One major trend in the marketing industry is a shift in focus away from SEO, towards visitor retention. After all, what good is it to get all that traffic if you can’t sustain it? What good is getting all that traffic if everyone just ends up leaving without signing up for your emails and without buying anything?

It’s time to look beyond just traffic generation to actual traffic retention. In other words, the art of getting someone who’s come to your website to stay on your website. Here’s how to do it.

Start With Your SERP Description

Treat your SERP listings as you would treat a PPC ad. In a PPC ad, you’d want to set the right impression about what you’re offering before someone lands on your site. You want to get their hopes up about what you have to offer, but you don’t want to over-promise, otherwise people will leave when their expectations aren’t met.

The same applies to SERP listings. Your title and your description should get people excited and interested; but don’t over promise. Don’t go off topic either.

Cut Down on Non-Integrated Content

The vast majority of your content should be integrated into your website. That means cutting back on content that requires downloads.

PDFs are a big part of this. Yes, having PDFs can help with SEO. And yes, having a PDF download can increase the perceived value of a piece of content.

However, PDFs make a big break in the continuity of the user experience. A lot of people who see a PDF download will just pass over the content instead of going for the actual download. You’ll lose retention.

The same applies to other types of content files. Instead of asking someone to download a video, just embed it on YouTube or Vimeo. Instead of asking people to download a mindmap file, just upload a graphical version of it.

Continuity of Attention

Your website should have a nice flow of attention, from beginning to end.

The moment someone lands on your website, your headline should catch their attention. They should then be guided through your website by various call to actions. In other words, people should never feel confused about where they should be going.

Your website should have very clear navigation for people who already know what they’re looking for. A breadcrumb trail navigation will be a big help, as well as top or side navigation on every page.

Pay Attention to Mobile

At the moment mobile traffic is a small but substantial part of total internet traffic. However, this number is just going to get larger and larger over time. If you don’t have a valid mobile strategy, you’re going to miss out on a lot of visitors.

The amount of effort you put into mobile depends on how much traffic you’re getting.

If you’re getting significant amounts of traffic, you may want to invest in getting a site done specifically for mobile. This site should have larger buttons, pages with fewer choices and content that’s broken up into multiple pages. Images should be compressed for bandwidth conservation.

On the other hand, if you’re not getting much mobile traffic yet, you can just take a shortcut by creating a style sheet just for mobile. This will take your existing website and make it much more mobile friendly. Make sure to preview your site on various mobile devices to make sure everything is showing up correctly.

Open Tabs in New Window

Finally, get in the habit of making all your links open in a new window rather than the current one.

Any link that opens in the current window effectively breaks the browsing trance and sends people away from your website. That’s the last thing you want to do.

This applies to social media as well. If someone clicks on your Facebook page or Twitter feed, have it open in a new window. That way they can browse your Facebook page, then come back to your site.

It applies to linking to external sources. If you’re linking to a Wikipedia article, it should pop up in a new window rather than send people away from your site.

These tips will help you take existing traffic and retain them for longer. It’ll help you increase the chances of getting people’s email addresses and eventually land the sale.

Image Credits – Mineful