No Google traffic? You are not alone!
Not getting Google traffic to your website is one of the top challenges for business owners.
According to Ahrefs research, 91% of web pages get NO traffic from Google. Check out your competition: 1.8 million new pages pop up every 24 hours! And we haven’t even counted existing pages on the web!
9 top channels to get website traffic
There are only a number of ways to get visitors to your blog. Let me break them down for you.
People bookmark your website or type your url into the browser and comes to your site.
Search engine traffic
Users go to search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc and type in your brand name or a search query. Typically, if they type your brand name, you are likely (hopefully!!) ranked on position one on search engine results page one and they click and arrive on your site.
If they type in a search query and your web pages have something very closely related and answers the query, Google will place your page on position one on page one.
Of course, it’s much easier to rank for your brand name than for search queries. People who type in search queries are typically less aware of brands and are looking for answers and available options.
If you have an email list, notify your subscribers via email when your new blog post is up or if you have something exciting taking place.
When someone links to your website from their site, and people click on the link and lands on your page.
Social media traffic
There are many forum platforms that encourage people facing a similar problem or having a similar interest to hang out together and chat!
If you have a useful resource and someone shares it on the forum, you could get some visitors from there.
This is paid marketing. You could buy a banner space from a website, or do Facebook advertising, Google Ads or even LinkedIn advertising!
There are existing collections of websites for specific niches. Some are free while some are paid.
If you list your website there and they have a large audience, you could likely get some visitors to your website.
It’s an open place (similar to a forum) to gain and share knowledge. Except this platform allows broad spectrum of questions to be asked. Experts step in to answer those questions and the best unique and quality answers are upvoted.
If your link is shared within those answers, you could likely get some quality traffic too!
These days, you can also place an advertisement on Quora, that is a surefire way to quickly gain some website visitors.
Why you want Google traffic to your blog
In this context, getting Google traffic describes search engine users typing a query into a search engine and in turn clicks through to your website from the search results.
I’m not referring to searching by your brand name. Because when users search by your brand name, they would have either heard of you from somewhere else through a previous research or by a trusted recommendation.
When you get Google traffic from search queries, it means you are likely getting new visitors to your website. People who haven’t heard of your services and products. They will be new visitors potentially turning into new clients or customers.
For top websites, they get at least more than 50% of their traffic from search engine queries!
When you don’t get enough Google traffic, your blog posts are not reaching people outside your circle!
Instead you are relying on word of mouth and people who knows about you. Referral and recommendations are always more trusted and it’s the easiest way to convert them into paying customers.
BUT if you are starting out or you want to change your business, Google traffic is the channel that’s more budget friendly and grows exponentially over time, if done right.
Anyone can start a blog. Easy peasy. But getting your blog posts to rank on Google search results page one, that’s a huge challenge.
Why Google position one page one is such a huge deal
How far down the search engine results page will people look at or click through? About 70% of organic search clicks comes from search results page one.
From page one alone, if you are ranked between position 1 to 5, you’ll get 95% of the clicks!
And these figures doesn’t account for clicks if there are paid ads shown on page one! Paid ads are on position zero, so if there is ad competition, there will be less clicks distributed for positions 1 to 10.
What does this say?
The further Google ranks your blog posts, the less likely you’ll get Google traffic.
Of course if you are a small business or website, it’s unlikely to get onto position one page one on day one. BUT it’s possible to get there.
Most recently in late 2019, Google rolled out a major update called Bert. Essentially, this update is a step forward in natural language processing. It enables the machine to understand nuances in words in a given content in larger accuracies and precision.
If your articles have been consistently produced in a comprehensive manner – how a person would talk in real life – this algorithm would likely have boosted your blog posts rankings.
If not, read on to get a clear picture on how you can enhance your articles and blog your way to more organic Google traffic.
How people search on Google
First, let’s take a look at how people use Google. They have a question or problem in mind and they open up Google and type in their question or words related to their problem. The string of words or phrases is called a search query.
Based on the search query, Google’s search algorithm decides which website has the most useful and relevant answers and display those results.
Users will scan through those results and click on the one(s) that looks most useful. If they found their answers, the search ends there.
Else they will tap on the back button on the browser and review the other results. If they find nothing relevant, they will change their search queries and ask Google to display other results.
In a nutshell, that’s how people uses Google.
Let’s head behind the scenes to understand how Google’s search algorithm work and how they decide which web pages to put on the results page.
How Google search algorithm works
Google is very secretive. Period.
So far, we know the search algorithm is made up of 200 factors and some factors are more important than others. And each year, they change the algorithm 500 to 600 times. Some updates are impactful while others are minor tweaks.
Google has confirmed the top three factors that drive the search algorithm. The quality of your content, (relevant) backlinks (urls linking to your website) and RankBrain, a machine learning artificial intelligence system that helps Google to process the search results.
However, aside from the definite top three factors, Google has been (deliberately) vague about the other factors and their importance.
In the meantime, many experts have carried out experiments and came up with a list of most probable factors. Some are proven, some are guesses while others are debatable.
BERT algorithm update in 2019
Towards the end of 2019, Google rolled out a new update called BERT.
BERT is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a neural network-based technique to train and process natural language. In layman’s term, BERT is used by Google to understand search queries (a bit more) like how humans do and think.
It is the latest and largest search algorithm update (after Rankbrain) rolled out by Google since 5 years ago.
So, how does it affect your blog?
If you use Google search, your search queries will return you more accurate results.
If you have a blog and you have been writing as you speak, your blog posts could start ranking better.
How the change works:
EXAMPLE OF A CHANGE:
“2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.”
Previously the algorithm would show search results about US citizens travelling to Brazil. It didn’t understand the importance of “to”.
With BERT’s arrival, Google is able to interpret the relevance of “to” and display a result that shows if a visa is needed when a Brazilian travels to the US.
Core Web Vitals in 2021
In 2021, Google will make another change in the search algorithm.
(Yes, again) 🤭
The date is yet to be confirmed but…
Google has started rolling out new tools for you to get yourself ready. (yeps!)
To improve user experience on websites, a new set of measurements called Core Web Vitals will be added to improve the algorithm .
Core Web Vitals is made up of 3 things:
- Loading time
The main parts of your page should load within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
If someone clicks on an element of the pages, it should respond in less than 100 milliseconds.
- Visual stability
Minimal to zero movement of elements on your web pages after the page has been loaded.
Google constantly changes the algorithm
You probably realized by now, keywords or phrases are one of the factors that Google uses to rank your blog posts.
Previously there were businesses who tried to “cheat” Google. Instead of writing useful blog posts, they often repeat key phrases unnecessarily in the blog post title and article. Google sees that as “keyword stuffing” or “keywords spamming”.
Aside from keywords spamming, businesses added their website links on other unrelated websites. This made it appear as though their website had many backlinks.
You might have heard about the offers from Fiverr: $50 to get you 100 backlinks or $20 for 600 backlinks. How does that sound? If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
To prevent cheating, Google has been constantly “upgrading” the search algorithm. The search algorithm is much smarter than before and are able to detect “cheaters”.
If you are found guilty by Google, they will slap your website with a penalty. If you have received a high volume of traffic after buying shady backlinks and suddenly Google traffic drops drastically, that’s probably a penalty.
You need to spend extra time and effort to undo the penalty and then inform Google so they can undo the inflicted penalty. It’s like eating expired cheap food to save some money and you end up having to pay for a doctor’s visit and medication.
You don’t want to be in that situation. At all.
Okay, we’ve a clear picture of how people uses Google and how the algorithm works. It’s time to dive into the reasons why you are not getting Google traffic.
Why you are not getting Google traffic
You are NOT ranked on page 1
If you have no blog posts ranking on search results page one, you are unlikely to get any significant traffic! If search queries are low and you are ranked on page two and beyond, likelihood of people coming to your website is also fairly low.
You have zero and/or spammy backlinks
When Google “sees” more useful website linking to yours, their algorithm will mark your website as more authoritative. But if you have minimal links or you’ve tried to buy cheap backlinks from Fiverr, bad news – Google might have already given you a black mark!
If you don’t have any backlinks yet, you can get backlinks by contributing to forums or asking complementary businesses to link to yours.
You are targeting the wrong keywords
Did you do any keyword research before you wrote your blog posts? Did you check out how much existing competition there are?
Are you using the right keywords? Have you done any research to find out if anyone is searching for those phrases?
If you are not using the appropriate keywords or if you are targeting very popular keywords dominated by other bigger websites, you’ll never get onto page one!
Your blog posts are too short
According to Yoast, a blog post should have at least 300 words to rank well. If you write at least a thousand words or more, you are more likely to rank well.
BUT from Backlinko’s research from SEMRush, the average blog post length on Google search results page one has 1,890 words!
The idea is, the more words you have, Google is able to differentiate how useful and relevant your blog post is.
When your blog post is shorter, there is less information for Google to process and comprehend. This is working on the assumption that the more you say, the more comprehensive and useful your blog article is.
So check your word count and aim for at least 1,500-2000 words.
You haven’t promoted your blog posts!
The rule of thumb is: spend 20% of your time on creating and 80% on marketing your blog posts! Promote your new blog posts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.
If you have an email subscriber list, tell your subscribers about your new blog post! Get them to read it.
Even though social media doesn’t have a direct impact on Google rankings, but when you get more eyeballs on your blog posts, there is a higher chance that people will share with their network and link to your blog post!
Remember, more backlinks works in your favour!
Your blog post titles are terrible.
A catchy title is everything!! In the digital age, everyone is bombarded with alot of information. Left, right, center. To avoid the sensory overload, people tend to skim over information.
They will only choose to read more if they find a title intriguing or likely to be useful.
If you are ranked on page two and beyond, the only way you are going to edge towards page one is when more people clicked through to your website. That’s a sign to Google: more people find your website useful. And Google will mark your content has relevant and valuable and gradually move you up the rankings.
Even if you’ve the best content, you’ve to spend some time crafting a catchy headline. Stop people in their tracks with a nifty headline. Make them think: “Ah, this looks useful! I need to read all these details”.
When that happens, things fall into place. For sure, there is a reason why shop windows are pimped up – to attract more customers in!
Your website takes too long to load.
Most people expect website to load fast. They have no patience. Regardless on desktop or mobile. If your website takes too long to load, people will abandon it and tap on the back button.
Google’s Maile Ohye said, “2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
That’s the expectation. To encourage users to continue using Google, they aim to provide a good website loading experience. And a good website loading speed plays a role in the algorithm.
If your competitors’ websites are loading faster than yours, Google will rank them ahead of you. (Remember the Core Web Vitals update taking place in 2021?)
If your website takes too long to load, review your site speed and identify areas to improve website loading speed.
9 best tips to get more Google traffic
Set up Google Analytics on your website
This is my favourite tool! It’s a free web tracking tool created by Google. You can easily create an account and add the code to your website header.
When you have this set up properly, all efforts to boost your website visibility is easily seen.
Whether there is any significant increase in Google traffic, the answers are all in the reports. You can also find out more in “How to make the most of your website with Google Analytics“.
Use Google Search Console (GSC)
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tool, this is what you have to set up first thing when you have a website!! That’s the tool you use to see how Google’s “perception” of your website!
- You use this to submit your sitemap (it’s a “map” of all your website link structure) to Google and Google will use this to navigate and understand how good your website has been set up.
- GSC will also show you how Google sees what external websites are linked to you and what external websites you link to.
- If there are certain pages you don’t want Google to index in their database, you can submit to search console using the robots.txt file.
- Want to know if Google has penalized your website? You can view it under Index > Coverage (in the sidebar). If there are any error pages, they will show up in this Coverage report.
Optimize your content with Yoast SEO
I always recommend Yoast to anyone who has a blog. It is a powerful tool to help make your site as search engine-friendly! It’s one of the most popular SEO tool for anyone using WordPress.
If you are on a budget, the free version is good enough to get started.
It prompts you if your webpage content or blog post content is optimized. For example, it will remind you if you have minimal number of external and internal links or if you’ve hit the recommended minimum number of 300 words.
Readability scores are a method to determine if your blog post will likely to be understood by your readers. If your readers can’t understand, they will probably leave without engaging with it.
Yoast will also score your text readability to advise how you can improve your language flow to boost engagement.
Optimize your blog post headline
Catchy headlines pique your readers interest and they want to know more or trigger an strong positive or negative emotion. Here are a couple of free tools available you can leverage on.
CoSchedule headline analyzer evaluates your headline, gives it a score and guidance towards crafting more powerful headlines.
Advanced Marketing Institute has a Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer that will analyze your headline and tell your title’s emotional impact level.
Publish longer articles on your blog
Quality over quantity. If there were a choice to pump out three 300-word long article per week versus one 2000 word blog post per week. I would choose the latter.
If a user can understand more extensively about a topic from one blog post, they would rather do that over heading to 5 different websites to gather their information.
Before you start writing, do your research and then draft an outline of the section and flow. A good way to expand on the topic is to use the “WWWWWH” method.
Based on the objective of your blog post, address the theme by running through questions like using who, what, when, where and how to go into depts.
- Who is this blog post for? Who is affected?
- What is the cause? What is this about?
- When did it start? When did it happen? When is the best timing?
- Where is this leading to? Where will we go from here?
- Why did it happen? Why did they not take action? Why is nothing happening?
- How could it be possible? How shall we address this issue?
Audit your website speed
Audit your website speed. There are a couple of free website speed check online. Typically they will review your website and give actionable improvements you can make to boost your site speed.
In addition, Google created a tool for website owners to test how long their sites will load on mobile. Most people research information on the go so it will be very beneficial to optimize mobile loading speed.
Set up a content delivery network
Are you using a content delivery network (CDN)? This service comprises of servers distributed around the world. At each of this server location, they keep a latest copy of your website.
For example, if your website is hosted in New York and someone from Japan accesses your website, the server nearest to Japan (from the CDN) will deliver the latest copy to the user.
Your website will still take about the same amount of time to load for a user located far away from your server vs users who live nearby.
Promote your blog posts on other platforms
Are you actively promoting your blog posts to your email list or on social media? Block out a time in your calendar and use scheduling tools to set them up in advance.
In this way, you get to promote your content on a regular basis to catch different audience who log in at different timings.
Buffer is a free social media scheduling tool you can use to schedule up to 10 posts in advance. If you are a one-man band, Hootsuite is also another free option.
If you want to promote your blog post over a long period of time, Missinglttr is a good paid option. After you publish your blog post, the tool will pull in your content snippets to create draft campaign for you to review.
You can set up templates in advance and make the final selections before publishing your social campaigns.
Create a content strategy for your website
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! Plan out your content themes and topics in advance. After planning, use keyword tools to research and find out the traffic volume and how difficult will it be for you to rank for those keywords.
Before deciding on the final sub-topics, go to Buzzsumo to investigate what existing content ideas is performing best for your topic or which competitor is already ranking for that.
For keyword research, I use SEMRush to locate the top keywords my existing competitors are ranking for and what content to create to outrank them.
Once you’ve gathered your information, decide on the sub-topics to start writing about. If you are serious about getting Google traffic, you’ve to be strategic about your blog post choices.
If you publish general topics that bigger sites are already ranking for, it’s unlikely for you to ever move to page one.
Need guidance with getting Google traffic?
If you are struggling with getting significant Google traffic, I offer website auditing and content strategy workshop to get you on track. Clients who have worked with me see their results in 3-9 months.
Check out my 2020 Content Planning Success package to get started.
Or if you require an assisted approach, contact me to find out more.