I have a search term with a search volume of 3600/month and I'm ranking #1, however my traffic is not translating. I'm averaging 200-250 visits per month. Where is all the traffic going? 😖
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Here is where I'd look first.
Start by looking at the search term. Imagine you're the person who types that into Google. Imagine then what you would hope to find or learn when you type that search term in. It's important to forget about your site and other sites at this point – just think about that person, who they are, and what they are hoping to find or learn.
Now with THAT in mind, look at the SERPs page where you rank #1. Here are a few possibilities off the top of my head.
1) Your page doesn't "actually" have what they are looking for. This means – you're targeting the wrong words.
2) Your page may have it, but it doesn't "appear" that it has what they are looking for based upon the title and whatever else is showing there. This means you need to make some adjustments to get that title and other output that Google is showing to give people confidence that the click is going to show them what you want.
3) Your listing gives the answer completely and the user is satisfied by seeing your listing and doesn't even need to make the click to get what they wanted. This means you got a positive brand impression. Learn to love that.
4) You're at #1, but on competitive searches there are often some or even MANY options for a person in Position 0. Rich Snippets, Product Bars, PAA (People Also Asks), and any other number of things that can come up depending upon the niche and search intent.
I had a company approach me last month ask me a similar question. They were #1 for a really tough term with around 12K searches per month and it generated less than 100 clicks per month. Their SEO team had no ideas on how to improve that or why it wouldn't generate clicks.
I looked at the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) on my desktop. All rich results, paid stuff, and refinement options on the first screen. Scrolled a page – more of the same. Scrolled again. About 1/3 of the way down on the THIRD screen I'd looked at – the Organic results started. And sure enough, they were at the top of that. So, while all the SEO tools said that they had achieved Nirvana and gotten that coveted #1 spot for a high competition, high volume search term – they had really only managed to attain something like position 40. And that 40 is generous – because of lot of these rich results had side scrollers that people might be tempted to scan through before continuing their journey down the page. If you counted all those, the were more likely showing up around 80th on the page.
I can't be certain without looking at your specific case – but your answer is almost certainly going to lie in either one of my numbered possibilities above OR maybe a combination of two of them. 1 and 4 or 2 and 4 co-occur a lot. 3 and 4 don't happen together as much because if the answer is there – you're usually moved up at least SOMEWHERE in the Position 0 results.
In my consult example above, the solution wasn't a pretty one. Yep… you're #1 in the organic search. Nice start. Now you have to move past position 0-40 all the way up to that coveted position 0-0 spot and THEN you can say you've got the #1 result. I hope your SEO team knows what Entities and the Knowledge Graph are.
Google actually picked me up as featured snippet for the term "private jet charter cost estimate" my targeted keyword lands to a page where I break down the costs associated with chartering a private jet. I include a cost estimator tool on the top that based on city pairs/airports it tells you a calculated cost and flight times associated. I think my pages title and descriptions match the search intent of the user searching for that term
Okay… this is a fun one. Lots and lots of ideas come to mind… normally I'd save this kind of answer for the folks who are paying me the big bucks – but since it's fun and almost Christmas… let me get you started on how I'd approach it.
And – for everyone else playing along at home – if you run into a similar situation where everything looks great, you own position zero and it's not paying off – this is sort of how you run through an analysis to try to figure it out.
Basically, you're staring into #3 from my list above. The person is getting their answer and there's nothing to drive them forward.
I want to know how much a private jet will cost me – and the table you have there gives me the ballpark answer. Now, with basic math and knowing generally how long flights take to go between any two places I have in mind – I can do the estimate of the final cost in my head.
Basically – I asked for an estimate and that table gives me an estimate.
Another problem – with the term in general – is that there is almost certainly a large amount of that 3600 per month that are what I call "Robin Leech Searches." (If you don't remember – Robin Leech was the host of a TV show called "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" where they'd show you all these opulent things you could do if you had a zillion dollars to blow.). Quite simply – a fair percent of these are going to be "I know I could never afford it, but I wonder just how much it would cost to fly me and my buddies to Vegas for the weekend on a private jet." There is never an intent to actually do it – despite the fact that everyone running the search would LOVE to be able to afford it.
In those situations, even if the clicks were happening, it wouldn't convert for you anyway. So… let's not worry about that.
The final problem with this rich result is that it gives no real indication that, if I were to click that link, that I could get more specific info nor that once I got that info that you are going to actually help me book the plane – which is, of course, your ultimate goal for this page.
So basically, you've answered the heart of the question (how much does it cost to book a private jet?) with your table there – and then we've got to figure out how to indicate that there's more happening on that page than just answering that question.
Here are some options to consider and look at. The right answer is probably a little combination of both. You'll want to do some study and analysis to help decide which one or several of these to play with.
Option #1: Low Tech.
A simple option here is to kill that table. This (most likely) results in the loss of your featured snippet here – but then again, that featured snippet – which is being triggered by that table and it's label – is killing you. Sometimes it's best to cut off the offending limb before the gangrene takes over your whole body.
The risk here is that we need to assess the difficulty of retaining one of the top spots once the snippet goes away. The other pages showing up seem to be doing something very similar to you – they just don't have an answer.
Option #2: Semantics To Indicate Steps
The heading and, in fact, the words that are making this a dead end are the words in the heading over the section where this chart lives. My question is what's the cost and the heading says "Aircraft Hourly rate and total flight time". And then you have a table that solves it.
You'd need to brainstorm and noodle on this a bit – but adjusting that heading might help. Simply starting it with something like "Preliminary Cost Breakdown" or "Estimates begin by understanding the" and leaving the rest of the heading intact.
Or maybe reworking the whole area a bit so that this is "Step #1 and that Step #2 is to Calculate Flight Times" or something.
Basically, the hope (and it's a hope) is that you can send an indicator to the searcher that this isn't the final answer – it's just here to get you started. But that a CLICK here on this link will give you a more complete answer. "This table is part one – click here to continue" type thing.
The risk here is that it might change the meaning or Google's interpretation of the meaning and you lose the snippet. Same as Option #1, but without the absolute certainty.
Option #3: Inline Call to Action (CTA) Calls
Give your calculator div an ID and then add a link in that 4th column that says "Refine and Get Quote" or something like that. Then link that to the named anchor you've created. So basically on row one the final answer changes from a satisfactory "$2,600 – $3,500" to "$2,600 – $3,500 [<link>Get a Real Quote Now</link>]"
Google has even been known to show inline links on featured snippets – though not often. Best case would be each row on that featured table would do a direct jump link to your calculator. Next best case would be that there's not link, but the user can clearly see that there is a path forward here. (i.e. Here's your answer, now let's actually get you into a jet.) That won't help with the Robin Leechers – but should help with the people who are asking because they actually want to book something.
The risk here is probably the lowest of the three, so far. Since the page will change – you might get demoted for a bit because Google will want to assess exactly WHAT changed here – but since you haven't really changed the outcome nor anything else, it's likely to return eventually – maybe a month? A little more? A little less? But chances are pretty good that it would and that you'll have at least something that helps drive the click in play.
Option #4: Go SEO Boss Level 11 On Them
Another issue here is that Google really has no idea what that calculator is on your site. It could be a basic contact form. It could be a mailing list signup. It has no way of seeing or knowing that it's actually a booking calculator.
While the other options go after the user themselves – this option goes right at Google and tries to teach the machine that there's more to this than just that silly table.
So… here, we look at defining that with schema. This part you'll have to work out on your own. (I've got the Christmas Spirit and all, but it's a fairly detailed analysis that would need to go into this.)
I'd be looking at Actions:
In there are some specific subtypes of actions that might be relevant.
https://schema.org/Action#subtypes Maybe FindAction, SearchAction, and TradeAction. Personally – since we're looking at an "Estimate Calculator" here – I'd be looking hard at that "SolveMathAction" too. Now… you might notice that that action isn't officially part of schema – but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't work. The "SeekToAction" right above it isn't official either, yet Google announced full support of it a few months ago. If they aren't doing anything with it now, it can still send signals, and it can also be something that grows in value over time.
TradeAction has some potential to be included too since that has a subtype of "QuoteAction" – so it allows you to basically set up a chain of actions that result in people getting a quote for leasing a jet.
Whatever you do here – it will take time and probably some ongoing testing and experimentation to get it right. It probably works best in conjunction with one of the above solutions. (Probably – though again, I haven't run a full analysis on this – #3 since that solves the problem on the user end and drives the user (and Google) to our calculator which we're now trying to describe and show exactly what it's calculating along with what sort of result to expect from performing the calculation.) Combined with that option, it probably has the least chance of losing the featured snippet – at least permanently (see #3 Risk above).
Merry Christmas and Good Luck!
Nick ✍️ » Truslow
You have provided so much value I can't express the gratitude. I'm no SEO guru but your explanations are super clear. I would like to send you a Starbucks GC as a thank you.
I appreciate the offer – I'm in CT so we're kinda in Dunkin' Donuts land around here – closest Starbucks is about 8 miles in a direction no one goes. lol
For thanks – take what I've taught you – learn those things even better – and one day pass that on to someone else.
And there's also already something else that I gained from this thread.
In my job, I have 20+ regular clients. Only 5 or 6 of them are things where I'm involved heavily in the ongoing SEO strategy. The rest I do monthly or quarterly consults (along with site updates and regular tech checks) but it wouldn't make sense to pay my consult rates on a regular basis since the revenue potential just isn't there. As such – I'm limited in the problems and challenges I face. A half dozen sites I'm ultimately in charge of making sure don't tank, and then another dozen or so where I just keep a distant watch over how the strategy is progressing. They're all small to medium businesses (the agency isn't big enough to handle giant clients – not enough able bodies on our team).
Soooo… I come here and look at everyone else's problems. Most of these things are things that I don't regularly experience. None of our clients have the "crawled not indexed" thing going on – if I didn't come in here all the time, I wouldn't know it was even a thing, not to mention a widespread thing. Our sites don't tend to move any more during an update than they do on any other day – and updates tend to help us more often than not.
In here I see issues, like yours, that are things I don't see or that I haven't faced recently – and by helping you analyze it, it helps me keep up with things. When I help, as I make my answers, I'm also in a tab on Google to confirm that what I'm about to suggest is accurate. Or I'm jumping into a patent I remember reading last year that, with a re-read, might give me more insight into it.
You did get a bit of a bonus on this one because I ended up taking it a bit deeper than I normally would. That was in part because those screenshots showed me some things that were very useful – and that ALLOWED me to go deeper. But also – I just love this kind of challenge. The existential questions of "Everything looks great, why is everything still shit?" get my heart pumping.
And it got me back into the "Actions" section of schema which has changed – and got me going to the Google Developers site to see what new announcements they may have made about officially supported actions that I might have missed.
We also deal with Zero Click snippets all the time too – deciding if we're happy with the brand exposure alone, or if a click might help us. (We don't want it if the person won't have a use for what we have). And then we figure out possible ways to get those clicks. Alas – I haven't played that fun game in a while either – so your post gave me the chance to update my knowledge and analysis skills in that area too.
So… as you can see – I've gained quite a bit for myself already here by helping you. And hopefully by putting this here, someone else can get helped too.
If you STILL feel like you owe me something – then here's what I'd really love… come back in 3-6 months after you've tried some of these things. Let us know what worked, and what didn't work. Most of the advice I gave you had at least a minor risk or potential downside that needs to be weighed against the potential upside. I tried to identify most of them, but I didn't do any heavy risk analysis here. There's nothing there that would kill you, of course, but there are things that might not pay off as we'd hoped – but the only way to know would be to test it and see. If it doesn't work… scrap it and try something else. Or, come up with a new thing to try that counters whatever downside happened. All that fun stuff.
And, if anyone else is playing along at home in this thread still… if you've gotten some advice here and tried it – come back. Tell us how it worked out for you. Those of us who like to help in here do so, but then we never get to see if it paid off for you. Nothing would make me happier than seeing you do something that gets some of that traffic back and, more importantly, turned whatever traffic you are getting into a vast increase in conversions. If my advice sucks and does the opposite – I'd like to know that I should probably stop advising people to do that, too. THAT would be the payoff for me – to see your client succeed based upon some seeds of advice that I gave you and that you then took and grew into a big ole money tree.
Does Keyword Difficulty Of Zero Mean It Leads Traffic Near 0 too?