But what about knowing what not to do?
If you want more blog traffic, you need to make sure you’re not doing anything that’s going to damage your chances of getting that traffic.
Here are some common mistakes bloggers make:
1. Not Having a Great ‘Meta Title’
When you do a search on Google and see results, what’s the first line you read?
That’s the meta title.
For example, the meta title is underlined in this:
If you don’t get this right, you are damaging your chances of getting traffic.
You need to consider two people:
Google wants to know what the post is about so it starts with the meta title.
You need to make sure that the keywords you are targeting, or words similar to those, are in the title.
If you’re targeting the words ‘Amateur Photographer’, you will want these words in the title.
But… Google knows that photographer and photography are quite similar.
It also knows that photography for beginners is similar to photography for amateurs.
You may be lucky and rank for everything.
If you don’t, you will want to write multiple articles targeting similar terms.
b) The person searching
You do need to consider Google but, if you were only considering Google, you might use the title ‘Amateur Photography’.
That helps Google but is this enticing enough for someone to read the description under the title?
In the example, we used ’10 Pro Tips for ‘Amateur Photographers’. This helps Google and the person searching.
As an amateur photographer, we want to learn from the pros so tips are interesting.
We also like lists so ’10 pro tips’ works well.
2. Not Having a Mobile Version of Your Blog
Google wants people who visit your website to have a good experience.
If your website is not designed to work correctly on mobile browsers, your site visitors will have a negative experience.
As mobile becomes more important, Google will penalize your website for not having a mobile offering.
Yes absolutely. It makes perfect sense.
What are your options for a mobile version of your blog?
There are several options for building a mobile version of your blog.
1. Responsive Design
Your website adjusts to fit the device someone is browsing on.
It responds to the size of the device…
Maybe that’s why they called it responsive 🙂
Google’s preference is that you have responsively designed website.
2. Mobile Version of Your Website
This is a version of your website specifically designed for mobile.
- Fewer menu options
- Fewer screens
- Less text.
This is generally not suitable for a blog because, when someone wants to read your blog, they generally want to read all of it.
How do you test your blog to make sure Google is going to like it?
The first think you’ll need to do is check out Google Webmaster Tools.
This tells you about any errors Google finds on your website in relation to mobile browsers.
Next, fix those errors!!
You should also run the Google mobile-friendly test.
3. Having a Slow Blog Means Losing Visitors
You’re on a bus and you open up a browser on your mobile device.
You go to your favorite blog and it takes a few seconds to load.
Most people move on to the next blog at this stage.
The following graphic shows when people start leaving a website when the load time is slow (source: Kissmetrics).
Google wants everyone to have a great user experience.
We have no patience so, when a website is slow to load, this means ‘bye bye’ to your website visitors.
Fixing a slow website means implementing some good practices and getting some technical help.
Here are some ideas:
- Be careful of image sizes when you upload. Use tools such as Tinypng to reduce image sizes.
- Pay for a good hosting provider – Where you host your website is going to have an effect on speed. Try a hosting provider such as SiteGround.
- Implement a CDN – This is a content distribution network. Your content is distributed around the world and browsers get access to your content from a place near to them. Check out MaxCDN.
- What you don’t measure, you don’t improve. Use Pingdom’s tool to test your website speed. Talk to your developer about improving it.
4. Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions Too Long or Too Short
Dilyan Grigorov is an expert in SEO who we work with on a regular basis and one of the reports he provided us was that our titles and descriptions that were too long or too short.
Meta titles are the first line that appear in search results and should be 55 characters or less.
Meta descriptions are the expanded descriptions under the title and should be 160 characters or less.
What happens when titles or descriptions are too long?
Google will not display all of them, so you’ll see dots similar to the following:
If they are going to be cut off, you need to make sure the important information is at the start.
Or, better still, just stick to the word limit!
Even more worrying is that, quite often, Google will just guess the meta description if you have provided one that is too long.
It goes through your content and picks out something it thinks is relevant and includes that as a meta description.
You don’t want this to happen.
If your meta descriptions are too short, they don’t provide enough information for a browser to make a decision about a post.
5. Sharing Your Blog Content Once Means Less Traffic
Do you ever go to read a blog post and see that is was never shared on social-media channels?
Or that it is shared on some social-media channels once but never again?
Is this content so bad even the owner of the blog content didn’t share out the content? Or they thought the content was just ‘ok’ so they only shared it once?!
Only sharing your new blog content once is a big mistake.
If you do this, most of your audience will not see your content.
For example, Socialbro will analyze my Twitter account to tell me how many of my followers are active now.
Out of 24,000 followers, there are 74 active users when I check it.
it’s 8am on a Sunday morning so it’s not surprising that it’s quite low…. but I’ll never see 10,000 active followers – or anything close to this – at any one time.
What does this mean…?
Most of your followers, fans, email subscribers etc don’t get to see your content.
- You need to send it multiple times.
- You need to send it in different ways (e.g. different text, different images)
- You need to use the tools to help you – Bufferapp, Sprout Social, CoSchedule etc.
6. Ignoring Google Semantic Search
What is semantic search…?
Here’s a definition from Wikipedia:
“Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results”
What does this mean for you?
When Google is indexing your content, it doesn’t want to see the keyword you are targeting being replicated throughout your content.
If you overdo it, it looks spammy.
However, you will help Google to index your content correctly if you include related keywords and synonyms.
For example, if I search for ‘more blog traffic’, I see terms like:
- Increase blog traffic
- Drive more traffic.
And I see related terms (displayed at the bottom of the page)
- How to gain blog traffic
- Tips for increasing blog traffic.
If you want to increase blog traffic, it makes sense that you may also mention relevant terms such as website, SEO, blog post, WordPress and other similar words.
Think like Google and you’ll rank better for content!
We all want more blog traffic (if we have a blog!).
But there are many mistakes that affect the volume of traffic we get.
We have outlined seven biggies. We’d love to hear the problems/issues you have faced!
Image courtesy of Shutterstock