So your site isn’t getting traffic and you want to know what the heck you can do about it. First, let’s try to determine the reason, or in most cases, many reasons why this might be happening. Although there could be a variety, I’m going to focus on the top five:
- Your site isn’t indexed
- You don’t have an effective SEO plan in place
- You are lacking content
- Your site isn’t responsive
- Your site is slow
You might be asking yourself, what do all these mean and how can I fix them? Let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail.
Your Site Isn’t Indexed
It is really important that your site is indexed by the major search engines. Think of indexing as a phonebook (Gasp! Did I just say phonebook???) Yes! I know they’re such a 90’s thing, but we all know what one is. If your site isn’t in the search engines’ “phonebook,”people can’t find you. Search engines must index your site in order for it to get any organic traffic.
If your site isn’t indexed, a few things to look for and change might be:
- Is your site indexed under www vs. non-www? This is important, you have to index the correct domain.
- Search engines haven’t found your site. This is usually the case for new sites. If you site is new, give it about a week and if it still isn’t indexed, check for these other possible issues I’ve listed.
- Your site or some of the pages on your site are blocked with a robots.txt file. This is easy to fix to get your pages indexed, go into your robots.txt file and remove the entry…your pages will now be indexed. Also, if you’re working on a site, you could have indicated in the backend to have it not-indexed by search engines. Make sure to turn that feature on once you’ve gone live.
- Do you have a sitemap? Every website should have a sitemap.xml page that serves as a roadmap for search engines, guiding them on what to index on your website. It’s pretty simple to create a sitemap. Once you’ve created a file, submit it to the search engines through Webmaster Tools and allow a few days for it to be verified.
You Don’t Have an Effective SEO Plan in Place
In order to get traffic to your site, an effective SEO plan is necessary. Although this is not a quick and easy task, it can significantly influence your site showing up in search engine pages and result in business success. A few things to keep in mind when putting together an effective SEO plan are:
- Target audience – identify your target audience and learn all you can about them and their online patterns. Your analytics account is a great place to start, especially the demographic tools.
- Keywords – do your research on which keywords to use in order to target your audience. The Google keyword planner is helpful in conducting keyword research. Use other tools too and work those keywords properly into the URLs, meta data, content of your site.
- Linking – at this time, links are still very powerful in how search engines rank websites. Earning links naturally is the best way to obtain links but you can always connect with relevant people to obtain links as well. Great content can lead to great links…..and content is our next focus.
You Are Lacking Content
I think my colleague said it best in a recent blog post regarding content, “Quality content is one of the most profound factors in search engine algorithms. Take time to understand your audience and its needs, then tailor your content to those folks. It will result in higher traffic, but more importantly, visits from the crowd that means most to you and your business.” Content is driving search results these days so keep your content fresh, intriguing and audience focused. Some examples of content can be:
- Blog articles
- White papers
- Case studies
- Research and findings
Your Site Isn’t Responsive
Search engines, especially Google, prefers responsive web design because all your content lives on one URL, which is not only easier for you, but most importantly, easier for users. More importantly, it renders well on all types of devices, enhancing user-experience. Of course, this is not something that is easy to fix, you can’t just flip a switch and make your site responsive, but it is necessary these days. It is also known that because of the high levels of mobile web searches today, search engines are going to begin listing more mobile-friendly (responsive) websites in search results higher than their non-mobile counterparts.
Your Site Is Slow
Search engines are reluctant to list a site if it is too slow. Why would someone want to click on a site that takes too long to load…the answer is, they wouldn’t, and search engines respect that. You can test your site’s speed here and follow any recommendations that may result. If the crawler encounters a long load time, it may not index your site at all. Try to shoot for a load time of 1-3 seconds. Anything beyond 5 should be corrected immediately!
As you have read, there are things you can check and do to that are relatively easy to increase your site’s traffic. Don’t get discouraged, chip away at them over time, and watch your site thrive. Have questions about SEO, get in touch with us today!