3 Common Reasons That Blogs Have Zero Organic Visitors
You started a blog. You have a great idea, a good niche you’ve researched, and good products to sell. So why is it that you have zero organic visitors?
This is a question that pretty much every webmaster has to ask themselves sooner or later. Sometimes, you’re asking a few weeks into the process. Sometimes, a few months. Sometimes, even a few years.
I’ve known people who happily run a website for years without any traffic at all, never realizing – or caring – what they’re doing wrong. Others don’t care about organic visitors and are simply squeezing a tiny bit of profit in between the costs of paid ads and the margins on products. And some, of course, exist only as spokes on the wheel of a PBN.
Why is it, though, that your site has no organic visitors at all? In my time as a marketer, I’ve been able to condense all of the most common issues down into three main reasons. So, let’s talk about them!
Bonus Reason: You Do Have Traffic, Just Not Much
Before we dig in, I want to make a distinction here between “no traffic” and “zero traffic.”
I’ve known people who ask why they have no traffic, but when we go through troubleshooting, I find that they do have some, just not very much. Having any organic traffic at all means there are a lot of potential issues you can eliminate. Indexation, for example, is clearly happening if you’re getting a few hits here and there.
If you have some amount of traffic, there are still likely issues that are preventing you from growing, but those issues are more likely to be centered around more advanced SEO and content marketing topics like audience profile matching and backlink building, not technical issues like your site being brand new, having a broken robots.txt file, or otherwise blocking Google from accessing entirely.
The bulk of this post is written for the people who truly have zero organic traffic at all. After all, it’s better to start from the ground up and work through the issues than to make assumptions that aren’t correct, right?
Reason #1: Your Site is Too New
The first and most common reason why your site has no organic visitors is simply that it’s too new.
What constitutes “too new” though?
That really depends. Sites that decide to grow on the strength of their content and don’t put much or any effort into external outbound marketing can take a year or more to build up enough SEO value and momentum to start showing up in organic search results. I’ve known people who make it that way, who get the ball rolling very slowly, but once it’s rolling, it can’t be stopped.
On the other hand, if you’re very proactive and good at what you do, and you’re willing to put some serious time, effort, and money into your site, you can start getting organic traffic in as little as just a couple of weeks.
Basically, you have to think about the process between starting a site and getting organic visitors.
Organic visitors are people who see your website through organic channels, mostly Google but also social media and direct messaging shares, and who click through. In order to get that traffic, your content needs to be able to rank and be shown in places like Google’s organic search, the Discover feed, Google News, or Google Shopping.
So, how do you show up in those locations? It’s all about SEO. Good technical SEO, good content SEO, good use of Schema, good backlinks, all working together.
The barest minimum amount of time it takes to rank is the amount of time it takes Google to discover your site, index it, evaluate it, and determine what they think of it. This generally takes 2-3 weeks at the absolute fastest. There are ways to speed up that process – like being a multinational corporation spending millions on advertising to bring a site from nothing into prominence immediately – but that’s the exception rather than the rule.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying the solution to having zero organic traffic is to “keep waiting.” I’m just saying that you’re going to be spending something, whether that something is money, effort, or time.
What can you do to speed up this process?
Other than reading the rest of this post and addressing the other two points, consider:
- Building a network, reaching out to guest post, and building backlinks.
- Participate actively in Q&A sites and social media discussions, with links when possible.
- Publish more content. Sites with larger numbers of good pages rank better and get traffic faster than sites just trucking along, publishing one post a week.
- Double-check to make sure you aren’t operating under a search penalty or have technical problems like a bad robots.txt preventing indexation.
- Consider paying for exposure via PPC ads, sponsored content, and other media.
- Focus on technical SEO with Schema, Core Web Vitals, and page speed.
This is a big part of why building thought leadership and influence as an individual is important, by the way. When you have name recognition, it’s not just with your audience; it’s with Google.
When a new site springs up with someone Google has never heard of before at the helm, it will take longer for that site to grow than if the site was headed up by someone Google already knows and trusts.
Reason #2: Your Content is Bad
Not to put too fine a point on it, but have you noticed how much of the internet is just bad? Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are tons of really good sites out there, but there are many, many more that just have nothing to offer. The content they publish is poorly written, disjointed, rambling, and nonsensical. This isn’t just a subjective judgment, either; there are objective ways that content can be substandard enough not to warrant ranking.
What are some of the biggest ways content can be bad?
1. It’s riddled with spelling and grammar errors. This is one area where there’s actually more flexibility than I make it sound. If Google were to enforce impeccable spelling and grammar, it would be devastating to anyone who speaks a dialect or who is ESL and writing in English. In fact, there are plenty of great content producers out there who don’t have perfect grammar.
There’s a world of difference between some awkward phrasing and the occasional typo and someone who just hammered out a post on their phone without review and slammed it into their blog. You know the type, right? You can tell when a piece of content had effort put into it, even if there are a few mistakes, and content that the author simply didn’t care about.
2. It doesn’t stay focused on one topic. Sometimes, people get it in their heads to write about a topic but go off on tangents and cover pretty much whatever comes to mind. It might be intentional as a form of padding or a way to shoehorn in keywords, or it might just be someone who likes to talk about their topic but doesn’t know how to focus for the sake of content production. Either way, there’s no clear focus throughout the content, and that makes it harder to rank for any given sub-topic within it.
3. It’s far too salesy. In many ways, the opposite problem is that many people go into their blogs with the goal of selling products, so they find ways to add a call to action every other sentence. Being too pushy isn’t a good experience in real life, and it’s not a good experience to read online, either. Having some calls to action is fine, but there’s a limit.
4. It’s dense, academic, and hard to digest. People searching for content online want to have their questions answered in as few words as possible. Yet, at the same time, you need to write content sufficiently long to actually rank; otherwise, you’ll be considered thin content. The real solution to this is to answer a question up-front and then dig into details on the whys, hows, and fixes deeper in the post. Some people, though, just choose to break out the thesaurus and turn their content into academic research papers. That’s fine if you’re publishing in an academic journal but not a standard blog.
5. It’s not written for humans, first and foremost. Pandering to the search engines is important, don’t get me wrong. But you can’t do it ahead of your audience. Search engines even say that their goal is to serve the best content to their audience, so if your content is serving the search engine rather than the audience, it’s ironically not serving the search engine at all. This is a fine line to walk because you still need to pay attention to SEO and keywords and links and all the rest, but you need to do it in moderation, properly.
6. The titles just aren’t attractive. Remember, when your site gets enough attention to show up in places like the Discover feed or organic Google search results, essentially, the only thing your potential audience even sees is your blog title. You absolutely need to make sure that the title is attractive.
Reason #3: Your Topics are Bad
Even if you write excellent content, sometimes the subject you choose to write about isn’t good. There are a few ways this can be expressed.
1. You’re not focused on one niche. Yes, I know, there are a lot of blogs out there that cover everything under the sun. You aren’t going to be one of those, at least not without an immense amount of investment. The sites that cover any niche they feel like tend to be huge news sites and media companies. Forbes has a gaming section, and that’s weird, but they can do it because they’re large enough that they can do anything they want. Critically, they also have thousands of experts in different fields creating their content; this isn’t a single-author or small team site.
When you’re starting out, you need to be focused. Consider that you’re building trust in yourself and your brand. If your audience sees your site is full of woodworking content, they’ll trust you as a woodworker, but if you start posting about aeronautics, medicine, or cooking, people might not believe you have the same level of authority on those subjects. You can grow into it eventually, especially if you have different experts to partner with, but you can’t be the Jack of All Trades, Expert of All.
2. Your topics aren’t relevant to your audience. Consider who you’re trying to attract with your content. Who is the audience you want to be buying your products? What do they care about? Finding topics with buyer intent behind them is absolutely essential. Otherwise, the people who you do manage to attract aren’t going to be worth anything to you but a few numbers in your analytics screen.
3. No one cares about what you’re writing about. You might be able to rank #1 for “Recycling Carrot Peels,” but how many people are searching for that? Heck, it’s probably pretty easy to rank #1 for “jffjaslw” since it’s not a keyword anyone would be using, but that’s just the thing. Ranking #1 for a query with zero annual traffic isn’t doing you any good.
Obviously, that’s not really a real example. No one is intentionally targeting a keyboard mash, but the theory is the same. You need to target topics that are useful and relevant to both your overall niche and your audience.
Fortunately, this is where I can help you out. Coming up with good topics to write about is hard, which is why I put together a unique tool with a combination of data scraping, internal databases, and AI generation to help you come up with thousands of valuable, usable, and relevant topic ideas in a matter of seconds.
It’s called Topicfinder (as you probably guessed, based on the site you’re on.) All you need are keywords or domains of competitors, and you can generate lists of thousands of topics in seconds. Give it a try!
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