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 a competitor.
But it’s not about mindless search engine optimisation (SEO) and costly pay-per-click advertising. There’s plenty you can do boost organic site traffic at no cost except your time:
Optimise for your personas, not search engines. First and foremost, write your buyer personas so you know to whom you’re addressing your content. By creating quality educational content that resonates with you>r ideal buyers, you’ll naturally improve your SEO. This means tapping into the main issues of your personas and the keywords they use in search queries. Optimising for search engines alone is useless; all you’ll have is keyword-riddled nonsense.
Blog away. Blogging is perhaps the most effective way to increase your organic site traffic. It lets you go into more depth than your website allows and creates a large catalogue of helpful, persona-optimised content centred on your market niche. However, poorly-written, spammy or too-cheap content can do more harm than good. Avoid it.
Plug into the blogosphere. The blogosphere is a reciprocal sort of place. Read, comment and link to other people’s sites and blogs, particularly those operating in your market, and they’ll hopefully read, comment and link to yours, attracting more prospects.
Use long tail keywords. Don’t just go with the most popular keywords in your market. Use keywords that are more specific to your product or service. In time, Google and other search engines will identify your website or blog as a destination for that particular subject, which will boost your content in search rankings and help your ideal customers find you. These tools will help.
Get your meta down. The meta title, URL and description are the three key ingredients for an optimised web page or blog post. It’s simple but effective. We use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress to help us optimise our pages. But it’s not enough to add the plugin, you have to work on each page in turn.
Consistently create quality content. Try to write and publish as often as possible, but not at the cost of quality! The more quality content – including thought leadership articles and blog posts – you have on your website or blog the more opportunities you create for organic traffic to come your way.
Use internal links. Once you’ve built up a decent back catalogue 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. Don’t, however, overuse internal links; too many and it starts to look like spam.
Encourage incoming links. Google prioritises sites that have a lot of incoming links, especially from other trustworthy sites. Encourage clients, friends, family members, partners, suppliers, industry mavens and friendly fellow bloggers to link to your site. The more incoming links you have the higher your site will rank. But beware SEO snake oil salesmen who try to trick Google with spammy links from low-reputation sites. Some links can actually damage your SEO.
Blow your own trumpet. You can also link to your content yourself, on your own personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon etc – no spamming, mind.
Use social media. Build a presence on social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. All of these activities help to get your name out and website address out on the internet. Read about how we doubled our social media audience in a week. Add share buttons to your site to make it easy for people to share your content. And write content worthy of sharing.
Exploit metrics. Use something like Google Analytics to track visitors to your site and blog. Being able to see where they come from and what keywords they searched for allows you to fine-tune your content.
Ultimately, to increase organic site traffic you need to give your customer what they want, be it quality relevant content or products.