I assume you write articles and submit to article directories, just as all the expert guides tell you. But the traffic you register are less then expected. The reason why the traffic have taken another direction may be any of these three:
- Search Engine Indexing
- Article Presentation
- Call to Action
Fortunately, there are things you can do in all three phases to drive the traffic your way.
Search Engine Indexing
Traffic will not come unless your article is picked up by the search engines. One way to find out if your article is indexed, is to search for your article by the title. If it is in the search engine index, your article should show up on the search results. If not - it is most likely not indexed yet.
Search engines have robots crawling the internet all the time registering new and updated content. Their findings are processed by the search engines and made ready for search results. Each time a visitor enters a search term the search engine will present the most relevant content, according to their indexing. Your article will be included in the search results only if the search engine considers it relevant to the search term.
And here is the first point where the article you submitted may fail to generate traffic.
Search Engine Results Pages - SERP
Search engines present the 10 most relevant web pages on SERP page 1. Almost all traffic will be generated from this page. Some traffic will come from the second page, and lower placements receive almost no attention from visitors. Obviously, your article must be on the first page of the search engine results to generate traffic.
A simple search engine optimization technique will increase the possibility for a top 10 placement. Focus your article on one search term and
- use this search term in the title
- as early as possible in the beginning of your article
- 3-4 times per 100 words in the content and,
- as late as possible in your last paragraph.
Keep in mind that overdoing things may be considered as keyword spamming, which may result in search engines deleting your article from the index. A good tip is not to focus to much on search engines. Instead, make sure your articles are easy to read and provide good information to your reader.
Less competitive search terms may achieve first page placements with the above technique alone, whilst for more competitive search terms you will have to employ additional SEO techniques.
Until this point, you have optimized your article and article listing to meet the search engine requirements. From now on you optimize your article to meet the requirements of you visitor and reader. In other words, in phase two and three you must keep in mind you are communicating with a person.
To sum up phase one - You write an article and submit it to article directories. You follow the guidelines and focus your article on one search term. Your article is indexed by the search engines and included in the top 10 search results.
Why is there still less traffic than expected? Well, this is the next point your article may fail to generate traffic.
SERP Competition For Visitor's Attention
The visitor entering a search term is searching for information. Now it is up to the visitor to decide which of the 10 listings promise the most relevant information. In addition, the search results page also includes a number of ads fighting for the her attention. Your article will not get the click, unless the listing stands out from the rest on the SERP.
Take a look at the ads on the search results page. This is paid advertising and the advertisers continously fine tune their ads to generate as much traffic as possible. Advertisers on Google have a limitation of a headline of 25 characters and two text lines of 35 characters. Yet, they manage to present their website and emphasise the unique benefits of their product or service.
Your article is listed with the headline followed by a short text the search engines pick from your introduction paragraph or the description you entered when you submitted the article to the directories. Write your headline and introduction with this in mind. Your listing would then include
- a benefit - what's in it for me
- a promise - you'll find it here
- proof - others do it too or this is what it did for me
- a curiosity element or call to action to entice the visitor to read your article
Will the article deliver on the promise?
You have, through your article headline and introduction, convinced the visitor your article will provide the information she is looking for. She clicks the link and is directed to the page where your article is posted.
Now you have only 5 to 7 seconds to show her your article provides the information she was searching for. She will look for clues whether your article is worth reading or not.
To catch her interest, you should use sub-headlines. Sub-headlines wil stand out from the body text and provide the clues she is looking for. At this point, if you are not able to catch the her interest, she will not only leave your article. She will leave your article dissapointed and with the impression you did not deliver what you promised.
Call to Action
Ending your article with a closing statement will tell the visitor - this was it - we are now finished - and she will continue to the next article even before looking at the resource box.
The Resource Box
The most important thing you include here is a link back to the website you want to drive traffic to. This link will contribute to improving your search engine placement, even if you have noe readers clicking the link. But remember, only the visitor clicking this link will be counted as traffic to your website.
Use the final paragraph of your article to tell the visitor you have delivered what you promised, but there this even more information at your website. Then write a strong call to action and provide the link to your website in the resource box.
Is Your Website Prepared For The Traffic?
Getting the visitors attention and making her read your article should be building up to the action you want the visitor to take at your landing page. In fact, you should write articles with this in your mind in addition to the three phases described above.
Each step of the process should be experienced by the visitor as a natural step forward. A step back may turn your visitor's expectations into disappointment at any phase and turn her into part of the traffic you lost.