The Top 3 Most Important Things to Increase Traffic to Your Website Without Backlinks

Sometimes, to increase your website's organic traffic without backlinks, you just need to fix issues discovered from Technical SEO audit. Despite the fact that Google does not tell you "any secrets that'll automatically rank your site first for queries" in search engines, it provides a lot of official tips to follow for higher rankings. 

Technical SEO Audit

What is a Technical Audit? According to Maile Ohye (she is a Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google), "technical audit" refers to the reviewing of a website for issues related to internal linking, crawlability, URL parameters, server connectivity, and response codes.

Technical SEO Audit is a crucial part of SEO Audit that based, primarily, on the data of Google Search Console and performed with the goal to identify errors or missed opportunities that prevent your website's traffic growth.

Below are the insights you can get analyzing data from the Google Search Console's reports.

INTERNAL LINKS AUDIT

"I’ll bet that simply adding internal links, using related anchor text, will improve your search engine rankings", - Neil Patel, digital marketing entrepreneur.

According to the Google's official documents: "The number of internal links pointing to a page is a signal to search engines about the relative importance of that page. If an important page does not appear in this list, or if a less important page has a relatively large number of internal links, you should consider reviewing your internal link structure".

What does it mean in layman's terms? Let's take a look at the example below:

SEO Competitor Analysis - data from the Google Search Console - Internal Links
Figure. Based on data from Google Search Console on 27 June, 2017, I can conclude that Google discovered that 29 pages of my website are linked to the home page of my website. And that is a signal for Google to rank the homepage of my website better than another pages of my website (if Google does not has any other, probably, more important signals).

 

SEO Competitor Analysis - data from the Google Search Console - Internal Links -  the Home page is ranking higher than others
Figure. Based on data from Google Search Console on 27 June, 2017, I can conclude that Google noticed my signal and started to show my home page more times than other pages (98 times against 97 times) in the USA. But I can also see the more significant data in the report: the webpage that does not have a lot of internal links shows better positions (I'm talking about this page "https://seocompetitoranalysis.com/checklist"). It means that I should focus more at the page "https://seocompetitoranalysis.com/checklist" — in other words, I should add more internal links to this page.

Conclusion

If you want to improve impressions and positions of your pages in Google's SERPs, you should add more internal links to those pages.

How to increase the amount of internal links to your key pages

  1. Add them to your website's navigation menu.
  2. Add them to your website's breadcrumbs.
  3. Add them to the HTML sitemap of your website.
  4. Add them to the related articles on your website using keywords as anchors (if there are the absence of any related articles, you should write a new one or modify an existing one).

To do this, you need a list of all relevant pages on your website and a list of relevant anchors.

STRUCTURED DATA AUDIT

"Adding structured data, also known as schema markup, to your site is one of the more technical things I do. It can give you a significant SEO boost and increase your rankings", - Neil Patel, digital marketing entrepreneur.

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page for Google. Most Search structured data uses schema.org syntax, but you should rely on the documention on developers.google.com as definitive for Google Search behavior, rather than the schema.org documentation. 

According to the Google's official documents: Google uses "this information to add rich snippets and other features to your search result".

What does it mean in layman's terms? Let's take a look at the example below:

SEO Competitor Analysis - data from the Google Search Console - Example of data with Structured data markup and without one
Figure. Example: the first snippet for my website does not have a structured markup for breadcrumbs and the second one - has. The second snippet is an example of so called rich snippet for breadcrumbs. Rich snippet has a higher CTR (clickability) than standart snippet and hence it can bring more traffic to your website. If you do not use structured markup for your website you miss an opportunity.

SEO Competitor Analysis - Structured data report example from google search console
Figure. Example of a Structured Data Report from Google Search Console. There are no items with errors.

Google advices to use structured data to enhance your website for such general elements as breadcrumbs, searchbox, site name, corporate contacts, logo, social profile information, and also for such content types as articles, books, courses, datasets, events, fact checks, job postings, local businesses, music, podcasts, products, recipes, reviews, tv & movies, and videos. Google also allows you to create so called carousels for your Recipe, Film, Course, and Article pages.

Conclusion

If you see in your Google Search Console' "Structured data report" section such notices as "Items with Errors" or "Not Detected Structured Data", it is a time to correctly implement structured markup into your website.

SITEMAP AUDIT

"We checked it to be sure nothing else could be the cause and for sure, it was the use of XML sitemaps. We looked into it and sure enough, the number of pages sending traffic shot up, more than doubled (486 to 1240). The same with keywords sending organic search traffic, more than doubled (548 to 1347). Nothing could be attributed to a fluke keyword or page, just everything went up. This is the power of good indexation and giving the search engines some help", - from the Case Study.

What is a sitemap? As a rule, it is a file with a list of URLs on your site.

What are the types of Sitemaps available? There are XML sitemaps (machine-readable format or XML sitemap protocol) and HTML sitemaps (human-readable format). Both them are important. 

According to the Google's official documents: an XML sitemap "can improve the crawling of your site", "in most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap" and "Google can take additional information from sitemaps into account for search, where appropriate". 

Google also recommends to provide an XML "sitemap file with links that point to the important pages on your site. Also provide a page with a human-readable list of links to these pages (sometimes called a site index or site map page)". According to the Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (2010), an HTML site map should organize pages for example by subject.

What are the different types of XML sitemaps? XML sitemaps can be general XML sitemapvideo XML sitemap, image XML sitemap and news sitemap.

What does it mean in layman's terms? Let's take a look at the example below:

SEO Competitor Analysis - Example of an HTML sitemap
Figure. This is an example of an HTML site map file from the Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. And this is an example of HTML sitemap on my website (it is not very useful now because I've launched the website recently and it still has no great structure but I'm working on it).

SEO Competitor Analysis - Example of an XML Sitemap
Figure. This is an example of a Sitemap.xml file from my website. As you can see, it has 36 URLs to index. It is equal to the number of the most important pages on my website.

SEO Competitor Analysis - XML Sitemap report example from google search console
Figure. This is an example of a Sitemaps Report from Google Search Console for my website. There are no items with errors. Google found that an XML Sitemap of my website has 35 URLs and it indexed 30 URLs from them. I can conclude that Google has not yet updated my XML sitemap file (so I can use "Fetch as Google" tool ask Google to crawl my new URLs) and that some of my non-indexed content should be rewritten.

Conclusion

Create your XML sitemaps and validate them with Google Search Console.​ If you see in your Google Search Console' "Sitemaps Details Report" section such notices as "Errors" or "Warnings" (check out the complete error list), it is a time to correctly implement XML sitemap into your website. Or, may be, you have found that you have more content on your website than your XML sitemap contains or than Google has discovered? It is a time to revise the quality of  non-indexed content on your website or discover on-site XML sitemap generation technical issues (poor CMS perfomance).
Do not have an HTML sitemap? Create it. Is it hard to organize items inside your HTML sitemap? It is a time to reconsider the structure of your website and to create more missing topical content.

FUTHER READING

  1. Hubspot's Case Study: How We Increased Organic Traffic by Over 50% Using Technical SEO Updates;
  2. Searchengineland: How To Get A 30% Increase In CTR With Structured Markup;

THE BOTTOM LINE

Invest your time (or money) in the implementation of Google's recommendations and create correct XML sitemaps, HTML sitemap, structured data markup (for breadcrumbs, searchbox, site name, corporate contacts, logo, social profile information, and also for such content types as articles and so on), as well as increase the amount of relevant internal links to your key pages. Using this advanced method, you have a real chance to boost your website's traffic.

Are you going to try out any of these strategies?