7 Strategies to Survive a Traffic Slump

by Frank Spooner
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When you have a business, having a website that numerous people visit is essential. You need to gain customers and build a reputation.

Until now, your Google rankings were doing good. But lately, you have found a slump in your search engine rankings.
What’s up with that?
One thing, don’t panic. It’s going to happen to each one some point.

So what can you do to improve your SEO and get a nice boost in your organic search traffic?

Read on for tried and tested techniques to help you pull you out of a traffic slump.


1- Refresh Your Old Content

Google absolutely treasures a refresh of old content. Actually, let me rephrase that: if you had content that used to get ranking but is now no longer relevant because it has grown old, you can easily have it rank it again by simply updating your content.

It’s quite simple to do: open the post you want to refresh, get rid of any content that is no longer relevant, and include new and updated content about that subject. The more content you are writing, and the more extensive you make your content, the better.

The last thing you will want to do is advise Google that you’ve renewed the content by doing the following:

  • Update the date of the post to the date of the when the content was updated
  • Force a recrawl of the content through the Google Search Console
  • Market your new content so that you get a few fresh readers and new (positive) customer experience signals.

2- Get Better Backlinks

Even though the relevance of backlinks and their power as a signal is waning in favor of user engagement signals, which I outlined above, good quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your niche will offer your content a major boost.

But, with the advent of Penguin 4.0, which probably uses something also known as link distance to gauge the quality of backlinks, you need to spend more time as well as effort acquiring proper links. To put it briefly, link distance basically “ignores” links coming from sites that are too far out in a link-chain from authoritative, regarded sites.

This truly means one thing: the links you need must be of quality, authoritative sites.

And in what ways do we get links from authoritative sites? Go back to step 1 – you need to have content that totally answers a precise question such that it can easily bring in backlinks naturally.

Keep in mind that, a good SEO will without a doubt be doing all the right things to push people to link to your content, and that, of course, is the real art of SEO – conducting subtle networking and outreach such that you earn exceptional links to your content.


3- Make a Piece of Content Go Viral

OK, it’s possible that this is not so simple. I get it.

Yet, you really need to get working on this. No, it’s not about the traffic you get from the virality because there’s a side-effect to going viral – it will actually boost your organic rankings.

How can that happen?

Google has a lot of ways of identifying what the best search results are for a particular search, but how does it know when a piece of content goes viral? The (theoretical) fact is easy enough – and you’re perhaps using it right now to read this article: Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is one of the largest sources of user data Google has (and providing the browser for free is not as altruistic as it might seem!). In the same manner that Facebook makes use of your data to create an outstanding profile for advertising, Google uses Chrome to figure out what content is the top for its search engine.

Hence the need for your content to go viral. An article that becomes popular and goes viral will send a multitude of positive signals about the content through Google Chrome, and Google will use that signal to amplify the natural rankings of that post. Because if users are sharing that content from their own free will, there must be something amazing about it – and Google loves great content.


4- (Don’t Over-)Optimize Your Anchor Texts

Penguin 4.0, released circa September 2016, has taken a true disliking to over-optimized anchor texts. Meaning that, if your anchor texts are all linking to your page using the keyphrase you intend to rank for, your anchor texts are over-optimized, and your page is likely to be hit by a Penguin algorithmic penalty. And once a penalty strikes, it will put a strangling hold on your site that won’t let go until your anchor text link profile begins to look natural.

And that last sentence there is the key to a terrific anchor text profile – it must be – or at least appear – natural.

As a result, if you’re hoping to rank for “spot on keyword,” you’ll need to have a number of anchor texts including:

  • Exact key phrase matches e.g. “spot on keyword.”
  • Partial keyphrase matches e.g. “best tactics for spot on keyword.”
  • Branded links e.g. “DART Creations has an excellent article about keyword.”
  • Naked links e.g. “www.site.com/spot-on-keyword”
  • Keyword synonyms e.g. “exact key phrase.”
  • Topics e.g. “keyphrase”
    You get the drift. You must differ the anchor texts as much as possible.

If you really, really, really want to get a perfect link profile, there is one spot-on tactic you should use: study the anchor text profile of the websites that are already ranking for those keywords. This is Google showing you its cards, so do reproduce that anchor text profile using your backlinks.


5- Write Better Headlines and Meta Descriptions

Writing great content is only half the job of writing content.

The other half is writing great headlines that entice the searching visitor to click through to your content. In fact, the click-through rate to a piece of content is one of the most important ranking factors – which you can influence and fully exploit in your favor.

Let’s me explain.

If your content, thanks to its headline, is getting clicked to more often than content ranking above it, Google will boost that content’s search engine rankings, especially if your headline is not click-bait but is actually relevant to the content of the article.

There are several tactics when it comes to writing headlines, including using shock and/or positive or negative emotion, using magnet keywords (best, ultimate, what is, how to, quick), using numbers (10 techniques to… ), and using an active, enabling voice.

Hint: Use a tool that can help you write better headlines such as CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

Writer better headlines

A little trick you might use in your meta description is to create a partial statement that you leave unanswered, which makes the user curious enough to click through to your content.

Example: These tricky search engine ranking tricks will work on any piece of content. You’ll want to check out our free…

Yes, the ellipses are deliberate to make the user curious.


6- Promote

This really is one I never get tired of writing about.

Creating amazing content, hitting the post button and hoping for rankings is a very inferior ranking strategy.

As Google will ultimately crawl your content and just might provide it some ranking love, you need to do all of the hard work of getting the content in front of as many readers as is achievable.

Keep in mind that the more users that see your content, the more likely you’ll get positive ranking signals, which I talked about above.

Actually, the hard work will start after you’ve written the content. It’s harder to promote content than it is to write it, but promote it you are required to, otherwise, it’s dead in the water.


7-  Write for Users, Optimize for Search Engines

This is actually the most essential words of advice: you need to write impressive content targeted at the end user. I started this article with this idea, and I’m likely to end it with the primary focus of your rankings – your visitor.

Your user’s experience comes before everything – if your users are content with your content, Google will figure that out.

You simply need to optimize a little for search engines using the techniques above, but your first and primary focus should always be your users and how to give them the absolute best experience on your website. Which means, once a user clicks through to your page, they should leave that page content.

If you user is pleased with your content, you’re already well on the way to achieving great rankings.

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