All Hype & No Meat: Beat the High Rankings/Low Traffic Trap

Hope this has never happened to you, but if it has we’ve got you covered! We’re about to enter the world of…high SERP rankings that don’t translate to high Google traffic!

This is a strange, foggy world where marketers have trouble seeing what’s really going on with their campaigns. Key phrase rankings are great, but they are only one part of the marketing puzzle. Step into this scenario with us; does it look familiar?

Got the Rankings But Where’s the Traffic?

Google traffic keeps dipping, but you don’t know why. Content is still being produced on a regular basis. Link development is full steam ahead, and website pages have been optimized on a regular schedule each month. You’re starting to get concerned as this is the fourth month in a row that Google traffic has fallen by double digits. You note that revenue has risen incrementally over the time period, but with all the work you’ve put in, you expected a much greater increase in both traffic and revenue. It’s time to review your organic marketing strategy.

You need to uncover the reason for the traffic drops. And you need to do it now. There are lots of places to look – here are a few to get you started so you can get that traffic flowing!

1) Decide if you need to expand your geo-targeting. Go into Google Analytics and drill down to Google organic, then the cities where your Google visitors came from. If you’re targeting the Milwaukee, WI area, do you see downward trends in visits from surrounding cities like Mequon, Brookfield, Shorewood, Glendale, Bayside, and West Allis? Note any of the adjacent cities with at least double digit traffic drops (and then determine which of these are  most relevant to you). Were you already optimizing for these cities, or only for Milwaukee?

Now’s the time to add new geo-focused content to existing product and service pages and re-write your HTML titles and descriptions to include these additional cities. Create at least two dozen optimizations per month (total) around these additional cities for the next three months, then track your progress through the landing pages report in Google Analytics to determine if those newly optimized pages are driving traffic (and revenue) to your website.

2) Review your key phrase research as a whole. It doesn’t pay to rank for key phrases that aren’t driving the traffic you want. You may need to learn more about your customers and find out what’s motivating them – what is their intent? It’s great to find key phrases that have lots of search volume and that are relevant on the surface, but that’s not all there is to key phrase research. Optimizing for user intent is what it’s all about. It’s okay to have part of your key phrase list populated with informational keywords. Not everyone is ready to buy right now. But if you don’t have enough commercial (transactional) keywords then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic that is gold – literally – for your business.

Note the difference between these phrases:

bike safety lights


  • bike safety light reviews
  • best bike lights
  • bike lights free shipping

Note that the first key phrase is more informational; people are searching for bike lights and wanting to know more about them. The set of three key phrases offer variations where people are much more specific; they are nearing a purchase decision. These are the types of keywords that you can use to help drive converting organic traffic to your site. Your goal is to find more key phrases that represent ‘I want to buy’ moments.

3) Take a look at how you’re integrating all of your marketing channels and use your new key phrase research on those channels. All online marketing is blended today – so when you revise your key phrase research use it to help you gain more traffic not just on Google but on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. While you want to increase organic search traffic, you’ll miss lots of opportunities if you don’t expand your reach beyond organic search. It’s always a good idea to spread your risk – don’t concentrate only on Google traffic. Plus don’t forget that Google uses social signals, in part, to rank your site in its index.

4) Entice more people to click through from SERPs to your website. All of the above strategies are great and you should put them into practice immediately. But what if you still want to stimulate click through for some of your non-buying, informational keywords that are not currently driving traffic to your site? If that’s the case, it’s time to install some Power Words in your meta descriptions.

Jeff Bullas’ blog offers a deep dive into Power Words; these are the words that noted advertising expert David Ogilvy pronounced ‘golden’ back in 1963. These persuasive words still work today to entice people to buy!

  • Suddenly
  • Now
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Improvement
  • Amazing
  • Sensational
  • Remarkable
  • Revolutionary
  • Startling
  • Miracle
  • Magic
  • Offer
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Wanted
  • Challenge
  • Compare
  • Bargain
  • Hurry

How many of these are you using in your meta descriptions (preferably at or near the beginning)? Start adding them and your newly researched key phrases to your descriptions. The goal is to provide enticing details that encourage click through to your website. Your descriptions have to outperform those of your competitors without sounding spammy.

In tandem with your meta descriptions, consider adding a Power Word to HTML titles, too. Not all of the above words will work in titles without sounding spammy. Plus with only about 60 characters max to play with in a title, you may not wish to use Power Words all the time. Keep these Power Words handy just in case – one may be the word you need to push an ordinary title to superstardom!

Go Forth & Drive That Traffic!

Whew! Sounds like a lot of work but it’s also like being a detective. You have to dig beneath the surface to find the best clues. There’s so much more you can do with your expanded key phrase research and your Power Words – experiment and explore. Go forth and conquer and remember to track your progress!

And if all this sounds like more than you want to take on, you can still win with this strategy: Let Engine-ius Marketing do it for you!

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