for this traffic or grow this traffic. There are so many better places to invest your energy at the moment that too many things like this can get us really scattered!
Kim
Kimberly Castleberry recently posted..Content Marketing Tip #2 – MindsetMy Profile

I agree with you completely Kim. I’m not concentrating on optimizing for any traffic source. I just want to write good content that adds value. When I saw the traffic from Sitizens, it piqued my interest enough to see what the heck it was. Then, I figured it would make for an interesting blog post. It also gave me an opportunity to talk a little about bounce rate and average time spent on a page. If nothing else, this post may motivate someone to take a peek at their Google Analytics (or possibly even install it).

Sitizens is not a traffic exchange, it was not designed to be one. Players do not earn credits or traffic by playing the game. This is not a view my site I’ll view yours setup. It’s a big giant game taking place over the entire web.

You now have a door open to new readers, clients and relationships best part is it didn’t cost you a dime or a second of your time. Without Sitizens I wouldn’t know who any of you were, that this blog existed, that you teach business, which by the way is a nice niche for our almost 700k members in the Timtech network.

My personal opinion is if I gain 1 new member, that didn’t cost me any money or anytime, I would think it’s pretty cool. Anytime a real person visits my site I never consider the source junk. A smart marketer knows how to turn visitors, no matter where they are from, into raving fans, customers, readers or whatever it is they need to survive.

Thanks for the blog post and opening the decision on Sitizens.

Hi Justin,
Thanks for shedding some light on Sitizens. I’m very happy to have traffic from Sitizens. It was a pleasant surprise.

You’re welcome for the post. I think the discussion is just beginning!

Hey Sherryl,

Sitizens reminds me a little of The Sims and World of Warcraft. It is amazing that this is your 3rd source of traffic. The only reason your bounce rate is so high is because this isn’t targeted traffic. However, If you can find a way to monetize this traffic that would be awesome.

Hi John,
The bump in traffic was certainly a surprise. While I was replying to Adrienne, I took another look and the bulk of that came right after I published an article on increasing your Google+ followers. It could be that one article resonated with some of the players and it became popular. It wouldn’t surprise me if I don’t see that traffic this month. On the other hand, I just blogged about Sitizens, so, maybe I’ll see even more. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Content Writing: The Most Formidable Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

Hi Sherryl,

Yes, Virtual networks and games like these can drive a lot of traffic to your website, and a lot of marketers and or business people (even if just for personal reasons) have not yet explored this viable option of driving traffic, it just depends on the time you spend in the game (community) itself and the type of website and the type of traffic (demographically targeted for sales or wanting a more local reach) you want and need for your website. One thing you must keep in mind – no matter what amount of traffic is driven, without converting the traffic there is no value.

Great post, Thanks for sharing.

Anton, That’s a great point about being able to convert the traffic. That’s why I have no plans of spending time on Sitizens. I’m a bit of an analytics junkie though. 🙂 So, I found it interesting and I’m sure there’s potential there for someone to market their services.

I didn’t spend a lot of time researching this but what little I found didn’t offer any info on demographics. My guess is that the demographics don’t match my ideal client.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic SourceMy Profile

So Sherryl, were you getting traffic before you signed up with it? You mentioned that you had no idea how that was happening.

I’ve never heard of this site either and I don’t play any “games” online at all. I have a feeling I wouldn’t want traffic from this site either because I would definitely want them sticking around longer.

Interesting though so thanks for the heads up. I do love learning new things and now I’ll know more about this one if someone says anything about it.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..HELP: In Search Of A New Plug-InMy Profile

I have absolutely never heard of this site before. Judging by your take it may not be for me, but it may just be because I’m already juggling so many different sites. Still, I’ll do a little research and see what I come up with. Thanks for featuring this, Sherryl.
Dennis Salvatier recently posted..Who is Tanoshiboy?My Profile

Dennis, You may enjoy the “fun” aspect of Sitizens more than me. I don’t enjoy playing competitive games (like the ones that are so popular on Facebook). I much prefer a quiet game where I’m competing against my own high score. Then again, I haven’t tried many either. 🙂 Hopefully, someone here will like the site. Even if we don’t play, I’m getting traffic from it without doing anything! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by. I need to take a spin by the Tanoshiboy Chronicles soon to see what you’ve been up to.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..2 Tips on Using Social Media to Get Found OnlineMy Profile

Registered there, tried yes it`s fun to use but didn`t get complete details about how to do this…
Any way in few days will get back and share my thoughts.

@khajamoin1

Sorry for late reply, I tried Sitizens.
I added my blog once and that`s it. After a couple of days when I see my referring traffic I saw that I got more than 10 visits in a single day from Sitizens.
So really Sitizens helps to increase traffic. But I don`t think it is worthy to get from here.
Because am not sure that these people coming from Sitizens are interested in blogging they just want to earn Zens.

~@khajamoin1

I think you’re right Khaja. That’s the same conclusion that I came too. I’m still optimistic though that I may gain an occasional reader or two from the traffic. 🙂

Thanks for letting know that you gave it a try and sharing your opinion of it.

Don’t know anything about Sitizen but appreciate your post. You’ve reminded us about the benefits of reviewing Google Anayltics so we can take advantage of learning who is and isn’t paying attention to us and to tweak our marketing to more specific target markets. Thanks too for explaining bounce rates…. particularly the upside of a high one!

Hi Keyuri,
It’s great to see you back online after your summer hiatus! I’m always pleasantly surprised when I unearth something new in Google Analytics. Usually, I’ll see a spike in traffic from another blog but this is the first time that I’ve ever found traffic coming from an online game. It’s a little bizzarre to me. 🙂

Bounce rates can be particularly confusing. That’s why I linked to that article. (I didn’t want to attempt going into detail on that one.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Impact does Social Media Have on Businesses?My Profile

I would certainly be curious to also find out what other people think about it. What puzzles me though is how people found me from there? As far as I know, I never created a profile, linked to it, or anything that my “memory” reminds me of 🙂

That’s what I found odd too. I’m positive that I had never logged onto that site. There is one blogger who I follow that tends to find obscure sites like this. (He convinced me to start using Thruzt. Which, so far, is not generating significant traffic.) It’s possible that he’s behind it. If I figure it out, I’ll either post here or write another article.

That would be great, although watching the video again, I think I figured out how we ended up over there. If I understood the “process” correctly, when someone from “sitizens” visits a site, and that could be ours, they “click” on that toolbar icon and it then gets registered that they have been on our site. I think that’s why they say they are “king” on that domain. Thereon, I think that from a sort of log, sitizens users see where the “king” has been and since a site appears on the log, they get curious and click on it, and perhaps click again on the icon. .. does that make any sense at all to you 🙂

That makes a lot of sense Francisco. So, we both have blog readers who are playing the social game Sitizens. Now, the next question I have is should we be the king of our own domain? I don’t even know who the king is now. Good grief! 🙂

i think you are very up to date about some new services are giving some advantage to everyone but someone people are behind because they do they don’t know that what are the new technologies.I am also new here so will give to a try at weekend.
TY
BB
Bhushan recently posted..Computer Inventory SoftwareMy Profile

Hi Bhushan,
Thanks. I honestly was not looking for a new social networking site but anytime I see a new referral source in my analytics, my curiosity is piqued. If you do try it, I’d really appreciate it if you came back and let us know what you think. (Even a quick thumbs up or thumbs down would be nice. 🙂 )
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Grow Your Google+ FollowersMy Profile

How interesting. I have seen a few vIsits from Sitizens but didn’t know what it was until your article. It’s a curiousity and I will check it out. Beyond that I have no other thoughts. Thanks for making me aware of it. 🙂

Curiosity gets me every time Susan. 🙂 I don’t obsess over Google Analytics but I always find it interesting. I had honestly never heard of Sitizens before but then again, the only online game I ever play is Sudoku. It will be interesting to see if anyone here has participated on Sitizens.

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