My post ranks but I don't get any traffic

You did everything you were supposed to do. You wrote an awesome blog post, and the post actually ranks high in the search engines. Perhaps you even made it rank in a number one position. And you’re quite proud of your performance. Your deception is huge when your number 1 post doesn’t attract any traffic to your site. How’s that possible? What could be the cause for a post to rank high, but to lead to no or little traffic to your site?

Rankings and clicks

If a post or a page doesn’t attract traffic to your site, it means that people don’t click on your result in the search engines. Results that are shown highest in the search results usually get the most clicks. The result that ranks number 1 gets the most clicks, followed by numbers 2 and 3. Results lower in Google’s ranking get even fewer clicks. So, it’s counterintuitive to rank number 1 and get very little traffic. Let’s look at some causes!

1. Your search term is too specific

Ranking for [ballet shoes for children with very narrow feet] is much easier than ranking for [ballet shoes]. The more long tail a search term is, the easier it is to rank for that term. To set up an SEO strategy focusing on long tail keywords is a good idea in many cases. However, if you’re focusing on keywords (almost) nobody is searching for, you won’t attract much traffic to your site. You could very well rank number 1 with a post about ‘ballet shoes children very narrow feet’, but if nobody is using that search term, ranking number 1 is pretty much useless.

Before deciding upon which search term you’re going to optimize your post or page for, you should check out the search traffic for the term you’re considering. Google Trends is a very useful tool that’ll help you compare traffic for various keywords.

2. Your snippet does not attract audience

Another reason why a high-ranking post does not attract traffic could be that the snippet in the search results is not appealing to your desired audience. If your snippet does not appeal to the audience, they won’t click on it. It could be that your audience is expecting something else. This could, for instance, be the case if you’re aiming to rank for new niches. Let explain this with an example:

You own a website selling arts and crafts. Your business and website are doing great. You’ve decided to expand your collection with children’s party supplies. You start blogging about it. Your angle and your site, however, is really different from all the other children’s party supply sites. This could be an advantage, but it also could be a disadvantage. If your result does not match people’s expectations, it could well lead to few clicks.

There’s a solution for this problem. Check out your competition and analyze their snippets in the search results. What could you do to make your snippet meet the expectations of the audience?

3. Navigational search term

Sometimes people are searching for something really specific. This is what we call a navigational search term. People want to go to a specific site and type in the name of that site as a search query. If your website is not the site they’re looking for, people will not click on your snippet in the search result.

A couple of years ago, Yoast ranked high on the search term [Google Analytics]. We used to develop a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress (the plugin is now owned by MonsterInsights). Although we ranked second on the term [Google Analytics], we hardly got any traffic with this position. People searching for [Google Analytics] were actually navigating to the website of Google Analytics and not looking for Yoast at all.

Post ranks, no traffic?

Ranking high in Google usually leads to more traffic to your website. In some cases, however, a high position in Google does not lead to more traffic. In this post, I discussed three possible causes for such a scenario: 1. It could be that your search term is too specific and hardly anyone is looking for it; 2. Your snippet isn’t appealing enough to click on; 3. People use this specific search term to get to a site that isn’t yours. Find out what the issue is in your situation and adapt your SEO strategy to it!

Read more: 10 reasons your page won’t rank – even though it’s optimized »

Coming up next!

9 Responses to My post ranks, but I don’t get any traffic

  1. David
    David  • 7 years ago

    Thanks, a great read (as always)!

  2. Anil Agarwal
    Anil Agarwal  • 7 years ago

    Wow, great insights!

    If you are ranking but not getting any traffic definitely means one of the 3 things.

    -Bad titles
    -Awkward meta description
    -Topic is too specific

    If there’s a search term with low traffic, it’s almost impossible to see huge results from Google.

    Also make sure you are focusing a lot of writing clickable meta and titles so people can’t resist to visit.

    Keep sharing!

  3. Jacco
    Jacco  • 7 years ago

    I can add another one: The search query is answered in the meta description. Like when people search for the full explanation of an abbreviation, which can be done in the description alone. No need to view a page if you just want to know what it stands for :-)

  4. Stephen Goodyear
    Stephen Goodyear  • 7 years ago

    Excellent post.. Havng a good snippet can make all the difference.

  5. dennis
    dennis  • 7 years ago

    This is great information. i think we have a snippet problem. thanks for pointing us in the right direction.

  6. Matthew Kushinka
    Matthew Kushinka  • 7 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more with #2. If the title and metadescription don’t appeal to your audience (or if they’re very similar in content and tone to your competitors’ title and metadescription), then CTR is sure to suffer. I’ve found that there’s a sweet spot between an utterly boring title about widgets—”An Overview of Widgets”—and an utterly immodest title that reeks of clickbait—”101 Killer Reasons Why You Need to Buy Widgets This Minute.” Something more detailed but less flashy—”Your Complete Guide to Widgets”—is more attractive.

    One suggestion: change “deception” to “disappointment” in the first paragraph.

    Thanks as always for the explanations and tips.

  7. Multimeta Directory
    Multimeta Directory  • 7 years ago

    There can be 2 possible reasons (you already mentioned in article)
    1. Your search term is specific
    2. Your post title is not attractive for audience.

  8. Bheru Lal Gaderi
    Bheru Lal Gaderi  • 7 years ago

    Hey thanks for share this information, really its my big problem that my all post in first Page but I didn’t get much click, hope read after this post problem get good result

  9. Ed Shum
    Ed Shum  • 7 years ago

    Hmmm , time to rethink my snippets! I really do need to make it more attractive!