How do you boost your organic traffic? You need to set yourself on a twofold mission:
● SEO – rank well in search engine results for keywords associated with your industry and your products or services, if you are new to SEO, check out this SEO glossary;
● Content – write and share high quality content relevant to your prospects.
These two goals go hand in hand and are interrelated. Below, we explain how.
The Logic of SEO – How Search Engines Operate
It is important to rank well because people click on top results, and on organic search results rather than paid ads. Here is the amount of traffic received by top search results on Google:
#1 position – 18% of all traffic
#2 position – 10%
#3 position – 7%
#4 position – 5%
Others – under 2%
Ranking at the top will not only boost your traffic and conversion rates but also build your authority by attracting more traffic. This is a powerful cycle to get caught up in.
In order to rank well, you need to implement Search Engine Optimization, and for this you need to understand how both search engines and SEO work.
Search engines do two things:
1. They crawl and index content on the Internet
2. They provide searchers with a list of websites relevant to their search and ranked according to the popularity of the websites
Search engines normally assume that the more popular a site, the more useful the information it displays must be, so both relevance and popularity are important factors here.
While the way engines operate has been very refined in recent years, they still can’t understand a web page the same way humans can. SEO helps search engines understand what pages are about and how relevant they are to the searches performed in order to send users to relevant sites.
Search engines have a good idea of some common characteristics of relevant sites:
● They are easy to use and understand (and this is why other sites link to them – the „no one likes to link to a crummy site“ phenomenon)
● They provide relevant and actionable information
● They are well designed
● They provide high quality content
How do search engines detect quality content?, you might ask. They pick up the following signals:
● Engagement metrics – search engines observe how searchers engage with results through bounce rates and time spent on your site
● Linking patterns – engines use links as the measure of popularity and (usually rightly) assume that high quality information earns more links
This is why it is important to write creative, quality content that will match your buyer persona’s search goals. This way, users will stay on your site and perhaps link to it, which will help your ranking and warm up leads, that will hopefully lead to a conversion.
The Logic of Inbound Marketing – Why Content Matters
There are companies that hide the blog section on their website because they only use it for SEO. They don’t want to invest time and effort into writing quality content, they just want to attract traffic to their home page. While this is okay for some, it’s not enough if you’re dreaming big. Writing quality content will get you the right inbound leads, people who are already interested in what you have to offer.
It’s not enough to just optimize your content for SEO, you need to write quality posts relevant to your industry and your prospects. You need to create content that showcases you and your team as professionals and thought leaders who are in the loop and ahead of the curve. People like to do business with those who know what they are talking about and who can teach them something new and provide them real value. You need to show your readers you are this person.
Publishing content of 1,000+ words weekly increases your organic traffic by 30%. Considering that blog posts are most read within the first 3 days of their publishing, think about what publishing 1,000+ words of quality content every 3 days could do to your organic traffic. It would boost it dramatically and you could see all of your metrics rising within as little as one month.
We have written about ways to get content inspiration and about writing a good blog post. This should be helpul reading if you’re wondering how to craft quality content.
SEO Best Practices – 14 Step Checklist
Now, while basic SEO tricks, that everyone who does SEO knows, are not enough to rank well in search results, you still have to know them and use them in your content strategy. Here is a checklist of SEO basics you should work into your content routine:
1. Write useful, information-rich copy that cleary and correctly describes what you’re about
2. Use common terms that people use when searching (e.g. use Lead Generation instead of Contact Acquisition)
3. Research your keyword – research keyword demand and find out which websites already rank for it and how hard it will be for you to rank
4. Use your keyword properly:
- Once in the title, as close to the beginning as possible
- Once near the beginning of your text
- At least 2 or 3 times, or more if necessary, in the body of your text
- Once in the captions and ALT attributes of any rich media in the text (see 10.)
- Once in the URL (if your Content Management System auto-generates the alias of your post from the title, this step is done for you)
- Once in the Read More text on your blog or website (the text which describes what your post is about)
5. Don’t use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages of your site; this is Keyword Cannibalization
6. Don’t overuse your keyword – keyword stuffing can get your website banned or penalized on search engines
7. Have your titles reflect the body of your text – mixed contextual signals confuse search engines
8. Include links back to your site and other blog posts you’ve published – this will point readers to more of your content and defend your site from scrapers (copy/pasters who are too lazy to remove hyperlinks from the text they are scraping)
9. Pay attention to internationalization, depending on your audience (e.g. British vs. American English)
10. When publishing in CMS, include captions, <title> elements and ALT attributes for your rich media (images, video, plug-ins, etc.) that are explanatory and accurate
11. Share your content on social media and use other channels – this will boost relevance and popularity
12. Earn links from other sites (for this you need to write quality content) – link building will naturally expose your content to search engines
13. Don’t duplicate pages – have your webmaster use 301 redirects or the rel=“canonical“ attribute to avoid duplicate content appearing on different URLs, which is common in modern CMS (e.g. a blog post on your website and the same blog post in PDF)
14. Make sure you don’t store content you want indexed behind forms – search engines aren’t good at completing them
These are the basics. If you write regularly and share quality content relevant to your prospects and optimize it for SEO, you will boost your organic traffic significantly and hopefully your conversion rates as well. Of course, you will need to invest some time to develop the right content strategy, implement it well, and learn the SEO tricks of the trade.