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January 12, 2015

SEO: why is your website failing to generate traffic?


If you clicked on this article, chances are that you’re having difficulty generating traffic to your site. But don’t worry – you’re not alone!

Your website or blog may be struggling to generate traffic for one of several reasons. For example, it may be due to the age of your domain name, your reputation as a writer, the number of links directing towards your website from third party sites, your communication strategy on social media, or the freshness of your content.

In this article, we’ll mention a few issues which are all too often overlooked by companies and bloggers, either because they’re not aware of them or because they don’t know how best to resolve them.

Before we present these 5 points, we just want to make it clear that there is no miraculous solution which will get your website onto the first page of Google straight away. If you come across a person or company who claims that they will be able to achieve this for you, you can be sure that they’re not the real deal.

Even with the help of a team of SEO specialists, it’s likely that you will only begin to see results after a few months.

Here at Brands Up, we won’t tell you that “with our help, you’re guaranteed to get onto the first page of Google”. Instead, our philosophy is “we’ll put all the steps in place to help you achieve this”.

SEO is time-consuming work and results tend only to be visible after 6 months, or even a year.

Without any further ado, here are 5 common problems you may encounter. 

1. Quality of your content

Gone are the days when you only needed to put keywords in your meta-tags or create tons of backlinks to your website from satellite sites in order to be well referenced on search engines. Google’s algorithms are now able to determine whether your site contains high-quality content, and if it doesn’t, your chances of appearing at the top of the search results are very small.

It’s also interesting to note that the algorithms developed by social media platforms like Facebook also take the popularity of your posts into account when determining where to place them on your friends’ and fans’ news feeds. We discussed the key ingredients for a successful Facebook post in a previous article. 

What is ‘good content’ that will generate traffic?

Content which attracts visitors to your site will possess the following characteristics:

  • It adheres to Google’s code of conduct.
  • It is published on a site which benefits from optimised search engine listing.
  • It is published on a well-established site. Even if you have the best content, if your site is too new then you will always struggle to infiltrate the top league if your sector already contains a number of well-established competing sites, especially if you are all fighting over the same keywords.
  • It isn’t biased. Avoid writing exclusively in favour of a particular product or service. Always try to discuss the pros and cons.
  • It’s unique. If you’re simply paraphrasing an article that’s already been written, your content won’t be as strong as it would be if it were unique. Spend your time writing about a subject that no one has explored yet.

2. You’ve chosen the most competitive keywords (which are also often the most expensive)

There are 2 things to know here:

  • There are only 10 spots available on the first SERP. So, Google tries to prioritise the sites which it considers the most secure according to its well-defined criteria. If your site is too new, or isn’t yet considered as well-established, you’ll have trouble getting onto the first page of Google.
  • If you choose keywords that are too popular, you’ll face a lot more competition. Indeed, the price of such keywords can reach a level that only the biggest companies can afford (we’re talking about paid referencing here).

But if I should avoid the most popular keywords, how can I generate more traffic?

Think about the “niche” market. When you select your keywords using Google’s keyword tool, try to be more specific. Not only will you have more chance of appearing on the first pages on Google because you’ll have less competition, your advertising costs will also be lower if you use Google Adwords to promote your site.

If, for example, you have a bike shop and select “buy a bike” as a keyword, you could make it more precise by choosing “buy a racing bike” instead, as shown below:

It’s true that fewer people will search for this term, but if you are selling racing bikes and don’t have much competition, your site will stand a better chance of appearing amongst the first results.

We’ll go into more detail about the “long tail” concept in a future article.

3. Your website is too slow

No one likes a website which takes too long to load – it’s a real drag. Does anyone enjoy waiting 10 seconds for a page to load? No.

Google has understood this and has integrated this variable into the algorithms it uses to determine the quality of a site. That’s why you must take action if your site takes longer than 8 seconds to load.

Make sure your images aren’t too large and that your code is clean. You can also use free tools like PageSpeed Insight from Google to optimise your website’s loading speed, or to calculate the loading speed and work out what needs to be modified on your website.

4. You have been affected by Google Panda or Penguin

If you’ve never heard of Panda and Penguin before, take a look at these Wikipedia pages: Google Panda and Google Penguin. 

Few webmasters and bloggers know about Google Panda and Penguin. These aren’t Google mascots, but are rather the names of 2 algorithms that affect your site’s positioning on Google.

Without going into too much detail, it’s important to be aware that if your site is affected by one of these algorithms, you can expect to see a significant decrease in traffic over the days that follow. In order to ascertain whether your traffic has decreased because of changes in one of these algorithms, take a look at this site which tracks changes on Google to check whether the dates coincide.

But if it’s not because of Google Panda or Penguin, why is my traffic still so low?

It may be for one of the following reasons:

5. Your website is not seo-friendly

Perhaps you haven’t thought about optimising your site, or maybe you tried to do it yourself without really knowing how. You need to be aware that search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Are you sure that you have updated your site in accordance with the new rules of conduct set out by Google and the other search engines? SEO is hard work and requires time and attention. Make sure that your site is constantly optimised in order to avoid losing your position.

General points

Your site’s main reason for existing is to generate traffic from search engines, social media platforms or forums in order to increase your revenue, regardless of the nature of your company. Think of your website like a seller who never sleeps. If you know that your products or services meet a need but you’re not getting the traffic you’re after, there’s a considerable chance that your site isn’t optimised adequately and that your communication strategy could be improved.

Brands Up will help you to create some clear strategies to help increase your traffic. Contact us if you’d like more information about our SEO solutions.