If you have a product or an online brand that you are really proud of, it can be hard to understand the reasons behind disappointing traffic levels to your website. Researching ways to improve your organic traffic levels offers up countless blogs and communities which advocate a variety of approaches to SEO.
We’ll cut out the confusion for you. Through working for a variety of clients as well as keeping up-to-date with Google’s algorithm changes, we have created a straightforward solution to help websites increase their organic traffic levels.
Simply follow our ten-step guide to make sure that your customers find you and not your competitors, when they search online. If you have any questions, get in touch with a member of our team.
1. Focus on 'long tail' keywords
Long tail keywords are phrases which can be very specific to your business. For example, if you sell shoes online, trying to target ‘ladies shoes’ within your site content will have high competition levels from other sellers and achieving a high rank for this keyword will be difficult (and costly!).
Instead, aim for long tail keywords which relate to a specific product or product range, e.g ‘ladies Nike running trainers black’. This is more likely to target searchers who are using specific search terms to find the exact product they are intending to buy. These specific, or niche, long tail keywords tend to have low competition levels and are therefore easier for your business to gain a high SERP with.
2. Consistent Content
If you’ve decided you want to dedicate time to your company blog, then it’s vital to make sure you are able to do this consistently. If you have written 10 blogs then don’t publish these all at once; instead, stagger them regularly across several weeks. Google rewards content which is fresh and provides useful information for search engine users. Plus, regular blogs/articles positions you as a credible resource and enhances the authority of your 'Author Rank' within Google Plus.
Different searches have different freshness needs."
Amit Singhal, Google Senior Vice President
3. Quantity vs. Quality Content
Many bloggers and content writers believe that publishing a 5,000 word article every day is a huge achievement. And, if that’s your sole aim, then it is a huge achievement. However, you need to consider who you are writing for and why you are creating content. For most businesses, the answer to this will be that they are writing for their customers (existing or potential) in order to create a greater awareness about their expertise, products or services. So if your 5,000 word article doesn’t fulfil these needs, then sadly it’s been a waste of time.
Google is always going to remain committed to providing the best experience that it possibly can for users, and if your content is deemed as ‘low quality’ by Google, then its ranking will drop as they will see it as being of no use to their search engine users.
4. Ethical Link Building
There has been a lot of chatter about link building following Google’s crackdown on the spammy links which previously dominated SEO. Now Google recommends a more ethical approach to promoting your website. Instead, gain external links from genuine websites that have a related interest to your own business and if they have a higher or equal Page Rank to your own business – even better. Ask your business partners, clients and press to link to your site using keywords that your business is targeting.
You can also assist in effective link building without the help of any other sites, simply by building internal links within your own website. If you are creating content about a specific aspect of your business, then link to the related page(s) within your site. This shows Google that what you are talking about is relevant and can encourage visitors further into your site.
5. Play by the rules
Some (silly) people think that they are clever enough to outsmart Google. They’re not. Though underhand tactics can gain momentum for a site, this is always for the short term. Google inevitably finds out, punishes your site and you end up in a far worse position than you were in initially. Dedicating time and planning to a well thought out SEO strategy will see your business reap the rewards in the long term.
6. Optimise for your users
To do everything you possibly can to improve your website’s SEO, optimisation needs to be a priority when you create, edit or update any of your content. This starts by writing meta tags for each page of your site which gives search engines a clear description of the content on each page. The most important meta tags are meta titles and meta descriptions.
The meta title provides a short description for each page which tells the search engine about the content of the page – this should contain keywords as near as possible to the start of the descriptions.
Meta descriptions are for search engines too, but they also provide info to users about the content within each page. This is your chance to entice search engine users to click through and browse the services or products that you have to offer.
7. Lower your bounce rate
As usability is at the heart of Google’s SEO practices, their algorithms monitor how long users stay on a site – widely known as a website’s ‘bounce rate’. A high bounce rate indicates that the page didn’t contain content that was relevant to the user, or that the page offered a poor user experience. You should continue to strive to keep your website's bounce rate as low as possible by identifying factors which could be causing your users to leave your site.
8. Make the most of Google's Keyword Tool
Google’s Keyword Planner provides a fantastic starting point for businesses that want to find out which keywords they should try to rank well for. Google’s Keyword Planner was originally created for their AdWords users, but you can still use it without paying to advertise.
Simply type in some key phrases that you think your customers will use to try to find you. Google’s Keyword Planner will deliver a list which details the number of monthly searches for these terms, as well as the competition level for each. This helps businesses to identify the most beneficial keywords to target throughout their content.
9. Get involved in your online community
Providing useful content to your online customers cements your authority within your company’s niche. Invite your online audience to ask questions and provide feedback to gauge opinions about the products that you deliver. Not only does this give you an insight into what your potential customers think and what they want, it also gives your website authority within Google rankings as you are providing what users are looking for – useful content.
10. Use social media
So you are happy that your site is well optimised and ticks all of Google’s boxes; but what about social media? If you still think that social media is a gimmick that your business does not need, you’re wrong. In a study conducted by Searchmetrics, seven social media activities ranked in the top eight factors that contributed towards SEO – particularly Google Plus. Invest time in creating an online strategy that helps you to connect with your customers socially, and encourages them to interact with you this way.