As you work to improve your site’s rankings, you likely spend a lot of time looking at data. Search results. Domain authority. Likes on Facebook. Retweets. These numbers can help you see what’s working and what’s not. But, chances are, your audience will never be swayed by these retrospective metrics.

You probably will never have a sales conversion that starts out with a reader looking at your rankings. They just affect whether or not that reader sees your site in the first place. Your sales and loyalty aren’t positive data—they cause positive data. So what factors impact basic traffic? In other words, how do you get more people to see your site?

1. Dynamic Content

You’ve heard “content is king” (probably often enough that just the mention of it makes you cringe). The reason this concept took off the way that it did is simple: dynamic content drives traffic and sales.

To make your content more dynamic, ensure it qualifies for the following descriptions:

  • Audience Specific—It won’t matter how much content you produce if it goes over the heads of your audience. Or, worse, in one ear and out the other. Take a look at who you’re trying to reach and who you’re actually reaching. Lining those two demographics up brings in more traffic and ensures the people who find your site really want to be there.
  • High-quality—To make your content stand out in an inundated market, it has to be well researched, aesthetically pleasing, and engaging. It’s simple, but true. To be heard, you have to put in the effort to produce content that’s actually valuable to your audience.
  • Shareable—In this world of bite-size information, for your content to be shared at all, it has to be easily shareable. If your content—or a portion of it—can’t quickly be retweeted, shared on Facebook, or used as a LinkedIn update, it just won’t be. This decreases the content’s exposure, thus circumventing further traffic.

2. Positive Audience Interactions

While increased clicks look good, they don’t always herald an upswing in significant traffic. If your audience frequently visits your home page and quickly leaves, your traffic won’t mean anything in terms of sales or long-term audience relationships.

The way to keep your audience on your site is to provide positive interaction. Do this by making your site:

  • Intuitive—Web design provides plenty of opportunity for creativity and innovation. But some things should be kept simple. Think about it this way: if you couldn’t find a company’s address, phone number, or services, would you do business with them?
  • Relevant—When you’re deciding what to put where on your site, think like a potential customer. If your service page on dental emergencies starts with a story about the last company retreat, you’ll confuse some readers and lose most of them before you get a chance to build a relationship.
  • Responsive—Anticipate the fact that much of your audience will find your site via a tablet or smartphone, and design your site accordingly. Your information must be accessible from a range of devices, or you risk driving away your audience instead of attracting them.

3. Solid SEO

You know the importance of SEO. Without it, your site is just one of thousands, a couple hundred Google search result pages back. But if your SEO isn’t solid, it won’t increase your traffic—just your marketing budget.

Here are three SEO goals that really pack a punch when your aim is higher traffic:

  • Focus on Organic Results—Paid ads and PPC have their uses, but the results are clear. When your company shows up high in search results organically, your readers are more likely to click and more likely to trust you. This is why keyword optimization is so important. It brings you to the right readers’ attention and presents you in the right light.
  • Make a Positive First Impression—What’s on your site controls traffic, but so does what your audience sees before they ever click. Your title tags and meta description serve as your introduction. If they’re a little off, your traffic results will be too.
  • Steady Work—The world of SEO changes often. There will always be a new update or a better way to do something. But that also provides constant opportunities to improve. If you’re not seeing the kind of traffic you want, make some changes until you find out what works.

No matter the size of your business, these three factors have a major impact on how many people see your site and how they feel about what they see once they’re there. To increase traffic, go back to the basics of content, web interaction, and SEO.

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6 Comments

  • Sean R Parker, February 25, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    Another suggestion I thought of while reading this is bringing your content “above the fold”, just like newspapers did before the internet. This is especially important for your smaller screens. Your slider probably doesn’t do this on the desktops or laptops but if it’s forcing content below the fold on tablets (but more especially smartphones), consider leaving the slider and other less vital elements out of the smaller display experience.

  • Josh Hone, February 25, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

    We’re going through a paradigm shift in marketing style and information consumption. Almost back to the roots where they had to entertain people with 10 minute long commercials to sell an item. That was the way it worked for the medium back then in the old radio days. Now, a new medium has taken hold and the people can now give instant feedback to the campaign. We see content serving more purposes than selling the product but never forgetting that is the most important goal. Competition is fierce and it is forcing the market to provide quality to be a leader of the pack. Bodybuilding.com is the best example I can think of at the moment. It’s more than just information and products, it’s an experience.

  • 3 Things That Affect Your Overall Website Traffic | Traffic Generation, February 25, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

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  • Jeremy Lindstrom, February 26, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

    This blog (the Boost blog) is actually a good example of the principle you’re talking about. On desktop, there’s a slider. But on mobile the slider is absent, yet the mobile website is still very visually appealing and easy to use.

  • Caz Bevan, February 26, 2015 @ 4:34 pm

    True story! And I’m glad you noticed… 🙂

  • M Andrew Eagar, March 2, 2015 @ 9:52 am

    Great post Reilly! As you so wonderfully put, content is more than just an SEO factor, it is a stickiness and conversion factor as well.

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