How do we get our Google Search traffic graph to trend upwards?

Yesterday I looked at how we might measure trends in the core, product-related traffic we’re receiving from Google searches. For a particular client of ours, we looked at quality visits, which had landed inside the site, on product pages.

Focusing on this traffic, it turned out, meant that we were only looking at about 5% of all visits. But they would be the key visits which any search engine optimisation would be targeting. As a reminder, this is what our friends had achieved:

Analytics

So, to what do we attribute this doubling of traffic from Google search? Although there have been some ongoing projects and some one-off efforts, the results trend is fairly steady, suggesting that whatever they’ve done has just tended to slowly add to the accumulated impact. There has not been a website redesign in this five year period.

The ongoing projects have included working on the page titles and description meta tags, which can provide a ranking benefit in the Google results, and almost certainly improves clickthrough rate, which is even more important. The company has also placed several product panels on its home page, which I continue to believe has an impact in the Google rankings for searches on those products. Many companies feature links to their main products in menu systems on the home page – and indeed sitewide – but when you’ve got a panel about a product on the home page, with a sentence or two of text and a nicely tagged image, to me that really says: this product is important to this company. And I believe Google works the same way.

While the company is grateful for any external links it can get, I don’t think it has been able to obtain any more than would be normal for a company of its size and influence. However, I wouldn’t want anyone to conclude that they don’t need to try to get links, just because this example shows that huge advances can be made in the Google results without them. Link-building is still an effective use of time and effort.

Two more aspects of search engine optimisation involve content. The company concerned has steadily added information to its site, and flagged this up clearly. While the news and blog items may not generate large quantities of traffic in themselves (and these aren’t included in the chart above anyway), we know that Google likes to see ‘activity’ on a site. And quite right too: if the search engine is going to try to provide relevant results, then indications that a site is alive and well should be quite significant.

As well as steadily adding content, there has been at least one injection of serious traffic-generating content to the site too. This ‘glossary’ type section has been massively successful, and quickly became the major traffic generating section on the site. Again, it’s not featured in the chart above, because it’s not relevant to our analysis, but I do believe it has had a knock-on effect on the Google results for product searches. If you were Google, why wouldn’t you take this into account? The site is a reference for the background technology related to the products featured, so it’s safe to give it the benefit of the doubt as a product source.

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