People are increasingly using the web to make everyday purchases and most companies realize the need to have a website which allows consumers to shop. But figures from the UK show that sites which are driven by content get dramatically more traffic than competitors.

Robin Goad, research director for online analysis company Hitwise, writes that over the past three years statistics have shown that sites which provide users with content have grown in popularity while transactional sites have dropped.

According to the figures, in July 2006 transactional sites in the UK got 5 percent more traffic than content sites, but by last month those numbers had changed dramatically, with content sites getting 73 percent more traffic than their transactional counterparts.

"This means that an increasing proportion of online time is spent browsing content, communicating and networking, rather than buying things," writes Goad. "Clearly this is long-term trend, but the falls in consumer spending that are a consequence of the recession have clearly helped to increase the gap over the last 12 to 18 months."

Sites which primarily deal in sales might want to consider these numbers when coming up with a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, since having original content can help in both organic search and in this traffic shift Goad points out.

In a USA Today article earlier this year John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing told the paper that the most important thing a business can do to increase their online visibility is to "commit to creating content regularly and putting it online."

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.