Search traffic (i.e. Google traffic) has always been the primary traffic source for waspbags.com.au. It has been the way the bulk of customers found WASP Bags for a long time. It was all thanks to Google Adwords (the paid search results) â€“ a super quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive way to drive traffic to the site. The perfect way for any new business to get up and running; and the reason why Google turns over billions of dollars a year.
To be honest, my Adwords campaigns perform pretty well, consistently delivering click through rates between 8 and 10 percent. As a result, I really had neglected the other side of the search traffic equation: organic traffic. Organic traffic refers to the non-paid results on Google, the keywords that your site naturally ranks for. Having your site rank well for chosen key words involves a lot of optimisation â€“ and hence the term search engine optimisation (SEO). You want to rank well for your best performing key words (which you identify quicker through Adwords campaigns) because itâ€™s free traffic â€“ and free traffic is much better than paid!
Why Itâ€™s Important
But what is â€œranking wellâ€? Ranking well is being of the first page, ranking better is being in the top five (which is â€˜above the foldâ€™ â€“ people donâ€™t have to scroll down to see the listing (yes, weâ€™re all that lazy now that we donâ€™t scroll)) and ranking best is number one. The below graph shows the effect of ranking position. Note that the CTR on position one is massive, declining consistently to position 5, then flat from 6 to 10, with a bit of a blip on the top of the second page (position 11).
So, in what position was WASP Bags sitting for the best performing keyword?
Well, it wasnâ€™t the first page.
Nor the second.
It was on the sixth page, in the illustrious position of 67…
Looking at the above graph again, position 20 has as much traffic as a toll road to Baghdad so you can imagine how much traffic position 67 gets. Not much. It was time to work on my SEO.
What I Did About It
Iâ€™m far from an expert on SEO, and whilst I could learn it, it would take a lot of time (which I donâ€™t have) and not likely yield the results a professional could get. After reviewing my options, I engaged a company with a basic site optimisation and back link building package. Like anything, there are options from the basic, to the moderate to the premium. Iâ€™d say this was the basic to moderate package â€“ it still cost two and a half grand after all.
First step, and the one where Iâ€™m now thinking I fell short, is choosing the keywords to optimise the site for. I had to pick two primary (the best performing), and 8 secondary keywords (not so well performing). The website was optimised by incorporating these keywords into copy, headings, links, titles etc. Back links are being built on the two primary keywords only.
So, how did it go? Well, at first, great! Within a few weeks WASP Bags was coming up at about position 19, second last on the second page. Back link building takes time, and is still happening, so this immediate change was all due to the onsite optimisation. However now, a few months later, itâ€™s slipped back down to the fourth page at position 44. Damn.
What I’ve Learnt
So, why is this? I donâ€™t know, but I have an idea. Google is fickle no doubt about it. Between the regular changes to their algorithms and visits by the Googlebot (Googleâ€™s web crawling robot), positions can change regularly, and substantially. The big initial change was likely due to Googlebot picking up the changes. However, subsequent Googlebot visits picked up no further changes, and reranked the page. I fear that by trying to optimise for 10 keywords in total, the onsite optimisation was spread too thin to get really meaningful ranking changes.
If I were to do it all again (and I may end up doing so), Iâ€™d focus on the one keyword and optimise for that. To me, this makes sense. Make your optimisation super focused and youâ€™ll do better for that keyword. Spread it too thin and youâ€™ll make modest gains on all, but massive gains on none. And aÂ massive gain is what I was after.
What Do You Think?
As I said, I am far far away from being an SEO expert, so I donâ€™t know if this learning is right â€“ intuitively itâ€™s right but I donâ€™t have the experience to verify if it is. What do you think? Do you think optimising for one keyword is better than ten? Share your thoughts/learnings in the comments section below.