Posted on 01/10/2020 at 03:23 PM
How to Increase Website Traffic, Fast!
When I was younger, I used to love getting a calendar for Christmas. Not just any calendar. I loved The Far Side daily tear-away calendar by Gary Larson. There was something about his dry, yet- in my young, impressionable mind- sophisticated humor that I identified with.
I thought that the comic was ahead of its time. Looking back, it really was. Maybe I just liked the fact that I usually understood the jokes and my friends didn’t.
One day I came across one that didn’t click with me right away. As I looked at my daily dose of The Far Side, I looked at it puzzled. I didn't get it.
The panel had a pest control van in a driveway. The van had a big bug on top and printed on the side was a generic logo. Under the logo was a website. No caption, no goofy character, just the van. That was it.
“What’s so funny about that?” I wondered.
It stuck with me. Now that I am older, I get it. The inclusion of the website was the joke. Back then, the very idea that everyone, even those in pest control seemed to think they needed a website was funny to Gary Larson.
It may have been funny then. It’s not a joke anymore. Websites have become a vital part of getting discovered for goods and services, no matter what industry a company lives in.
I was going to post the bug-van comic to this blog but couldn’t find it anywhere on the web. It turns out that the reason I couldn’t find it was probably because “Larson has asked people not to use Far Side cartoons on the internet,” according to The Far Side’s Wikipedia page.
Ironically, Larson seems to have changed his tune a bit as his own website now features a daily dose of The Far Side.
For those unfamiliar, The Far Side ran for about 15 years, ending in 1995. The tech nerds like me out there will know the ’90s was a pretty significant decade for the internet. For starters, Global Reach was born. So was a little company called eBay and around the same time so was Amazon and many others who have since become tech giants.
Okay, but what does all this have to do with my website and getting it to show up on Google?
Larson likely drew the comic seeing the rise in websites and the growth of the internet and thought “Why would a pest control company ever need a website?” Now the question is why wouldn’t a pest control have a website?
Getting your company and brand discovered in today’s highly competitive environment is a crucial part of a competitive strategy. Studies show that most people searching for answers typically click on the first organic result.
“Where is the best place to hide a body? The second page of a Google search.”- Steven's Nerdy SEO Joke
So now the problem becomes how to get the highest possible ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
4 ways to increase website traffic, fast, through SEO
If your goal is to get higher ranked on Google to increase your website traffic, we recommend taking a holistic approach to your digital marketing strategy, starting with SEO.
1. Establish an SEO plan and understand the fundamentals, Sitemaps, and Technical SEO
Let’s start with the basics. What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. (https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo)
First, understand that SEO is an ongoing process that is always evolving to meet the ever-increasing demands of Google and other search engines.
The Technical SEO
Your website development and design process should have included setting up the proper sitemap, title tags and meta descriptions. If your website was developed and designed by an experienced, established, and professional firm (like the one based in Ames, Iowa for example), this should have been done for you before your website launched. If you used a free or low-cost service and did it yourself or had a friend of a friend who lives in his mom’s basement, don’t worry, it’s not too late.
What are Sitemaps and why do they matter?
A Sitemap is like Google’s invitation to the party that is your website. Sitemaps are crucial to getting found on Google because they help with “crawler accessibility” so that search engines can find and properly index your content. You can have the greatest content in the world but if the crawlers can’t find it, the content may as well not even exist, and you can forget about Google SERP.
About your website not being properly indexed, Moz (a leader in all things digital evolution) had this to say:
If you're not showing up anywhere in the search results, there are a few possible reasons why:
Your site is brand new and hasn't been crawled yet.
Your site isn't linked to from any external websites.
Your site's navigation makes it hard for a robot to crawl it effectively.
Your site contains some basic code called crawler directives that is blocking search engines.
Your site has been penalized by Google for spammy tactics.
2. Create Compelling Content That Answers Questions
Why do people use search engines? To get answers! Authoritative, compelling, accurate, and relevant long-form content is a great way to boost your spot on the SERP very quickly.
At Global Reach, we post at least one blog per week. We use these blogs to provide content across our Social Media, as content for our monthly Newsletter, and to develop short videos (more on that in a second). These keyword rich pieces of content have multiple uses and are a great way to help you get discovered.
Blogs are great for answering questions. The better the answers to questions people may be searching for, the faster you’ll get found. This doesn’t have to be done with Blogs, videos or FAQ can be used too.
If the content has at least 300 words if it is a blog, keeps people on the page or within the website for a decent period of time, and is shareable, Google will notice it.
Google looks closely at the bounce rate. In other words, if a person clicks on your link in Google and immediately clicks back, Google sees this as a bad result and penalizes the website with a lower rank. Therefore, at Global Reach, we are a fan of crosslinks as part of your web development and content marketing strategy.
What are crosslinks?
Crosslinks are internal or external links within your content that encourage people to learn more or dig deeper. They enrich your content. Want proof? Go look something up on Wikipedia. You will likely soon find yourself deep in the Wiki-rabbit hole and may not see daylight for a while.
What is the difference between an Internal and External Crosslink?
Internal crosslinks help keep people on your website longer and encourage them to explore your website’s content deeper (The Wikipedia Effect), reducing bounce rate and assuring search engines that your overall website content is valuable.
External crosslinks help your SEO by reaffirming your authority (citing sources shows your information comes from trustworthy sources and valid research). External crosslinks also help the SEO of whomever you are linking to and encourages in-kind actions from other websites. The more backlinks you establish, the more firm your credibility in the eyes of search engines.
3. Keyword Optimization
A cornerstone of helping you get listed on Google is keywords. Keywords are words or small phrases people search for to get the answers they need. Google and others offer free tools for keyword research, but a quick and simple way to figure out what people search for is to start searching for it yourself. As you start typing in Google, it will automatically start to autofill the most popular related searches. This gives you a basic idea of what people are looking for.
What is a Meta Description?
Meta Descriptions are like a short (100-160 character) elevator pitch about what people can find on your website. They show up on the SERP as the block of text under the title and website address. Always try to write Meta Descriptions with keywords in mind but remember that the old days of simply listing keywords in your Meta Description are gone. In fact, Google dislikes when you do that and so do users. Your Meta Description should be short, sweet, and to the point with relevant info about what people can expect to find if they click your link.
What Else Should I use Keywords for?
Use keywords organically in content that answers questions. This can be done on a blog, a product page, FAQ, or basically anywhere relevant content can be found on your website. Just don’t go overboard. That’s called keyword stuffing, and the Google’s crawler bots see right through that.
4. Great User Experience and Share-worthy Content
If two websites contain similar content and keywords, which will Google likely share first? The one that loads fastest and is mobile friendly. With more than half of all website traffic accessed on mobile, your website must be responsive and mobile friendly.
If a website’s first piece of meaningful content takes more than 3 SECONDS to load, people will click away and go to another website. This means that a website’s load time is something that Google considers when deciding how and where to rank pages.
The overall user experience helps determine how long a person will stay on your website. How long a person stays on your website will help determine how well Google rewards that site.
The overall user experience is based on several factors beyond load time such as visual appeal, ease of navigation, and (of course) content.
One often overlooked and under used type of content is Video. Video content is insanely valuable for digital marketing and SEO. From customer testimonials to Personal connection stories with staff and everything in between, video content is out there, it just needs to be made!
Videos are a great way to add the human (face of service) element that people love and, when posted onto the website via embedded video, keeps people on the site longer and reduces bounce rate.
Earlier I mentioned that at Global Reach, we try to post at least one blog per week and include video content in the blogs. In fact, a key component of our video strategy internally at Global Reach is quick, digestible videos with digital marketing tips and tricks for our YouTube channel.
Our average video is about 3 minutes long by design. Why 3 minutes? Facebook video posts that are 3 minutes or longer perform better (even in Facebook Ads), but on other platforms, under 3 minutes is best so 3 minutes is the sweet spot for us.
Also, when someone sees that a video is only about 3 minutes, they subconsciously think it’ll be easier to watch. Then, if they find that they enjoyed the content they instinctively think they have time for another. Before you know it, they have spent an hour watching your videos (I call it the Video Rabbit Hole)!
Finding the first page of major search engines and understanding the Google algorithm is easier said than done. But here at Global Reach, we stay on the cutting edge of analyzing search engine algorithms, keyword research, and rich content strategies so you can always stay ahead of the competition.
Let us help you streamline your navigation, add sophistication to your content, and optimize your code in pursuit of page one! There's no reason to delay. Contact us today and see how easy it can be to get moving.