When most people begin investing in SEO, their number one goal tends to be more traffic. In fact, that’s often their sole aim.
Unfortunately, a lot of them are actually successful. But at what? They get traffic, but no paying customers. It’s only then that they find out that their search engine optimization goal had a number of flaws.
If it comes as a bit of a shock that search engine optimization should be used for priorities other than increased traffic, you’re far from alone. The following five reasons should provide some clarity:
When your entire SEO goal is massive amounts of traffic, it might seem obvious that you would go for those keywords that show the most potential for traffic. After all, if your website shows up on the first page of Google for a highly competitive keyword, you’ll enjoy countless visitors every month and all the profits that go with it, right?
However, this is almost always a much greater challenge than people originally assume. They may be competing with tens or even hundreds of thousands of other sites from all over the world. Many of them even use black hat techniques to gain just the slightest edge.
Sadly, the vast majority of companies that go after these attractive keywords will never come close. The only thing they’ll have to show for their efforts is a budget that has been severely depleted.
The good news is that these competitive keywords often aren’t worth the hassle. They’re usually so broad that they would cast far too general a net.
For example, if you make athletic shoes for people with flat feet who want to play tennis without suffering any pain, the following might seem like attractive keywords:
Those are going to prove to be very competitive choices, but they’re also too general. Even that last one, which specifies that the shoes are for people with a specific need, will run the risk of attracting people who will never become customers.
“Shoes for low arches” could easily get a click from someone who’s looking for everyday footwear or formal options. You might get plenty of traffic from those clicks, but if these visitors don’t need shoes for tennis, what happens? You waste money on these general search terms without improving sales.
This leads to a secondary problem: bounce rate. That’s the percentage of your visitors who leave after visiting just one page on your site. To Google, this looks like your site isn’t providing a high-quality experience. That’s more than enough reason for the search engine to drop your ranking.
You want people to come to your site, spend a lot of time, and click around because the experience you provide is exactly what they wanted. This is far more important than massive traffic numbers.
Earning backlinks should be one of the main pillars of your SEO strategy. Receiving backlinks from relevant, high-quality sites definitely improves ranking. It’s also a fantastic way to increase your profile as an authority in your industry.
Climbing the ladder in Google rankings may earn you some backlinks from exposure, but not if your actual content is lacking. Unfortunately, that’s usually what happens when people prioritize keywords for the sake of rank over high-quality content their audience will actually enjoy.
The cruel irony, of course, is that, in the end, the quality content with more backlinks eventually beats out those pages that were built purely for the sake of “driving traffic.”
Sure, there was once a time when Google seemed to care about nothing but the words on your site. Those days are long gone, though.
If you want Google to love your site in 2017, your SEO strategy needs to involve a lot more than trying to bring in huge traffic numbers with keywords.
Your site needs to be mobile-friendly, for example, or Google will hurt its rankings.
The same thing goes for fast loading times.
The list goes on and on, but the point is that an obsession with increasing the number of visitors you receive can pull your focus from other extremely important SEO priorities that can have a far greater effect on how much exposure your site receives.
By now, it should be clear that SEO needs to be about more than just attracting massive crowds to your site. Instead, you should be focusing on practices that target those who have the highest likelihood of becoming customers, even if that means your traffic doesn’t look impressive on paper.