Optimizing For Traffic

What is Search Engine Optimization? Is it black arts or a series of coincidences that magically attract website traffic? If you ask your target audience, they’ll look at you with a blank stare. But if you could ask a search engine, you’d find the answer.

SEO is the strategic practice of influencing your website visibility within the search results. These unpaid search results are what’s called Organic Results. When a visitor clicks on the page title that best describes their solution, this is what’s called Organic Traffic.

Some SEO Agencies will try to convince you that keywords are the most important factor when optimizing a site. That’s not only false, but it also doesn’t make any sense. When a user inputs a question or topic into the search box, very rarely will they put a keyword as the query. They will however start a search query with a question or a statement. Yes, knowing what keyword terms your target audience is using is crucial. But understanding their problem and crafting content that holds their solution is paramount.

There are many factors that play a part in how your website is viewed in search results. The more focused your content is, along with other performance indicators, determines your position.

How Do I Increase Traffic To My Website?

Every website should be the answer to a visitor’s question. With that in mind, you have to first uncover what’s most important to your target audience. Next you’ll want to create a strategy focused on how to engage your site visitors, subsequently building trust. And finally you have to deliver on your promise. whether its services, products or information.

So what does all of this have to do with SEO? Everything. Search Engine Optimization should be implemented before a site is built, as well as during and after launch. Designing a website that’s centered on the user experience is what makes or breaks a business online. So how can you make sure that the search engines direct traffic to your website and the value filled content it holds?

Here are 5 SEO secrets that increase traffic:

1. Site Speed
Once you’ve compiled all of your data, it’s time to start building your online presence. Google places a lot of emphasis on page speed. In theory, the faster a page loads, the faster a visitor can get the answer to their query. That means that when a site is being developed, using proper coding and reducing content “above the fold” is extremely important.

The secret here is to develop a site that’s user friendly, easily navigated, and has very little clutter. Try to avoid pop-ups that may interfere with a visitor’s interaction on your site. If at all possible, compress your CSS and JavaScript files, then move them into the <Body> section of your site. I’ve seen sites with minimal files in the <Head> section of a site seamlessly increase page speed and performance.

Page load speed is a ranking factor to Google. If you want more traffic, speed up your site.

2. Page Title and URL
The first impression a potential visitor will get of your business is from within the search engine result pages or SERP. That’s why your title tag is very important. Remember those keywords mentioned above? This is where you put your most effective keyword terms to use! When a user enters a search query, they’re expecting to see that keyword term or topic in the results. By injecting those very same terms discovered from your keyword research into the page title, you increase the likelihood of a visitor clicking on your website (as opposed to on your competitors).

User friendly URL’s are also taken into account when a search engine crawls your site. Short and to the point URL’s are ideal and yield better results than a long, wordy URL.

The secret here is to combine a page title, that contains the focus keyword term, with a relevant URL name. Search engines will look for this when identifying the purpose of a page quickly. This also indicates to the engines that your webpage is valuable and should be placed on or near page 1 of the search results.

Don’t get excited yet. There’s more that needs to be done if you want to increase traffic.

3. Metadata
Describing what a page is about is the second part of convincing a potential new visitor that your website has the solutions they seek. The very important meta-description is where you pitch to the visitor.

The secret here is to use your focus keyword in the meta-description. Do you wanna be savvy? Look inside your Google Search Console to find keyword variations. Then take those variations and use them in the description. Do you want to go a little further than that? No problem! Take your keyword (relevant to a specific page) and place it in the search box of Google. A drop down section will appear with other long tail keyword terms Google thinks is relevant to that search query. Grab one and use that in your meta-description. This is part of a Latent Semantic Indexing technique, but we’ll discuss that in another post.

4. Page Structure
I can not stress this enough! If your visitors find your site difficult to read or navigate, so will the search engines. Your goal is to attract traffic, not turn it away. If the search engines find your page structure to be difficult to comprehend or unorganized, you could get what’s called an “automatic penalty” (which is different than a manual penalty).

An automatic penalty is an Algorithmic penalty.

The secret here is to follow SEO best practice when structuring your webpages. Use heading tags and content that reinforces the value of that page. Value is found in relevance. The more relevant and structured your content is, the stronger a page will perform. Page structure adds to the user experience and is vital to the success of your entire site.

Remember to use headlines right before you add the content. Use <H1> and <H2> heading tags to showcase your headlines. They also help to break up your content. If content is too bulky, spreads across the page or is filled with errors, this will negatively affect that page. Not to mention when the search engines crawl your page, if they find it difficult to read you could be knocked back in search results. This only leaves room for your competitors to step up and ahead of you.

Always have a Call To Action or CTA on your webpages. All of them. This not only shows that you’re making an effort to engage your target audience, it builds trusted leads that drive conversions.

5. Links. Links. Links.
The #1 way to increase traffic to your website is links. From an SEO perspective, these links can be broken down into 3 categories.

– Internal Links
– External Links
– Inbound Links (Backlinks)

Some in the SEO industry would ask why I would ever dare mention internal and external links as a way to increase website visitors. The answer may surprise you. The goal here again is to increase traffic. How the search engines view you directly impacts the amount of impressions you’ll receive within results. The more impressions you earn, the higher the probability for a CTR or click through rate.

Now, why is this important?

When engines crawl your site, they’re looking for your internal links. These links tie your whole site together and strengthen the relevance of your brand online. When they see natural internal links or external links directing visitors to relevant sources off of your site, you’re building authority. You’re also helping visitors (and engines) further navigate your site with ease.

The secret here is to also build inbound links. These backlinks relay a message to search engines. It tells them “We’re relevant and other sources find our information valuable as well”.

Always keep in mind that it’s not the quantity of backlinks that matter, it’s the quality. The higher quality website domains you have pointing back to your site, the better chance those landing pages will rank higher. This is by far one of the best kept (or worse kept) secrets out there. When building a link campaign, try to find sources not only relevant to your industry, but who also have a well performing domain.

Links are the lifeblood of any website. When a search engine crawls your site and assesses quality backlinks, you can improve your search position. This in turn increases your Organic Search Traffic. When engines notice high traffic volume and interaction on your site, this shows there’s value visitors are gaining from you.

SEO Delivers Traffic

These are just some basic yet important factors if you’re looking to increase website traffic. When you build with the user experience in mind, and optimize to grab the attention of search engines, Google Analytics will help fine tune your approach further.

SEO isn’t magic, but it is time consuming and necessary. Without optimization however, you’re missing out on prime traffic that can lead to conversions. These 5 SEO secrets should help guide you in the right direction. If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, contact your local conversion optimization agency to help.

Your brand online matters, and so does the traffic waiting to visit you.