This guide lays out strategies our team of SEO experts use every day to increase organic traffic, as well as beginner-level steps you need in place to succeed.

But first, be sure to check out our SEO team’s favorite tips and tricks to bring in more (conversion-ready) traffic.

Our SEO team’s favorite tips to increase traffic fast

Looking for higher-level strategies to boost your organic traffic?

The team of search engine optimization (SEO) experts here at HawkSEM share their favorite techniques they use for clients every day — with case studies to boot.

“Create a content marketing strategy and internal link structure based entirely around user intent” -Sonya Gonzales

More than keyword search volume, “it’s important to consider user intent and how it translates to business conversions,” explains Sonya Gonzales, SEO manager at HawkSEM.

First, “define what sells and confirm those suspicions and educated guesses using [Google] Analytics.”

In other words:

  • How do people come to your site?
  • Where do they stick around?
  • What incentivized them to click through from SERP?

“Asking these pointed questions can provide valuable insight when doing content/keyword research,” Gonzales continues.

Based on the data you uncover, “build out a full content strategy that is designed to support a tree-structure of content.”

This means broad and competitive subjects or products should always live in the main level navigation, with niche-specific silos that point up to the main level.

As always, “blogs should steer away from fluff content and be hyper-focused on educating — either moving users to main level/silos or to convert directly.”

And this is true for ecommerce, service, and any other line of business.

“User intent is also the key to not only lift traffic but conversion-focused traffic” -Madison Scherner

Senior SEO Manager Madison Scherner echos the importance of search intent when building organic content that converts.

“Our clients usually have multiple types of conversions and funnels, so it’s critical to focus in on what’s bringing in the preferred conversion.

Here’s what we mean:

One of our clients is a recruitment and advisory firm. Scherner noticed they had over 70 pages focused on bringing in candidates as opposed to bringing in job orders from companies.

“With some slight optimizations and keyword integrations, we were able to create significant lift in not just organic traffic, but preferred conversion-focused organic traffic,” says Scherner.

Not to mention the keywords they were going after previously (“executive assistant jobs”) were more competitive than the new targeted keywords (“hire an executive assistant”).

“So not only did we change the priority of the page,” Scherner says, “we also better aligned with our competitive market.”

“Evaluate top competitors to emulate strategies (but level-up the content)” -Alissa DeGeorge

“A key method I’ve had great success in is evaluating top competing content and seeing how we can emulate their strategies but make our content even better,” says Alissa DeGeorge, SEO manager at HawkSEM.

First, assess what questions these top performers answer through their content. Then, consider what’s missing and how you could add more detail and context.

A great way to do this is to add statistics, data, images, or video as a visual aid to make the content more digestible, engaging, and credible.

“Ecommerce businesses: Prioritize category pages” -Alissa DeGeorge

Ecommerce businesses, this one’s for you.

“For category pages specifically, you need to use data to determine your prioritization,” says DeGeorge.

“Always begin by evaluating the current positioning of each page for their primary keyword. Focus on improving the pages in lower positions in your highest converting categories.

Once you have that list, you can optimize the content in order of priority.

“When you optimize content, make sure you include the key details that are important to the consumer about the products in that category,” DeGeorge explains.

For example:

  1. Product benefits
  2. Price range
  3. Materials
  4. How the materials are sourced
  5. Where the products are made
  6. What sizes/shapes/colors they come in

“This ties into what I mentioned about making your content better than competitors,” she says.

Here’s an example:

One of our ecommerce clients is a leading bath and kitchen hardware supply company. In April, our SEO team used a combination of an AI-powered content tool and created refreshed, modernized graphics (and a buying guide) to be more helpful to the user.

By June, there was a 76% increase in organic traffic to this page year-over-year and a 38% increase period-over-period.

“Local businesses: Use zip code analysis to expand targeted SEO content” -Charlotte Soto

Google Business Profile (GBP) allows local organizations to add up to 20 local region focuses. But chances are, you aren’t capturing all county-level or city-level targets available to you.

Enter: FreeMapTools, a zip code analysis tool.

“For one of our clients, we were able to identify new counties within California to target through SEO content and [GBP] creations,” says Lead Strategist Charlotte Soto.

“This can act as a keyword research tool on a localized level,” says Soto, “and help with writing descriptions to include specific town names; that way we are squeezing the lemon as best as we can.”

“Always request indexing for new URLs” -Samantha Ridgway

“This is a super simple one, but always request indexing for new URLs via [Google Search Console]!” says Samantha Ridgway, SEO manager.

In other words, simply submitting individual URLs through the URL Inspection tool inside Google Search Console (GSC) is a super fast way to let Google know that you have updated website content. This greatly increases your likelihood of getting a higher ranking on the SERP.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Login to GSC
  2. Inspect the page URL.
  3. Request indexing on the inspection result page for the URL

Simple? Yes. Effective? Here’s a case study for proof:

One of Ridgway’s clients recently “gained 100 keywords in two weeks just by getting a few blogs indexed that Google wasn’t picking up by itself.”

15 ways to grow organic traffic: The basics

Not ready to tackle these higher-level strategies just yet? Let’s take it back to basics with the top 15 ways to increase your organic traffic:

1. Optimize your website with user experience in mind

To increase organic website traffic, you first need to ensure your website’s messaging is clear, the navigation is intuitive, and the design is aesthetically pleasing.

This means when a user lands on your website, they immediately understand:

  • Your offer (what you do)
  • Your call to action (what you want them to do)
  • Where to go on your site to learn more
  • How to contact you if they have additional questions

Depending on your website platform, you can add a plugin like Yoast for WordPress that’ll provide you with optimization and readability tips when you’re uploading or editing a web page or blog.

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.”

traffic on a highway

Having a sitemap will keep things organized and, as a result, help you rank higher on SERPs. (Image: Unsplash)

2. Make sure each page has its own target keyword

Pages on your site with the same target keyword will compete with each other in search engine results.

Each page and blog post should have its own primary target keyword (or set of keywords) when possible. You can use a program like Semush 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 less traffic or conversions, 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 to prioritize optimizations

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 content 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 great content that will lead to unique ranking improvements, such as content that follows E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) standards.

Pro tip: When you focus more on generating relevant, in-depth content that educates and helps your target audience rather than what you think the algorithm wants, you can start to see your organic traffic grow steadily over time.

people walking on a busy outdoor crosswalk

Quality link building shows the algorithm that your website is credible. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Keep landing page content minimal

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 search rankings without inundating every website visitor with too much info at once.

6. Build out your content library with internal links

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.

Looking to up your SEO game? Check out our guide: 10 Quick Tips to Improve Your SEO Today.

7. Use the Link Intersect tool to create a 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, set your site up for easy backlinking.

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, plan your outreach strategy to suggest backlinks in situations like:

  • Someone linked to competitor content but you have similar content that is more up-to-date and higher-quality
  • You linked to someone’s content and given them a relevant backlink already
  • Someone created an industry directory you’d like to be included in
  • Someone gave you backlinks before and is likely to do it again

8. Feature guest blogs from industry experts (& become a guest author yourself)

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 their knowledge. Alternatively, guest posting on high domain-authority sites can potentially bring you traffic for years to come.

Pro tip: When 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.

9. 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.

To position your brand as a thought leader:

  • Apply to speak at conferences, podcasts, and events
  • Post original, high-quality content

Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to be cited as an industry expert in relevant publications

10. Be active on (the right) social media channels

An active social media presence is another useful way for companies to boost brand awareness and 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 ecommerce.

Pro tip: Think outside of the Big Four (Facebook, Instagram, X, 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.

11. Make connections as an industry expert through 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, and 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.

Atlanta skyline and traffic in the evening

Like SEO, solid organic search traffic takes time to cultivate. (Image: Unsplash)

12. Use Answer the Public and People also ask to inform new content

The goal of your content is to provide value and answer questions. To determine what searchers are asking, we suggest heading to Google first:

Enter some common questions related to your business into the search engine and check out the “People also asked” SERP feature section. What other common search queries pop 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 relevant content ideas so you can work towards your business appearing in those sections instead.

Another great tool to get into the minds of your audience is Answer the Public.

13. Use 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.

14. 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.

15. Polish your on-page SEO

From updating title tags and meta descriptions to creating unique content and descriptive image alt text, optimizing your on-page SEO is a hefty task in and of itself.

Lucky for you, we created a guide that walks you through how to tick off every ranking factor so you can do a deep dive (when you’re ready).

Check it out here.

Why organic traffic matters

Organic traffic gives your website (and business) authority in a highly competitive landscape, increasing your chances of conversions overall.

While the process is admittedly slow going, the reward is increased credibility, sustainable results, cost-effectiveness, and improved pay-per-click (PPC) performance.

The takeaway

Like SEO, solid organic traffic takes time to cultivate. Don’t get discouraged if you put effort into your SEO strategy 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.

But if you want help from our team of experts, we’ve got you.


This article has been updated and was originally published in September 2014.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's senior content marketing manager. Through more than a decade of professional writing and editing experience, she creates SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of reading, yoga, new vegetarian recipes, and paper planners.