There are many reasons as to why a website or blog may not be getting enough traffic. Things like the age of the domain, the reputation of the author, number and type of references (incoming links), social media strategy and content freshness play their role but for the average website the problem may lie in other areas.
What you will read below are 5 areas that are often neglected by website owners either because they don’t understand their importance or because they are not sure how to handle them. Along with each area I will also suggest ways to improve the situation. Don’t forget though that when you make a change it may take a couple of months (or more) before you see any positive or negative result so you need to have patience before you decide if something worked or not.
1. Your content is not good enough
Believe it or not search engines and especially Google have become very efficient in recognizing good content. So if the content is not good enough and your website is not of high quality, the chances of ranking high in the SERPs and getting traffic are minimized.
Back in the old days you could ‘easily’ trick search engines by sending a few backlinks to your content and get rankings but this is no longer the case.
Besides search engines let’s not forget about the influence of social media on rankings and traffic. Content that is not of great quality is very unlikely to do well in the various social media channels.
What is good content and more importantly what type of content can get you traffic?
Content that attracts website visitors has the following characteristics:
- It satisfies all SEO Copywriting tips that are known to work after Panda and Penguin.
- It is published on a website with an existing number of quality (indexed) pages. If your website is new, even if you have the best content it is difficult to rank high especially if there are older and bigger (in terms of indexed pages) websites on the same subject.
- It is unbiased and well researched. If you always write in favour of a particular product, method or service or if you just publish re-written text, you are losing your time. Good content is original and describes both sides of the story.
- It is fresh. Users want to read fresh up-to date content and so do the search engines and social media.
2. You aim for high competition keywords
This is a very common mistake and one of the most important reasons why a web site is not getting enough traffic (at least from search engines). Consider these 2 factors:
- There are only 10 places available in the first page of the SERPs for every keyword. Search engines are trying to display in those places pages from trusted websites that meet their ranking criteria. If you have a new website or even a mature website but it is less trusted than others, then your pages will not be shown in the first pages (if you are both targeting the same keywords).
- The competition for all popular keywords is very high so if you are targeting popular keywords only, it will be very difficult to achieve a good ranking.
So, if popular keywords are out of the question, how can you get traffic?
The answer is in the long trail. When you use the Google keyword tool to make your keyword research, you should aim for low competition, long trail keywords. For example:
Let’s assume that you are writing about weight loss. The most popular keyword in this niche is “how to lose weight fast”. If you write a post with title “How to lose weight fast” and publish it on your website then most likely that particular post will never drive organic traffic to your website since there are already thousands of other articles with the same title and from more trusted sites.
If on the other hand you go after low competition, long trail keywords like “How to lose pounds” and you change the title a bit to “How to lose 5 pounds quickly” then your chances of ranking in the first page, provided that you promote your blog post correctly are higher. The traffic gains are less compared to high competition keywords but ranking for several terms (even if they are of low competition) is a great way to increase web site trust.
You can also read how to choose blog post titles for a step-by-step example on how to use the Google keyword tool to find low competition, long trail keywords.
3. Your website is slow
We know for sure that page speed is a ranking factor and various studies have shown that users are more likely to make repeated visits to websites that load fast. The opposite is also true: users are more likely to exit a website if it does not load in 7-8 seconds.
So, your website may be ranking and getting traffic from search engines or referrals from social media but as soon as the users land on a slow loading page, they leave without entering.
What will happen when I make my website to load faster?
From my experience if you improve the loading time of a website that already has some rankings, traffic will increase because rankings will improve. If your website is slow but does not have any first page rankings, by fixing the page speed problem you increase your chances of having a page or pages in the first 10 positions.
4. You were hit by Panda or Penguin
The average webmaster or blogger may not be aware about Panda or Penguin and how these algorithmic changes affect the ranking position and traffic a website may be getting from Google.
If this is the first time you hear these words, then I suggest you read these two quick guides from Wikipedia: Panda and Penguin
In terms of traffic, if you were hit by Panda or Penguin or any other algorithmic changes, then you will see your traffic to drop dramatically from one day to the next. You can open your Google Analytics report and find out the actual date that traffic changed and compared that with this page that shows the dates Google changed their ranking algorithm. If there is a matching date and depending on the changes, you may have to take several actions to recover your traffic.
It was not panda or penguin but I still don’t get enough traffic, why?
If you are in a situation that your website never managed to get a considerable number of visitors then maybe it’s because:
- It is still young (less than 6 months old)
- You don’t have a lot of content
- You don’t use social media to promote your website
- You are doing any of these SEO mistakes
- You concentrate only in getting traffic from search engines without looking for alternative sources of traffic.
5. You hired the wrong SEO firm
Unfortunately this happens very often as well. The web is full of ‘SEO companies’ promising first page rankings but in reality what happens is that their methods and techniques destroy every opportunity your website has for getting organic traffic.
How to choose a reliable SEO firm?
I have summarized some general guidelines on what to look for when hiring a SEO firm and how to outsource SEO with spending a fortune but as a general rule of thumb don’t believe anything you read on the web before double checking their claims.
The purpose of every website is to get traffic from search engines, social media sites, direct visits etc. When this is not happening you feel that you are losing your time and you lose faith in the Internet as a whole.
There are billions of Internet users around the word and as you read this article, there are thousands of people searching for information or hanging out in social media platforms. The fact that none of them (or only a few) visit your website then this means that you are doing something wrong. In my opinion this could be due to one of the 5 reasons explained above.
Hopefully by reading this post up to this point you have a better idea of what you might be doing wrong and more importantly you have some thoughts on how to reverse the situation. In order to finish this article with a positive message, read one of my published case studies on how to get 100,000 visits from Google per month.
5 reasons you are not getting enough traffic to your website by Alex Chris