Most small business owners know that having a website is paramount these days. Unfortunately, the ‘build it and they will come’ mantra doesn’t apply anymore. You can put a lot of time and effort into making your website look amazing, but that won’t guarantee people will visit it and use it for the purposes you want them to use it for.
There’s a lot that goes into making sure your website sees the kind of traffic levels you want it to. There’s certainly nothing easy about generating traffic and you might currently be unsure of the most effective ways in which to increase traffic to your website. That’s why you’re here, right?
Taking your website from a position of weakness to a point at which your traffic levels are higher than you could imagine is more than possible. It’ll be a challenge and you sholudn’t believe anyone who tells you it’ll be easy, but it cerntainly can be done and that’s what’s most important.
While there are many ways to get more traffic to your website, one of the best ways is through an organic listing on Google. Unfortunately, everyone is aware of this though, Google is very popular and so having your business on Google is essential. Having your business on the first page of Google is not an easy feat, but it can be done through a process known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This article will guide you through the basics of what you need to know about SEO, but for a more comprehensive guide, please look at our article, ‘What is SEO‘.
What is SEO and How Does it Work?
In the world of digital marketing, SEO matters. To put it simply, SEO is the process of making sure your website and its pages are able to rank as high as possible on search engines, particularly Google, the biggest and most widely used. There are lots of things you can do to make that happen.
Search engines have the ability to gather information on your website and then judge it according to their algorithms. You don’t want the algorithm to judge your website poorly because that’s when you struggle to rank and struggle to find traffic. The right approach to SEO will help increase traffic and it’ll be the right kind of traffic too.
One aspect of SEO that often gets overlooked but really shouldn’t is on-page SEO. Essentially on-page SEO is any SEO that you do directly on each page of your website and it all starts with content. But, it also includes architecture and the actual code within your website.
There are lots of little things that matter, such as title tags including vital keywords, wrapping subheadings in the relevant tags and using SEO-friendly URLs, to name just a few of the most important factors that impact the success of your on-page SEO.
Adding modifiers to the titles on your pages is something that you should start to do if you haven’t already too. This is important because it will help you rank for long-tail keywords. You can add things like “2019”, “guide” or “best”, to provide just a few examples of the modifiers that are often used successfully by digital marketers.
Anything you put on your website that disseminates information to your audience is content. Posts, articles, memes, images and graphics – all of it is content. You want to have a variety of different types of content for maximum SEO value.
- Quality vs Quantity – While it is true that you want to put up a lot of content for your audience, it’s more important for the content to be of high quality. You do want to put up content more often than monthly, but you don’t need to put up several things each day if it will compromise the quality of the information you put up for your audience.
- Keyword Research – Many people choose not to do keyword research, but if you do it, you’ll waste less time creating content that doesn’t get results and end up with more time to create awesome content that does get results.
- Use Words Strategically – Try to figure out what type of power words make your audience feel something and want to do something. There are general power words that you can use such as ‘devastating blow’ or ‘majestic views’ or something that gets their attention and makes them feel something.
- Hot Topics, Updated and Fresh – A great way to make use of the time you have to create content is to focus on hot topics and trends of the day. Keep the content updated and fresh by using headlines of the day to evoke curiosity. Warning: Don’t try to trick your readers with clickbait. It only works a few times, then it stops working and you’ve lost something important: Trust.
- Horizontal & Vertical – You want a combination of both types of content. Think of it this way; Horizontal content covers everything on your website that is full of content on all pages like your about us page, or home page and that is consistent throughout. Vertical content concerns itself with a specific topic and goes across all channels and how they work to improve your website.
- Provide Solutions – Your content also should seek to provide solutions for your audience. They want you to help them solve their problems. They should be able to solve some of their problems without buying anything and your content can fulfil that need.
- Authoritative – Longer, more in-depth content such as long blog posts, white papers, as well as articles and guides can help people and search engines know that your site is serious and that you are there to help your audience.
- Using Headings – Headlines, subheads, and proper ‘H1’ and ‘H2’ tags are fundamental to use on any page. Using headings increases the readability for the visitors and Google likes that. Be sure to only use one ‘H1’ tag though, otherwise you will lose points.
- Title with Keywords – All your titles for every page and blog post should include a keyword. This informs your visitors and Google about what is on the page and what it is about.
- Meta Description – Within the website, behind the scenes are meta tags. These bits of code tell search engines what is inside. If you took our advice and used WordPress to build your website, downloading a plugin called Yoast will allow you to fill in the meta data easily. Don’t skip this part, it’s important.
When it comes to content and SEO, you have a lot of ways that you can improve your content by using good SEO practices. That is, using keywords within the first paragraph, the title, subheadings and headings as well as anchor text. Do this in a way that is natural though, otherwise you will get yourself into strife with Google.
Another important on-page SEO factor is the architecture of your website. If your page doesn’t load quickly, when people click to read through your content, they will lose patience and leave. Ensure that all of the following is optimised.
- Site Maps – Search engines need to crawl or ‘see’ your pages in order to index them. If the search engines can’t do that, your information won’t be listed in search results. The best thing to do is to create a site map so that the search engines can easily crawl and index your website.
- Avoid duplicate content – You’ve heard it before and it’s true. To be sure, check content you put on your website with Copyscape.com or Grammarly.com or any other plagiarism checker. Even if you didn’t purposely plagiarize, you want everything to be unique on your site.
- Responsive – Your site must be mobile friendly right now. There is no time to wait, more people are using mobile devices than ever before, and it is not likely to change. If your site is not mobile friendly, you’re going to have a tough time ranking in Google.
- Load Speeds – We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, speed matters. Having a website that loads slowly is bad for you and bad for your visitors. Because of this, it is also bad for SEO. You want your website to load in less than 3 seconds; Each second over this results in a loss of conversion rate.
- Meaningful Page URLs – This goes back to using keywords in titles. You want the URL to say what is on the page. Rather than saying ‘page 1’ or ‘page 2’, make sure it says ‘about your business’ or ‘take a course’ so that people and search engines know what will be on the page.
- Security – If you sell anything on your website, having a secure HTTPS with an SSL certificate is important, not just to people using the site, but also for Google. In fact, in late 2017 Google changed the way domain names appear in the address bar of your browser. If your website does not have an SSL certificate installed, your visitors will be given a ‘not secure’ warning in the address bar. Google prefers HTTPS and will rank it higher than a standard HTTP website.
- Internal Linking – Have you ever been to a website and left because you don’t know where to go next? Having good internal linking that allows your visitor to traverse your website without any confusion is essential. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many websites that do not have a clear navigation flow.
- Website Code – Be careful if you use a do-it-yourself builder like Wix or Squarespace as these website builders can produce low quality code. It comes with a bit of a learning curve, but WordPress is a much better option.
How your site is arranged and whether or not your audience can find what they want on your page is imperative for good SEO. If you hire a web designer, make sure that they have an understanding of the SEO principles outlined above.
You don’t want to spend a lot of money on having a new website built, only to find that you have to spend even more money or waste time changing elements of the website because they aren’t SEO friendly. If you’re building your website yourself, follow the instructions set out in this report and you should be ranking in no time.
Write Better Headlines
Content can go unread and links unclicked if people don’t like the headlines they read. This is true for users who are browsing results pages on Google as much as it is for people already browsing your website. If the headlines don’t stand out and grab attention, you’re likely to experience some problems with things like traffic and retention.
It’s a good idea to brainstorm and come up with a range of potential headlines before you publish any of them. Think about which will be more likely to make your target audience members click because that’s what matters more than anything else. It’s the best way to get people reading what you publish.
Understand Long-Tail Keywords
Keywords are a key part of any SEO strategy. By targeting long-tail keywords, you’ll massively improve your strategy because the vast majority of searches on Google are made using long-tail keywords. That means you’re really missing out and not making the most of your SEO strategy if you’re not targeting these kinds of keywords.
So what is a long-tail keyword?
A long-tail keyword is generally defined as any keyword that has at least three words. They are usually quite specific to a certain niche, and so you won’t get as much traffic from them, but the traffic you do get will also be highly targeted. An example of a long-tail keyword for us might be, how to rank a kitchen installation website in Google.
If you’re paying someone to carry out an SEO strategy for you, this should definitely be a part of what you’re paying for. Failure to do so will leave you behind the competition, and it could be the reason why your traffic levels are not as high as you might want them to be right now. It’s something that can’t be ignored.
Create Content That People Naturally Want to Link To
This might sound like an obvious thing to point out, but if you create content on your website that people want to read or view, they’ll be more likely to click, share and link to. If you want to improve your traffic levels, making naturally clickable and linkable content is one of the very best places to start.
It is often difficult to juggle all of the tasks in your business. As a small business owner, you are often wearing multiple hats. Airtasker can help to remove one of those hats by hiring one of their content writers.
When people want to link to your content, they will. There’s nothing complicated about that. The difficulty for you is knowing exactly what kind of content is appealing to your audience and being able to ensure your website contains that content in one form or another. That’s how you’ll generate more traffic for your site over the long-term. We’ve written an article on how you can write better content for google that may help you out.
Use Internal Linking
Internal linking is a useful technique when you want to increase page views on your website. Rather than going out of your way to attract people to your website from other sites via links or via search engines like Google, you instead gain page views from people who are already on your website.
Internal links are links that are on your own website and link to other pages on the site. It means that you can make it more likely for people to read a few pages on your site and hang around for longer rather than reading one page and then leaving, possibly never to return.
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been doing internal linking throughout this article. It works best if it is included naturally, that is, writing about a certain topic and linking to an article that is relevant to that topic. If you link to an article about kitchen design from an article about shower curtains, it won’t really make a lot of sense to your readers, nor to Google. So if you’re not using internal links yet, you should start doing so.
Make it Easier for Search Engines to Find and Index Your Pages with Schema
Schema or other types of structured markup formats can be used to make it easier for search engines to index and interpret the information on your website’s pages. This helps the search engine to judge whether your website is relevant to the search queries being entered by users of the search engine.
It should be included in your HTML code and if used correctly, it can increase the visibility of your site, which is something that’s definitely important. It’s not a trick that’s quick and easy and you might not notice the improvement straight away. But nonetheless, using schema will make your website easier to find and understand by vital search engines like Google.
If you are using WordPress, a plugin like Yoast will usually include its own schema, however if you have a web designer or SEO specialist, you can ask them whether or not schema has been added to the site.
Get Better at Using Social Media to Your Advantage
Using social media marketing to promote your website and the content on it is more important than ever before. This is what your social channels should be used for, but you also need to be casual, fun and not too pushy about it. No one pays attention to accounts that are endlessly pushing links.
Get better at making your social media accounts places that are actually useful for getting your message out there and engaging with people. And when you then decide to share links to your website, people will be more likely to click them and have a look at what you’re trying to share with them. That’s the way it should be. For a comprehensive guide on social media marketing, check out our article, ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing‘.
Ensure Your Site is Fully Responsive
A responsive design is the least people expect these days, and it’s not just a matter of giving visitors what they want. Google also knows how important it is for a site to be responsive because around half of Google searches are now carried out on smartphones and other mobile devices, making responsive website design vital.
As a result, the Google algorithm tends to punish websites that don’t have responsive designs. This is their way of making sure that the websites they present to users after they make a search are suitable and able to meet their needs. There’s a good chance they won’t be able to do that if the design isn’t responsive.
Find out if your website is responsive with Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test.
Loading Fast is Vital These Days
As well as having a responsive design, you’ll also need to make sure that your website loads as quickly as it possibly can. People don’t want to wait around and just as mentioned above, Google doesn’t like websites that load slowly. This is something that will be looked at and judged by search engine algorithms.
People don’t hang around if it’s not loading fast enough. If your website has a high bounce rate, this might be one of the reasons why. It’s something that you should think about and one of the easiest ways to fix the problem is to switch to a better web hosting service. You can find out how fast (or slow) your website is using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Use Google Analytics to Understand Traffic and Visitor Behaviour Better
Google Analytics offers a range of tools that you can use to your advantage. It’ll allow you to understand your traffic flows better, learn where you’re going wrong and what you’re doing right. From there, you can make a variety of tweaks and changes to your website and general approach in order to improve things going forward.
Understanding the behaviour of visitors to your website might also provide you with insights that help you improve your website going forward. Doing this will help ensure you get more traffic by encouraging people to come back. But they’ll only do that if they like what they see and have a positive experience on their first visit. Find out more about how Google Analytics can benefit you with your Google Analytics Guide.
Vary the Type of Content on Your Website
Content marketing strategies are most successful when you have a good mix of content to present to the world. By offering different types of content, you will be able to appeal to a broader range of people with varied preferences. Some will prefer to read long articles other people will prefer shorter, punchier content.
Other people will prefer to read information in the form of infographics that are very snappy and easy to digest. But you can also explore video content, which is increasingly common and very sharable. Understanding the value and appeal of all the content options out there will only help your website boost its traffic.
Attract More Visitors Via Advertising
This is one of the most obvious ways to attract people to your website, but many website owners still overlook it for a variety of reasons. But if you want to give your website a sharp boost in traffic, there’s no better way to use social media advertising, display advertising or PPC ads. They’re all great and bringing in new people.
Competition for certain searches can be tough, so there’s no guarantee that this will be cheap for you. But some things that are worth doing are worth doing properly, even if it means spending money on them. Advertising your website and boosting its traffic that way is certainly worth it.
Consider Guest Blogging
Guest blogging can work well as a method of driving traffic to your website. It might not carry the force that it once did, but if you partner with the right people and there’s some overlap between you both, it could really help you. Tapping into an audience that’s not yours but you feel could be will help drive traffic.
Guest blogging can benefit you in two ways. If you run a blog as part of your website, you can bring on board names that your audience will recognise and want to read. This obviously improves traffic, but by guest blogging on another platform, you can also drive traffic from there towards your main website.
The other type of SEO is off-page search engine optimisation. This is everything you do off your website to bring people to your website. There are four primary types.
There is almost nothing more important to your success than trust. If you lose the trust of your audience, you lose sales and any authority standing. If you do what you say you will do however, and don’t disappear for long periods of time, you can build trust.
- Are shares/links showing authority? – When you share anything, ensure that it comes from a reliable source, if it isn’t coming from you. If it is from you, double check your data to ensure that what you are releasing is accurate.
- Are you engaging with your audience? – When you post anything anywhere, do you answer questions, share other people’s content and get involved? Don’t for that engagement helps build trust.
- Domain Age – One thing that search engines, like Google, use to rank a website is the age of a domain. They assume that if it is around for a long time than it must be something important; Something real, trustworthy and relevant.
- Reconsider Advertisements – Depending on the type of site you have, pay attention to how your audience views ads. Many people are making money through blogs these days, but just as many people won’t revisit a site that has lots of ads. Always focus on the experience your visitor has. If you were them, would you like a bunch of ads popping up every two seconds while you’re reading content.
You can build trust by sharing authoritative and accurate content that you or others have created. Just double check the facts, be ready to answer any questions and get ready to back up what you say.
One way to build trust as well as traffic to your website is through link building. This means that there are links going to your site from another site. For example, your LinkedIn profile has a link to your website. There are some important factors to consider before getting started with link building.
- Who is linking to you? – First, look at who is linking to you. You want to ensure that everyone that is linking to you is a legitimate site, with legitimate reasons for existing.
- Are they high quality? – It is better to focus on high quality links rather than having a high quantity of links of lesser quality. The best links come from educational and government sites, but website that have been around for a long time and have a lot of traffic will also provide a good boost to your search ranking.
- Are links and anchor text thoughtful keywords? – Be sure to have the anchor text in the link that is linking to your website contain a keyword.
- How many people are linking to your website? – Above we said that quantity didn’t outweigh quality, and it is totally true. However, having a high amount of both high quality and moderate quality links will help you rank well. It is not always possible to get a lot of high quality links, but so long as you spread the links evenly, it should have an impact.
- How to get more – To get more links, find authoritative websites or blogs to guest post on. Send a letter to them with a post idea that you can write. Let them know when you’ll send it from the time they agree and stick to that deadline.
It’s important that you never pay for a link. Avoid link farms, private blog networks and spam. Getting links back to your website should be a natural result of the work you do on social media, guest posting, conducting webinars and interviews, and other audience building tasks. Anything other than this may get you de-indexed from Google and put on their naughty list.
Another factor that is important when it comes to SEO is geography. In some cases, you won’t want the search engine to index you geographically. This could keep some of your audience from ever finding you. But, don’t overlook the importance of geography.
You can use both your country and your locality by using those terms within your website. Put your address at the bottom of every page, mention things about your area within your blog posts and make it a priority to mention your local area or country if you want to be indexed accordingly.
This is by far one of the most important off-page SEO tactics. Using social media effectively can do wonders for your website traffic. But, you have to come up with a good plan of action and see it through rather than just getting on social media and posting willy-nilly.
Look at your social shares and find out who is sharing your content. You want to ensure that they’re reputable and if they are, you can surely get more people to share it. The biggest key to getting others to share is to ask them to share it.
- Grow your followers – Run a contest, a give away or other event to build your followers on the social media platform you’re trying to promote and build.
- Ask people to share – When you share anything on social media, make sure that no matter how far it’s shared, that it will lead back to you and ask people to share it. If you don’t ask, unless it is really great material, they won’t share it.
- Keep your content optimised – People will click on your content, often by chance. Make sure you’ve optimised it as much as you can. Check page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags on images and so forth. Make it the best it can be.
- Follow influencers – You may need to follow influencers before they’ll follow you. Mention their name in posts, and call them out so that they notice you. Don’t be a pest, but identify the influencers you most want to mention you and find a way to stand out.
- Keep your brand solid – Try not to go off brand and lose your voice on social media. It is easy to get mixed up with your personal accounts and your business accounts, but don’t cross them. Instead, practice your brand voice and keep true to your brand.
Social media is an amazing opportunity for big, medium and small business. There are people who have become millionaires by using Instagram creatively and strategically. Use social media to push people toward your website and you can’t go wrong.
Search engine optimisation can mean the difference between success and failure. if you really want to get a lot of targeted traffic to your website, then take a look at your on and off page SEO. It’s not hard, just go through the list, improve one thing at a time and soon you’ll see a huge difference in your traffic.