Here’s the scenario: Month-end is creeping closer and you realise that your leads have dried up. So in a panic, you fire an email to your “web guy” asking him to pull a report on your website stats. He volleys back an email with the report attached, accompanied by a casual “Hi, Here you go”. Ignoring his nonchalance you anxiously you open the report, but to your dismay, you are only getting 37 visitors a month. Doing some Grade 7 maths you realise that’s only 3 visitors a day! Slumping back in your chair you ask yourself “Why is no one coming to my website?”?
The answer is fairly simple:
- People can’t find your website or,
- You aren’t promoting your website… which means, yup you guessed it, people can’t find your website!
For the purpose of this article, we are going to assume that your website is live and working, but it is just not getting website traffic.
1. People Can’t Find Your Website
Before we address why people can’t find your site, let’s first talk about how they find websites. And the answer is “Search Engines”. A recent report by Smart Insights shows that there are over 6.5 billion searches made every day! It is safe to say that no one uses a phone book anymore. So if people can’t find you, it is because your website is not ranking high enough on search engines for people to find it.
This is because of that dreaded SEO you hear about. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase website traffic by obtaining a high-ranking placement on search engines like Google and Bing. So without further adieu let’s dive into some rudimentary SEO in order for you to increase website traffic:
1.1 You are not allowing Google to index/crawl your site.
Before we get into the spiel about off-page and on-page SEO, let’s start with the basics. First, check that your website is allowing itself to be shown on search engines. If you have a WordPress website check that the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” box unchecked in the Settings >> Reading >> Search Engine Visibility tab.
The next thing you would have to check is that your robots.txt file is not disallowing search engines to crawl your site. (Robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct web robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl pages on their website). Here is a guide from Google on how to Test your robots.txt.
OK, so we have established that your website is not blocking search engines.
1.2 Your website does not have on-page SEO
On-page SEO is the practice of optimising elements ON your website in order to rank higher in search engines. Back in the day, it was all about on-page SEO and keywords! The more your site had of a certain keyword the better it would rank. Naturally, people abused this technique (and others) by ‘stuffing’ their website with keywords and as a result, Google had to change the way it ranks websites. Today it’s about a lot more than just keywords, here are some of the more important on-page SEO techniques you can implement:
- Page Titles – Page titles are the most important, as these describe to Google what the page or article is about.
- Meta Descriptions – The description is just as important as this can contain keywords relevant to your content.
- URL Structure – Google likes simple and concise URL structures. Think of your URL’s like a map, the simpler they are, the easier bots can crawl them.
- Body Tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.) – Using these tags to break-up content on your website makes reading easier – for bots and visitors.
- Keyword Density – Spamming your page with keywords won’t improve your ranking – the quality of content does! So use them sparingly.
- Image SEO – Using images in your content is very important. Be sure to add “Alt Tags” to your images so as to tell Google what the image is and how it is relevant to your content.
- Internal Linking – Linking pages within your website is a very powerful SEO tool as people could potentially spend more time on your site bouncing between content.
2. You Aren’t Promoting Your increase Website
The better your on-page SEO is, the easier it is for Google to rank your website, but it does not mean your website will rank high. This is where “off-page SEO” plays a very important role.
1.3 You are not implementing off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is defined as a set of practices and techniques implemented off-page (i.e. not on your website) to improve your ranking on search engines. The two main building blocks of off-page SEO is “link building” and exposure of your brand/products/services to relevant audiences.
Link building is about creating quality links (also known as backlinks), on relevant websites that point back to your page. Some of these off-page SEO link building techniques include:
- Social Bookmarking
- Forum Submissions
- Guest Blogging
- Business Directory Listings
I mentioned earlier that Google had to change the way it ranks websites because people were finding ways to exploit on-page SEO techniques. Well, people would exploit off-page SEO techniques just as much. They would create thousands of backlinks on any website they could find. So once again Google had to change they it ranks websites and in 2003 the algorithm was updated to give more weight to links from reputable sites. And this is where the second building block of off-page SEO comes in.
Exposure to relevant audiences is about making sure you are creating those links in the right places; on websites that are relevant and popular in your industry. Knowing where your target audience spends most of their time online is very valuable.
In the end, it all comes down to the quality and relevance of your content. If you create high-quality, shareable content (articles, how-to’s, videos, infographics etc.) that is relevant to your industry then people will share it and link to it. Boom! Links and exposure!
BONUS: End the drought!
If you implement a sound SEO strategy you will be promoting your website, but SEO is a long-term game and you need something to fix the traffic-drought now and to increase website traffic! The answer is “Paid Advertising”. Our preferred form of paid advertising is a combination of Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Why both? Because each of those mediums caters for Demand Generation & Demand Fulfilment respectively.
This means creating a demand where there was none before. Traditional marketing and advertising have done this for over 100 years – TV, Radio and billboard ads make people buy things they didn’t know they needed. Facebook Ads (and other Social media advertising) is the best medium for creating a demand for your service or product. It gives you the opportunity to get your business in front of millions of people.
This means satisfying a demand that is already there. As we saw earlier there are over 6 billion searches made every day – hundreds, if not thousands, of people searching for your product or service! Google Adwords is the epitome of demand fulfilment because it puts your business in front of the people that are looking for the service you offer.
So how do you Increase Website Traffic?
The real answer to “Why is no one visiting my website?” is “Because you aren’t trying!”. Ok, maybe that is a bit harsh but the reality is that most people think just having a website is good enough. Yes, having a great website is necessary but it is only the first step, after that you need to “get it out there” through advertising and/or SEO. The ideal situation is to have a balance between people finding you organically (search engines, social media, blogs etc.) and people finding you through advertising. We have found that leads who found us organically convert (into clients) more often than those who found us through advertising. Just something to think about 🙂