Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good organic site traffic isn’t either.
Here, you’ll find:
- Content tips to improve your traffic
- How to make SERPs work for you
- What keyword types to leverage for traffic
- Ideas for growing your reach both online and offline
From one-click shopping to social media likes, we’re living in a world accustomed to instant gratification.
“Waiting” isn’t a concept with too many fans — particularly in the business world. So it’s no surprise that, when it comes to improving organic web traffic, you want to see results yesterday.
While it’s possible to see dramatic increases in a relatively short amount of time, the truth is that maintaining a steady traffic increase takes work. The trick: knowing what steps to take to get you there.
These 13 tips explain what to do to see your traffic continue to climb.
1. Optimize your website
When you’re looking to increase organic site traffic, ensuring you’re working with a fully optimized website is a great place to start.
We’ve talked before about the importance of doing a website “wellness check.” For this, you’re checking for things like proper titles, meta descriptions, and keywords across your pages.
Depending on your website platform, you can add a plugin like Yoast that’ll provide you with optimization and readability tips when you’re uploading or editing a web page or blog.
Having a sitemap will also keep things organized and, as a result, help you rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If this seems like a lot to keep track of, you can always create a website checklist to tick off to make sure each page is optimized before you hit “publish.”
2. Make sure each page has its own target keyword
Pages on your site with the same target keyword will compete in search engine results — not a good look for your business.
Each page and blog post should have its own primary target keyword (or set of keywords) when possible. This essentially makes that page the go-to resource for the term on your site. You can use a program like SEMrush to determine whether or not you have any keyword duplications within your site pages.
If you do, don’t panic! You can consolidate these pages.
For the pages with no traffic or conversions tied to them, you can simply move that content to the better-performing page. Then, you can redirect the old URL to the new one-stop-shop page.
Of course, you can use similar keywords throughout your website and blog. But it’s a good idea not to have two pages focusing too much on one keyword. That can trigger Google to ding the pages for duplicate content.
Pro tip: You can overlap target keywords if the content is unique enough not to be flagged as duplicate, but you should aim for your targeted keyword page to rank highest on your site for that specific keyword.
3. Leverage analytics
You’ve got access to your site data — don’t forget to leverage it!
Free platforms like Google Analytics will show you insightful organic metrics such as bounce rate, traffic sources, and time on page.
Once you see patterns in your traffic metrics, you can create a plan for optimizing accordingly. For example: Got a page with a high bounce rate? Revisit it and ask yourself things like:
- Does the page title match its content?
- Visually, is it laid out well?
- Is it easy to read?
- Does the page load too slowly?
- Is there a clear next step for the reader?
4. Focus on quality over quantity
Plenty of sites are guilty of “keyword stuffing.” This is a black-hat SEO tactic that involves repeating the same keyword multiple times on a page.
Not only does this type of content come off as inauthentic, Google knows what you’re doing — and they don’t like it either.
Flooding your site with keywords isn’t going to get you the organic traffic you’re seeking. It’s a better use of your time to focus on creating quality content that will lead to unique ranking improvements, such as content that follows E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) standards.
Pro tip: When you focus more on generating relevant, valuable pages that educate and help your target audience rather than what you think the algorithm wants, you can start to see your organic traffic grow steadily over time.
5. Make content work for you
Landing pages should be minimalist and have a clear call to action (CTA). Too much text can distract visitors from taking that next desired action.
That’s why it’s a good idea to move some of your keywords and phrases into blogs. These pages help improve your rankings without inundating every website visitor with too much info at once.
When creating content, be sure to link internally to your own content as well as authoritative external websites. This can establish partner relationships and encourage others to give you quality backlinks that direct to your site, which is another way to boost your traffic numbers.
6. Have a consistent backlink outreach plan
Speaking of backlinks, we know Google values these kinds of links (that link to your site from another authoritative site) when relevant. They show the algorithm that your website is credible.
Sadly, there’s no shortcut to getting them. You can, however, work smarter vs. harder and set your site up for easy backlinking if and when the opportunities arise.
A platform like Ahrefs can show you which sites and pages are linking to your competitors, but not to you, via its Link Intersect tool. From there, you can plan your outreach strategy. Consider requesting backlinks in situations like:
- Someone is linking to competitor content that you have a similar, newer (and ideally better) version of
- You’ve linked to someone’s content and given them a relevant backlink already
- Someone has created an industry directory you’d like to be included in
- Someone has given you backlinks before and is likely to do it again
7. Focus on building relationships
As humans, the need for community is at our core — and it’s crucial for businesses, too. While it can be easy to fall into the habit of working in a silo or with your small team, branching out can have lots of benefits, including site traffic.
Quoting an industry expert or having them pen a guest blog on your site adds credibility while allowing your brand (and audience) to benefit from the person’s knowledge. Alternatively, getting your own content published on high domain authority sites can potentially bring you traffic for years to come.
Pro tip: When you’re brainstorming topics to write up for other sites, it’s a good idea to pitch content in line with keywords that are relevant to your business but also highly competitive. The more established website may rank better for those terms and send a ton of traffic your way.
8. Become a thought leader
Depending on how saturated your industry is, you may have stiff competition when it comes to garnering traffic. So it’s no surprise that sometimes, you’ve got to go above and beyond to stand out.
You can begin to position your brand as a thought leader by:
- Applying for someone from your company to speak at conferences
- Consistently posting high-quality content that’s fresh and relevant
- Reaching out about opportunities to be a guest on an industry podcast
- Being available as an expert source to be quoted in media interviews
9. Be active on social media
Having an active social media presence is another useful way for companies to get the word out about their products or offerings. It’s also a great place to take part in industry conversations.
Along with your website, many people will check out a brand’s social media accounts to see how they present themselves. You can have an edge over less-active competitors by posting on a consistent basis, whatever that means for your and your bandwidth.
Check hashtags for relevant industry conversations that could benefit from your insights. It’s also worth noting that different industries leverage social media in different ways. Moreover, different audience demographics gravitate towards different platforms, like LinkedIn for more B2B brands and Instagram for e-commerce.
Pro tip: Think outside of the Big Four (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) by posting visual content on Pinterest, such as an exclusive infographic, with a concise description and a link back to your site. You may be surprised at the traffic that results.
10. Explore Quora
In case you’re unfamiliar, Quora is a popular Q&A forum site. Users pose questions about everything under the sun and others (ideally, topic experts) respond with answers.
Quora is a great place to search for questions related to your industry, then provide your insights along with a bit about what makes you qualified to add a response.
You can then link to your site and boom, you’ve just connected with someone (or a few someones) who may not have known about your company otherwise.
11. Use the SERP to inform new content
A high results-page ranking can be huge for your company’s traffic. One way to improve your ranking is by going straight to the search engine itself.
Type in some common search engine questions related to your keywords and check out the “People also asked” SERP feature section. What other common questions are popping up, and how can you answer those through your own content?
Next, look at the featured snippets (a box of selected search results that appear above Google’s organic results to provide a concise answer to a posed question) that show up.
Check out the results: How is the featured content formatted? This insight can help inform how you approach future content ideas so you can work towards your business appearing in those sections instead.
12. Look into long-tail terms
When it comes to key phrases, the more specific you can get, the less competition you’ll likely be up against.
Long-tail keywords are generally three- to four-word phrases on a specific topic, rather than something more generic like “paid search.”
They can help you rank for industry terms over your competitors because you have more room to find a unique angle that hasn’t been thoroughly explored yet. See what gaps there are, then determine how you can best fill them.
When you compare long-tail phrases built around specific keywords to keywords with the best search traffic, you’ll find that conversion rates with the former are typically higher. While these keywords may have a lower monthly search volume, they can have a higher probability of conversion.
Want to know more about improving your organic traffic and your overall digital marketing ROI? Let’s chat.
13. Implement secondary keywords
Again, keyword stuffing is a no-no. At the same time, repeating your keyword phrase helps Google and others understand what your page or piece of content is about.
That’s where secondary keywords come in. These are keywords similar to the main one you’re trying to rank for, with slightly tweaked phrasing. This also helps break up your copy and makes it sound more authentic.
An easy way to determine helpful secondary keywords is by searching for your primary keyword on Google, then referencing the resulting list of related searches.
Like SEO, solid organic traffic takes time to cultivate. Don’t get discouraged if you put effort into the above strategies without seeing immediate results.
Over time, if you monitor your site performance, you’ll start seeing those lines move up. At the end of the day, the process of improving your traffic is a marathon, not a sprint.
It can be as simple as picking the strategies that work for you, creating a plan to implement them, consistent tracking, and iterating based on the data you gather.
This article has been updated and was originally published in September 2014.