When Less Is More: Reducing Website Traffic to Increase Conversions
One of the main tenets of search engine optimization is to improve website traffic, however, this is often understood broadly to mean increasing traffic. In this article, I’ll explore why and how reducing website traffic can actually lead to an improvement in conversion rates and an increase in website leads.
More Traffic vs. Qualified Leads
In my experience with search engine optimization for B2B firms, we’ve found that there is a disconnect when it comes to website traffic. When thinking about website traffic, more is not always better. When evaluating website traffic and looking to generate more qualified leads, it’s important to focus on the quality of traffic rather than the quantity of traffic.
Why is quality better than quantity? Don’t we want search engines to think our site is popular?
Yes, you want search engines to see your website is popular – with the right folks. What you do not want is a flood of traffic to the website from visitors that aren’t in your target market.
For example, my agency redesigned our website two years ago. We made the conscious decision to get rid of a lot of high-performing website pages. One, in particular, was a blog titled, “What Is Typography.” Now, for a website design firm, typography is absolutely in our wheelhouse. However, the volume and type of traffic that this blog brought to the website was not quality as the majority of visitors bounced off the website within 1 – 2 minutes and never viewed another page on the website. Yes, it’s great that we successfully answered their question about typography, but we found that our target market wasn’t asking that question and it wasn’t relevant to them.
Directly after launching our newly optimized website, we saw a dip in traffic and we were not worried since we were focused on quality rather than quantity. Consequently, we also saw an immediate rise in the leads we were generating since we were attracting better quality traffic.
The Right Audience
The right audience for your website is your target market, people that are potential clients of your products and services. While you can’t control all the traffic that you attract to your website, you can fine-tune your content marketing strategy to focus on creating content that your target market is searching for and interested in reading/viewing/listening to.
A website content audit is a great way to determine what type of traffic your website is attracting, what content is attracting quality traffic, and what content is converting visitors into website leads. Once you have a strong keyword strategy that centers around high-intent terms, such as “accounting firm New York” or “recruiting software companies,” look at the existing content on your website and the analytics for that content.
Map out the top landing pages bringing in organic traffic, referral traffic, and social traffic to your website. Take note of which pages have a high time on page, are passing users onto multiple pages, and are producing form submissions (or newsletter sign-ups – whichever metric is your lead generation focus).
Also, look at which pages are bringing in a lot of traffic that consistently have a high bounce rate. These are likely the pages you want to think about removing or reworking. A high volume, high bounce rate page that also has a low time on page could be negatively impacting your SEO. As part of its recent updates, Google is placing a stronger focus on user experience metrics, and these factors may indicate a poor user experience.
Search Engines Pay Attention
Time and again, spokespeople for the search engines have stated that they are looking to make the internet faster and serve up websites that match user intent (i.e., give the people what they are searching for). A search engine doesn’t just serve up content and go about its business, it keeps track of how the searcher is interacting with the content. Things like which website pages users click on, stay on, and ignore are all carefully recorded and fed into the AI learning of the search engines.
It’s important to ensure that the content you are creating is for the right audience. Yes, it might have been a nice ego boost to rank number one for “What Is Typography?” but it didn’t add any value to our bottom line. In fact, it was likely hurting the other buying terms we were trying to rank for at that time. A cohesive SEO strategy that focuses on user intent buying terms will provide the best value for the end user (prospect) and the company looking to convert those prospects.
It doesn’t do any good for an accounting firm to rank for “business licenses” if it’s completely unrelated to their service offerings.
Reducing Wasted Effort
Creating quality content, publishing it, and promoting it takes time, money, and valuable resources. So does tracking content marketing efforts, reporting, and adjusting the strategy. By removing fruitless pages, posts, and topics, you can save yourself a lot of time by focusing on content that drives conversions. Instead of creating 5 blogs a month that cover a variety of topics, take the time to create one content piece that really resonates with your target market. Although you will attract less traffic to your website with less new content, you’ll be attracting the right traffic – people who are interested in the products or services you provide.
Takeaway: Be Wary of SEOs Who Focus Solely on Traffic
The major takeaway here is to be wary of SEOs or marketers who focus solely on increasing website traffic. While increases in website traffic can be an indicator of a successful website and content marketing strategy, it must be combined with improved lead generation results as well to be a reliable metric.
For many companies, it’s important to revise and revamp an SEO and content marketing strategy regularly to ensure you are adapting to the changing needs of your target market and their search behavior. You want your website to show up for the right searches, not just any search.