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Treading water takes more effort than you might think

Yesterday I showed you how to examine how many potential prospects Google is sending you, and that reminds me of a question I’m often asked, which is: “I’m doing everything I can to improve my website’s ranking in Google, so why isn’t the traffic increasing year on year?”

The first thing I’d say to this is: “Are you sure it isn’t?” While the number of referrals might appear static, or not rising as fast as you’d like it to, are you looking at the total visitors, or are you looking at the “quality” ones, as we discussed? You might find that this (much smaller) figure is rising encouragingly. Why might this be? One reason is that Google is getting much better at providing “localised” results on a global scale. So while you might once have been the same-positioned result all around the world for a particular search, you’re more likely now to be higher for searches in your country and lower for searches from everywhere else. The result will be a lowering of overall referrals (the rest of the world is much bigger than the country we’re in) …but an increase in quality referrals, if for you, visitors from your own country are one of the indicators of quality. Even if that’s not one of your benchmarks, and you want traffic from all over the world, people from your own country are more likely to find your site relevant and will stick around.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you need to invest just to maintain your position in Google. Other websites are appearing all the time, and other companies are putting in the effort too. The competition is fierce. I would be amazed if there are many companies which have put minimal effort into their website over the last few years, yet have maintained their Google traffic. So if your increase in quality visits from Google is disappointing, perhaps you’ve been doing no more than is required to stand still. Maybe 2013 needs an even greater push.

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