When business owners and marketers begin researching how to increase traffic to their website, they eventually land on talk of this mysterious and complex concept called “search engine optimization.” Increasing organic search traffic (the traffic that comes from people searching on sites like Google and Yahoo!) is often desirable because in many ways it’s free.
If you’re resourceful and determined, you can find great success in improving your results. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing channel perfectly suited to the bootstrapping entrepreneur. In this post, we’re going to breaking down tips on how to increase your organic search traffic at little to no cost.
First, how to think about search engine optimization…
There are basically three factors that determine which sites perform well in the search engines.
- Site architecture: This is a foundational item and determines whether the search engines can even see all of the content you’re publishing.
- Content Relevance: Search engines won’t know what your site is about or when it should show up in the search results unless you tell them through content relevant to your business or audience.
- Popularity: Life isn’t a popularity contest but search often is. Search engines judge popularity by how many other websites have linked to yours.
How to improve your site architecture in order to increase organic search traffic…
If you’ve built your website on any of the major content management system targeted toward small businesses (i.e. WordPress, Squarespace, etc) then your site architecture is likely mostly okay.
If you’ve paid someone or an agency to build your website, ask what they’ve done to ensure the site is optimized for search. If someone is in the business of selling websites then this is a completely fair question to ask.
No matter how you’ve built your website, there will likely be improvements that can be made. We recommend using a tool like SEMRush or partnering with an agency that uses one to “crawl” your site at least once a year. A site crawl will identify all of the technical updates you can make to your website to make it more optimized for search. Download your check-list of to-dos and make progress on them every week.
Keep in mind that these technical updates can sometimes be complex and impact the overall look-and-feel of your website. So if it’s above your skill level, it may be best to partner with someone who can not only build your website, but manage updates on an ongoing basis.
When Marketing MyWay decided to offer affordable websites for small businesses, we knew we couldn’t do it without providing long-term support. Websites shouldn’t be stagnant and they can’t succeed in search without regular updates.
How to improve site content in order to increase organic search traffic…
We could write an entire series of posts on this topic and we likely will someday, but for now, we’ll speak high level. The key to success in search engine optimization is developing content that your potential customers might be interested in while optimizing that content for keywords people are actually searching for.
In order to find keywords that people are actually searching for, you can use a free keyword research tool like SEOBook’s Keyword Tool. If you already have SEMRush, that tool is also great for research.
We recommend identifying up to 100 keywords you want our website to show up for when people search. Once you have those keywords, map them to existing pages on your site. This can be written on a sheet of paper, in Excel, or done in SEMRush, but try to identify 1-3 keywords per page. If you have left over keywords, then begin brainstorming what type of content you need to create to show up for those keywords.
Simple blog posts and static pages are the easiest content to create and add to your website, but they’re not always the most engaging right? We have to begin thinking about that popularity angle here. What type of content will make you most popular business within your industry? Videos, infographics, memes? Whatever you choose, make sure it’s still relevant to your audience.
It’s like high school all over again. Do what you can to be popular, but don’t lose sight of who you are.
How to increase your popularity in order to increase organic search traffic….
While creating content that people want to see is the number one way of increasing your online popularity and getting people to link to your website, sometimes you need to be more proactive than that. The internet is a crowded place and people are busy.
Look around you. Are there business associates, partners, or customers that have websites? If so, have you asked them to link to you? This may feel awkward at first and you may hear “no” more often than you’d like, but you’ll never know unless you ask.
Similarly, if you’ve created a really great piece of content and you think the audience of a relevant publication or website might be interested in it, try reaching out to the owners of that website and showing the content you’ve created.
If you do all of the things discussed in this post, you will increase your site traffic over time at little to no cost. If you have money to burn and traffic to gain, well…that’s a blog post for another day.