Every website wants to increase their traffic—especially more targeted traffic from their specific audience and customers. There are a few different ways to increase traffic to your website, some of which involve some simple tweaks to your existing content.
One simple way to improve site traffic only requires you to increase the value of your content. Is it answering questions your audience has on its mind? If not, make changes that will address your customers’ problems; and if you answer those questions well, you’ll pick up traction as an industry leader. This should always be a part of your digital marketing strategy, because without creating valuable content you are letting your competitors get ahead (as 89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing).
Another way is to take your already existing content and optimize it, so that it ranks for more keywords. You put a lot of thought and effort into creating amazing content, so why not get more out of the work you’ve already done?
Thanks to Google's live updates of their algorithms, Google and RankBrain, can more accurately use their AI capabilities to decipher different meanings and searcher's intent for keyword searches.
This means you shouldn't only be using focus keywords in your content, but also any relevant and related keywords as well. Google calls this semantic search and it can tell what you’re searching for, even if those exact words don't show up on the page. For example, it uses your search history, search intent, word and spelling variations, locations, and even trending topics to understand what your search query means in a more natural way. It used to be that if you didn't have specific keywords on the page, it was impossible to rank for them—but not anymore.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't include focus keywords naturally in your content and copy. It just means that you don't need to use them as frequently. Try replacing a few occurrences of your focus keywords with their semantic counterparts and you likely will start to rank for more keywords as a result. This all leads back to increasing site traffic through a couple of basic changes to your existing content.
There are a few benefits of revisiting your old content to get more traffic:
- You’ll rank for more long-tail keywords
- Steal rankings from your competition
- Increase time users spend on each page
- Improve the number of pageviews
- Decrease similar or even duplicate content
- Opportunities to re-optimize meta tags
- Find and correct broken links
- Decrease thin content on your site
- Make content mobile-friendly
- Refresh content with more up-to-date statistics, accuracy or trends
If that sounds great, all you need to do now is to begin the content audit. But how?
1. Analyze your content
Use Google Analytics to prioritize your pages by their importance or traffic. Export these into Excel and prioritize by your top performing pages.
2. Check your current rankings
Take each of those pages and paste the URL into a keyword ranking tool such as SEMrush to see all of the keywords each page currently ranks for. Look at pages that have a lot of keywords ranking on the 2nd or 3rd pages of Google and prioritize top keywords that are close to being on the first page. By doing this you’ll start to see results sooner, and as more pages start to get to the first page of Google, you can work on the rest of your keywords.
3. Expand your keyword list
You’ll want to do keyword research to add other relevant search phrases to your list besides the keywords you’re already ranking for. You can do this with several different keyword tools, including Google's keyword planner, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Suggest, and many others. Talk to your sales or customer service teams to understand how customers are finding your business. There may be other keyword phrases or topics that people are searching for that you can use to expand your list and keep it relevant.
4. Keyword audit
Look at your list of keywords with a basic search. Is the number of competing pages high? Are the same sites dominating the 1st page? Another approach involves looking at the competition value that keyword tools give you (when using SEMrush, Moz and Google). A higher cost per click from the Google AdWords tool generally suggests there's higher competition in organic search as well.
5. Prioritize those keywords
Are there any keywords you’re not currently ranking for, but you believe would be valuable to your website? What stage of the customer journey are the keywords relevant to? Group them by search intent, such as buying, research or consideration phase keywords. Continue refining your list and assessing the priority of your keywords according to how they’ll fit into your already existing content.
6. Determine appropriate pages to target
Go through each keyword phrase and choose the most applicable page that you want to rank for that keyword. While Google makes the ultimate decision, the more optimized one page of your website is over the other, the better the chance it will rank. If another page of your website is ranking instead, it may be providing a bad user experience for the person searching. Optimize the correct page by improving the content and provide a link within the content from the currently ranking page to the new one.
7. Start optimizing pages of content with your list
One thing you always want to make sure of is that you are writing your content for humans and not search engines. When updating your content, try to naturally include semantic (or relevant) search terms and other long-tail keywords. Search engines can tell when something is overstuffed with keywords and older content may require minor rewrites to make new search phrases work.
Here is an example to show how this can be done from Vertical Measures, with a before and after.
By changing the focus keyword of 'show' and replacing some occurrences of it with semantic keywords, you’ll have a better opportunity to rank for more keywords. As a result, you’ll have a higher chance at seeing more traffic, even though you’ve merely changed content that already exists on your site.
A final reminder: you will most likely never rank for every semantic keyword that you optimize your page for unless you have the most resourceful page with the best content by far on that topic on the entire Internet. Moz states that over 70% of your traffic for any given page will come from keywords you didn't even try to optimize. With that being said, you’ll still spend considerably less time trying to increase site traffic when you’re editing old or current content, rather than generating entirely new content for your website.