Is your website getting the visitors it deserves?
Are you investing heavily in creating beautiful, uniquely valuable content that your customers should be interested in?
You know that quality content and user experience is essential to attracting new and repeat visitors, but what if you are creating it and nobody seems to be noticing?
There could be a variety of reasons people aren’t coming to your site with the frequency you expect. Perhaps they are not be able to find the unique answers to their questions that your website provides, or perhaps you are lacking the kind of content your audience is seeking.
If you are confident that you are providing great content that appeals to your target demographic, possess excellent products or services with a unique selling proposition, yet you still aren’t getting the traffic you feel like you deserve, the answer may well lie in one or more of the following categories!
Is Your Site Functional?
By and large, a website needs to be “functional” in order for your content and products to be found in the search results.
In this case, functionality means that both your users and Google’s (or other search engine) robot crawlers are able to access and navigate your website effectively.
Since the vast majority of web traffic comes from organic search traffic, addressing any functional issues your website might have is paramount if you want to increase your visibility for better SERP.
These factors include:
- Setting up and dutifully tracking your your Google Analytics so you can identify patterns of user behavior and be alerted to any unforeseen issues that may arise
- Appropriately tagging, categorizing and summarizing your website with proper use of sitemap, title tags, meta descriptions and correctly-written and canonicalized URL structures
- Ensuring that your internal and external links are optimized for user experience and to ensure that they adhere to Google’s quality standards
“Broken” aka non-Quality Sites From Google’s Perspective
There’s several ways your site could be broken from Google’s perspective. You could have:
- Duplicate pages or content duplicated from other domains
- No sitemap for crawlers to access or poor navigational structure for users
- Thin, low-value, “spun” or manipulative content
These are all signs of low-quality domains, and if you have pages that fall into one or more of these categories, they could be dragging down the performance of your content or products that actually are uniquely valuable.
If your site is broken, or if it just has some ‘technical issues,’ fixing them first will help you get more targeted traffic. Onsite repair is more important than off site work if your site has any onsite issues.
Tags and Categorization Optimization
Failure to properly optimize the tags and categories on your site won’t cause quite as big of a problem as the issues listed above, but they are important because they indicate to both Google and to users what individual pages or sections of pages are about.
Those title tags, H1 and H2 tags are necessary elements to organize and summarize the content of your website.
Many content marketing campaigns have been spoiled because significant time was spent making beautiful, unique pages that show off the different faces of one’s company, but adequate time was not spent ensuring that users and search robots could categorize and summarize this content effectively.
Tags are important for your site. They summarize your site for Google, and if proper research has been conducted to determine which search queries your audiences uses, they can help you rank for the right things on Google.
There are tools that can help you assess the tagging of your web pages; you can bulk pull some of this information for a smaller site using Screaming Frog (the free version pulls 500 URLs).
It’s crucial that each web page have a unique tagging structure. For example, you might have a hundred of articles about cars, but putting a title tag of Jim’s Car Blog on every piece of content won’t help Google determine what makes each page special.
Diversify your tags to be more descriptive of each page.
Links and Off-site Factors
Backlinks, internal links, external links, everything you need to know about Links.
Backlinks: Earning backlinks from trusted and authoritative sources have long been a core of Google’s search algorithm, and remain to this day one of the chief ranking factors.
Acquiring these links is an essential part of growing your visibility, but these efforts can be counterproductive if they are acquired from low-quality or manipulative sources.
Backlinks are used as a quality indicator for Google, a sign that a website is trusted by its peers.
That means that being linked to a spam/hacker site is putting you in a neighborhood with that terrible link network site (e.g: adult sites, drugs sites, gambling sites, etc). Being linked to sites like these will definitely harm your site ranking in search engine.
Good backlinks can do wonders though! Not only do they direct traffic onto your site, but they also give Google more indicators about your site, and why you should be ranked highly.
Looking into your backlinks (potentially doing a disavow) and creating strategies to acquire natural links is important for your long term link portfolio and your ranking success.
Internal Links: Internal links, pointing to different pages on your own site are also equally important to user experience and search engine performance, as they indicate Google bots which pathways to follow, and which pages you value the most.
When using internal links inside your post, it’s important to make sure that they are helpful for your readers. Natural links are what Google is looking (and moving) towards.
So helping your reader find more onsite content/products with internal links will help Google know more about your site, too.
External Links: It is also important that you add external links inside your content to some helpful, trusted sources within your own content.
Assuming that the links have been editorially vetted and are not the result of a paid arrangement (such as advertising or sponsored posts) these links should be dofollow (i.e. without the rel=nofollow tag).
An external link that points to content that helps your reader and adds value to to your article will tell Google that you are writing helpful content with good sources. External links are onsite signs that point to your ‘site neighbors’, following those links will tell Google how reliable and good your information is.
External, followed links are necessary if you want to increase traffic.
Poor User Experience
Even if your content is great and your technical optimizations are precise, you could still be bleeding visitors if your pages are not providing a good user experience.
Many pages can overwhelm users, especially if the information you are offering is not formatted in a digestible fashion. Meaning that if your site doesn’t have a clear direction and cannot be absorbed in a timely fashion, people just leave.
If your users are bouncing off an internally optimized page, make the path to continue on clear.
Are You Using Social Media Marketing?
Your social media pages are also an important vehicle for interacting with your customers.
It’s quite likely that the majority of your consumers aren’t necessarily going to be checking in on your blog daily, but they are still very likely to be on social media on a daily basis.
If you are looking to interact with your customers online, it’s important to be where they are, and social media (like Facebook & twitter) is one of the most consistent places to find people.
It’s a great way to build your connections with real life people, answer online questions, engage with potential customers online, and offer them free podcasts or free webinars.
If you don’t have a consistent social media presence, then you're missing out on valuable connection opportunities.
Is There Somewhere You Should Be?
On that note, there may be niche based communities and areas of the web that you should have a presence on, beyond the major social media channels such as Facebook and Pinterest.
Who are your potential clients, where are they hanging out online, and what is your strategy for connecting with them? Identifying precisely who your customer is, is essential if you want to attract more of them!
Creating these “audience personas” and documenting information about them is an important factor in getting more traffic.
If your “personas” are all on Twitter or Reddit, you should be there too!
Finding where your potential customers are online and tapping into those channels will help you grow the traffic you want and need!
A functional site is the most important part of gaining traffic.
Everything after that is making sure you are where your customers are (on social media or writing where and what they are reading) and that your site is user-friendly for them to use without any difficulty.
If you aren’t getting the traffic your site deserves, your site is either broken, or not made for your visitors.
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