How to Improve Your Website Traffic

Traffic. We all want more of it for obvious reasons.

In theory, the more traffic a website generates, the bigger its audience and the greater its potential revenue stream becomes.

Ask a website or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more traffic.” But what we really want is “more customers.”

Sadly the misunderstanding of website traffic leaves room for good people to be scammed by fake traffic generators.

In some cases your website might need less traffic. Or, more real visitors actually interested in your products and services.

Don’t have time to read everything? Click here to jump to the tips.

Understanding Website Traffic

Definition: Website traffic refers to web users who visit a website. Web traffic is measured in visits, sometimes called “sessions,” and is a common way to measure an online business effectiveness at attracting an audience.

I remember in the early days of the Internet one of the most prominent things on a website was the visitor counter. Back then users didn’t have any accessible indicator of the popularity of a page, “SEO” didn’t exist. Social networks didn’t exist. Users did not have a clear way to determine the popularity of a web.

Web traffic is great – but not all traffic is created equal
When websites took off in the early 1990s, the website traffic was what everybody monitored, and for good reason. It was the basic method for determining the popularity of a web page.

With the advent of Google Analytics, everything got a little savvier for the general public. Now metrics like conversion rate, session time, page views, previously only available to deep pocketed businesses, was available to all and for free.

Types of website traffic

Traffic to your website can come from different directions. Below are jsut a few ways people can end up on your site.

  • RSS feeds
  • Social media
  • Email traffic
  • Organic search results
  • Paid advertising

Below we discuss a few types of typical website traffic thats useless.

What is fake traffic?

Fake traffic is traffic generated by click fraud, spam bots or software, not by real people. This traffic will never result in a sale. So from a business standpoint its useless. But don’t worry, even Google struggles with fake traffic problems.

Bloomberg reported in a 2015 story:

“Fake traffic has become a commodity. There’s malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from.”

How to identify fake traffic
Click farms are usually located in developing countries, such as China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh.

It’s not always cut and dry, but Google Analytics is a great tool to help you identify fake traffic. Check out the following options under Audience Overview for potential red flags:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Session Duration
  • Pages/Session
  • New Sessions
  • Geo Location

What is bad traffic?

Everybody knows the saying in Internet Marketing, “Content is King.” And if you want to generate a constant source of traffic to your website, you need to concentrate on creating great content. But what if that content wasn’t benefitting your business?

How to identify bad traffic
Here are a few tips for spotting bad organic traffic in Google Search Console:

  • Queries
  • Pages
  • Countries
  • Compare dates

Bad website traffic example
Don’t let your website be a target for fake traffic, or generating traffic for keywords and topics that won’t benefit your business.

The example below is what can happen to normal website with irrelevant / malicious organic search traffic. The business illustrated below was for an assisted living facility that launched a new landing page with interactive videos on their facility.

Since their website content highlights adult and senior topics, Google made the association that their video page qualified to be shown for “Adult Videos”. Thus sending a huge spike in traffic. But for search terms they clearly don’t want to rank for.

Understand Your Traffic Numbers

Businesses no longer benefitted from knowing how many people visited their website. Now the questions are:

How long did the user stay? Traffic for traffics sake is pointless if it doesn’t turn into a customer. Things like bounce rate and time on site let us build out a visitor profile.

What is the conversion rate? This doesn’t have to be a purchase but it can, in addition to contact form fills, time on site goals or designated page goals.

How much does this traffic cost? Depending on your marketing efforts, you are probably paying somebody or something. It could be Google AdWords, content writers or in-house SEO teams. Regardless this is a real cost and should be attributed to your traffic.

Where is the user from? Analytics provides a number of geographical dimensions, such as City, Country, Continent, etc. The values for these dimensions are automatically derived from the IP address of the hit, which is convenient but also has a few drawbacks.

Setup Google Analytics filters. While there are many features that make Google Analytics tick, here’s something to keep in mind: the data being generated may not be as accurate as possible. Fortunately, you can use filters to prevent this from causing problems in the future.

Google Analytics Source/Medium Overview

Website traffic should not be the primary key performance indicator. But it is a very real number to track, measure and track ROI. It’s also a great tool for determining your site’s popularity and readability. But at the end of the day it’s not about traffic but conversions and generating income for your business. At SEO Mechainc we explain to clients its about better traffic and not just more traffic.

Below is a quick scenario.

Website A: Ranks highly in niche Google search results, Effective call to actions and on-site copy, that convert a high percentage of visitors into conversions, but they only bring in minimal traffic.

1000 monthly visits * 80 conversions = 8% Conversion Rate (CR)

Website B: Ranks for non-specific Google search results, puts out well-received content, and brings in paid advertising. They do outstanding with web traffic, yet convert a minimal number of visitors.

10000 visits, 80 sales = 0.8% CR

This illustration shows why vanity marketing metrics, like website traffic, should not be the primary KPI for determining success, especially with SEO. We designed SEO campaigns should eliminate irrelevant traffic from your web site analytics. By focusing on specific keywords and crafting content for your audience will deliver real tangible results. Not just big numbers.

Tips to Improve Your Traffic

The best way to improve your website traffic is to improve your content. Let’s face it, nobody want’s to read or share irrelevant information on the internet (except spam bots).

Below are a few simple tweaks to help you increase and refine you inbound traffic.

1. Improve your on-site content: Start by cleaning up your on-site copy and grammar mistakes. During the review look for opportunities to expand on the current content. Later you can go back and re-write it, delete it or 301 redirect it.

2. Better keyword research: Take time to make a list of what products and services drive the most money in your business. Then put together a list of blog topics that would appeal to people looking for your products and services in search engines.

3. Clean up your reporting: Review your analytics and search console data. Verify that your site is receiving and recording traffic that is viable and real. It’s all about conversions and revenue. (more details below on cleaning up your analytics)

The above mentioned tips are hardly totally inclusive of everything you can do. But they are foundational changes you can make to start the process of improving the traffic to your website.

Clean Up Your Google Analytics

Stop counting your web site visits
Like most, you probably visit your website from time to time. In some cases, you may do this several times per day.

While there’s nothing wrong with this, it can have an impact on your data, as you don’t want your own visits to be tracked.

Here’s what you need to do: setup a filter that blocks traffic from your home or office (maybe both) IP address.

Doing so is simple:

  • Select Admin and then Filters
  • Select +New Filter
  • Create a name for the filter
  • Leave the predefined filter selected
  • Select Exclude>traffic from the IP addresses>that are equal to
  • Add your IP address (make sure this is accurate)
  • Click Save

This is a step-by-step process that only takes a couple minutes, at the most, to complete.

Stolen Code
In today’s day and age, it’s more common than ever for “web designers” to steal another website’s code. If this happens, they may not even be smart enough to remove your Google Analytics code.

In this event, your account could begin to receive data from another website. As you can imagine, this will greatly skew the results.

Once again, there’s a way to prevent this from remaining a concern. This time around, you want to setup a filter that only displays traffic from your particular domain.

  • Select Admin and then Filters
  • Create a name for the filter
  • Leave the predefined filter selected
  • Select Include Only>traffic to the hostname>that contain
  • Add your root domain (don’t use the www)
  • Click Save

It will only take a few minutes to setup this filter. Once the process is complete, you can be rest assured that your Google Analytics account will only display data for your domain.

Final Thoughts

We can all agree that website traffic is of absolute importance when it comes to making money online. Without this, your business entity will just sit on the web, doing nothing, and not serving its purpose. But make sure you know what types of traffic is visiting your website. And do your best to make sure you are only tracking real website visitors.

About Charlie Rose

I am the founder of SEO Mechanic. I have 20 years of experience helping multinational corporations and small businesses take the guesswork out of SEO. You can find me on Twitter.

One response to “How to Improve Your Website Traffic”

  1. […] Charlie Rose offers guidance for improving the organic traffic to your website. […]

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