PROPERTY JOURNAL

Four steps to increase your website traffic

The first of two articles on optimising your firm's website introduces the principles behind the process, and explains why it is important to your business regardless of size or turnover

Author: Grace Gay

27 September 2021

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Website optimisation involves using a range of different strategies and tools to improve the overall performance of your business's website and attract more traffic. Businesses that invest in optimisation have seen revenues increase by up to 400%.

To start improving your website, you need to find out how it is performing. Tools such as Semrush or Google Analytics can help you identify any problems – and opportunities – on your site. The latter is free to use, but you may still wish to hire an expert to set up a dashboard for you in the first instance.

One significant consideration when you review your website is search engine optimisation (SEO), which is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a site. It also involves making any adjustments necessary to align with the search engine algorithm responsible for identifying and ranking websites.

Common tasks associated with SEO include creating high-quality content, orienting this around keywords, and including links to other websites. It's about improving a site's rankings in the organic section of search engine results.

Search engines constantly revise their algorithms, and it's important to update your SEO and content so that you keep pace with these changes and always adhere to best practice.

Where to start with your optimisation

Google Analytics gives you all the information you need about your business's site – how much traffic it currently attracts, who is visiting, from which page they leave, and so on. This gives you the opportunity to track the impact of the site on your users, which can inform your work in implementing or improving the SEO.

Google Analytics uses third-party cookies and app data to collect data from people who are logged into a Google account. The following key metrics and information can be tracked:

  • how users are interacting with your site
  • how many users you have in any given period, showing when you receive your highest traffic
  • the bounce rate, which highlights how many people are leaving the website immediately and not interacting with anything on the page
  • demographic data, which will tell you about geographical locations, gender and age range; this information is collected along with data on the interests users express through their online behaviour and purchases
  • in-depth outlines and breakdowns of channel traffic, which will tell you whether it is coming from general searches, paid listings, emails, social media, or directly from elsewhere on your site
  • tracking how long people spend on the site – that is, session duration – and whether they come back multiple times.

Analytics gives you the information you need to optimise relevant pages on your site and edit them to meet users' needs. Once this has been done, you can follow the four steps for creating successful content:

  • find keywords
  • carry out research
  • craft the content
  • optimise for search engines.

Finding keywords

Over the past two decades, the internet has become a resource we rely on for both quick answers and detailed explanations. Whatever you search, you will be given an answer based on the keywords you have entered.

As a company, your first step is to choose a keyword that is relevant to the services you provide. But you also need to look at the overall search volume – which you can find in Semrush – to identify a suitable phrase.

Search volume shows how many people are looking for a particular keyword, which reflects its popularity. Essentially, the keywords you target need to help direct people towards your site. You also need to be able to compete for these terms with other similar organisations.

For example, the keyword 'surveyor' is too generic for most companies to target, and you're unlikely to show prominently among those listed for this search term because it is so common. However, 'commercial building surveyor' is much more specific, and thus has a lower search volume.

It all comes down to human thought processes: typing 'commercial building surveyor' shows far more intent on the part of the potential customer than just 'surveyor'. So you are more likely to see a conversion if you use this search term because focusing on the keywords filters out more general searches.

Do your research

You should research blog titles, content ideas and creative ways to increase traffic, sales and email subscribers, as well as finding out what your competitors are doing on their websites.

This will give you an idea of where you sit in the market and what everyone else is doing to keep themselves competitive, informing your own website improvements, SEO and content marketing strategies.

Perhaps look at how frequently your competitors are posting blog articles: a couple of well-targeted and well-written pieces each month will keep Google's tools coming back to your site, support your key transactional pages and offer users content with which they can engage. This publication frequency is best practice for both websites and SEO.

Choose your blog titles carefully and make them interesting. Question the audience, state a fact or introduce some numbers; for example, 'Five ways a HomeBuyer Report is right for you'. This type of writing is appealing because it means users know they are going to be offered multiple options, and it's more likely that the content will be presented in a digestible, easily skimmed format. At the same time, it still earns clicks, traffic and brand awareness.

Something else to look at is how your competitors are converting and persuading their users. Are they publishing case studies? Do they display client testimonials on their websites? Use these questions to help you establish the industry standard, and then do the same on your own site.

For instance, the firm Surveyor Sorted optimised its website with Damteq, a digital marketing agency in Hampshire. As part of this process, the firm had a carousel of reviews pulled through from Google on its website.

This section of the site shows the user real, qualitative information from previous clients about the company they are considering. It's particularly powerful because it offers an authentic impression of Surveyor Sorted without the user having to look elsewhere. Signals such as this show potential customers that they can trust you.

Create content

Writing optimised content will boost your website rankings with search engines. Refer back to your keywords, then create service pages based on these terms.

For example, Surveyor Sorted has a menu that is easy to navigate, with pages broken down into residential and commercial categories. On the individual service pages, the headings are optimised by including the keywords that research shows users search for.

The content also features easy-to-read sentences and simple images that help readers understand the experience of working with the company. Depending on your discipline, this might be the first and only time that a customer hires a surveyor, so helping put them at ease about their decisions is vital. It's about making your website easier to navigate so users get the answers to their searches.

This copy will also be optimised for search engines because it repeats keywords on each page. The readers can see that you are using their search terms to structure the content clearly; but just as importantly, Google can identify this as well.

Repeating keywords helps to build relevance – but it's likewise important not to put too many keywords on a page. This can negatively affect your rankings, because keyword overload will prevent users from finding the specific content they are after.

You must entice and engage the readers you want. Think about questions such as how old your users are likely to be, what their occupations are, and why they might be looking at your site.

Vital SEO techniques

Finishing your content with optimised metadata – basic summaries of what is contained in a webpage – will help search engines and users understand what you're offering. Titles and metadata are the most important SEO attributes, and carry the most weight with Google.

To improve your business's rankings, make sure you observe the following best practice.

  • Add featured images, which represent the content, mood or theme of a page or post, and include your selected keywords in the alt text; that is, the words that show when the cursor hovers over an image.
  • Choose subheadings that are relevant to your content and make sure your headings and subheadings are correctly ordered as H1, H2, H3 and so on.
  • Use the selected keywords throughout the blog or content – but don't overuse them.
  • Use correct grammar and sentence structure.
  • Include internal links to other pages on your website where relevant.
  • Include external links to other websites.

The next article will deal with topics such as website ranking, user journey and design optimisation.

Grace Gay is SEO manager at Damteq

Contact Grace: Email  

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