Technology

Four Things You’re Not Doing to Boost Search Traffic (But Should Be)

By / Jul 6, 2020 (AlexSecret/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

From installing Google AMP to giving the long tail some appreciation, here are a few tactics that can help you boost your traffic from major search engines.

Search traffic is an old, consistent standby, but it sometimes gets less attention than newer, more attractive sources of traffic. That means many organizations aren’t taking full advantage of search to draw an audience—and that could be costing them opportunities to make an impact or drive new membership.

So how do you fix that problem? You try a few things to boost your search engine optimization, or SEO. A few ideas:

Install Google AMP. AMP, which aims to cut down the size and load times of mobile pages, has been around for a few years now. It has at times been controversial, but it can generate lots of traffic—The Guardian is one big success story. Implementing Google AMP requires some work, in part because you’re creating a new template in a custom format, but depending on your content—news, for example, has traditionally done well—you might get more eyeballs on your work with AMP.

Focus on long-tail keywords. When fewer people are talking about something, it’s easier to stand out as a top content source on the topic. According to Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt, this strategy draws fewer—but more engaged—users. “It is much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords because fewer websites compete for high rankings in the result pages of Google,” she explains in a blog post. “The longer (and more specific) search terms are, the easier it is to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche.”

Add structured data to your content. Structured data allows search engines to add layers of context to results—for example, the time of your next webinar, or information such as your address or phone number. Structured data is not a factor in placement in Google search results, notes Search Engine Journal, but it adds value where it shows up and can lead to better sales or improvement in other metrics. “It is likely any traffic increases after [structured data] implementation is due to increased [click-through rate] from improved appearance of search results,” writer Mark Traphagen explains.

Improve page load times. All those widgets and doodads can help your site look snazzy, but they can really drag down how quickly your page loads. And that could be a big problem in the coming months. As Business 2 Community writer Garry Grant noted last month, Google is increasingly using speed as a metric for ranking sites, especially on mobile. “Page speed is a significant factor for search engines such as Google,” he writes. “If your site takes too long to load, users will abandon your site, and search engines look at that. This is the case for both mobile and desktop versions of your website. They both need to load quickly.”

How can you ensure quicker speeds? Grant suggests compressing photos and using lighter image formats where possible, as well as using a content delivery network and browser caching. Google is looking at this issue closely and says it will down-rank poor “page experience” starting next year in an effort to boost page quality.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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