By Jeff Gilder

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, understanding how to attract and maintain website traffic is paramount. My journey over the past 20 years has taught me invaluable lessons about the interplay between content creation, social media strategies, and user engagement—elements crucial for anyone looking to enhance their website’s performance.

Generating Traffic: The Undisputed King

Early in my career, the mantra was clear: generating traffic is king. Many will (still) say content is king. That’s tough argument. Content is the method, but traffic is the desired result. This principle has remained unchanged, though the methods to achieve it have significantly evolved. Initially, creating consistent, high-quality content was the primary method to draw visitors. This approach, while effective, often meant waiting days, weeks, or even months for organic traffic to materialize.

The Social Media Catalyst

As social media platforms gained prominence, they offered a new, speedier avenue for traffic generation. Sharing links to newly created content on social platforms could accelerate traffic inflow dramatically. However, it’s crucial to note that while video content tends to engage users more on social media platforms, the ultimate goal should be to redirect this engagement back to the website.

Engagement: More Than Just a Visit

Engagement metrics have increasingly become a focus point. In the context of website performance, engagement doesn’t merely refer to the volume of traffic. Instead, it’s about the depth of interaction users have with the site. It’s measured not just by clicks, but by how many pages a visitor explores during their session.

Understanding and enhancing user engagement is critical. The goal is to land visitors on a page that not only meets their expectations immediately but also encourages them to explore further. Strategically placing links to related content on landing pages can significantly boost the number of pages per visit—a key metric for both user satisfaction and SEO rankings.

The Changing Landscape of User Behavior

Over the years, I’ve observed a shift in user behavior. The average pages per visit have declined from 3-4 a decade ago to about 2.8-3 today. This change could be attributed to various factors, including the increased availability of information, changes in browsing habits, or even the surge in mobile usage, where users tend to favor quicker, more succinct interactions.

The Role of Content

The quality and relevance of content remain central to keeping engagement high. Websites that continuously adapt their content to meet the evolving interests and needs of their audience tend to perform better in terms of engagement metrics. It’s not just about quantity but the relevance and compelling nature of the content that counts.

The Importance of Content Visibility and Mapping

By content mapping, I’m referring to navigation prompts. There seems to be a recent trend toward minimizing navigation tabs on websites. I suppose somewhere, someone thought a “cleaner” minimalist look in the navigation bar was a good thing. Rest assured minimizing the opportunities for visitors to explore your website content is NEVER a good thing.  When that valuable visit occurs, give them incentive to explore. We’ve seen minimized navigation options decrease engagement analytics by nearly 50% on average. Lesser engagement will definitely affect ranking.

The Dreaded SPA – Single Page Application

At some point user pressure to put all website content on a single page resulted in many websites being built as SPAs. While I totally get the user experience consideration, whether or not this is a good idea clearly depends on one’s goals for the site. Sometimes a single page landing page is all that is needed.  If the goal is SEO, fostering long term engagement, and consequent ranking, multi-page websites (MPAs) are the way to go. Here are some key notes when considering the correct path for your website project:

1. Keyword Targeting

  • Multi-page websites allow for more targeted SEO strategies. Each page can be optimized for a specific set of keywords, making it easier to cover a broader range of topics and keywords relevant to your business.
  • Single-page websites, by contrast, must target all keywords on one page, which can dilute the keyword relevance and make it harder to rank for specific terms.

2. Content Depth

  • Multi-page sites can delve deeper into multiple subjects, offering comprehensive content across various pages. This depth is often rewarded by search engines, which prioritize content that provides value and extensive information on a topic.
  • Single-page sites are limited in the amount of content they can display without overwhelming the user, which can restrict the depth of information presented.

3. Internal Linking

  • Multi-page websites benefit greatly from internal linking, which helps search engines discover new pages and understand the site structure. Effective use of internal links can boost SEO by spreading link equity throughout the site.
  • Single-page sites have limited scope for internal linking since all content resides on one page, reducing this advantage.

4. Page Load Speed

  • Multi-page sites can be optimized to load only the necessary content for each page, potentially decreasing the load time per page and improving the user experience.
  • Single-page applications might initially take longer to load because they often fetch all content at once. However, after the initial load, they can offer a very smooth user experience with no additional load times as users navigate the content.

5. Analytics and Metrics

  • Multi-page sites make it easier to track user behavior across different pages, which can provide insights into the effectiveness of specific content and user engagement.
  • Single-page sites can make it harder to track different sections of the site since all interactions occur on the same page. Advanced tracking setups are required to get detailed analytics.

6. SERP Presence

  • Multi-page websites can have multiple entries in search engine results pages (SERPs), potentially increasing visibility and capturing more traffic.
  • Single-page sites typically have just one entry in SERPs, which may limit exposure.


While single-page applications can offer excellent user experiences, particularly for simpler sites or specific types of applications (like portfolios or single product sites), multi-page websites generally provide a better framework for implementing effective SEO strategies. They allow for more detailed content strategies, better keyword targeting, and enhanced tracking of user engagement across various topics, all of which are critical for improving search engine rankings.

If you’re focusing on SEO as a primary channel for traffic and conversions, a well-structured multi-page site might be more advantageous. However, the best choice depends on your specific business goals, content strategy, and user needs.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, the integration of new technologies and methodologies will undoubtedly continue to shape the digital marketing landscape. Artificial intelligence, enhanced analytics, and personalized content delivery are areas likely to influence how we understand and improve website engagement.

In conclusion, the journey to maximizing website engagement is ongoing and multifaceted. By leveraging social media, focusing on high-quality, relevant content, and understanding the changing dynamics of user interactions, marketers can significantly enhance their website’s performance, ensuring it not only attracts visitors but engages them deeply and meaningfully.

If you would like a complimentary consultation regarding your website project, please feel free to reach out HERE.