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what is website traffic & ways to improve it

Updated: Jun 24

We often receive DMs or emails asking the same question – ‘how do I improve traffic and SEO on my website?’ 


The thing is that most people tend to assume that SEO is a ‘one and done’ type of thing – and this is simply not the case. 


SEO is a long game and an ongoing process that you must continuously work on. 

 

But before we dive into ways to improve website traffic to improve SEO, let’s first define what website traffic is, why it's important and how it is measured.


What is website traffic?


Website traffic refers to the number of visitors that your website receives or the volume of visitors to a website. It encompasses various aspects of these visits, including where the visitors come from (direct, referral, search results, etc.,) how they interact with the site, and what actions they take while they are there.

 


Why is website traffic important? 


Website traffic is a critical metric for understanding the effectiveness of a website and its content, as well as for gauging the success of your marketing strategies.


Additionally, it's important because the more visitors that your site receives (or traffic that your site receives), the more this signals to search engines that your website is credible and an authoritative site that people trust and like to engage with. The more that you receive, the more likely your website is to be ranked higher in search results.


Finally, website traffic is a vital indicator of a site’s health and success. It drives business growth, enhances brand visibility, improves SEO, provides valuable audience insights, and creates opportunities for revenue generation and potential partnerships.


By focusing on increasing and analyzing website traffic, you can make more informed decisions that align with your business objectives and enhance overall website performance.

 


How is website traffic measured? 


Website traffic is measured using various metrics and tools that track and analyze the behavior of visitors on your website.  


Here are some of the common key methods and metrics used to measure website traffic: 


Visits/Sessions 

Definition: The number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors on your site. A session is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame.  


Why is it important? Because it indicates how many times your website is being accessed.  


Unique Visitors 


Definition: The number of distinct individuals visiting your site during a specified period, as opposed to total visits (which can include multiple visits by the same person). 

 

Why is it important? Because it helps gauge the size of your audience. 

 

Page Views 


Definition: The total number of pages viewed while someone is on your website. Keep in mind that repeated views of a single page are counted. 

 

Why is it important? This reflects the level of engagement and the interest of visitors in your content. 

 

Pages per Session 


Definition: This is the average number of pages viewed during a session while on your website. 

 

Why is it important? Because this indicates how engaging and easy it is to navigate through your site. 

 

Average Session Duration 


Definition: The average length of time a visitor spends on your site during a session. 

 

Why is it important?  Because this provides insight into how engaging your content is. 

 

Traffic Sources 


Definition: The origin of your site’s traffic, meaning where traffic is coming from; this is categorized into areas such as direct, referral, organic search, social, and paid. 

 

Why is it important? Because this helps you understand where your visitors are coming from, and which channels are most effective. 

 

New vs. Returning Visitors 


Definition: The ratio of new visitors to those who have visited your site before. 

 

Why is it important? Because this indicates the balance between acquiring new visitors and retaining existing ones. 

 


Where to check website traffic? 


There are several tools you can use to check website traffic; and some are free to use or give you free access to certain insights but you'll have to pay for the Premium version to gain access to more in-depth insights. Here are some below:


Google Analytics 


Google Analytics provides comprehensive data on all the above metrics and more. It includes real-time traffic data, user demographics, behavior analysis, and conversion tracking. 

Google Analytics screenshot

 

Google Search Console 


Google Search Console monitors site performance in Google Search results. It provides data on search queries, impressions, clicks, and position. It's useful for understanding organic search performance. 

Google Search Console

 

SEMrush


SEMrush offers traffic analytics along with keyword research, competitive analysis, and site audits. It's ideal for SEO professionals looking for more in-depth data or if you simply want to do your own keyword research.

SEMrush

 


Moz 


Moz is an SEO tool that provides features including keyword analysis, site audits, and rank tracking. It's another tool that is helpful for tracking SEO performance and traffic. 

Moz SEO tool screenshot

 

 

Why is my website traffic down? 


Now that you have a better understanding of what website traffic is, how it's measured and tools to measure it, let's now discuss some reasons why you might be experiencing a decrease in website traffic.


Website traffic can decline for a variety of reasons and figuring out what the exact cause is requires analysis of several different factors. However, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why your website traffic might be down: 


1. Algorithm Changes 

  • Search Engine Updates: Major search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms. These changes can impact your site's rankings, causing a drop in organic traffic. 

2. Content Issues 

  • Outdated Content: If your content is outdated or no longer relevant, it may attract fewer visitors. 

  • Content Quality: Declining content quality or a shift away from what your audience finds valuable can lead to reduced traffic. 

3. Technical SEO Problems 

  • Website Errors: Issues such as broken links, slow page load times, or mobile usability problems can negatively affect traffic. 

  • Indexing Issues: If search engines are unable to crawl or index your site properly, your pages may not appear in search results. 

4. Competition 

  • Increased Competition: New competitors or improved strategies from existing ones can steal your traffic. 

  • Better Content: Competitors might be creating better, more optimized content on a consistent basis that ranks higher than yours. 

5. User Experience 

  • Poor UX: A bad user experience, such as difficult navigation or intrusive ads, can drive visitors away. 

  • Site Design: A redesign that users find less intuitive or appealing can reduce repeat visits. 

6. External Factors 

  • Seasonal Trends: Some industries experience natural fluctuations in traffic due to seasonal interest. 

  • Market Changes: Changes in your industry or market can impact overall interest and traffic. 

7. Marketing and Promotion 

  • Reduced Marketing Efforts: If you’ve scaled back on marketing efforts, such as social media promotion, email marketing, or paid advertising, traffic can decline as a result.

  • Ineffective Campaigns: Marketing campaigns that do not resonate with your audience can also fail to drive traffic. 

 

 

To diagnose and address the decline in traffic: 


  • Review Analytics: Check Google Analytics and other tracking tools for insights into traffic patterns and potential issues. 

  • Audit Content: Ensure your content is current, high-quality, and optimized for relevant keywords. 

  • Technical Audit: Use tools like Google Search Console to identify and fix technical issues. 

  • Competitive Analysis: Study your competitors to understand what they’re doing better and adapt your strategy accordingly. 

  • Improve UX: Enhance the user experience by making your site easier to navigate, faster, and mobile-friendly. 

  • Boost Marketing: Revitalize your marketing efforts with fresh campaigns and increased promotion. 

 


How to improve website traffic: 

Now, let’s talk about some ways that you can improve SEO on your website by driving more traffic to it: 

Creation: 

  • Create high-quality, informative, and engaging content:  This is the foundation of SEO. Search engines want to return results that are relevant and useful to users, so creating content that meets those criteria is essential. Your content should be well-written, free of errors, and most importantly, informative. side note: it should also be engaging and interesting to read; so consider including your own photos (we suggest staying away from stock images), graphics, tables, charts, etc.,.

  • Target the right keywords:  Do some keyword research to find out what terms people are using to search for the products or services you offer. Once you know what keywords are relevant, use them throughout your website, but in a natural way that doesn't sound forced.  top tip: go to answerthepublic.com and type in a specific keyword or term that you want to rank for and see what people are typing into Google. You will be presented with a list of questions that people are searching for (see example below) – take the time to look through and see what questions you can answer in a well-thought-out blog post. Make sure that your answer is useful, relevant and informative.

Answer the Public results example

  • Optimize your content for search intent:  Search intent refers to the reason why someone is conducting a particular search. When you're creating content, it's important to consider what users are hoping to find when they search for a particular keyword. Are they looking for information, trying to compare products, or ready to make a purchase? Once you understand search intent, you can create content that is tailored to meet the needs of the searcher.

  • Publish content regularly:  Remember how we said SEO is an ongoing process? This is what we mean - search engines love fresh content, so it's important to publish new content on your website on a regular basis. This will help you to improve your ranking in search results and attract more visitors to your site.  

  

Technical SEO:

DHL mobile optimization example
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly:  This sounds obvious but the amount of times we come across websites that aren't optimized for mobile devices and tablets in 2024 is nuts. Just take a look at DHL's site on mobile (and they are a global leader in the logistics industry. Specializing in international shipping, courier services and transportation.) Their mobile optimization is a complete mess for being a global leader. More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web and make purchases, so it's essential that your website is mobile-friendly. This means that your website should be easy to read and navigate on a small screen other than desktops. If you need help with this or in need of a website redesign, contact us today – we're here to help! 


  • Build backlinks:  Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. Search engines consider backlinks to be a sign of trust and authority, so they can help to improve your ranking in search results. There are several ways to build backlinks, such as guest blogging, creating infographics, and submitting your website to directories. Keep in mind that if you want other businesses or organizations to link to your website – your content must be credible and informative. No one is going to link to your website if you’re posting just for the mere purpose of posting to improve SEO. 

 

  • Build internal links: This means building links internally within your own website. If you’re consistently blogging on your website, make sure you link to relevant pages within your site. For instance, if you mention your services/products in a blog post – then link to your services/product page. Or if you have an FAQ section, make sure you link to relevant pages within your answers of the FAQ section. 

 

Promote Your Work:

  • Share your content on social media:  You MUST take the time to promote your work – this is called marketing. If you don’t market your business, you’re going to have an extremely difficult time getting people to learn and know about your business. And as much as you may want to avoid it - social media is a great way to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. So, start to share your work on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • Use email marketing:  Email marketing is another great way to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. Build an email list of subscribers and send them regular emails that feature your latest content. And please do not forget to include CTAs (call-to-actions) that direct people back to your website.

  • Get involved in online (and offline) communities: There are several communities where you can promote your content and connect with potential customers. Look for communities and/or networking events that are relevant to your industry and start showing up and participating in discussions.

 

 

Blogging tips to improve website traffic: 


Even in 2024, blogging is still as useful to your website as it was in 2004. So, let’s dive into some tips to help you think about better ways to plan and write your blog posts.   

1. Blog Posting for SEO 

As previously stated, blogging is a powerful tool for improving SEO because it allows you to create fresh, relevant content that attracts traffic. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to leverage your blog posts:

  • Quality Content: aim for in-depth, well-researched posts. 

  • Regular Posting: maintain a consistent posting schedule. This signals to search engines that your site is active and continuously providing new content. 

  • Use of Headings: use H1, H2, and H3 tags effectively to structure your content. This makes it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy and relevance of your content. If you need more information about what headings are and how to effectively use them throughout the pages of your website - check out our blog 'How do I get found in local search results?' 

  • Multimedia: include images, videos, and infographics to enhance user engagement. Remember, we advise to stay away from stock photos and use your own original images.

2. Topical Association 

Topical association refers to the strategy of creating content around a specific topic or cluster of related topics, which helps establish your site as an authority on those subjects.  


For instance, think of your website as a tapestry. Blog posts act as threads, and topical association is the weaving that connects them together. By strategically linking related blog posts within your website, you create a thematic network that tells search engines your site is an authority on a broader topic.  


Here’s how to implement it:    


  • topic clusters: create a central "pillar" page that covers a broad topic in depth. Then, write several “cluster” or related blog posts that delve into subtopics that are related to the main pillar content. Next, link these related posts back to the main pillar page and vice versa.

  • semantic SEO: focus on the semantic relationships between keywords. This means understanding the context in which keywords are being used/searched and creating content that addresses various aspects of the topic comprehensively.    For example, someone searching for topics related to fast fashion might use various keywords/terms to search such as “sustainable clothing brands,” “the impacts of fast fashion on the environment,” “polyester vs cotton fabrics,” or “how to shop more sustainably.” These terms are all related to the main topic or pillar of “fast fashion/ sustainable fashion” and in this way you can create several different blog posts that address all these various terms while also linking back to the main pillar.   Watch this video for a visual example of topical association.   

  • content categories: organize your content into silos or categories based on topics. This helps search engines understand the relationship between different pieces of content on your site.

3. Update Old Content

Internal linking is essential for SEO. This is because it helps search engines crawl your site more effectively and distributes page authority throughout your site. 

Here’s how to optimize internal linking and old blog posts:

  • audit existing content: start by auditing your existing blogs. Identify pages and relevant blog posts that can benefit from internal links by linking new and relevant content. Ensure the links are contextually relevant and only link to pages that provide additional value or context to the reader.

  • anchor text: use descriptive anchor text that includes keywords relevant to the page you’re linking to. DO NOT use generic phrases like "click here" or "learn more." Instead, be descriptive when anchoring/linking text and tell the person where it is that they are about to be directed to. For instance, "read our newsletter from last week."

  • update old posts: go through your old blog posts and look for opportunities to update these blogs. This might mean that you have to set aside some time to edit and re-write an old blog post.   However, it’s worth taking the time to do so because this keeps your older posts relevant and connected to current content.

  • link from high-authority pages: if you have pages that rank well and have high authority, use them to link to newer or less authoritative pages to boost their visibility.

  • map out a strategy: determine which new posts you want to promote and find relevant old posts that can include links to them.

  • regular reviews: periodically review your blog posts to identify further internal linking opportunities and update links as your site grows.  We recommend doing this once a quarter, or at the very least, twice a year. And if you have someone on your team that you can designate this task to doing more often - even better.


Remember, SEO is an ongoing process that takes time, effort and continuous work. You can't publish your website, never touch it again, and expect to rank high in search results - it simply does not work that way.


If you want to see real results in ranking or in driving traffic to your website, the best thing for you to do is to map out a strategy - both in terms of SEO and marketing efforts - implement it, and stick to it.


Finally, if you want to learn more about the basics of SEO, check out our course SEO Made Simple.




Adriana Leos; vznayres Chief Creative Officer


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Adriana Leos

Chief Creative Officer

vznayres

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