Why you're not getting the right or any search traffic.
You may have invested your own time in search engine optimization or even hired a SEO consultant to work on backlinks and blog content but you're not seeing the traffic that you expected. It might be time to analyze the quality of links and the keywords that were focused on.
Now that I have captured your attention, full disclosure, this post was completely written using Google Voice on my phone. This is to showcase how well voice technology has improved and soon I will link a post going over why this is a significant change in how you should approach search. However, keep reading because minus a few grammatical errors this is my thoughts as if you were speaking to me. Also it is really hard to think and proof read at the same time. Also Google if you are reading this please turn down the dun dun after I pause on Cortona.
Many times I see clients who have focused on a keyword that is dare we say unobtainable with a current level or efforts. Worse yet they acquired spammy backlinks that only drive bot traffic or Nothing at All.
You may be wondering: How can I compete with another company that spends tens of thousands a month on search engine traffic?
You can't. Not in the way that you would expect.
If you don't have the budget to compete you have to find other ways to obtain qualified traffic that your competitors may not be focusing on. Would you rather have one key word that drives thousands users or hundreds of long search terms that drive 50 to 200 users each. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that small adds up quick in the terms of exponential growth.
16-20% of all monthly searches on Google have never been seen before. (Google Interview)
What do I mean by what and why?
You should be thinking about:
What questions will potential users, customers, searchers, or clients will ask before buying?
Did you know but there are many different ways to slice a sandwich. I should know because my wife likes for sandwiches cut horizontally... or vertically, or sideways. I don't remember until after I cut it wrong.
When it comes to search does that mean that you should order your keywords in different and unnatural variations?
For example: "Minneapolis SEO" and "SEO Minneapolis". Those two are individual search terms with different volumes according to Google. However, if you were to search in Google's Keyword Planner only one search volume would be shown. This is because they are phrase matches and are considered the same/ similar search term. You don't have to have both variations in the exact order on a page to rank well in Google. Otherwise we would have very unnatural articles that frankly wouldn't be entertaining to read. Now I am going to throw a wrench in everything I just said because there is some value in exact match search terms over phrase matches. (Knowing when and how to break this rule is good SEO and copywriting.)
Just because Google has a search term volume for a certain phrase order doesn't mean that it's a qualified searcher. What I mean by this is culturally, for example, in other English-speaking countries (and even regionally word choice order may be different just do to common cultural phrases.
For a South Africa client in the event rental industry, "hire" and "lease" had significant local search volume but "rent", "rental" had nearly Zero. Unless we increased the search location and it was followed by in South Africa which we attributed to be local foreigners. However, for the United States the opposite was true. The small volume of local searches has to do with cultural over search trends. In this case, exact match had better results over phrase. Another great example is the term "uni" versus University, college. State side you will rarely see or hear Uni as much.
You have to consider the psychological and cultural impacts of your searcher when you want to increase the quality of your traffic. Making sure that a keyword is something that is a cultural relevant potential search term or part of your in your target demographic is important. It can be the difference between landing a customer and showing up in another country search where you can't service. (or not many if you have set up a preferred location or have a country specific URL like .us)
Or as I like to call it, "The why should I care." As a company should always be putting out content that answers the question why should I care. Why should I care about your company, doing business with you, and why is this relevant to "What" I searched for.
How do you make your "Why" a relevant search their "What"?
You make your companies content relevant through your meta description, titles, and the choice of information you display on your website that supports that content. You wouldn't want to click a cake recipe and be directed to a plumber. While they may be correlated if your surprise birthday cake was found by your two-year-old and they flushed it down the toilet, I'd be willing to bet that you'd be clicking back before reading anything about the plumber.
Then why do businesses do that with their website SEO?
It simply can be answered by businesses trying to hard. They stuff keywords, or utilize none. They give great content without locking on on key terms that searchers may use to get there. They focus too much on backlinks without fixing the issues on their site. Great SEO balances target keyword terms and like similar search terms with relevant content that flows into a great user experience.
Back to why your organic traffic isn't converting.
We have addressed unqualified traffic but have not talked about user experience and conversion paths. After you have worked on great content and are starting to lock in relevant traffic converting that traffic is the next step.
User Experience And Its Effect On SEO
How your users flow from search to your website and to convert to a sale is important. With the right call to actions, lead magnets, and ease of contact information. BUT how they experience your website should be a top priority. For sake of time (I could write a book on just this topic) I will just focus site speed and errors.
The faster your site speed the better since according to Kissmetrics a "1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions." And "40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load."
Any good SEO will work to lower that load time because site speed is a significant Google Google ranking factor for search and even more so in July 2018.
On site errors such as 404 (page not found), poor internal linking structure, and thin content all have impact on your traffic and rankings. While backlinks are important you need to work to fix onsite errors so your link building outreach can be more effective.
When you focus on quality traffic keywords searches, answer why and what, and improve user experience you can fix your traffic and increase your sales conversions.