Wendy Piersall, Strategic Business Developer at Mango Publishing hit the nail on the head with this short sentence.
And by everyone else, she of course means that digital diamond we call traffic.
These few words tell us one hugely important fact: Google only ranks websites that have already proven their popularity. So when starting from zero, you’ll need months if not years to climb up the SERPs. However with the help of best SEO services you can drive more traffic and sales to your website.
From the right keywords to a local print campaign, there are plenty of ways to get traffic rushing to your landing pages. You can even buy targeted traffic from specialised providers, or bots that seem completely human. What is apparent is that the more methods you implement to grow your visitor numbers, the more likely Google is to hitch you up the results pages. There’s no way around this.
So why do we spend so much time on SEO?
Search engine optimization is a slow but cost-effective process. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s cheap, but it generates better-converting targeted website traffic than any other source. Your name high on a popular search engine like Google puts you in touch with the world. Brand awareness, brand loyalty and conversions all grow from SEO. That is why it is very important to hire an expert local SEO consultant to have the overall growth of your business.
Why Do I Need High SERP Ranking?
To rank #1 on the Google SERPs is to drive huge amounts of truly targeted traffic to your pages. The more targeted a visitor the more likely that visitor will convert.
While many websites pay to get themselves listed (as a Google Ad) at the top of the results page, this doesn’t have the same effect as it did 5 years ago. Then, perhaps 50% of users didn’t know the difference between an ad and an algorithm-based listing. They do now, and prefer to scroll past paid results. Some estimations quote as little as 10% of search engine users click on paid ads, although this seems a little too low.
Every second about 70,000 search queries are typed into the Google search bar – most of them at least 4 words long. Just under 30% of these use voice search.
With numbers like this it’s not surprising a business gets at least 50% of all traffic via its Google SEO strategies. Social media traffic is rapidly catching up but organic – SEO traffic – remains the number one source. The first result on a Google SERP has a near 30% click-through rate (CTR). The tenth result? Just 2.5%.
That’s why it’s so important to rank high on Google SERPs.
How Does Google Rank My Website?
Type in ‘how does the Google algorithm work’ in the engine’s search bar and you’ll see you’re not the only one who’s asking that question.
The reason they’re all asking – newbies and professionals alike – is because a lot of what makes a website rank higher on Google is hidden from sight. Google doesn’t want us to know every metric because then all mystery is gone. Even more frustrating, Google constantly tweaks its ranking algorithm.
But when we look at the goal of the search engine – to provide a single, free, go-to service (that businesses pay to advertise in) that people can trust to list exactly the information they’re looking for – we can figure most of the algorithm’s scoring system out.
We know most of the 200+ factors that affect a website score and it doesn’t look like these will change in any great way, at least not for a few years.
Current Google Algorithm Ranking Factors
The factors we know about are too many to list in this article but here’s a brief overview of the many aspects of your online presence that make the most difference. Some sources quote bounce rate but this is almost impossible to score correctly and Google insists upon correct information. It is highly unlikely the algorithm measures bounce rate
- Domain-related ranking factors: the age of your domain, it’s keywords and their position, its history, and its Whois owner.
- Site-related factors: contact options, TrustRank, updates, architecture, sitemap, server location, downtime, valid SSL certificate, T&C and privacy pages, useability and interactiveness, reviews, site reputation. .
- Page-related factors: keywords and keyword position (and density) in the title, meta description, H1 and content, length, recency, quality and uniqueness of content, loading speeds, mobile device optimisation, multimedia use; UX scores are also compared to websites using the same keywords.
- Backlink-related factors: supplementary content (free tools), age and quality of outbound and internal links, authority and trust of linked websites, relevance of related websites, links from .edu and .gov sites and competitor links, quality of linked content.
- User-related factors: dwell time, RankBrain, total traffic, repeat visitors, bookmarks on Chrome, comments, user clicks on other pages of the same SERP after landing on yours.
- Additional factors: user browsing and search history, geo-targets, adult content, relevance to SERP page news stories, big brand priority, image results, holiday-related content, linked social media profiles, branded text,
This gives an idea of how many adjustments are required when marketing your website. With personalised search results, SEO has become significantly more complex. The SEO basics of great content, right keywords and user-friendly design certainly make up its backbone, but there are plenty of other bones to add, from the femur to stirrup.
But what is extremely clear is that Google scores primarily on longevity and popularity. For younger businesses, the ranking process can therefore take much too long.
The only viable shortcut is to pump up the volume of targeted traffic.
What Web Traffic Is Out There?
For Google’s current ranking algorithm, any type of traffic is good traffic, especially when the bounce rate is not calculated. And there are plenty of web traffic types:
- Organic traffic: SEO traffic that arrives via search engines
- Direct traffic: traffic that arrives through your typed, bookmarked or emailed URL
- Referral traffic: traffic sent from other websites
- Social media traffic: a subgroup of referral traffic that arrives via social media networks
- Email traffic: usually a type of direct traffic but can be a separate type depending on your analytics tool
- Paid media: traffic arriving via a PPC ad on a social media network
- Paid search: traffic landing from PPC website ads
- Offline traffic: traffic that has clicked on QR codes on more traditional advertising methods like print
- Campaign traffic: a mixed batch of the above associated with a specific campaign
To get organic traffic, you are obligated to set up strategies for all the other types. One can see these as a group of smaller streams that connect to the huge river that is the search engine. To use one of the required factors listed above (branded text) – although much too low down in this content to make waves – Google is the Amazon of traffic.
Direct traffic with its subgroup of email traffic needs your visitors to remember your URL or to receive ready-made links from sources that aren’t traceable on Google – like your personalised customer emails. Obviously, brand and domain name are central to this type of traffic, as are all methods of brand awareness.
This traffic is one of the easiest to attract as many marketing strategies include bought referral traffic and backlinks. While the decision to buy targeted traffic is not always high on the marketing department’s list, it is on the list of online businesses with high levels of referral traffic. You can pay for half a million visitors to land on your site from the locations you supply and with the interests you serve. Alongside other methods of traffic generation, paying for visitors works. Guest posting and partnering with services similar to your own – perhaps local delivery service and gift courier websites in tandem with your fresh baked cheesecake enterprise – meet the requirements of backlink relevance factors. Just ensure your partners have high standards and top reviews. The site you link to should always be better than your own.
Social media traffic
The fastest growing source of website traffic is that which is forwarded from associated social media accounts. Again, there is scope for paid traffic in the form of likes, views and even comments to increase traffic to your social media profile. All you have to do then is direct the subsequent increased traffic to your website. All you have to do refers to the single step, not the effort required to take it. As the fastest growing source of traffic, social media networks are the equivalent of the colosseum, and every business a gladiator.
The price of paid ads is, for many startups, a frightening investment. As we have already seen, search engine users are developing a tendency to skip Google ads; however, Google is learning. The quality of the ads they now show are much more relevant to the search term. We will probably see swings in the pros and cons of paid ads for as long as they exist. If your business can afford paid traffic, it should be implemented. Why? Every possible channel should be taken advantage of.
Offline and Campaign Traffic
Print advertising is making a comeback. From billboards to QR codes in supermarkets, traffic can be generated by offline sources. Even for global brands, limiting print to a smaller area has a very important place in terms of SEO – the relevance of your visitors in terms of location and a high level of interest that translates into higher conversion rates. As for the final stream of traffic that runs into SEO, campaign traffic is simply a mix of the above that works toward a specific goal – & 10% discount for new newsletter sign ups for example, or an October Halloween candy campaign.
Pump Up The Traffic
To enter the vicious circle of algorithm factors versus ranking, you need traffic. Once the vicious circle moves in the right direction, all types of traffic feed from one another and multiply. Of course, that’s as long as you keep your website relevant, unique and engaging for its users.