It amazes me how often I talk to companies that spend a relatively large sum on their website, but then allow it to just sit there. Sure, the new site may mean you are no longer embarrassed by your website and no longer find yourself making excuses for it. And there is a definite value to that.
But is it actually bringing more business your way? Very often the answer to this is 'no'. Even worse, it frequently leads to a reduction in traffic to your site. Now that's a nasty surprise for the CEO.
Why does they see a reduction in traffic? Well, sometimes SEO is an afterthought.
Oftentimes, the old website had SEO bits and pieces done for it over the years. And when the supersmooth new website was done by the supersmooth website guys, the focus was all on the visual and the content, but not on the SEO. Which can lead to a nosedive on the traffic front. For instance, the number of keywords may be less on the new site, because, well, keywords aren't really their thing. Or SEO wasn't built into the price. So they don't do it. They weren't asked.
But when the new website is launched we see one of two phenomena quite a lot.
The first is where the site is left to sit there in some forlorn expectation that it is going to bring more traffic (because it looks better? Hmm.). However, unless there has been a significant improvement in the technical SEO of the site along the way, this isn't going to happen. There may be a slight shift in SERP results due to the content being more engaging and visitors spending more time on the site, but it's unlikely to be a game-changer.
Google looks for regular updates of content and if that's not happening, you are unlikely to build the value of the site and to increase your traffic.
But we also see a second thing happen. The site owner is told just that - that you need to publish fresh, relevant content on a regular basis - and mobilises the team to write blog articles. However, after a while it is not evident that all this work is actually paying off and enthusiasm begins to wane. They feel they have done everything right, so what's the problem?
Ok, this is the key bit. Right here.
The Importance of Keyword Analysis
They are not using keyword analysis to inform their blog efforts. As a result they are writing blogs that are not answering people's search queries. They are often actually told by their marketing agency that if they just write on the areas that they know about and their customers are concerned about, then they will thrive.
To give you a very pertinent example, I just changed the title of this blog post from 'Is my blogging effort worth it?' to 'How to get a successful blog' based on a quick analysis of keyword volumes in this area in Ireland. Because there are approx. 40 searches per month for the latter compared to none for the former.
The Power of Unbranded Keywords
I regularly look at what search terms are actually bringing traffic to their site. In fact, just this week I have looked at two firms in the same business - financial planning - and seen how dramatically different their results are. The one doing it wrong is blogging, but 99% of the traffic to their site is coming from branded keywords (i.e. words that are either their name or variations thereof that signal that the searcher is looking for that specific company or brand). In other words, their blog, and by extension, their website, is not bringing anyone to their site that wasn't already looking for them. The second site is also blogging and is getting 56% of the traffic to its site from unbranded keywords. In fact, they were both getting in or around 500 organic search visits per month.
And a business owner may look at their organic search volume and think to themselves that they are doing ok. But what they need to look at is the % of that organic traffic that would be coming to them anyway - the internet as directory enquiries - and the % that is coming to them because they are featuring high on searches for keywords and phrases that are being searched for in volume.
If you would like me to do a free analysis of your website traffic so you know how effective your blogging strategy is, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org