When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), marketers tend to throw it around like the single most crucial aspect of a digital marketing strategy. If you don’t optimize your site, then any attempt to promote your business and get traffic to your website might take a hit.
But is it really true?
The short answer is yes, a sound SEO strategy is vital to the long-term success of your business. But, there are more nuances to it than just meets the surface.
SEO should be a priority for businesses as it has the potential to boost their websites up in search results. A favorable Google position can translate into more traffic and leads, and higher conversion rates. But, you probably know that already. The difficult part nowadays is falling into Google’s graces and taking your site to the coveted #1 position.
It used to be a lot easier in the past. All you had to do was add some search terms to your blog post without worrying whether those words related to your website in any way, and just watch your ranking increase.
Today, that’s not the case anymore.
SEO has become an art that requires finesse and a more in-depth understanding of how search engines operate, and what business owners can do to rank high in search query results.
The “how SEO can increase a website’s traffic” discussion has been around for quite some time, and it’s not a quick conversation. But this article will go over some of the main points of search engine optimization to help you understand this process and apply it to increase your website traffic.
What Is SEO?
In a nutshell, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a term that incorporates every single method marketers use to increase traffic to a website through search engine results. To understand how it works, it’s worth explaining the two main components that form it:
- Search Engines
Google, Yahoo, Bing – we use search engines daily, but most of us don’t stop to think about how they work. It’s nothing short of magic: you type in a word, you get a list of relevant results (most of the time), and you can find what you’re looking for in the top five queries (sometimes).
Well, if by magic you understand great programming, then you’re close to the right answer. Search engines have an army of bots, also known as crawlers that roam around the web and collect information. What they bring back is indexed by the search engine. The algorithm will analyze the index and match the data to your query.
Each search engine has its algorithm, meaning that you can use them at the same time, type in the same question, and get different results.
That is the part you can control. Optimization is the process that helps search engine crawlers understand the information on your website, gather it, index it, and determine its position in search results.
A lot of factors contribute to how high your site will rank, such as having quality content, making sure that your website is mobile-friendly or ensuring that your link building strategy complies with Google’s rules. But, we’ll get to that soon enough.
What It’s for?
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that you are already doing your part and have a great SEO and content marketing strategy in place. Here’s how optimizing your website can bring more visitors to your site.
Crawlers can now understand the information on your website and bring it back to index it, which means people can search for a specific topic and potentially end up on your platform.
The level of optimization of your website can determine your page ranking on search engine results. When a user searches a particular topic that has a connection to your content, then the search engine will bring them a list of all the websites containing that question. Then, users will click and tap their way through the pages, looking for the business that can help them solve their problems.
That’s why content creation is so valuable, though it’s obviously not the only factor you need to take into consideration. A great post will not only help you get a high rank but also keep visitors engaged.
Here’s an example: when someone types into Google’s search bar “buy muffins New York,” the search engine will try to provide them with websites where they can buy the products they are looking for. If you’re in the business of selling muffins in New York, then your content should reflect that if you want crawlers to index your website.
A high search engine ranking increases the possibility that prospects will see your site in search results, click on it, and convert.
That’s not something to ignore, considering that Google gets roughly 3.5 billion daily searches. Once you start pursuing this opportunity, your overall website traffic can grow organically, meaning you won’t have to spend any money to generate long-term results.
How to Generate More Traffic with SEO
Our preferred search engines are always making tweaks in their algorithms in an effort to provide users with the best results for their queries. But, for the people on the other side, such as business owners and marketers, these constant changes can cause quite the headache.
Here’s the hard truth: as much as you’re trying to, your site is never going to be 100% optimized. Keep in mind that Google uses over 200 factors to decide which pages to rank at the top of search results. It would be close to impossible to score perfectly on every one of them.
What you can do, however, is try to keep pace with the search engine changes and give your best at following the rules.
But let’s see what you can start doing right now if you want to get traffic to your website through SEO.
- Check Your Loading Time
Be honest: how long does it take your page to load? Don’t offer any excuses, such as I have a lot of design elements and although it can take a while to load, users are sure to appreciate it. We hate to be bearers of bad news, but that’s not true. Reports show that internet users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. And, do you know what the worst part is: your prospects will likely choose your competitor if their website loads faster than yours.
Here are a few things you can do to fix that:
- Compress large images;
- Compress to gzip to save bandwidth;
- Enable browser caching;
- Reduce server response time;
- Skip landing page redirects;
- Focus on visible content;
- Take a Good Look at Your Keywords Strategy
Keywords will tell Google what your page is all about, so make sure to include them in your titles, headers, meta descriptions, and content. Don’t overdo it, though. Search engines have become increasingly sophisticated and can understand the content of a page without you having to stuff it with keywords. Therefore, instead of trying to determine the right keyword density formula, focus on creating great content.
Be careful about the types of keywords you’re using too. Here’s what we mean by that:
- Long Tail Keywords
These are the words and phrases that can describe your website. Let’s stick with the example above and imagine that you have a cupcake shop. If you’re selling muffins online, you may think to use the word “muffins” to get a better rank. But that doesn’t mean all users who are searching for “muffins” will be redirected to your website since it’s a fairly common word. You need to be more specific.
Try to integrate long-tail keywords when optimizing your content, such as “where to buy muffins online” if you want to improve your rankings and get traffic to your site. Sure, the number of people searching for “muffins” is a lot higher than those looking for that particular long-tail keyword, but that can work in your favor. You’re in the business of selling muffins, so it’s more efficient to target users who already have an intent to buy.
- Location-Based Keywords
Apart from keywords that can sum up your site, consider integrating some that tell people where your business is. By including your location, you will target the prospects that are most likely to visit your website and purchase your products.
Think about it this way: the people who are searching for “buy muffins online New York” aren’t just curious to see how many businesses offer this service in their city; they’re looking to buy. By telling search engines you offer this service in New York, you’re increasing the chance of being shown in relevant results.
If you do that, then half of your job is done since you don’t have to convince browsing shoppers to buy. They’ve ended up on your website for that reason on their own. You just have to convince them to buy from you instead of hitting the close button and visit your competitors.
- Focus on Quality Content
Right off the bat, you need to know that if you ever want your site’s traffic to improve, then you need to invest in quality content creation. Crawlers won’t be able to read that great article you just posted, but they do look at a few signals to see if your content is good or not:
It can be an infuriating thing. On the one hand, you need to have a generous amount of content on your website. But, on the other, you don’t want to make visitors feel as if they are reading a novel.
Try to provide genuinely useful information to your readers and don’t think of content as just a means to an end. It’s important not to fall into the extremes: too short equals no value, too long equals a potential lack of interest. A middle ground can be what you need.
That great post you published two months ago isn’t relevant anymore. Search engines are looking for sites with a healthy posting frequency. It’s not to say you’ll need to revamp your pages every single day and write articles even when you have nothing interesting to say. But you should maintain a healthy and consistent posting frequency and keep prospects engaged and longing for more.
Your business’ website most likely has a defined ‘theme,’ industry or scope of topics. That can mean a lot of your pages are connected, but don’t expect users to discover that on their own.
Use internal links to guide them through your site and send them to other pages where they can find similar information or topics related to the ones they’re reading. That way you can improve your bounce rate by incentivizing readers to stay on your platform longer and consume your content.
Over 2.3 billion people worldwide have a smartphone and use it to navigate the internet. Chances are you’re reading this very article from your phone.
The same stays true for your potential website visitors. They may be interested in the topic and already have the intent to buy, but if they’re using a mobile device to look around your site, you’d better make sure they have a flawless experience.
Use this Google tool to check if your website is mobile friendly. In case it needs a few adjustments, then consider collaborating with a developer experienced in mobile platform development to get it right.
- Don’t Cheat
SEO can take a few months to show results. Not to mention, it requires constant effort. So, a lot of small business owners fall into temptation and use black hat techniques to skyrocket their rankings.
Don’t do it. We won’t get into the discussion of whether or not these tactics work, but what we know for sure is that testing the patience of search engines can ultimately hurt your website. Googles and other similar platforms are great at finding unethical approaches and are quick to punish them.
Here’s what you should avoid:
- Exact-match anchor text;
- Stolen or low-quality content;
- Cheap links or irrelevant guest posts;
- Paid inbound links;
These shortcuts might get you to the desired results, but if the search engines ever catch on, then your website might be permanently left on the sidelines.
Is Paid Traffic Necessary?
Boosting your website’s traffic organically is possible, but don’t expect to see any significant results right away. As mentioned already, this is a slow process and it can take up to six months to see a change in your traffic rates. But given enough time, SEO campaigns will not only improve your ranking and traffic, but they will also provide a better user experience.
Still, if you want to get results quicker, you could consider investing in AdWords or other similar tools. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore your SEO strategy, though.
Over to You
It’s great to try to break into the online market, but just creating a page for your company isn’t going to cut it. You need to invest in your website and nurture it with care, just like you do with their business.
If you want organic traffic, then you have to work for it. Even paying for it might not give you the expected traffic boosts if your website’s not optimized. So, think of SEO as a necessary investment for the future. It can bring in new clients, and make the current ones happier with your improved services – which is objectively a win-win situation.
But don’t think you can do some modifications today and be done with it. Monitoring the platform’s performance is just as important as optimizing it, and we recommend to log into Google Analytics regularly to stay on top of things.