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On occasion companies come to us with the complaint that they have obtained some great listings in the Search Engines but still do not get a lot of traffic.

This seems like a paradox right?

In theory organic traffic should increase as your organic rankings improve based on the fact that websites listed as #1 and #2 get nearly 60% of all clicks.

The remaining 40% of clicks are divided up between lower ranking pages until you get to the second page of listings where click through traffic virtually drops to zero.

If you are sitting at the top of SERPs for your targeted phrases and still aren’t getting enough traffic your approach to optimization could be flawed and need some tweaking. Here are three questions to ask yourself when comparing ranking performance to traffic results.

Do your rankings account for highly search phrases?

One reason why you may get little traffic from your listings is because the terms you have optimized for are not searched on enough.

This is often the case with very specific search phrases such as “low cost insurance providers Vancouver”. It can be relatively easy to get a top listing for specific phrases but is it worth doing if your customers aren’t searching for the term?

Your time could be better spent trying to obtain rankings for phrases with higher search volumes even it will require more time and effort. As search volume for a keyword phrase increases there will be more competing websites trying to get a piece of the traffic.

In addition to competing against more websites for a top ranking on highly searched terms you also start to compete against much bigger competitors as well. Rather than competing against other local companies you may find yourself trying to outrank national or global companies with big marketing muscle to flex.

The trick is to find the right balance between higher search traffic phrases with lower competing pages. This way you have a lot of people searching on your targeted phrases but don’t have as many websites to outrank.

Do your rankings represent the intent of the searcher?

Search Engines such as Google have heavily invested in developing technology that understands the searcher’s intent. However, there are still times where they miss the mark.

For this reason it is important to spend your time optimizing for phrases that meet your potential customer’s behavior and match their search intent. A great article to refresh your memory on searcher intent and customer behaviour is our Target Market Behavior article which discusses how to choose keyword variations based on gender, age or religion.

A classic example of intent is when people began to search for “apple” in terms of computer and no longer the fruit. Eventually Search Engines recognized that most people were seeking out technology.

As such, if your website gets top listings for online meeting as a fruit company (which is visible in your listing) you may expect to earn very little traffic as most searchers skip over your listing and click the next visible computer or technology website.

A quick way to understand how the Search Engines interpret the intent of a particular search term is to look at the first five to ten pages of results. What are the most common types of sites showing up? Does your website fall within this category?

If your website does not fall in the category perhaps you should rethink the phrases you are targeting, unless you truly believe that you should be ranking for the phrase because it is how your customers would search for you.

Is your listing appealing in the SERPs?

A great exercise when comparing rankings and traffic is to analyze your meta titles and descriptions. This is what appears in the SERPs and entices searchers to click on your website as opposed to your competitor’s site (even if you are listed below them).

When looking at how your site appears in SERPs ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the title attract attention?
  • Does the listing stand out from the rest of the listings?
  • Does the description give a clear picture of what is on the page?
  • Does the description entice an action?
  • How does the listing compare to other listings in the SERPs?
  • Does your listing or a competitor’s listing include a picture, authorship or review stars to attract more attention?

During this evaluation it can be easy to focus on optimizing for certain keyword phrases. Instead, focus on reviewing your SERP listings through the eyes of your potential customers. If you saw the SERP listing would you click on it?

Make sure that your listing is easy to read, stands out and compels a searcher to click.

Not All Top Google Listings are Equal!

Because all top listings are not created equal make sure that the top listings you have actually count. Furthermore, make sure that your top listings are delivering traffic, new customers, conversions and sales.

This is why, in addition to just SERP results, we also analyze the changes in traffic, conversion rates, high traffic pages and more on a monthly basis.

If you have more questions about making your Search Engine listings deliver th

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Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.