SEO/SEM Changes in Google Searches Could Hurt Website Traffic

Published on August 4th, 2015 | by Lisa Furgison

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Changes in Google Searches Could Hurt Website Traffic: Learn What to Do

Have you noticed Google is supplying answers to questions right on the search page? If you type in, “How many ounces in a gallon?” the conversion comes right up. You don’t have to click on any website to find the answer. This feature, which Google calls Instant Answers is handy, but it can have an adverse effect on your company’s website traffic. Here’s what the instant answer to our question looks like:

Changes in Google Searches Could Hurt Website Traffic

Let’s say you offer cooking classes and your website has the answer to the question above. If searchers get an instant response, there’s no need to scroll for the answer, or click through to your website.

Google is constantly making changes like this. Keeping up with them is next to impossible if you’re running a small business. However, there are a few DIY tasks that you can do to keep traffic flowing to your website.

1. Use email marketing to reach customers

As Google creates more and more features like Instant Answers, it becomes even more important not to rely on it for your website traffic.

Google is a business with its own goals and revenue streams that don’t necessarily coincide with benefits to your business. If you want more website traffic, you should turn to marketing efforts that you’re in control of like email marketing.

Email marketing gives you a direct approach. With email marketing, you don’t sit around and wait for Google to send traffic your way; you go out and get it. If you work to grow a healthy list of contacts, you can reach a target audience that’s interested in your product or service.

By sending a variety of emails, you can refer your customers back to your website. You can design emails that encourage sales, increase appointments, educate clients about offerings or invite them to an upcoming event. The options are endless.

Need a little help getting started? Check out these two email marketing guides:

2. Provide in-depth content

Google’s Instant Answers are usually a number or a name. It can only handle basic questions that have a very specific, simple answer, like the time, temperature, or a calculation. It can also answer questions like, “What year was Facebook launched?” but it can’t handle questions like, “How can I boost my Facebook following?”

Knowing this, you should work to provide in-depth content on your blog that goes beyond surface answers. If your company doesn’t have a blog, be sure to share high-quality content on your social pages, so your customers rely on you for support.

3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

The Instant Answer that Google provides takes up quite a bit of space on the search results page. That means there’s less space for websites like yours to be listed. With limited space, it’s important to make sure your website is ranked as high as possible to maximize exposure.

How do you improve your Google ranking? It’s not a simple process, but one of the easiest ways to improve your relationship with Google is to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. If you have an old-school site that doesn’t load properly on tablets and smartphones, Google will demote your site in a search.

Your site should have a responsive design. With this design, your site looks great on every device. Not sure if your site is responsive? Use this website checker to see how your website looks on various devices and screen sizes.

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s time for an upgrade. If you have a web designer, you should reach out to make improvements. If you created your own website, you might need to upgrade your template or start from scratch.

If you start from scratch, just about every DIY website builder has a responsive design now. Deluxe offers free DIY plans that include the website builder plus email and social marketing.

Changes in Google Searches Could Hurt Website Traffic

In addition to switching to a responsive website design, you can always improve your Google ranking through search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. If you need help, check out our previous post on SEO resources.

Final thoughts

Driving traffic to your website is a delicate balance. You should do everything you can to refer customers to your site, so you don’t have to depend on Google for all of your traffic. However, Google has a lot of power. Getting your website listed high in searches is beneficial, so you should also keep your site in good Google standings. The tips above are meant to give you multiple traffic-boosting options.

© 2015, Lisa Furgison. All rights reserved.

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Lisa Furgison

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