5 On-page Optimization Steps That I Took To Drive Traffic To My Website
If you are going through a hard time to pull traffic for your site, then I would suggest some on-page optimization steps that I took to drive traffic to my site.
These are mostly content optimization measures that I and my team adopted after experiencing a long phase of poor and tepid website traffic for almost a year.
Now, before jumping into the steps I would like to share my blog’s traffic that rose incredibly high within a span of six months.
Here’s the graph how we scored in Google Analytics:
My site’s traffic comprises both organic and un-organic means. But it’s about 80% of viewers come through Google search.
This article is all about the measures I took to improve the site traffic and the affordable SEO steps taken by my team to improve the search engine ranking.
What are the On-page Optimization Steps Taken by Us?
Our website on-page optimization comprised of a number of technical and strategic steps. Some of the steps were acquired from other experts and some were self-taught.
If you follow search engine optimization basics consistently, automatically you will be pushing your website for better viewership and drive more traffic.
Step 1: Speed Up My Website
This is the first thing I learned from my SEO Mistakes.
If you want a higher ranking on the search engines results page, make sure your website is the fastest.
Hang on! That doesn’t necessarily to be the Google’s way like this:
But should be fast enough not to leave your viewers disgruntled with the slow page loading time.
Ideally, you can’t have a fixed page loading time. In fact, it varies from industry to industry and obviously device and location wise.
In research done by Google, it was revealed that 53% of the mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
As and when a visitor to a site leaves the webpage due to poor loading speed it affects your page bounce rate. And the relation between the two is direct. Like this:
If you are a newbie, you would probably clueless as we were, ‘How to Improve the Page Speed?’
There are a few good tools that can measure your page speed as well as they would point out the lacunas where you can improve.
The results shown by these tools may vary based on their different testing environments features. And hence, shouldn’t be compared with each other.
How We Proceeded?
I am running my site on WordPress. And by default WordPress sites are not that fast as in other platforms or programming languages.
During my initial days when I started blogging on WordPress, the page loading speed was terribly slow that I couldn’t show the site demo to my friends. It was a really embarrassing situation for me.
Later on, I worked much on ameliorating the site speed which invariably improved the search engine ranking.
The speed factor of a website can be segregated into three categories: The theme, the server and the caching tool.
Theme files impact the page loading speed the most. A poorly coded theme may eat out your most of the server resources and time.
While using a theme for your site, consider the expert reviews and see how far it can reduce the usage of different plugins to serve your purpose for an efficient website.
At the moment we are using the Extra theme by Elegant Themes. It uses a high standard of coding while allowing advanced customization opportunities and a great support staff for troubleshooting.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) is another technology that helps in redistributing the website content at various geological servers ensuring the fastest delivery of the webpage. At present, we are using Cloudflare free version as our CDN.
There are very good options to work on especially on a WordPress platform like W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket, WP Super Cache etc. Recently we are using Hummingbird Page Speed Optimization as our cache plugin.
Step 2: Post Publishing Frequency
After optimizing the page speed of our site, the next big challenge was to improve the post frequency of our blog.
Ideal post-publication frequency has different numbers based upon their industry and niche. If somewhere its one post a day is enough, it may not work in other industries.
I would give you a perfect example of two successful persons in the blogging arena but with different blogging strategies. They are Neil Patel and Brian Dean of Backlinko.
Both of these names are quite popular among the bloggers’ community and they managed to get millions of views for their blog.
I know you find it a bit confusing. Remember, whenever you publish an article, do it at a fixed interval, this way you can create a virtual schedule in the mind of your visitors.
They do care about your post frequency and get accustomed to it. If suddenly you drop it, your loyal visitors get disappointed and you lose your credibility.
There is another theory that bats for a high post publishing frequency. The logic is if you post more and more, there is a high chance that you may attract new visitors eventually creating a bigger audience.
How We Proceeded?
So, rather than focusing on publishing frequency, I think it’s better to concentrate more on the consistency and quality of the article. It gives you better and loyal viewers.
Initially, we were publishing one post a week which we thought of improving to two-three posts a week. This improved our site traffic manifold.
Here, I have an observation in this regard. If you are interested in building your career as a blogger, then write quality articles and publish more and more articles regularly. This would give you more reach and better exposure.
Step 3: Social Sharing
I think this topic requires fewer introductions. By this time people are almost aware of how viral a social network can be.
The effects and importance of social sharing especially for a blogger are far-reaching than we imagine.
Right from generating your traffic, building your brands to converting your sales social sharing is unmatchable at any stage of your marketing.
In our case, building an online community and driving traffic out of it was the prime motto. In fact, when we were struggling with our site traffic, it was the social counters that fed us.
Another vital point I would like to highlight is the relation between the social media and SEO.
Well, Google reiterates that social media has no direct correlation with SEO factors. Well, I won’t question about such a perception. But this article on social media and SEO clearly explains why we should give it a second thought.
Rather than creating a direct correlation, social media shares often amplify the ranking factors like visibility and link generation.
For a highly shared content, it’s obvious that more people will link to it which indirectly boosts the SEO ranking factors.
I personally don’t expect a remarkable change in ranking factors due to social sharing but I feel these are worthy alternatives to build your brand and route traffic to the site.
In fact, relying merely on organic search may often turn out to be a blunder if the Google rank drops especially when there is an algorithm change or Google disavows your link.
When we talk about social networks Facebook comes first to our mind. Well, this is natural. It’s become a social behemoth over the period of time. But there are a lot of other social networks too that can help you go around.
How We Proceeded?
For our purpose, we choose a few out of them. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Quora.
As usual, our Facebook account sends us the most of the social traffic. In comparison to others, Facebook is a better marketing tool. Twitter and Google Plus stays in the second position interchangeably for sending website traffic.
But frankly speaking LinkedIn and Quora visitors are way more dedicated. Since we publish blogs on Career Opportunities, these two networks behave in a much better way.
It’s utterly important that you keep social sharing buttons on the pages. This way you are putting your site in an auto-pilot mode- the more the visitors share your pages you keep on expanding.
For this purpose, we are using Monarch plug-in.
We also use another plugin called Better Click to Tweet. With this plugin, we can place our tweeting comments in the middle of the content and instigate our viewers to click to tweet like this.
While working on social media, you should note that simply sharing your post on social network won’t draw much traffic. You have to develop your skills to increase website traffic through social media.
Step 4: Mobile Ready
I have learned from my experiences that Google hates those websites that are slow and that are not mobile ready.
Website speed was always a concern for SEO especially for desktop searches, but with this speed update, they are causing a threat with mobile searches too.
In today’s digitalization age, people have more inclination towards mobile platforms than computers. This technological shift is clearly visible in the website viewership too.
About three fourth of our total site traffic comes from mobile devices. This is a revolutionary change we can notice in the internet usage that we can’t even imagine five years back.
In earlier days when websites were prepared without considering the mobile viewership is outdated now. Hence, a mobile-ready technological solution has better acceptability among the web developers.
Most of the CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc. and other web developing tools like Bootstrap, Angular JS, React JS etc. provide a mobile compatible platform for its users.
Since we were working on WordPress, mobile compatibility was a least bothered issue for us. But what was bothering us is the page load time of the mobile version.
According to Google, on an average, it takes about 22 seconds to load the full content of the page in a mobile view. And the concern is if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load about 53 percent of your viewers leave the page.
A loss of a visitor would certainly take a toll on your ranking as well as revenue. Hence our prime focus was on loading the core page content like text before other assets like images, CSS, java scripts and advertisements.
This is called Prioritization. It helps you by not letting your viewers leave the page due to slow page loading.
How We Proceeded?
But the main problem is with the advertisements. They put the maximum load on the pages and as a result, your web pages go slow by a couple of seconds (this is detrimental).
Here you can do two things either to drop the advertisements from your page making it load faster or use some tool so that their loading can be deferred.
We took the second approach i.e. deferring the loading of advertisement. Because in the sites like ours where there are no subscription charges or paid services or product are present, an advertisement is the only source of earning.
We found an extremely useful tool for that. It’s EZOIC. It not only improved our advertisement earning but improved our site statistics like lower bounce rate, higher session duration and obviously the traffic.
We also implemented AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for our mobile viewers. It has a couple of advantages like faster loading and better Google search ranking compared to our Non-AMP pages.
To let you understand the concept, I am citing herewith an example where you’ll notice that the same page with AMP extension is ranked higher (5.9) in Google search console in comparison to the Non-AMP page (7.8).
Hope this would make you understand the implications of AMP pages and how they are affecting your organic searches.
Step 5: Lead generation
Hope most of us already come up with this term ‘Lead Generation’, but do you know what is it and how it works?
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is a business term used to explain the process of converting your viewers into loyal customers of your products and services. If you are a beginner, you may get some guidance from this article.
The lead generation process starts with collecting data like e-mail address, visitor’s IP address, visitor’s interest, RSS feed etc. Later on, these data are utilized for sales targeting or traffic generation.
In such a competitive world you cannot merely rely upon the organic search for generating traffic or converting sales. Instead, click through emails, RSS feed and push notification to help you gather a significant amount of traffic.
You would be astonished to know the facts that email marketing draws a huge amount of traffic and by the year 2020 email users will be more than 3 billion.
Whereas push notifications target audiences based upon their IPs. If it is truly segmented on the basis of viewers’ interest or event or geo-location, then it can be an effective marketing tool.
How We Proceeded?
Bloom is a worthy plugin from the Elegant Themes. It has a variety of templates and customization features. It gives you the ultimate freedom to set your triggers and select the form positions on your webpage.
And for MailChimps what I would say? They are one of the best email marketing services I have ever tried.
Now, let’s move to web push notification tools. In my site, I use Onesignal push notification. This is a free tool and can be integrated with the WordPress plugin or adding jquery scripts.
They collect viewers’ IP address who has subscribed for and sends notification as and when you feel necessary to communicate with them.
It’s true there are some premium services also available in this regard like Push Crew, iZooto etc.
Push notifications by default are less effective as they are more generalized leaving a little room for conversion or clicks. For OneSignal, the customization requires a fair amount of customization. But the paid services are way more effective.
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Behind every successful website, there lies an untiring effort and a lot of sleepless nights. You cannot expect it to bloom in a day or two. A website optimization is a continuous process and improves with the passage of time.
We are still in a learning mode and putting our utmost endeavor to compete with excellence.