"If you build it, they will come." What a load of horse manure, right? You've built it, and built it again with probably better colour theory, and three years later you're staring at your web page views that tell you something smells as bad as that quote on your site. At this point, it looks like you're the proud owner of a Winchester House, and no one is willing to come. It's time to put down the Febreeze, and actually figure out where the stink is stuck, and maybe even fix the front porch light, so that people know you're home, giving you a better chance of gaining those highly coveted pageviews.
It sucks when you feel that you have an awesome website that everyone should read, but you wind up with mostly crickets.
Is it you? Is it them? I hope you're sitting down, 'cause I have to admit, it's probably you, but that doesn't mean your writing is bad. It could just be that Google doesn't like you, and like the cool clique at school, if they don't like you, no one will.
It might be that Google simply misunderstands you, and you need to put your site into a better perspective for them.
Though as an aside, if your writing is bad, my advice is to read, read, and read some more so that you can better your craft by example.
Improve Your Pageviews by Having a Good Talk With Google
With Google's help, you can get a better handle on technical ways to increasing your site's pageviews. Whether you like Google or not, you have to accept the fact that you need to make Google happy, and then by extension, you'll make the other search engines happier too.
Google is the standard, and at the moment, there are very few ways to get great pageviews without them (and if you are one of the few that does an incredible job without Google, just imagine what kind of Pageviews Superstar you would be if you improved your cred with Google.)
Luckily, you don't have to guess why Google isn't working with you. They've lifted their veil and are willing to show you what you need to do to keep them happy.
Your New Best Friend: Google Search Console
I hope you've heard of this before, but just in case, let me introduce you to Google Search Console, formerly known as Google's Webmaster Tools.
Google Search Console is literally your window into viewing what Google Search thinks of your site. It hashes out everything it believes it knows about you, and even how it's showcasing your site to its audience.
And exactly who's part of Google's audience? Everyone.
With Google's Search Console, you can drill down and find out what keywords are working for your site and which ones aren't.
You can even go one step further and figure out what Google thinks your site's special keywords are.
Bad Keywords Are Bad
You might not realise this, but having Google figure out exactly what your site is about through proper keywords can be a tricky thing.
I'll let you in on an embarrassing secret. For quite some time, Google thought one of my top keywords was "Advertisement". Why? Because I unwittingly highlighted the word "Advertisement" with <H3> tags on every single page of my site.
I liked the style associated to my <H3> tags, and out of simple laziness, I decided to use that tag style, instead of creating a new one with a class associated to a <span> tag.
Having that keyword noticed by Google was not a good thing, when maybe two blog posts on Geek with Style mention advertisement as part of its subject.
While trying to be open to my audience that yes, I do want to make a living through writing, I was telling Google that Advertisement was a key focus to my website. Doh.
If you look on my sidebar now, you will still see the word "Advertisement" promptly displayed where needed, but they're no longer wrapped with heading tags, so I'm now kosher with Google with this little incident, instead of inadvertently misleading the big G into what my site is trying to establish.
And here is the key take away for you. I figured out that Google was adding that keyword to my official list, by taking a good look at my keyword results through the Search Console.
That is just one tiny section of the Search Console that can help your website shine brightly in the top 10 of search results, instead of being dimly listed at spot 1024 of 240,0126,908 results.
And as you should know by now, the higher your pagerank (on a post by post basis,) the more pageviews you have a chance of gaining. Only the very desperate end up on Page 100 to find what they're looking for.
How to Get Google Search Console Working For You
If you've never added a property (your website) to your Google Search Console account, here's a step by step to get you started. If you've done these steps already, scroll down to Basic Steps to Improve Your Pageviews with Google Search Console to dig into your site.
First? Go to your Google Search Console account. You essentially already have one the moment you create a Google account, such as for GMail.
- When you're in your dashboard, you'll see a big red-orange button saying "Add a Property" on the right of your screen. Click that button and add your website. Be sure to add "www" to the link, regardless of whether you tend to use "www" in your link or not.
- You'll be asked to verify that you do own that website, so follow these instructions, or get your web designer to do so if you don't want to handle your site through your cPanel File Manager or FTP.
If you don't have a web designer on hand, and don't want to test your skills with either cPanel nor FTP, here are some alternate methods that will work for you. Adding a meta tag to your site can be as simple as adding this code to one of your sidebar widgets, but it is highly recommended that you add this within your theme'sportion of your website.
- Congratulations, you've added your website, yay! BUT, you're not done yet. Do Step 2 again, but this time add your property without the "www" within the link. It might not make sense to you, but Google treats www.yourwebsite.com and yourwebsite.com as two different properties. By having both properties listed though, you can tell Google in a moment which website you would prefer it to pay attention to, instead of having it guess whether to www or not to www.
Basic Steps to Improve Your Pageviews with Google Search Console
One of the best aspects of Google Search Console is that it will actively tell you when something is up. And, if something is up, there's a chance of having pages from your site unindexed. Unindexed pages means you're less likely to get pageviews.
So it's a good thing to listen when Google is trying to tell you something.
Read Google's Mail
Google's Messaging service once notified me that a plugin on my site was broken and that it would have to remove ALL of my mobile AMP pages from it's index if the error wasn't fixed. Granted, it took me a while to figure out which plugin was causing so much chaos, but Google didn't have to tell me anything was up. It could have simply unindexed my mobile site and leave me to pulling out my hair, trying to figure out what the heck happened.
So, look at this beautiful email that I received just after adding a new property to my dashboard.
It lists all of the basic steps you can do right now to improve your site's rank in Google Search, without having to actually take a walk through the Search Console to find these helpful tips yourself. Google is totally on your side.
If you went through the steps above to adding a property, you've already got #1 of their helpful list done and done, so you can skip to #2 and tell Google exactly which property you want it to pay attention to.
Does it really matter if your site begins with www or not in search results? Some have a theory that it does, others have their own theory that it doesn't. The key here is to go with your gut and simply stick with it.
From here on out, when you're working to improving your site with Google Search Console, you will select your preferred property from the list (of two or more) on your dashboard. Your preferred domain becomes the managing property that will give you all the clues and tools you need to have the best site indexed and ranked on Google Search.
Now here is a crucial step, that you shouldn't ignore. Give Google a link to your sitemap. On WordPress, there are a number of plugins that will create a sitemap for you, but chances are you already have Yoast SEO installed.
If so, go to your website's dashboard, select Yoast SEO from the left hand menu, and then XML Sitemaps from it's submenu directory.
If not, consider installing Yoast SEO, or determine whether one of the other sitemap generating plugins are better for you. Elegant Themes has a great post from last year that will help you figure out which sitemap plugin is right for your site.
There are a number of options to choose from to improve what is and isn't shared in your sitemap, (thus giving Google an idea of what you would like to have in their search index,) but most importantly, first make sure your Yoast sitemap in enabled, and then reduce the "Max entries per sitemap" to 500 or even 100 entries.
Depending on your host, 1000 entries may be too much to handle and will happily crash your sitemap indexes due to lack of memory.
Once your settings are saved, click on the "XML Sitemap" button. It will open a page showcasing your gorgeous sitemap of your website. Grab the url of this index page, and add that to your Google Search Console.
If you are using Yoast SEO, it's as simple as copying "sitemap_index.xml" from here and pasting that into the text box that pops up by clicking the Add/Test Sitemap button.
Better Steps to Improve Your Pageviews with Google Search Console
Here are some awesome tools that you can utilize in your Google Search Console to improve your pageviews. If you have just set up your Search Console account, it might take a day or two for your information to populate in the console. So you may need to practice a little patience to get to these next steps to ensure you are doing all you can to improve your pageviews.
- Remember when I mentioned Google thought "Advertisement" was a major keyword for me? It's good to take stock of what keywords Google has deemed strong for your site.Either your list is awesome, and you're on the right path, or you'll find a bunch of words that you had no clue were being associated with your website. These are words that you have provided to Google by publishing them repeatedly in your blog, so pay attention to what Google has considered significant (or not significant.)
When looking at your keyword list, you can click on each word to get a better understanding of why Google has deemed it important for you.
I think it is safe to say that "Geek" is an important word for me. Here we can see how many times I've used that word, and the top places where this keyword has been highlighted throughout my site.
Alternatively, if you found a keyword you didn't want on your site, you can dig a little deeper to figure out how it became so popular, and form a plan to make it less significant. You can find where this term is continually repeated and either remove the word or change it for something better.
- When you're done figuring out how to improve what keywords you've been sending out to Google, you can then find out what keywords your audience has been using to find you.I am nearly ready to argue that this page is more significant than Google Analytics (*gasp* Yeah, I know.) There is so much you can do with this page to help improve your future pageviews, it's kinda crazy, and all kinds of awesomesauce.
In it's very basic layout, you will have a number of keyword search terms used to find your site, shown at the bottom of this screen (and, if you don't see the list, make sure all four boxes at the top of this page are checked.)
- Clicks are the number of clicks that made it to your site.
- Impressions are the number of times your link was viewed for that set of keywords.
- CTR is the click-through rate, which is a simple percentage/ratio determined by your Clicks vs Impressions.
- Position is where your website link sits among your competitor's links on Google search. A 1.0 doesn't mean your on the first page of Google (well, you are, but that's not what it means.) Your position number indicates what number your link falls under for Google's Search database.A 1.0 means you're at the very top. A 4.0 indicates your link sits as the 4th entry. An 11.0 isn't that bad, as it means you're at the top of the second page of Google Search results for those keywords.
These numbers do tend to be averages, as the results aren't "live". The one drawback for this page is that the results are always about 3 days old. So, while three days ago your link may have been sitting at 6.0, as shown in the graph, if you click on the link to see real-time results, your link may have moved either to a 3.0 or a 9.0 within the last three days.
If you want to see keyword results for a specific post, you can use the Pages filter above, and paste the link for the post you're wanting to improve pageviews for. You can garner exactly how many times Google's audience saw that link (default time is past 28 days,) as well as how many times the link was clicked due to those keywords.
If you feel the post isn't picking up the right keywords, then you'll want to go back into that post and fix the words you've been using so far into a more focused keyword set that you want to be noticed for.
- Finally, you'll want to check if you have any blocked resources that are stopping Google from indexing your page. If your pages aren't being indexed (or indexed poorly,) then you're not getting pageviews. There are many reasons why resources may be blocked, but you want to make your site as open as possible to Googlebots.
- Resources that will be blocked:
- Certain plugins, like Shareaholic, also has blocked files.
It's all about balance and it's up to you on what widgets/plugins to keep, and which ones you can do without. I removed Shareaholic from my site, because I found an alternate plugin that doesn't ding the blocked resources warning, which makes Google happy.
At the same time, I've chosen to keep the ad networks, because I need to buy food somehow.
There is a lot more you can do with Google Search Console to improve your website's pageviews, but these tips are a great start to getting you well acquainted with this tool.
How Can I Improve My Pageviews Without Google Search Console?
You are asking for a world of hurt if you want to try to improve views without getting into Google's good graces. But there are some ways that you can get additional pageviews without Google's help.
- Pinterest - This social network is probably the next best thing to Google. It's a visual/image search for a variety of topics, though more notably for cooking/baking, crafts and fashion. You can spend all day on Pinterest to gain the kind of traffic you'd like to achieve, or you can use Tailwind to schedule your pins in a beautiful manner that means you can spend your day doing more important work. After two weeks of use, I saw a major upswing of my pins being liked and repinned.
- Facebook - There are millions of groups on Facebook that are open to the public to join, many of which are available for bloggers by their specific niche. Find your like-minded peeps on Facebook, and you may gain new friends that will love to read what you have to say next. Don't join these groups simply to spam your writing there. You'll want to create an authentic friendship with the Facebook people you interact with.
Well, for now that's it, or else I'd be halfway to writing a book.
If you have any questions, I'll do my best to help!