For any business using its website as a lead generation tool, traffic is essential. The more visitors you get, the more chances you have to make your product or service known, gain connections and promote your brand. This is why an unexpected decline in organic traffic is a terrifying idea, as it might result in fewer business opportunities and less income.
Whether it’s a technical problem, a new Google algorithm implementation or lack of content optimisation, there are several possible motives why your company’s website traffic numbers have been sinking lately.
For example, older websites have higher risks of being penalised by Google’s algorithm updates because of potential coding errors and obsolete practices still applied to some of the pages. That ‘keyword stuffed’ article you wrote in 2010 that brought a lot of traffic seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, it is definitely hurting your website on an apocalyptic scale.
Content is (a mad) king
We recently had a meeting with a group of young entrepreneurs who run MI6-HQ.com, a fansite dedicated to Bond, James Bond. (cue the music)
They expressed their concern with the MI6-HQ website traffic dropping like a stone over the past months and wanted our help to:
- Assess the possible reasons for the decline in visits;
- Come up with a few creative ideas to solve the problem, like a marketing version of Q.
Even though they offer really good articles (many visitors had lots of nice things to say on their Facebook comments), their search engine rankings and organic reach keep decreasing. There are multiple marketers that repeatedly state just writing “epic content” will drive traffic to any website, period. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that good content is essential. But if you publish it in a flawed website, you’ll have your king residing in a crumbling castle. That inspires no recognition at all and the results are totally unpredictable.
Google has a license to kill your audience
Google holds more than 74% of the search engine market share worldwide. That’s why you either play by their rules or fall into the internet abyss (a.k.a. Not the first page on Google Search).
We believe part of the decline in the MI6-HQ search rankings is that their website has been running for over 20 years (!!!) and most of their ‘ancient’ content might not have been updated regularly. A quick search (on Google, of course) shows that MI6-HQ.com has 15,500 indexed pages. It’s probably really hard to keep tabs on all of them individually.
Optimising websites is not a one-size-fits-all process. When it comes to web content that is already published, you have the option to improve or kill pages forever. In this specific case, deleting some of the older articles might be an alternative. Having fewer discoverable pages to increase your website findability can sound very counterintuitive, but I assure you, it works wonders for some people. Learning to let go is necessary sometimes.
Analysing your website performance is a laborious but rewarding task
There’s a lot of work involved in optimising your website. You might even say it’s a never-ending task, depending on your level of perfectionism. Nowadays, the competition online is cutthroat, so any edge you have over your competitors is worth the effort.
According to research by Moz blog, more than 70% of searches result in a page one organic click. The rest is diluted from the second page onwards. This just shows how important it is to aim for the top place of the search engine rankings.