Our agency receives calls and emails seemingly on a daily basis from e-commerce and e-business owners puzzled as to why their once strong organic search traffic is steadily dwindling. The simple answer is: the rules of the game have changed. However, you can work to restore traffic volume and get back on the first page of results, but it’s going to take more time and effort than it did previously.
Long gone are the days of cramming a laundry list of related keywords into a homepage thinking you are all set for SEO. Some outdated, so-called “search engine experts” are still creating keyword saturated website pages with the expectation that the gracious algorithm deities will find them amongst the rising sea of competitors. The new rules of search presence are much more complicated and require a significant amount of ongoing work. Visitor engagement with relevant, fresh, well-written content is the new standard in organic search results.
When you boil it down, search engine response is really just a popularity contest. The question is; are you willing to do what it takes to date the search engine homecoming king or queen? Here are five things you can start doing today to get your site out of the search engine friend zone!
If you don’t have a responsive, dedicated mobile site, stop reading. You are already out of the game. This is a crucial foundational step in bringing your site up to date with today’s search engine rules. Mobile users are gobbling up percentages in ecommerce and ebusiness traffic, but their visits will also have a positive effect on your desktop rankings. Go ahead and create a functional mobile site design that works across many platforms before you begin any of the other steps else on this list.
2. Out with the Old
If you haven’t updated the copy on your landing pages in quite some time, the new search algorithms may be skipping over your website altogether. Google and Bing have become your 8th grade language arts teacher, constantly skimming your site with red pen in hand. Poorly constructed sentences, bad grammar, and non-sensical keyword stuffing will most certainly come back with an F at the top of the page, putting you at the bottom of theirs. If you can’t write good (irony intended), hire a professional to evaluate and edit your web copy for you.
3. Regularly Scheduled Programming
This is the hardest task to accomplish for most website owners. Many bloggers start out strong, while the excitement is high, yet fizzle within a few months when the creativity pool dries up. Updating content with a regular cadence will go a long way in communicating to the search engines that you have have something new to share and it’s worth a click from their visitors. Creating a content calendar is the first step. Plan your post subjects and material well in advance and stick with the schedule. If you are struggling to come up with concepts, ask your well-known business associates for guest posts and articles. Offer it as “cross promotion”. Also, to keep your visitors on your site once there, make it easy for them to search for previous posts with related topics or categories.
4. Think Outside the Blog
The biggest complaint we hear from our clients is that they don’t know what to post about, so they don’t post at all. If you aren’t a great writer or are struggling to come up with subject matter for a blog post, start with how to videos or online buyer’s guides. Choose subject material you already know fairly well that won’t require much planning or literary prowess. Need an example? Take a look at Zappos.com product videos. They are simple, low budget productions using regular Zappos employees. These short one minute videos get a surprisingly large amount of interaction because shoppers can vicariously touch and feel their products without feeling like they are being “sold”. Get creative but don’t stress over the composition. Remember on a blog page you aren’t shooting for a Pulitzer Prize with your posts, just engagement with the consumer.
5. Be a Social Butterfly
With all the tools available for insight and demographic targeting through social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you can not only drive more traffic to your website, but also drive the right traffic. Keep in mind you don’t always have to pay for visits. Creating compelling preview links to your latest website content is a home-grown method for drawing visitors. At the same time, work to build your social media fans and page likes to create a “go-to” traffic source. If they already like what you have to offer on your social media page, they are more likely to click on your website content as well. But remember, don’t go overboard. Posting too much to social media and overloading your audience’s feed will cause them to bail on you. It will also exhaust your creativity and give you content burnout. In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”, anyway. Aim for 4-6 posts per week as an appropriate cadence.
These initiatives are really not as hard as they sound and they will get easier with time. Just think, with a little extra effort and discernment, the payoff is more clicks to your site. More visitors should translate to more revenue. That’s a popularity contest worth winning.