How To Win Traffic Back From the Search Engines

How do you feel about traffic? Online, it's a good thing. But in your car, well, not so much. I don't know about you, but the town I live in seems to be tearing up every major street I need to drive on. That's what happens when an infrastructure ages but it sure is getting tricky trying to get across town these days. I'm starting to feel like I'm trapped in the Winchester Mansion! While I still have access to the stores, bank and post office; it does take a little extra maneuvering to get to my destination.

It has also changed my habits...

There are some places that I really don't “need” to visit often and I've been removing them from my list one by one as the difficulty factor of trying to get to their place of business has increased. Today while stuck in detour traffic, instead of getting frustrated, I started thinking about the connection between our street repair and search engines. I know, that's an odd thing to think about, but that's what a HippyDippyGeekyChick does.

The Boom of Online Entrepreneurs

There has been massive growth in websites and e-commerce over the last 10 years. A lot of that can be attributed to the global recession (which I call a depression – sorry, Washington). As millions of people suddenly lost jobs and wealth after the 2008 crash, many of the more entrepreneurial types looked to the Internet for income replacement. Today, many new websites are generated by people who have grown weary of their mindless day job and are looking for something more exciting.

Those who treat their online business seriously and make it past the one year mark, tend to be in the game for the long haul. They learn the “ins and outs” of e-commerce and marketing and discover their strengths and outsource their weaknesses. At the end of each day, these web-weavers and adventurers have worked their butts off building, improving and protecting their business. Why? Because, for many, their online presence is their greatest investment, not only of time, but money and creativity.

So what happens when you're chugging right along with all green lights and gaining speed only to find yourself possibly facing a detour or worse a dead end thanks to search engine algorithms and updates?

Who Controls the Traffic?

Google and the other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, are the roads that bring business to your cyberspace front door.

  • What happens when they set up a temporary detour around your business?
  • How about if one day they just close the road entirely?
  • What will you do to return traffic to your front door?
  • Will you build your own road?
  • Move?
  • Get a bullhorn and hope people will walk to your door instead of drive?

These are questions that are rarely asked because no one wants to think about losing valuable traffic. I remember back in 2011 and 2012, there was a lot of hair pulling over the Panda updates. Website owners that had built their “mansions” on the affiliate marketing platform were hit hard by Google.

You remember the sites - ones that beat you over the head with blinking signs, creepy dancing babies and photos of weird and shocking things.... Well, many of “those web masters” took that route because it was easy – just plug and play, hide a ton of keywords in the whitespace and watch the traffic roll in. They lived in denial for a while. Thinking that the Panda-thing would just blow over but it didn't and without artificial traffic, their sites ended up like ghost towns. Most are gone now but occasionally one will pop up like a bad penny.

After Panda, the web entrepreneurs that remained grew smart and learned how to craft articles with proper keyword placement that would insure great traffic numbers. This is where traditional SEO hit its stride. It worked great for the analytical, left-brained creators. They had a formula and as long as they followed it, their site would be chosen from on high by the mighty Google. Yes, this approach still works today and keywords are still important but the way we choose keywords is shifting with the growing popularity of voice search.

It happens all the time. SEO gets turned upside down and those who aren't paying attention cry foul. You need to always be looking ahead. Borrowing some wisdom from the world of surfing (like with water and boards, not keyboards) –

  • There is only so much room on each wave.
  • If you find yourself in a crowd, you will crash with them when the wave collapses.
  • If you are at the leading edge of the wave where no one else knows how to can ride the wave into shore alone and unhindered.

What is the one thing that Google has never been able to reroute? The human voice. If a website or a personality is popular enough to human visitors, those visitors will seek it out. It may be hard to find at first but once there, the human visitors will do anything to not loose the trail again...sign up for newsletters, RSS feeds, bookmarks, and a bevy of other apps (like Feedly and Pocket) to help them collect their favorite sites. 

What does this do for you? It gets Google to notice you.

When the road maker sees people building their own road to get to your front door, they take notice. They are like any other business. In the end, they cater to clients. If the clients find them irrelevant, they will go elsewhere for what they need. So Google will see this organic road building and work toward adopting it into their own program. However, once you get your road back, that is not the end. You must remain at the edge of that leading wave. This is not something that can be managed with formulas. It is honestly organic.

You have to stay connected to popular culture and know it as well as you do a family member. When you take your finger off the pulse even for a minute, you risk losing that edge. There are others who will constantly want your spot on the wave. Some will have what it takes, others won't understand. And still, some others will try to copy what you have. None of these things should shake your focus. And don't worry about measuring up to others. Each successful site is unique because each business owner has a unique voice. If you choose not to use your authentic voice you will find yourself trapped in the crowd trying to see who can scream the loudest.

Maybe you feel that your voice isn't going to cut it in business. Or you don't know where to start. That's where I can help. Share your ideas and questions with me and let me start to flesh them out for you. I provide articles and blog posts reflecting your voice that will help you make your business stand out from the white noise that is traditional SEO. Yes, I pay attention to things like keywords and length; however, in my maverick style of writing, those things are like paint and carpet where the human voice and unique style are the foundation and framework.

Wow! That was a long post, but when my mind shifts into gear, it's best just to let it go. Plus, I've had plenty of time to think about traffic...maybe things will get better soon on my city streets. Until then, I will use my “traffic time” to work on world issues. Until next time...

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