The challenge for any business is to make sure that when people look for a product or service like yours, they find you and not your competitor. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as the exposure of your brand, through organic search engine results.
Despite the acronym SEO, SEO is as much more about people than it is about search engines themselves because it is all about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they are seeking, the keywords that they’re using, and the type of content they wish to consume. Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to connect to your audience who are searching online for the solutions you offer.
What Is Organic Traffic?
The term “organic traffic” is used for referring to the visitors that land on your website as a result of unpaid or organic search results. Organic search results are the ones that are earned through effective SEO, not paid for (i.e. PPC). So basically anytime someone lands on your website from the search engine results pages, you’re receiving organic search traffic.
What Are The Benefits Of Organic Traffic?
While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. SEO is also one of the only online marketing channels that, when set up correctly, can continue to pay dividends over time.
Here are some of the key benefits of organic traffic:
- Organic traffic brings in regular and more engaged visitors
- Organic search traffic brings in highly qualified prospects
- Organic search traffic is a sustainable approach
- Organic search is cost-effective in the long run
- Organic search traffic gives you a competitive edge
- Organic traffic is an excellent method of brand building
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO refers to SEO techniques, best practices, and strategies that work in accordance with search engine rules and regulations. Its primary focus is to provide more value to people as well as relevant and engaging content.
Black hat SEO on the other hand refers to techniques and strategies that attempt to deceive search engines. While black hat SEO can work, it puts websites at tremendous risk of being penalized and/or removed from search results and has several ethical implications.
Here are 8 Ways To Increase Organic Traffic to Your Site
1. Optimize for your audience, not search engines
The main goal of site optimization is to not only make it easy for web crawlers to find your page but also your audience to find relevant content for their search queries or search intent. You want web users to be able to find you easily when they search for information linked to your page, which essentially means you should be on the first page of any search engine. While optimizing your page for users you can follow the following points:
- Optimize your site to load faster.
- Create a memorable content experience for users.
- Give your target audience what they want and they’ll stick around.
- Focus on your site objective and calls to action.
- Build functional links to your web pages.
2. Identify and Fix Non-Performing Content
Non-performing content is content that fails to help a site achieve its marketing objectives which are usually driving organic traffic or conversions or winning referrals from other sites. Non Performing content will hinder your chances of getting organic search traffic to your site.
That’s because non-performing content takes up the crawl budget—how search engines decide how many pages, and which pages, of a site to crawl—which is limited. If your site is flooded with non-performing content the spider will skip over and abandon your site even before crawling the good stuff.
Identifying and excluding non-performing content gives search engines enough budget to crawl the site’s most important pages and posts that will further help you rank better in the SERPs, winning more organic clicks in the long run.
You can identify non-performing content by simply undertaking a website audit to better understand what further changes need to be made.
3. Find New Keyword Opportunities
Even the strongest keyword strategy tends to have gaps in it. That’s a natural thing to happen as new and relevant keywords emerge all the time, and adding new product features opens up new keyword opportunities. It takes time for content production to incorporate those opportunities into a keyword strategy.
Identifying opportunities and building them into a keyword strategy will help increase both search traffic as well as brand visibility.
4. Exploit Site Architecture to Get Sitelinks
Site architecture plays a major role in how crawlers crawl your site and how your users navigate and engage with it. Crawlers won’t know which pages or posts are most important to your site if your site architecture is confusing. Users also might not find the information they need, causing them to bounce from the site. This, in turn, sends negative ranking signals to search engines, which will drop your ranking in the SERPs.
5. Use internal links
Once you’ve built up a decent back catalog of content, you can link to it in blogs and on your website, guiding visitors to more relevant content. This can keep visitors on your website for longer, which helps boost your search rankings.
Do not overuse internal linking as if there are too many it will start to appear as spam.
6. Dominate Featured Snippets
Google introduced featured snippets that have enriched results that aim to answer a searcher’s question directly on the results page, meaning that they never need to leave Google to find the information they need.
Smart structure and content are key to increasing organic traffic with featured snippets. You’ll also push competitors results down the rankings, gaining brand exposure.
Ways you can appear in featured snippets:
- Identify keywords that produce featured snippet results and that your site is already ranking on page one for. Sites not on page one will not appear in a snippet.
- Snippet-friendly keyword phrases usually answer a what, how, or why question. So make sure your content answers those questions.
- Use high-quality, SEO-optimized images.
7. Understand Your Website/ Client Goals
Every website is different, so take the time to really understand a specific site’s business goals. This will not only help you determine which areas of SEO you should focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set benchmarks. Understanding and determining your KPIs is also crucial in order to measure the return on SEO investment.
Here are some KPI parameters to get you started:
- Email signups
- Contact form submissions
- Phone calls
If your website has a local component, ensure that you’ve set up KPIs for your Google My Business listings, as well. Some KPIs could be:
8. UX and SEO go hand in hand
Google favors sites that provide their users with relevant and high-quality content for their related search queries. It also favors how effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily its visitors or users can see, or examine by other means, the website.
On the surface, you might not think that issues like site speed, usability, and design are important for search engine rankings. But while these issues on their own might not affect your rankings, they do influence the number of users who visit your site and the amount of time they spend on each page (it’ll increase your bounce rate, which you really do not want for your website).
This, in turn, will have a major impact on your rankings. So keep your site in excellent working order and optimized for both search engines as well as users.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to increasing organic traffic. Each website has to find its own approach to organic traffic growth based on its target audience and content.
SEO can help your website rank higher in search results and consequently drive more traffic to your website, it’s just that ranking and traffic are a means to an end.
There’s little use in ranking if no one is clicking through to your site, and there’s little use in increasing your traffic if that traffic isn’t accomplishing a larger business objective.