Search Rankings, Traffic & Sales Down? Read this

If your search rankings have been a little off lately, you’re certainly not alone. This past year in SEO has been a rollercoaster ride with Google’s systems becoming increasingly unpredictable. I’ve many clients with websites that once ranked well, suddenly seldom show up in a Google search, even though they did everything right in terms of traditional SEO optimisation. i.e. High speed, mobile optimised and aligning content with search intent. So, what gives? What’s really happening in Google search right now, and why does everything seem horribly broken?

Is Google still useful for general search?

Google is not what it once was and what we all grew up with, especially if you are just doing research on a topic. Personally, for research, we avoid Google and use Perplexity, simply to eliminate all the needless advertising and product placements at the top of the search. But, if I am interested in actually buying something, then using Google still makes sense, although appreciate that what I see in 2024 will be mostly paid placements, with organic listings well down page one, if they show at all.

Shops now need Adwords, but AI can make it better

Unfortunately for small businesses with limited budgets, the 20-year free ride with Googles organic search is disappearing fast, if you sell any products or services online. There’s no magic fix to make it better, aside from setting allocating a small monthly budget for Google Adwords, complementing existing organic SEO work you still need too.

However it’s not all bad news. The AI options are immense, growing every month. The AI + SEO tools we’ve tested include those from Google, WordPress, RankMath, Yoast, Contentbot, SEOWriting and SemRush. Each aims to provide well-written, well-targeted website or email marketing content, as well as text for any Adwords campaigns. Some tools can also monitor your competition, generate all optimised ads, landing pages, forms and track followup processes too!

Is there a single plugin or one-click install for all this? Not yet. Any new business workflow must always involve some assembly of separate tools and detailed configuration work to suit the specific client. But I believe the potential for cash-strapped small businesses selling products or services online, plus the savings in related admin costs, is massive.

Optimise site engagement – For more traffic & sales

Aside from better site content and perhaps Adwords, what else is needed to rank higher in search? Well, a recent analysis of Google’s new ranking factors reveals that a focus on driving more qualified traffic to a better user experience and conversions sends an additional signal to Google that your page deserves to rank. This goes beyond mobile speed, relevant titles, and content that drives SEO today.

Websites must focus a lot more on interactively helping visitors and getting them to take actions that ultimately lead to increased sales. This reminded me of an interview with marketing guru Winston Marsh back in 2012, where he provided conversion tips that are still valid today.

  • e.g. include a quick survey – get a gift
  • sign up for a useful newsletter or podcast
  • ask a question on a chatbot or popup form
  • get a voucher or coupon for future purchases
  • a reward for referring a friend or sharing on social

eMail marketing and social media essentials

Once you have names and email addresses, regular promotions via email is next. Key points:

  • Leverage AI writers for regular email promotions to your mailing list.
  • Encourage subscribers to share your AI-written articles on their social media channels.
  • Include links back to your website and lead capture forms on social media.
  • Use autoresponders to nurture and convert new prospects from forms.
  • Offer promotions, gifts, or rewards to incentivize lead generation and website visits.

The secret sauce – YouTube

In 2024 Google search has become an annoying advertising portal, essentially ignoring all your organic SEO efforts. A viable alternative is your own Youtube channel. It often provides excellent results and more leads than Google search ever did. Setting up your own YT channel should be a priority in 2024.

To learn more about site conversion tools and tricks, use the form below.

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