How many visitors do you think NeilPatel.com generates each month?
Maybe a million… maybe 2 million?
I bet you’re going to guess 1,866,913.
If that’s what you guessed, you are wrong. This blog actually generated 2,530,346 visitors. 1,866,913 is the number that came from search engines.
So, what’s the secret to my ever-growing Google traffic?
Sure, I have optimized my on-page SEO, I’ve built links, written tons of blog post… I’ve done all of the stuff that most of my competition has done. But doing the same stuff as your competition isn’t enough.
My secret sauce is that I optimize for user signals.
Last week, I broke down some of the user signals Google looks at, as well as providing benchmarks to aim for if you don’t want to be penalized by Google.
If you aren’t familiar with user signals, check the article I linked to above.
So, how do you optimize for user signals?
Well, I know everyone has different types of websites, so I thought I would share the process I use to optimize NeilPatel.com.
Are you showing people what they want?
Google Analytics is an amazing tool. I’m so addicted to it that I log in at least 3 or 4 times a day. Heck, I even log in on weekends.
But here’s the thing, it only tells you half the story. It gives you numbers, but it doesn’t help you visualize what people are doing and what they aren’t.
For example, here is what my main blog page looked like according to Crazy Egg:
What’s wrong with the image?
Everyone is going to the blog to learn more about marketing. Above the fold, I have a box that showcases an SEO Analyzer. But there is one big issue: it’s barely clicked compared to the drop-down that lets you filter the blog content.
The SEO Analyzer had 128 clicks versus 359 clicks to the content filtering option.
Because you didn’t care for it as much, I removed it from the main blog page. And now when you head to the blog page you can see the filtering options above the fold.
I am looking to see what you click on and what you don’t. Simple as that.
If I keep showing you something you aren’t clicking on, I am wasting the opportunity to present you with something you do want to see. Which means I either need to adjust it or delete it.
Now, let me show you my current homepage:
Go ahead, take a guess…
Well, looking at the image you’ll notice there are tons of hot spots in the footer. That’s where the navigation is. With there being all of the clicks on the navigation, I should consider adding a navigation menu bar in the header.
Are you getting the hang of how to make your website more user-friendly? Well, let’s try another one.
Here’s an element in the sidebar of my blog posts:
That element only has 1 click. That’s terrible considering that the blog post generated 10,016 visits. And to top it off, that click came from a repeat visitor.
My goal is to convert more first-time visitors into leads, which makes up the majority of my visitors, but they are the lowest percentage of my leads.
So, what did I do? I deleted that element and you no longer see it in my sidebar.
Are you optimizing for mobile?
Let’s face it, more people are visiting your site using mobile devices than laptops or traditional computers.
If that’s not the case, it is just a matter of time.
So, have you optimized your site for mobile? And no, I’m not just talking about having a responsive design because everyone is doing that these days.
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice that I removed the image of myself and a few other elements. This helps make the loading experience faster and it helps focus people’s attention on the most important elements.
Similar to the desktop version, my mobile homepage has a 24% conversion rate. When my mobile version included a picture of me above the fold, my conversion rate dropped to 17%… hence there is no picture of me. 😉
Now, I want you to look at the mobile version of my main blog page and compare it to my homepage.
Do you see an issue? The blog page generates a lot of clicks on the 3 bars at the top… that’s my navigation menu. My developer accidentally removed that from the mobile homepage, hence the contact button in the footer of the homepage gets too many clicks.
Hopefully, that gets fixed in the next day or two as that could be negatively impacting my mobile rankings.
On top of optimizing the mobile experience, you need to ensure your website loads fast. It doesn’t matter if people are using LTE or 4G, sometimes people have terrible reception. And when they do, your website will load slow.
By optimizing it for speed, you’ll reduce the number of people who just bounce away from your site.
If you want a faster load time, follow this.
And don’t just optimize your site for speed once and forget about it. As you make changes to your site, your pagespeed score will drop, which means you’ll have to continually do it.
For example, you’ll notice I have been making a lot of change to NeilPatel.com (at least that is what the heatmaps above show). As I am making those changes, sometimes it affects my pagespeed score negatively. That means I have to go back and optimize my load time again.
Are you focusing on helping all of your users?
Not every person who visits your website is the same.
For example, a small percentage of the people who visit NeilPatel.com work at large corporations that are publicly traded and are worth billions of dollars.
And a much larger percentage of my visitors own small and medium-sized businesses. These people are trying to figure out how to grow their traffic and revenue without spending an arm and a leg.
And the largest percentage of my visitors don’t have a website and they are trying to figure out how to get started for free.
In a nutshell, I have three groups of people who visit my website. The first group tends to turn into consulting leads for my agency, but they make up the smallest portion of my traffic.
One could say that I should only focus on helping them and ignore everyone else. But I can’t do that for a few reasons…
- I started off with having practically no money and people helped me out when I couldn’t afford to pay them. I love paying it forward and helping people who can’t afford my services because I have been there, and I know what it’s like.
- If I only focused on the large companies, who would link to my website and promote my content? You can bet that Microsoft isn’t going to link to me on a regular basis. If you want to generate social shares and backlinks you have to focus on the masses.
- Little is the new big… if you can please the masses, they will make noise and the big players will eventually hear about you. So, don’t just treat people with deep pockets kindly, treat everyone the same and truly care about your visitors.
Once you figure out the types of people coming to your website (and if you are unsure just survey them), go above and beyond to help them out. Create different experiences for each group.
On NeilPatel.com, I’ve learned that people who work at large corporations are busy and they want to listen to marketing advice on the run. For that reason, I have the Marketing School podcast.
And a lot of beginners wanted me to break down my steps over video, so they can more easily replicate my tactics. For that reason, I create new videos 3 times per week giving marketing and business advice.
Many of you want to attend the conferences that I speak at, but can’t afford to buy a ticket. For those people, I create weekly webinars that are similar to the speeches I give at conferences.
And best of all, I know the majority of you find it hard to follow along with all of these tips as it can be overwhelming. So, I created Ubersuggest to help you out.
In other words, I try to go above and beyond for all of my visitors.
Yes, it is a lot of work, but if you want to dominate an industry it won’t happen overnight. Expect to put in a lot of time and energy.
Are you taking feedback from people?
You are going to get feedback. Whether it is in the form of email or comments, people will give you feedback.
It’s up to you if you want to listen… but if a lot of people are telling you the same thing you should consider it.
For example, I get a ton of comments on YouTube from people asking me to create videos in Hindi.
Now, I am not only working on adding Hindi subtitles to my videos, but I am also working on translating my blog content to Hindi.
I’m not doing these to make more money… I’m not doing this to become popular… I’m just trying to do this to help out more people.
It’s the same reason why I have Spanish, Portuguese, and German versions of this website. I had enough requests where I pulled the trigger even though I am not focusing on generating income in those areas.
But here is the thing that most people don’t tell you about business. If you just focus on helping people and solving their problems, you’ll notice that your income will go up over time.
Businesses make money not because their goal is to make money… they make money because they are solving a problem and helping people out.
Another piece of feedback I have been getting recently is that my blog is too hard to read on mobile devices.
For that reason, I’ve assigned a task to one of my developers to fix this.
Traffic generation is a business. It’s not a hobby. It’s competitive, and it’s difficult to see short-term gains.
If you want to rank at the top of Google, you can’t treat your website as a hobby. You have to treat it like a business.
And similar to any business, you won’t succeed unless you pay attention to the needs of your customers. That means you have to listen to them. Figure out what they want and provide it.
That’s what Google is trying to do. They are trying to rank sites that people love at the top of their search engine. If you want to be one of those sites, then start paying attention to your visitors.
Show them what they want and go above and beyond so that they will fall in love with your website instead of your competition.
If you aren’t sure if you are making the right changes, monitor your brand queries. The more people that are searching for your brand terms on Google is a big leading indicator that people are happy with your website.
Just look at NeilPatel.com, I get over 40,000 visitors a month from people Googling variations of my name:
And I generate over 70,000 visits a month just from people searching for my free tool, Ubersuggest.
That’s how I’m continually able to make my traffic grow. Yes, I do pay attention to what Google loves, but more importantly, I pay attention to your needs and wants.
Are you going to start optimizing your website for user signals?