Recently I worked with a client who wanted to increase traffic to her WordPress website. We applied some standard on-site and off-site SEO techniques to achieve the results shared here. We employed no complicated backlinking strategy and this is not an ongoing $300 monthly service. Yet we improved her web traffic by about 1250% – from an average 20 visitors per month to an average 250 visitors per month – as evidenced by the graphic above (that’s her actual 90-day graph, generated by the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin, Web Chick not included).
Don’t get me wrong…those SEO companies who charge for ongoing services have their place. I just want you to know there are other options for small business professionals who might not have $300 or more every single month forever in their budget just yet. This was a one-time, $1000 project spread out over 8 weeks (and 3 payments). Here’s how we went about it:
- Added Google Analytics and Google Search Console (fka Google Webmaster Tools). After all, there’s not much point applying SEO if you don’t have a way to gauge your progress.
- Installed an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. SSL creates a secure connection between a website visitor and the server over which the website sends information. Google gives “secure” sites a minor ranking boost over sites that are not SSL-enabled because they want to “encourage all website owners…to keep everyone safe on the web.” There are many affordable options for acquiring an SSL certificate; some web hosting providers are even beginning to offer them free as part of their annual plans. Zero SSL is another no-cost option, but you’ve got to be sure to renew it every 90 days.
- Found and fixed broken links. Although Google has stated outright that broken links alone do not hurt your site in search rankings, they do admit that you still might want to address them. Case in point, if broken links lead to poor user experience, search engines pick up on that. And since they aim to send their users to quality websites, broken links can indirectly affect your SEO.
- Improved usability of the site. For instance, we moved a downloadable PDF document out of the menu to another location (people may have panicked when they clicked on that menu item, thinking they were going to land on a page but something suddenly downloaded instead, causing them to immediately leave the site). We also deleted shopping cart components from the site, as no e-commerce functionality is needed for this particular small business.
- Performed a kind of “remodel” to help the site reflect the client’s ranking goals. This included some minor menu/page restructuring and updating the image alt tags.
- Changed the status of currently unused pages (that the client doesn’t want deleted just yet) from Published to Draft so they would not be indexed by search engines.
- Utilized Yoast’s free WordPress plugin to ensure optimal use of keywords and keyword phrases where appropriate, as well as to determine keyword density and other ranking factors (like the presence of internal and external links), improving content quality where applicable.
- Cleaned up citations across the web, including adding Locations on Facebook and Google My Business.
Be Forewarned: What SEO Can’t Do
Work instantly. It took about 16 days for us to start to see the needle move, so to speak. Sometimes you can see results faster than that; sometimes it takes longer. But it rarely, if ever, happens overnight.
Increase your sales. Not directly, anyway. But I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve got a better chance of increasing your sales when you’re getting 1000+ page views monthly versus 12 or fewer page views per month.
Rank your site #1 on Page 1 of Google. At least…it *probably* won’t do that. But it probably CAN move you from obscurity (which is, basically, anything past page 3 or 4) to somewhere on page 1 or 2, depending on the keywords and/or keyword phrases you’re trying to rank for.
A Final Thought on SEO
While there are certainly things you can do as a small business professional to improve your SEO (like being active on social media and creating keyword rich content on your website – for starters), there are skilled SEO consultants available to you who are trained to understand how search engine spiders and bots assimilate and organize your website’s content. Attempting to optimize your site for better search engine rankings without similar training or understanding can confuse search engines as to what your page content is about and can actually backfire. So, please, if you’re interested in improving your web traffic via SEO, be sure to consult a professional in the field.
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