Recently, people in groups and in the Fairy BlogMother Masterminds have been at a loss trying to figure out “what happened to my traffic”, all of a sudden. I’ve done some research on this, and came up with a few answers and references for you to check out yourself. You can also read more about how to fix the traffic in our post Digital and Content Trends 2020
Google’s BERT Algorithm
The BERT update from November had a lot to do with the change in traffic. For one thing, BERT uses featured snippets. While that’s awesome in some regards, if the user searching can find all the answers in the featured snipped, they will not click through (called Zero-Click Searches). Hmmm. so what if I don’t give all the answers in my snippet? Well, using long-tailed keywords usually gives all the answers.
My answer to the problem? It’s gonna take lots of time in SEO research. While it’s not open at the moment, Mike Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO is the best deep-dive SEO course out there. I think you can sign up for his waitlist currently.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Google is in competition now with … well … you. Google now expects you to be able to end up on ALL the places instead of just page 53. So you’re looking to have your site rank in the following areas:
- Knowledge Panels
- Answer Boxes
- Featured Snippets
There are some great examples listed in the Search Engine Journal’s article “Google’s Hogging Half Your Traffic“. One example is what happens when someone searches for something also available in Amazon. Guess what is listed first? Yup. So if I typed in “Daily Planners for 2020” I get ads, Knowledge Panels, Answer Boxes, and Amazon.com widgets. My poor little daily planner for 2020 probably appears on page 113 or some such! (By the way, you can download my Daily Blog, Work, and Home Planner for FREE, here.)
Some other interesting finds were travel sites. For example, typing in a hotel won’t get to your great article on the best hotel in Little Rock. First, the results would be the usual Google first, then hotels.com, then tripadvisor, expedia, etc. You need a better keyword. And in case you’re wondering (I know you were!), the best hotel in Little Rock is the Little Rock Marriott. Used to be the Peabody, had ducks marching. Was really cool. Anyway, I digress.
But we want traffic, not just visibility. What do we do?
Three basic things are suggested by SEJ (the first three). I have added a few more.
- Track the right SEO metrics, see the Search Scorecard from Longtail.ux
- Find your long-tail keywords
- Target rich long-tail searches
- Try to fit in ALL the places, ads, knowledge panels, answer boxes, and featured snippets
- Be careful with what you place in featured snippets
- eMail. eMAIL, EMAIL. Your list is your best bet to grow your audience
- Facebook groups. Keep showing up. Keep advertising. Keep active in your own and others facebook groups.
- Pinterest. Always a favorite for most niches.
So let’s take a look:
Track the RIGHT SEO metrics
SEJ says to forget about rankings and visibility. Pay attention to traffic, revenue, and leads. I agree with that in theory. I think it’s also important to rankings and visibility to a point. Not to show my rankings or visibility, but to prove if the theory is correct. Ideally, if I’m paying more attention to traffic, revenue, and leads, rankings and visibility should go up as well, right?
Now tracking traffic, revenue, and leads is sort of a manual process, I think. Google can definitely give you a lot of information, but you have to know where to search to get it. I recommend the Scorecard by SEJ at the moment. However, your own revenue numbers may be helpful. Eventually, I’d like to turn this info into a spreadsheet, but we’re not there yet. Maybe in my Fairy BlogMother Masterminds.
So in my opinion, I would track the following:
- Bounce Rate
- Traffic Channel
- Set up a goal and keep track of the goal conversion rate
- Landing Page conversions
Place these metrics in an excel spreadsheet with a date and do a graph over time.
OR use the Scorecard, although if you don’t have much traffic, you’ll get zeros everywhere.
Find YOUR Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords usually have the following qualifications: 4 words or more, your specialization (something you do well), Google Ads paid search terms, and other SEO methodologies.
There is also a Search Scorecard available for free for the first 100 long-tail keywords. Many other SEO services also provide this information, so if you already are using SEMRush, or uberSuggest, or AHRefs, or any other SEO tool, this service may already be available to you.
Here’s a screenshot of the keyword overview from my website…
What’s hilarious about this (and shows I need to do a better job with keywords) are “annie’s stickers” refers to a post I have about using washi tape in planners. I have no stickers for sell, download, or otherwise. Also, “youtube how to do a messy bun”. That is only from my picture…messy bun. I do not mention that phrase anywhere. Lol. But there you go.
In turn, when you actually get down to the things I blog about, the long-tail keyword “how to write a blog post on WordPress” actually gets somewhere. My competition, though, is wordpress.org and wpbeginner.com. I figure if I can at least get to the third slot, I’m doing something. 🙂
Target Rich Long-Tail Keywords
These are considered to be search queries that can be answered in a sentence or two. Things like “Best Cheap tech blog hosting 2020”. These are generally zero-click-proof, but takes A LOT of research. So I would actually create a PAGE that talks specifically about this hosting using ALL of the words. That should get me close to the front page.
ALL the places, ads, knowledge panels, answer boxes, and featured snippets
Again, be careful with what you place in featured snippets. If you answer the entire question in the featured snippet, you won’t get any clicks! So your best bet is to get your article, blog, or website to all of the below:
Good, old-fashioned, Google Ads. It doesn’t take a lot of money, just target a particular blog post that you want to reach a certain audience.
These are those things that show on the right side of your screen when you search. These are rich snippet results. Here’s an example:
eMail. eMAIL, EMAIL. Your list is your best bet to grow your audience
Your email list should give you traffic if you email your list regularly. For example, the next time you email your list, throw in a link to a blog post, your main page, or even an opt-in box for your email list. You should at least get a click or two from that as well as traffic from your existing list.
Use engaging emails to email your list. Send an email at least once a week even if it’s not very long. Ask your subscribers what they need from you. An awesome email provider, and my personal favorite, is Flodesk. Their emails are absolutely beautiful and you can customize them as you wish.
Facebook groups. Keep showing up. Keep advertising. Keep active in your own and others Facebook groups.
You can post as many links to your site and your content as you want in your own Facebook Group. You should also make sure an invitation to join your Facebook groups is listed in your emails. You can (and should) at least mention your site daily in your own Facebook group.
Posting in other’s Facebook Group is tricky. You don’t want to offend the group owner by dropping your link and that’s it. By the same token, if the group is in or is similar to your niche, it’s considered bad form. What you CAN do is help. Yup, the goal of most of us bloggers… help others. Help answer questions in other groups.
If they allow, place your link in their link threads. If they don’t just simply help. Your name will get noticed. Sometimes I’ll answer the question and simply say something like “I wrote an entire blog post and video on this very subject if you’re interested.” They will either go look it up (make sure your website is in your profile) OR DM you and ask for the link.
Advertising on Facebook is also an option. One of my Fairy BlogMother Masterminds peeps told me a story of how she simply ran an ad on a particular post for one evening. Yup. Whole $3. worth. She got 4 or 5 views from that and I think 2 subscribers. Just for $3. Now, this may or may not happen to you, but look at it from our point of view… it’s worth a shot for $3. Worse thing that can happen? You lost $3. Might help you to better keyword your site or change your title at least.
Pinterest. Always a favorite for most niches.
Some niches do not do well on Pinterest. Mine in particular. However, most people get a lot of traffic from their Pinterest posts. Keep in mind, although Pinterest doesn’t do well for me, I still post at least one or two Pinterest posts for each blog post I write.
In conclusion, things they are a changin’. Don’t stress yet. Just slowly change your methodology and start thinking about the future of Google searches. And don’t forget Bing! Although Google still holds the record for search engines, Bing is still popular on some platforms (Windows in particular). So don’t leave them out!
Don’t forget to sign up for our Fairy BlogMother Masterminds. These are low-cost, information-full, and small group mentorship masterminds that you are going to want to be a part of! Find more information below:
Until Next Time, Happy Blogging!
Your Fairy Blogmother
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