You have poured hours of research into creating good content. Heck, you paid top dollar for good writers and SEO specialists. Still, your Analytics data leaves a lot to be desired. You’re not where you should be.
What could be wrong? There are about 200 Google ranking factors. You need to do everything right to rank well. And if you have done everything right, sometimes it’s a matter of time. Be patient as SEO results are not immediate. You can now get back to your normal life; the blog ends here.
Still, here? Perhaps, something is really wrong. And today, we’re covering 9 key reasons why your website isn’t getting any traffic. We’ll also share SEO tips you can implement right away. Let’s get started:
1. You Have Not Figured Out the Right Keywords to Target
Optimizing your website to rank on search engines is really simple, theoretically. You start by performing keyword research to figure out keywords to target. Afterward, you write articles with your target keywords in mind.
So, if you are running a dog grooming business in Seattle, your landing page should capture search queries such as “Dog grooming service in Seattle”. Good SEO advice also dictates that you should go after semantically related keywords.
You may say, “I did this, but my site is still not getting traffic?”
Perhaps, you’re in a niche where curating the best search terms is not so obvious. It’s easy to get certain things wrong such as:
Targeting keywords with a low search volume, and this results in low website traffic;
Competing for search terms with brands that have been doing SEO for ages;
Going after a limited number of keywords.
What should you do SEO-wise? Go back to the drawing board and carry out comprehensive keyword research again.
This time around, focus on finding keywords with a good amount of volume but low competition. The obvious advantage of doing this is that you won’t need a high domain authority or several backlinks to rank well.
Good keyword research requires a good tool. And paid tools are the real deal and money well invested.
But if you don’t have the cash to spend on paid tools, you can check if the platform offers free tools. Sites such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz have been gracious to offer some of their features for free.
And here are clever free tools that you can start using:
Moz Keyword Explorer: They offer about 10 queries per month. Pretty low. So, spend them wisely to get insights about each keyword’s monthly search volume and difficulty score. Remember, the trick is low difficulty score + good monthly volume = high potential for organic search traffic.
Keyword Generator by Ahrefs: The tool allows you to explore keyword ideas from a search phrase. It’s great at finding related search terms on Google, Bing, YouTube, and Amazon. You get to see the KD and volume too.
Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty Checker: The tool is really awesome because it checks what your competitors have in terms of backlinks and what you’ll need to appear among the first 10 organic search results.
Brain Dean compiled a list of 180 paid and free SEO tools. We’ll leave the link here if you need more great recommendations.
Now, you don’t need 10 times the number of blog posts compared to the best-ranking website in your niche. But you need to approach your content creation a little differently.
Yes, start by writing blog posts that go after keywords that receive the most search volume. Aim for evergreen topics that will continue generating traffic for a long time. For a pet grooming website, it may be a post to do with “How to groom your dog.”
It has a monthly volume of 201 – 500.
Now, people are still interested in many topics around dog grooming. For instance, some people search for dog grooming mistakes:
The logic may be not to waste effort on low-volume search terms but actually think of it in another way. Those unpopular topics can get some hits during some days. If you have many of them, they can be like little streams that eventually create a flood of visitors.
Another effective tactic is to spy on your competitors and find out all about their hidden “unpopular posts.” Ahrefs can help here too, with their Site Explorer tool, which lists all your competitor’s pages in terms of search popularity. Their Content Gap analysis tool is also great.
You can also use Spyfu. Just pop in the URL of the competitor you want to topple.
There will be a lot to write about, so….
Stay organized by creating a content plan of blog posts that you want to publish. And don’t start from the bottom up. Rather target keywords based on the order of decreasing search volume.
While you’re at it, you can learn the basics of inbound content marketing from Hubspot academy. It’s a life-changing course.
3. You Have Not Achieved Content Depth
What if you have all the content in the world but you’re still not ranking among the top 10 results (P.S. that’s where the money is).
Think about optimizing your existing blog posts to drive more traffic from them.
For example, if you write an article on “How to groom your dog”, but it’s getting few hits, you may investigate and find out that it’s showing up somewhere on page 5 of the Google search results.
The low search rankings may have resulted from not exploring the topic in-depth compared to competing websites. As a result, Google demotes the page.
If you’re in the same scenario, there are ways to optimize your existing content for SEO:
Compare the poor-performing content to that of your competitors for the same queries. Sometimes you’ll find that the best-ranking articles have expert opinions, better outlinks, charts, more photos, etc.
Update your content accordingly.
Want better results?
A tool like Zenbrief can help when updating your content…
First, it comes with a Google Search Console integration. You can integrate it with your account and spot the low-hanging fruits for SEO;
Second, ZenBrief’s AI-driven content brief works with you to achieve content depth. For a given topic, it briefs you on:
Thirdly, it has a content editor. You can copy and paste or write directly in it. You’ll be rewarded by seeing your content score improve as you address its recommendations.
4. You Are Yet to Become an Established Authoritative Source
You have probably heard the term domain authority thrown around a couple of times.
It naturally follows that websites with relevant domain names, longer track records, more backlinks, plenty of visitors, and high-quality content have higher DA scores.
When you are just starting out, you’ll have a low DA score. But you can gradually improve it.
Tip: You can see your DA scores on Moz’s link explorer.
Your website may have a low DA score if you’re new and still working on your backlink profile.
Did you know that Domain Authority is a metric unique to Moz?
Ahrefs has a similar score called Domain Rating used to measure the website authority or the strength of the domain. Both metrics typically look at the backlink profile.
Google denies the use of domain authority. But actually, they have their own sitewide score that incorporates similar metrics.
Don’t stress about domain authority too much. You should, however, stress about appearing as an authoritative source of information in your niche.
That means that everyone sees you as the most leading source for advice —kind of like Brain Dean of Backlinko or Neil Patel. The lads dominate the SEO world.
Their sites receive crazy amounts of backlinks because they are highly trusted. Hence their DA or DR scores are through the roof.
Before creating authoritative content, start by getting the basic things right:
Have an easily navigable site that looks like it belongs in the 21st century.
Provide your contact information and address to avoid looking sketchy.
For the content part, aim to build topical authority through strong pillar pages and exploring the topic fully through subtopics. For instance, “How to groom your dog” maybe a pillar page. Sub-topics may include:
How to clean a dog’s eyes?
Should you clean a dog’s eyes?
What’s that sticky stuff in your dog’s ears?
Guide to brushing your dog’s teeth
Trimming a dog’s coat: best practices.
And so on.
Your subtopic pages may target long-tail keywords with low volume. But if Google sees those pages as valuable, it will make your high-volume pillar page more authoritative.
5. Your Content Is Not Fulfilling Your Target Audience Search Intent
What is Search Intent? Whenever someone visits the search engine to conduct a search, they have an intent. And that is a goal they want to fulfill. Search engines try to decipher the user’s intent and deliver the most appropriate information.
For instance, if we search for the keyword “dog grooming”, Google displays mixed results. Some results are fulfilling the purchase intent, so we see links to websites offering dog grooming services. Because the keyword is not so refined, we also see results that fulfill an informational intent: “How to groom your dog at home”.
It’s imperative to have a firm understanding of search intent and ensure that you are going after keywords that promote your business objectives. Always think about what intent your content will fulfill and what phrases users may use to find you.
6. You Are Optimizing Your Website for a Single Keyword
We’ve certainly made a case for figuring out the right keywords to target and going after them. However, there are times that this strategy in isolation doesn’t work owing to the huge competition that may exist for high-volume words.
What’s the alternative? You can adopt a new radical approach that is centered on keyword clusters. We’ve previously covered how keyword clustering can help improve your visibility on Google search results. Basically, it entails going after a group of similar keywords and creating content around them.
For instance, if you are creating an informational piece about pet grooming, your keyword clusters can be focused on:
pet grooming tutorial,
pet grooming scissors,
pet hair clippers.
Now if your informational piece does not include these keywords but your competitors’ content does, it may show that you’re not sufficiently covering the topic. While your main piece should allude to those keywords, you should write sub-topic pages that cover them in depth.
So, the essence is to target multiple related keywords. It may lead to the search engine determining your pages as more relevant because they contain keywords it expects to find in similar content.
If you already have a list of keywords you’d like to target but don’t know how to group them into clusters, check out our free tool to generate keywords clusters.
7. Your Site Is Affected by Google Sandbox
All new websites typically undergo a probation period where they are not featured on Google search results. How long do websites stay in Google sandbox? Most sites stay for about 2 to 12 months. We’ve covered how the Google sandbox may affect your website in another post.
Google has never formally announced the presence of sandbox and some employees have even denied it. But the legend lives on as countless website owners have noticed that their websites don’t automatically appear in SERP results until a certain period has elapsed. The time may be shorter for sites with informational intent.
The role of the sandbox has been linked to preventing search engine manipulation. It also ensures that Google only delivers on the most relevant content from sites that have been around for some time, not spammy sources.
There are some things you can do to reduce the time your website spends in Sandbox, including:
Internal linking, which helps Google understand the structure of your site and index all your pages properly;
Gaining backlinks from quality sources. This should be done cautiously as too many backlinks to a new site may raise Google’s suspicions;
Improving the quality of your content by incorporating the right keywords and writing content that sufficiently covers the topic;
8. Your Site Is Not Properly Optimized – Not Mobile Friendly and Slow
Google is currently on a mission to make the web faster. And part of their mission is to cater to mobile users, who now represent the biggest segment of searches on Google.
If your website is not correctly optimized for load speeds and mobile devices, you could suffer greatly in the search engine rankings. Slow pages also impact your bounce rate as people are more likely to abandon a page if it takes longer to load.
Now, there are several ways to make your website faster and mobile-friendly:
The role of backlinks is becoming diminished as search engines adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to deliver better results.
Still, backlinks are important because they act as a vote of confidence from one website to another. That’s why websites with lots of backlinks tend to rank higher in SERPs. How can you start earning backlinks?
Try the broken link building method where you scan for websites with broken links pointing to similar content as yours. You then reach out to the web admins and recommend your blog posts as an alternative;
Build backlinks through guest posting on websites that publish content around your niche. Some websites will welcome the chance to have an expert opinion on a topic and a well-written blog for free;
Look out for opportunities to contribute or be interviewed for round-up posts;
Write high-quality content that’s very well-researched. You should aim to say something that has never been said before;
Create highly shareable content such as infographics.