Organic traffic is paramount for any business that hopes to survive online.
After spending months (or even years) learning how to improve your search engine ranking, you finally made it. Your brand is now on the first SERP page and may even be closing in on the top spot.
There's only one problem: high rankings are not leading to higher traffic.
This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. The upside is that we understand the most frequent culprits and can show you how to fix low traffic.
Problem #1 - Your Content Does Not Match the User Intent
Many rookie teams make the mistake of simply selecting keywords based on search volume. This tactic fails to address the unique reasons a user may have for using a specific search term.
To better understand this, know that there are four primary types of keywords.
1. Informational Keywords
This clue is in the name for this keyword type: information.
The internet user that types an informational keyword into a search engine is looking for educational content. They want to see sites that answer questions of “why” or “how.”
Let’s pose an example and say that a user performs a search for “how to fix GPU error.” This person is looking for proven, actionable data that can better help them understand their problem. They may be likely to click on content from a tech website or some type of PC specialist.
The key here is that the user is looking for information so that they might solve their predicament. They are not looking for specific products or aiming to pull out their credit card.
2. Commercial Keywords
This is often the next logical step in the buyer's journey.
A user may utilize commercial keywords when they start to look for specific products, services, or brands that may be of help. Let's look at examples of this type based on the imaginary user from the above section.
The user found information that led them to believe their GPU issue cannot be fixed. Now, they must seek out someone or something that can help them replace their product. They then search for some of the following:
- NVIDIA vs AMD
- 3080 reviews
- NVIDIA products
While still looking for information, the user's buying journey is starting to get more brand-specific. They need to understand more about the topic at hand so that they feel equipped to make smart purchasing decisions.
3. Transactional Keywords
Transactional keywords are more closely related to the hard sell. The user is already set on spending the cash. They simply need to find the right web page to help them do this.
For more explicit examples, let’s once again return to our imaginary user. They’re now searching for terms like:
- Buy NVIDIA 3080
- GPU best deals
- GPU for sale
4. Navigational Keywords
Navigational keywords demonstrate a more direct intention. With this, the user is looking to head to a specific domain or webpage.
If we wanted to watch video content, we’d likely do so in one of two ways:
- Enter YouTube.com into the search bar in a browser
- Search “YouTube” within Google, then click on the top result
The latter is an example of a navigational keyword. There is little room to question intention as the user is being explicit in their search.
How Misunderstanding User Intent Leads to Low Traffic?
It is possible to rank your webpage for keywords that do not correctly line up with user intent.
The problem is that while you may achieve a 3rd place spot, users will still skip over the listing. If your content does not help the user with their needs, there's no reason to visit your website. Even if a user does blindly click on your result, they're going to bounce away when they realize the result isn't suited for them.
In other words, you wouldn't want to present transaction-focused content to someone who is looking for information. Conversely, someone looking to make a purchase now does not necessarily need more information to help them out.
How to Fix It?
Always be sure to carefully factor in user intent when selecting keywords for your organic rankings. Popular SEO tools will frequently identify intent for you, making this process that much easier.
As long as your content helps the user with their needs, you can expect your traffic and conversions to climb appropriately. This should remain among your top go-to tips for higher traffic.
Problem #2 - No One is Using Your Top Keywords
Small businesses often do not have the money or manpower to compete with juggernauts in the rankings. Because of this, they require alternative keyword solutions.
One strategy brands use is to get hyper-specific with their content. Instead of aiming for keywords with high search volume, they shoot for terms with lower search volume, but a potentially higher conversion rate.
This strategy is often effective when there is a demand for your very specific niche.
However, getting too specific with your keyword choice can be a double-edged sword. If this is you, then you're likely ranking high for keywords that no one is using in their searches.
How to Fix it?
This one is easy to fix as you can monitor search volume with any SEO tool. Keywords can ebb and flow with use, but if a term is consistently yielding minimal searches, it's time to switch it up.
That doesn't mean you should abandon low-volume terms like long-tail keywords. Take a close look at your audience, particularly if you're in a small niche, and discern what they want to see.
Use that information to generate a list of ideas for possible search terms. Then, carefully consider the average search volume before devoting time and resources toward new types of content.
Problem #3 - Your Meta Content Fails to Engage
If you improve your search engine ranking, you merely earn the right to pitch your content. It's still up to you to convince users that your result is more worthwhile than the others.
Each search result features a variety of meta content. The most obvious of these is the meta description, which provides a brief preview of the on-page content.
Other examples include the page title, date of publishing, and schema markup elements. The number of features available to use hinges upon the type of content you are looking to present.
There's an easy way to identify if this is your problem. Perform a search for your ranked keyword and compare your result to the competitors. There's a high chance that the other meta descriptions are simply more compelling than what you have to offer at this time.
How to Fix It?
Let's break it down piece by piece:
1. Meta Description
A great meta description consists of about 155 characters. Google will abruptly cut off longer text, muddling your message to the user.
Think of your meta description as a teaser to whet the appetite. It should explain exactly what the user will find on a page without giving everything away up front. You can further entice users by placing a call to action at the end of your teaser. Make your content impossible to pass up.
Finally, try to use the keyword in the meta description. If Google finds a word that matches the user keyword, it will appear in bold. Don’t hesitate to use any tactics you can to draw more eyes to your result.
The title is the headline of the search result. This is the primary linked text users will see below the URL.
Like meta descriptions, keep your title within the character limit (60 characters). Anything longer gets abbreviated with ellipses, once again, diluting your message. In rare cases, hitting this limit can be a challenge, so be sure to highlight the main point of the content in the title as best as you can.
Finally, take the opportunity to brand your content. End all titles with your company name, like this:
High Rankings & Low Traffic: How to Fix it | DashClicks
Whatever format you choose, be sure to keep it consistent across all of your web pages.
Most content will receive a publishing date by default. We recommend that you remove this if possible.
The reason for this is that dating your content is not ideal for long-term results. Users want to see up-to-date content. The further away a user gets from the posting date, the less likely they are to click.
Skip the dates when possible to keep your content evergreen.
4. Schema Markup
Schema is a search engine language that helps Googlebot better understand your on-page content. When utilized effectively, you can present vital data to users on SERPS before they even get to click.
This language can provide users with product information, prices, phone numbers, dates, and much more. You should carefully select key points to highlight without making things appear too cluttered.
You can learn more about Schema and where to start here.
Problem #4 – Losing Out to Featured Snippets
Google is always looking for new ways to get users high-quality information quickly. One strategy they use to do this is the featured snippet.
A featured snippet is an excerpt of text pulled from one of the top search results. The text effectively provides an answer to a question prompted by the keywords used in the search. Some SEO experts will refer to this as position 0.
Not only does position 0 grant first-look advertising, but it also takes up a considerable portion of the page. This is a significant issue for competitors even when you’ve secured a spot on page one.
Studies estimate that 67.6% of clicks all go to the top 5 results. For traditional search result listings, that is about the number you would expect to see in your viewport.
However, with the rise of new smart features like the featured snippet, People Also Ask, or the local 3-pack, SERP real estate is even more scarce. A competitor's featured snippet takes up significant space and effectively dominates the mindshare of your would-be visitors.
How to Fix It?
To make your search result more attractive, be sure to utilize all of the tips mentioned previously in this article.
However, there's only one way to tackle featured snippets directly - try to claim the snippet spot for yourself.
To do so, carefully analyze the competitor's content. This not only applies to the snippet itself, but the rest of the content found on that particular web page. It's virtually a guarantee that their content is well-written, concise, and structured to perfection in the eyes of search crawlers.
A primary goal is to answer the question featured in the snippet head-on. Utilize your unique expertise and insight to provide truthful, actionable information to the user. Avoid unnecessary fluff or examples.
You can further help Googlebot identify information for your snippet by utilizing effective headings and subheadings. Utilize the question being asked as the head itself, then promptly answer that question in the first few lines of the body.
Furthermore, users and Google alike are quite fond of listed content. If possible, keep data concise by utilizing bullet points or numbered lists.
There's no guarantee that you'll secure the featured snippet. However, attempting to do so will naturally guide you to create better content overall.
Utilize These Tips for Higher Traffic
Capitalizing on organic traffic is a neverending battle. Not only are thousands of competitors vying for the same keywords, but Google is also constantly changing its ranking algorithm.
However, you can depend on these elements to forever remain a constant when curating traffic-worthy content:
- Match your content to the user intent behind the keyword
- Avoid overusing hyper-specific terms with low search volume
- Always treat your meta description details with the utmost care
- Create and structure content that quickly satisfies users and search crawlers alike
Finally, the content on your site is never a one-and-done endeavor. Allowing a webpage to stagnate leaves your content feeling dated while competitors are on the move. Monitor your keywords and search volume, and update content as necessary to keep generating organic results.