Here’s the tea: ranking positions on Google depend on a whole number of factors. They can change in real-time between different devices, locations, and even your past search history and behaviour (I’m not even going to go there).
The swamp of Google is far too murky, cold, and full of litter and shopping trolleys to even think about diving in to see what’s underneath. You won’t find The Secret To Being In Position 1, you’ll probably just get bitten by something weird and feel sick for a few days.
Instead, we ask you not to focus on position 1 and to concentrate on the amount of traffic coming to your site. So, let’s ask a new question: How do I increase traffic?
The simple answer is: make sure your site is as good as it can be. If you make sure that each element of your site is up to scratch, you’ll see an increase in traffic. Yes, this may well push your site up a few positions, but see that as the cherry on top.
Here are our top 4 areas that we think you should think about when trying to increase traffic to your site.
Is your site screwed?
Put on your leotard and let’s get technical, technical. Is your site set up properly? Do you have the following:
Google Analytics & Google Search Console (the artist formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools)
Do you have these linked up to your site and are they working correctly? These tools will help you to monitor your site’s performance, and also will slap your wrist if there are any errors.
Do all pages work?
Seems like a stupid question, but sites sometimes have hundreds of pages. It’s easy to lose track of every URL. Use Search Console or a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog to check that everything is working as it should.
Does every page have a title tag, an H1 tag and a meta description? Without these, you’re not cashing in on that valuable keyword real estate. Plus, title tags and meta descriptions make up the search results on Google. A slick title and description will encourage users to click through to your site.
I’ve only skimmed the surface here – I didn’t want you to feel like you’ve regretted asking the initial question. But, getting these elements right is crucial.
Content: quality stuff or seriously questionable?
Google doesn’t blindly sort through webpages. It’s got a good bulls**t detector. It now knows whether your content is good or bad. So, what’s bad content? Do you have pages with barely anything on them? Is your text uninteresting and uninformative? Have you fallen foul of the eighth deadly sin: copying and pasting across different pages and different sites?
Don’t make us feel like Shania Twain. Make sure all of your content is readable, relevant, and unique. It needs to be easy to read and serve a purpose. Put yourself in the position of the user: if you found yourself on your site, would you find the content valuable?
The more valuable the content, the longer people will want to read it, and the longer they will stay on your site. This is a strong signal to Google that you’re worthy of the traffic and therefore a higher ranking position.
Sleep with one eye open, aka competitor research
Don’t improve your site in isolation. Be a curtain-twitcher. Spy on your competitors. They may have a blog that you can take inspiration from for your own content (remember, no copying!). Maybe they present information in a different way or they’re ahead of the game with the services that they offer.
Create a spreadsheet or a report of your competitor’s stats. List the pros and cons of what they do and compare it to your own site. Don’t go all Fatal Attraction on it, though. Just take a look once every few months and use your findings to look at your SEO plan in a fresh light.
Don’t forget – your competitors might not be the Scorsese of your industry, so don’t take their sites as gospel. It’s simply a good way of assessing the strength of those around you and looking at your site from a different perspective.
So, let’s take stock. You’ve fixed your errors, spruced up your content, and taken a sneaky peek at your competitors. We’re going to mention one last method of increasing traffic that can also have an effect on your ranking position. It’s tricky and time-consuming but can have a big payoff if done correctly. That’s right – we’re talking link building!
Be an extrovert. Make friends
It’s a lonely world out there. Google is like a parent at their kid’s first day of school – desperate for you to make friends, but only the right kind. Link building is the process of reaching out to reputable websites or bloggers and asking them to put a link to your site on theirs. Steer clear of spammy, bad sites. They’re not worth your time.
Be prepared for a trade-off when you hit these sites up. In many cases, you’ll put together a piece of content that they can post on their site with a link back to you. The better the content, the greater chance you’ve got of scoring that link. Google will notice that you’ve made some new buddies who trust you, and may well reward you with an increase in ranking position in the long-term.
We hope we’ve Derren Browned you and changed your perception of the importance of position 1. Be patient and invest time in improving your site, with the aim of growing traffic. Any rise in ranking positions will be an added bonus to this.
But don’t forget – we’re not Mystic Meg. These are best practice tips and not guarantees. If you think you need a hand to hold when you embark on your SEO journey, get in touch with us and we can help.