In the last 4 months the Tackandtuck website traffic has increased by 380% and I have not touched the site in over a year. This was accomplished by using white hat SEO practices and anticipating trends.
Many marketers and web developers will criticize me on the title of this post because it goes against what should happen – In order for a website to really rank well it needs to be updated and new content should be added so that search engines regard it as active.
I will list the basic SEO techniques I used to increase website traffic over the year with absolutely NO updates, links, marketing or promotion.
Let me start by telling you more about this site. In December 2013, before I left South Africa to teach abroad, I was contracted to redo www.tackandtuck.co.za.
It’s a small brick and mortar equestrian shop that has access to thousands of products and simply wanted to show its clients that it was capable of acquiring these products. Essentially it would be an online catalog and when the time came, could easily be converted into an e-commerce system.
Upon doing an analysis we came across 10 other similar websites in SA – it was a relatively competitive environment.
Nonetheless, we went ahead and even with all these other sites we gained far more market share than I would have anticipated.
These are the a few key things you can do to make an awesome website that will last and increase in rankings
How to increase website traffic
Don’t try fool Google
– don’t piss your main traffic generator off.
I have seen a few sites attempt to do this and those sites are now ghost sites. Years of building that has amounted to a few visitors a month from its former glory of tens of 1000’s. Now they’re sites with little viewers or traffic purely because they tried to trick their biggest traffic generator and invested in “rank quick” options with dodgy SEO companies.
Don’t buy tons of links, if it looks to good to be true, it’s probably is and won’t be good for the long term. Google will catch you and they will punish your site.
Post amazing content
– “Content is king” a phrase coined far too much but it is the truth
Do you like reading the exact same things about a product? No, you want different opinions and more information.
Whenever I’m assessing to buy something, I check at least 3 different reviews or sites and I expected people to do the same. People get annoyed when it’s the exact same information and so does Google!
Mix it up and give information from a fresh angle. Make sure your content is different and adds value. Time is precious so don’t waste your viewers time with the same stuff and fluff they can read on the 20 other similar websites.
Content is by far one of the most important factors in ranking a site well and ensuring constant web traffic.
Name things appropriately
– people and Google want to know exactly what it is
This could include titles and the names of pages, there is a big push to make sites more human-friendly. People and Google want to know if they click www.tackandtuck.co.za/saddles-for-showjumping they are going to know exactly what’s that page is about, instead of www.tackandtuck.com/saddle
This should seem obvious, but web designers and developers are so lazy that they miss out on making these small changes and making the site more user-friendly. There are a few deeper tactics for URLS but I will touch on that in another post.
Something less obvious and one of my secret weapons in SEO has been a simple tactic of just naming images really well (this site had over 1500 images so you can imagine how naming the images correctly would have told Google exactly what this site was about).
Plan for the future
– Change is the only constant, try be ahead not behind trends
I was always intrigued at how quickly the % of mobile views (people viewing websites on their phone) increased. The word “responsive” was fairly new in 2013, when I started looking into redoing the site. But one of my main requirements to the developer was that it was responsive and therefore, mobile-ready.
This contributed to 2 jumps in traffic when Google updated its algorithm – about 300% of the increase.
You should look for trends and try anticipate what is going to happen, take risks. I invested in the first Artificial Intelligence website software called www.thegrid.io 9 months before its release (12 months later and I’m still waiting). It may fail and be a bad investment, but you always need to be trying to anticipate change.
Adapt or die they say, ALWAYS plan for the future.
Use Social Media
– One of the most important factors of website marketing
I believe that social media will be one of the biggest SEO ranking factors and I see this happening more and more on the sites I analyze. Set up the appropriate platforms and link them so that Google and customers see them as positive social signals.
It is crucial that you explain social media to the business from the ground up and make sure it becomes part of the businesses culture, the more people contributing to the social media, the better. Almost everyone uses Facebook, so use it for your work.
This was a tiny shop so we only had to use Facebook, but I would personally recommend setting up 3 different social media platforms and if you struggle for time, you can always use really cool tools like www.IFTT.com to make one post turn into 3 social media posts with absolutely no effort.
Tack and Tuck is not even close to fully optimized, but budget and time restraints called for the project to come to an end. It has some other SEO tactics that can be implemented later (homepage links, speed optimization, 400 unpublished products and a couple of unpublished blog articles).
When it slips in ranking, I will be working on fully optimizing it and building on the conversion rate of the website to maximize on all the extra traffic.
By using the above techniques, you will be able to get an increase website traffic over the years. If you use these techniques in combination with regular updates of great content you a guaranteed to increase your website traffic drastically.
If you have anything to add please leave it in the comments :)