Google, the search engine giant that rules the online search space, is ever evolving. With each passing day, it improves and grows into a better, more refined search engine. Constantly changing its algorithms, it wants to give the best user experience to its users. And you can’t blame it for that. In such a scenario, trying to get more SEO traffic to your site can seem like a huge task.
This is exactly why every business that wants to tap into the power of Google and draw in targeted SEO traffic needs to take the necessary steps to keep its site optimized at all times. So that both, Google and your visitors, are happy.
A lot of businesses make the mistake of seeing SEO as a short term game, where they can quickly out-rank competitors and start getting SEO traffic. Which may look like a great tactic on paper, but is not practical.
What every business site needs to understand is this: long-lasting SEO is all about focusing on the long term instead of depending on a few quick fixes that give a temporary boost. Because eventually, ROI of long-term SEO is much higher.
When you keep focused on building a strong foundation and consistently redefine your strategy with the help of proven SEO best practices, you will see results that aren’t shaken by algorithm updates. You will learn that Google doesn’t derank your site, but rather empowers it, when you focus on delivering value to your visitors in the long run.
In the following article we look into four fundamental steps that you should take to set your website up for targeted SEO traffic that keeps coming in, regardless of what changes Google makes to its algorithm.
4 Fundamental Steps to Building Long-Term SEO Traffic
Step #1: Do an SEO Audit of Your Website
Before you start to improve your website’s content and work on adding more of it, it’s important to understand the weak areas of your website from an SEO standpoint. Working with an SEO agency like ours is best to determine where your site needs work. We have the tools to perform a thorough site audit to pinpoint the areas in need of improvement.
If you are not attracting the right amount of SEO traffic to your site, what could be the reason behind it? If you’re doing everything right, then why aren’t you getting SEO traffic that converts into sales? Why are your competitors able to outrank you so easily?
You can find the answers to these questions when you effectively audit your website and find out where you’re going wrong. Without complicating it, auditing can be seen as a careful, systematic examination of one of the following:
- A result
- A concept
- An event
This close examination can help you understand your site’s current position so that you can improve it, and ensure you’re not repeating the same mistakes in the future. When it comes to SEO, auditing can help you not only attract the right targeted customers, but also retain them for the future.
When you conduct an SEO audit of your website, you are actually positioning it for receiving more SEO traffic by:
- Closely looking into how your site is performing on a broad level.
- Carefully setting new and more refined goals based on your findings.
- Planning and implementing the right tactics that would help you realize your goals.
The whole SEO audit process lets you make the most of the existing content assets that you have in order to add to your business’s bottom line.
For many businesses, an SEO audit looks like a preliminary step that can be skipped. However, this thinking is the exact reason you find many business websites today lagging behind. Because they don’t even have the basic on-page SEO elements in place. In short, things that were previously overlooked or ignored can be fixed with the help of a proper SEO audit.
Here are a few important things that you should analyze when doing an audit:
- If SEO meta titles and descriptions are set on all your pages.
- If every important page of your site is effectively (and ethically) optimized for your targeted keywords.
- If your URLs are short/descriptive and are optimized for Google and other search engines.
- If the content on your pages is readable with plenty of white space, and is properly formatted.
- If you are efficiently linking out to other relevant, authoritative sites and back to your own content.
If you haven’t yet conducted an SEO audit of your website, it’s about time you do. Or else you may be missing out the opportunity to rank for many relevant keywords that have the potential to drive targeted SEO traffic to your website.
Step #2: Study Your Target Audience
Creating high quality content has become an integral part of SEO, which especially holds true in the year 2018 and beyond. However, you cannot truly produce great content if you do not clearly define your target audience.
It is a common mistake to create a content strategy for your site without really knowing who you are targeting with it. Even if you are putting in big effort, it’ll give you no feasible result if you’re not working in the right direction.
Building long-term SEO traffic starts with a solid, real understanding of your target audience. And by focusing on the right elements of your marketing.
Here’s what you can do to make the whole “audience research” process easier:
A) Define Who They Are
Understanding and defining who your target audience is not rocket science, but it is still ignored by many. However, keep in mind that creating a strong audience profile is not possible without really knowing your audience. And without a clear audience profile, you’re simply aiming in the dark. So make sure you begin by creating audience profiles with the help of the demographic data you have on hand.
Even though these demographic profiles do not offer vast information about who you are targeting (such as a look into their buying patterns or motivations) they are still a viable starting point. In other words, you may not get an in-depth picture, but you can get a broad idea of who your audience exactly is.
B) Identify their Core Problems
There are different types of people in your email list, with different sets of problems. Some of the issues they’re facing may not be very important to them, but a few of them will most definitely be. The idea is to identify as many issues as you can, small or big. This allows you to know where they are coming from, and where they want to go.
Regardless of how serious their problems or wants are, you can tap into their problems/concerns and connect to them on a deeper level. Even if they are short-term, they can help you understand your target audience better. Which will in turn make it easier for you to create great content.
C) Look Into ‘How’ they Consume Content
The content consumption habits of your audience can tell you a lot about them. See, the purpose of creating high quality content is to help your brand achieve its business goal of finding and connecting with the right set of audience. Knowing where and how people are spending their time consuming content can tell you a great deal about them. Which can have a direct influence on your own content creation and distribution efforts.
Do they like to watch YouTube videos? Or like listening to informative podcasts?
Are they actively reading and sharing social media content?
If you find out that most of your audience likes reading blog content, then you need to drill down further to see what blogs they’re on most of the time. As you move further you will gain more clarity, and more questions would come up that’ll help you get closer to your goal of understanding your target audience.
The more you know about the content consumption habits of people, the better you will be able to serve them in the long run. Which will undoubtedly help you gain more brownie points in the eyes of Google.
D) Know What Makes them Skeptical
A key aspect of understanding your target audience is knowing who they trust. Surrounded by heavy sales pitches, shady advertisements and invasive marketing, people have become more skeptical than ever. They’re thinking twice before trusting a brand and its message. Because the last thing they want to do is trust claims that are not easy to verify.
Being a business website that wants to create authentic content and give a better experience to visitors, you need to understand what makes your audience skeptical, and what you can do to win their trust better.
Here are two ways to go about it:
1. Practice Integrity: While there are many factors that make your content authentic, nothing comes close to integrity. Which should be at the core of your content creation efforts. Your brand can become more trustworthy by focusing on being ethical and honest.
Your business can appear more genuine by delivering consistent value that resonates with the interests of your target audience. Remember, building trust is a slow process but it can be destroyed in a few moments by a few wrong actions.
2. Leverage the Power of Proof: Any claims that your content makes can be dismissed, unless it is backed by real proof – which can come in different forms. If you can back up your claims with relevant statistics, facts and figures, you’ll make your content more believable. If you can use reviews, endorsements, testimonials and case studies from sources people can trust, you add more authenticity to your content.
It might take some time understanding how to use the right proof, but the efforts will be worth it. The more real your proofs are, and the more “trust sources” backing your content, the more people will trust your content and buy from you.
Step #3: Focus on Long Tail Keywords
Does focusing on long tail keywords help you increase SEO traffic to your site? The answer is a resounding yes. If you’re not familiar with long tail keywords, they are regular keywords that people search with, but only longer and more specific. When compared to commonly searched or popular smaller keywords, long tail keywords are more niche.
Since long tail keywords are more specific (but with a clearer search intent), they tend to get a smaller amount of SEO traffic. The upside of targeting long tail keywords is they convert well. Also, as new users search using these keywords, you’ll be able to get more SEO traffic that is actually interested in what you’re offering.
Let’s look into a few reasons as to why working with long tail keywords makes sense for your business site.
- Less Competition: Long tail keyword phrases don’t have a high search volume, and they are hard to find. Which translates to less competition for you. This is exactly why long tail keywords are usually easier to rank for, and give you better chances of hitting the top spot in a shorter span of time.
- Collective Traffic: There are ‘n’ number of long-tails, but unlike their popular counterparts, they don’t yield very large amounts of SEO traffic on their own. However, what makes long-tail keywords worth targeting is the “collective traffic” aspect. Sometimes a bunch of long-tail keywords can bring in even more SEO traffic than a single high-traffic keyword.
- Better Targeted Traffic: One of the most important parts of marketing your business online is reaching out to the right people. And long-tail keywords allow you to do just that. Long-tail keyword phrases are more descriptive, which increases the chances of finding exactly what you are looking for. Search users who visit your website using long-tails are more clear about what they want and are therefore better targeted.
- More Conversions: It’s a known fact that potential buyers almost always use specific terms to do their homework using search engines. Whereas people who are looking for general information or are non-buyers use generic keywords. Which means people who visit your website via long-tail keyword phrases are more likely to convert into customers.
- Simpler Content Optimization: When compared to broad keyword phrases, long-tail keywords are more natural and descriptive, which means it’s easier to embed them in your content. If you choose a broad keyword you may have to repeat it a ton of times throughout your content (which can look unnatural). But you can sparingly use a long-tail keyword and still get good results.
People going through your content will find long-tail keywords are a natural extension of your ideas, rather than phrases that are forced into the copy. And search engines will like you for using them. The result? Better user experience for your visitors and more organic SEO traffic that converts.
Keyword research is not only important for getting the right kind of SEO traffic, but is also important for your overall digital marketing. Many marketers see it as the foundation of your complete digital marketing strategy.
It doesn’t matter what type of digital marketing strategy you’re working with or what goals you have, you need to take long-tail keyword research seriously if you want to reach out to more people at a smaller cost.
Take note, long tail keywords are not only for typed queries. They are also being used in voice searches. In fact, in a study conducted last year, 1 out of 5 mobile searches were done by using voice search. And 70% of these searches used conversational or natural language. That means, it uses long tail keywords instead of short tail ones.
Step #4: Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
A big part of driving more SEO traffic to your website is all about understanding the behavior of people and making sure you give them the best experience.
Having a mobile-friendly website is an important step towards making your visitors feel welcome to your site and getting them to spend more time on your site. And it’s also something Google wants you to have, which means it can and will have a positive effect on your SEO traffic as well. No wonder you find many businesses taking mobile-friendliness of their site seriously.
If you look around, you’ll find that more and more people are accessing the web via their mobile devices. In fact, almost 60% of daily Internet searches are conducted through mobile devices. So by not optimizing your site for mobile, you are not only losing visitors, but you are also losing business.
Ever since Google gave a green signal to mobile-friendly sites, the number of websites optimizing for mobile search is growing with each passing day. What happens when someone visits a non-mobile friendly site via search? It leads to a high bounce rate because people will hit the back button or exit the site as soon as they realize it is not mobile friendly.
Google is taking mobile seriously, and the evidence for that lies in the fact it is actually using mobile-friendliness as a real ranking factor. While there are many reasons why a website’s SEO traffic is low, one of the reasons could be that it is not ranking high enough just because of this one factor.
Here’s a simplified example from Google showing the difference between a site optimized for mobile and one that’s not.
In the first example, you can see that a website that is not optimized for mobile, looking exactly like it would on a desktop. The content remains the same size, which makes it difficult to read on a smaller, mobile screen.
However, in the next example, you can see the power of a mobile-friendly site. The design and content is optimized for mobile, which is why it automatically fits itself perfectly for the mobile screen. It’s a breeze to read/scroll through it, giving the visitor a great user experience.
Besides manually checking your site’s “mobile-friendly” status, you can also use Google Webmaster Tools to inspect it. If you’ve already submitted your website to Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll be able to see the errors that are making your site non-mobile friendly along with details on fixing them.
Don’t know how to fix them to make your site mobile? That’s where our website design experts come in. Simply contact us to learn more about how we can update your site – or build you one if you don’t have one yet!
1. Better, More Profound User Experience
When people visit your business site via Google on their mobile device, you want them to have a good experience and convert into a lead or a sale.
However, if they see a disoriented load of unorganized design and content, it’ll be a huge turn off. You’ll end up losing a prospective customer just because your site wasn’t easy to browse and read.
2. Improved Average Time Spent on Site
The only website that isn’t worried about time spent on site is Google. And since you are not Google, you need to make sure you the average time spent on your site is good enough. When someone visits your site for the first time, you don’t have much time to make an impression. If you don’t manage to do it in the first ten seconds, you’ve lost a visitor.
You need to work on improving the time spent on your time if it’s poor. Because nowadays, it’s even more difficult to keep the attention of visitors when many of them are accessing the web on the go through their mobile. If your visitor enjoys being on your site and finds it useful on their mobile device, then you have a better chance of turning them into a happy customer.
3. Faster Loading Website Pages
The time people spend on your website and how fast your pages load, both of these factors are correlated. Speed is important because your visitors don’t want to wait.
Your un-mobile friendly website may open well on the desktop, but it will load slow on a mobile device such as your phone or tablet. In some case, it may not even open at all. According to studies, mobile users will not hesitate to leave a site if takes more than ten seconds to load. However, a mobile-friendly site’s code is written in a way that it works well on any mobile-device, which obviously makes it speedier.
4. Stronger Mobile SEO Game
Now, this goes without saying. Having a mobile-friendly website can and will help you improve your mobile SEO. Google recommends that your website is mobile responsive since it gives a great experience to visitors. However, if that doesn’t work out, your business is at least required to have a standalone HTML site reserved for mobile users.
Does this mean that you don’t have to optimize your site for SEO? No, of course not. But it can definitely increase your chances of ranking for your target keywords in Google mobile search results.
The Road to SEO Traffic
If you’re not yet convinced that SEO is a solid long term strategy to increasing site traffic, then take a moment to read through some of our other SEO articles on our website. Don’t have time for that? Cut right to the chase and schedule a quick call with one of our SEO experts who can tell you more about the success we’ve had with clients in various industries. Or take a look at our success stories yourself here.