Organic traffic refers to people visiting your website through unpaid search engine results. When people make search queries, several results appear for them to click on. SEO makes your website appear high on the SERP, thus becoming relevant for many people. Increased organic traffic translates to increased conversions and referrals.
SEO strategies work to convince search engines and your audience that you’re a relevant solution for their problems. Improving organic traffic through SEO includes keyword research, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical SEO.
This article will explore how SEO can help boost your website’s organic traffic and provide practical tips for implementing an effective SEO strategy. Whether you are a brand owner or a marketing professional, this guide will help you use the power of SEO to drive more traffic to your website.
How you should measure organic traffic
Several analytics tools display traffic metrics to show you your website’s performance. Here are a few of them, including Google’s native tool.
- Google Analytics. View your organic traffic by clicking “Acquisition” then “Organic Search.”
- Ahrefs. View your organic traffic by clicking “Site Section” then “Organic Search.”
How SEO Can Help Improve Organic Traffic
A solid SEO strategy requires several steps to perfect it. Here are four of them with detailed guides to ease your optimization process.
1. Keyword research
Keywords refer to the words your audience uses the most when searching the internet. Knowledge of these words helps you structure your strategy and target specific niches. Perfect these four processes when researching keywords.
Define your target audience
A target audience is people most likely to want your product or service. Identifying your target audience dictates the structure of your SEO strategy. This group can either be broad or specific, depending on your brand.
For example, a clothing brand should have a broad target audience, while a diving gear brand should have a specific one.
Knowing your target audience on a large scale is complicated, especially for newer brands. Keep these tips in mind when trying to define your intended demographic.
- Conduct market research by examining your competitors, ongoing trends, and buying habits. Doing this will inform you of your audience’s demographic and psychographics.
- Analyze people’s behavior on your websites. Web metrics such as organic traffic, click-through, and engagement rates inform who is keen to seek your products or services.
- Use customer feedback. Hand out questionnaires and surveys to your existing customers. Use that information to refine your understanding of your target audience. Select the most responsive groups based on this information as well.
Generate keyword ideas
Now that your audience is in mind, it’s time to generate ideas. Use your buyer persona to guide you. A buyer persona is a research-based profile of your target audience. This persona includes their age, location, income, gender, and behavior. In your profile, identify their pain points to know what solutions they seek and frame your keywords around them.
If you’re stuck, there are online keyword generator tools to help you. Here are some popular ones.
Analyze keyword metrics
Not all keywords are the same. Analyzing their metrics helps you know which ones rank better. Keyword research tools do an excellent job of showing you the relevance, competition, and search volume of keywords. The popular ones mentioned above do just that.
Your keyword competition should be low. No matter how relevant your keywords are, your SEO efforts won’t bring in much traffic if every other brand uses them.
Regularly update keywords
Every industry has ongoing trends and changing interests; yours is no different. Constantly re-evaluate your keywords to find the ones that are irrelevant or whose metrics have dropped. Engaging with your customers is an excellent way to keep track of them. Find out what new pain points they have and brainstorm ideas around them.
2. On-page optimization
On-page optimization refers to the improvement of your website’s internal attributes. On-page optimization ensures an excellent user experience for your audience and web crawlers. Let’s look at some on-page elements and ways to optimize them.
A title tag is a sentence that displays on the SERP. Users typically scan the SERP, and your title tag has a split second to capture their attention. A relevant tag also ranks higher because it directly answers a search query, thus earning you more organic traffic.
Here are some ways to make your title tags stand out.
- Include up to two relevant keywords in your title tag.
- Use precise language and avoid jargon.
- Keep it concise, between 50 and 60 characters. Google only displays 60 characters on the SERP.
- Avoid including your brand name in the title tag.
- Use powerful words to create interest and curiosity.
A meta description is the summary of your web page’s content. Like title tags, this element’s task is to capture attention quickly. A poor meta description can cause low organic traffic rates and sabotage your SEO efforts.
Keep these tips in mind when crafting your meta description attribute.
- Keep it under 160 characters to ensure it displays fully on the SERP without Google truncating it.
- Include a call-to-action in the meta description.
- Avoid using similar meta descriptions for different pages on your website. Each page should have a unique and relevant meta description to rank higher.
- Include relevant keywords in your meta description.
Header tags are the heading and subheading attributes in your content. They organize your content and make it easier for your audience to scan. Additionally, they inform web crawlers about your content’s context and facilitate indexing your web pages.
When using header tags, use them in order of H1, H2, H3, and so on to create a hierarchy of information. Remember to include relevant keywords in your header tags to provide more context to search engines.
Pro tip: Use descriptive language in your headers and make them stand out by bolding them and using appealing fonts and colors.
The body forms the chunk of your web content. Your audience cares about this element the most. These are some ways to optimize your content’s body.
- Use bullet points to break up your content and make it easier to read. Long blocks of text fatigue the eyes and may make your audience leave your webpage fast.
- Use simple language that is easily understood by the majority of your audience. Avoid jargon because it alienates some readers and makes your content hard to follow. Confused readers will exit your web page and rarely revisit it.
- Use transition words such as “additionally” to join related ideas. Doing so breaks up long sentences and improves readability.
- Differentiate your hyperlinks by making them a different color than regular text. Differentiation makes them easier to notice when scanning and ensures your audience recognizes them.
- Include statistics, examples, and relevant images to keep your content engaging and shareable. Shareable content is an excellent way to gain organic traffic.
- Include internal links to other pages on your website. Internal links keep your audience on the website and increase your click-through rate. This metric contributes to higher ranking, thus, higher chances of gaining organic traffic.
A URL is an address people use to find your content. This address plays a role in your search ranking and, consequently, your organic traffic. Here are some ways to optimize your URL to make them easier to scan and rank.
- Keep them short and descriptive so that they are easy for your audience to remember.
- Include relevant keywords in your URL.
- Use hyphens to separate each word in your URL. Doing so makes it easy for web crawlers to understand each keyword.
- Avoid using capital letters in your URL. Capital letters can cause your readers to mistype your URL and thus detract from your traffic.
- Avoid using stop words such as “the” and “an.” They are unnecessary additions that lengthen your URL.
- Avoid using underscores (_) to separate words in your URL. Underscores make it hard for search engines to read your URL.
- Update your URL whenever you update the page’s content. Updating them ensures they stay relevant and that search engines suggest your pages in the SERP.
Images are an essential tool in any web content. They illustrate various information, such as tutorials, and provide appealing elements. Search engines also use images to gather context about your web page’s content.
Images make up a significant portion of a webpage’s weight. The larger the weight, the slower it loads. Ideally, a website should be lighter than 3 MB. It is essential to know which images to choose and how to optimize them to prevent slow page speeds.
How to optimize images
Optimizing images begins with selecting the correct format and using descriptive image names. Follow these steps up with compressing the images and including descriptive alt texts. Let’s break down these steps.
Select a suitable format
Your image’s content and size will influence the format you will select. Here are the ones we recommend.
- JPEG for detailed photos. You can compress them at higher rates while maintaining colors and sharpness.
- PNG for photos with transparent backgrounds. Unlike JPEGs, they preserve transparency but weigh more.
- GIFs for simple animations. They vary in size and can slow down your website. Use as few as possible.
- SVG for logos because you can resize them to small sizes without losing quality.
Use descriptive image names
File names give context to search engines about what the image contains. When labeling your images, incorporate your keywords.
Compress your images
Image compression is resizing pictures while maintaining their quality above a specific limit. Compression is crucial because, if done wrong, it can cause your audience to dislike your photos. If done right, they minimize website size while still looking sharp.
Use image compression tools that have preset rates to guide you.
Include descriptive alt texts
Alt texts are attributes that describe a picture to screen readers. They also provide context, just like image file names. As such, you should insert relevant keywords in alt texts.
Alt texts also aim to provide accessibility to the visually impaired; thus, you should be as descriptive as possible. You should write alt texts that sound natural and conversational. Avoid stuffing keywords in a bid to manipulate search engines. Remember, you’re making alt texts for humans.
These efforts convince search engines to rank you better, thus earning you valuable organic traffic. Here are some practices to remember when writing alt texts.
- Keep alt texts under 125 characters.
- Use plain language and avoid technical words.
- Include one of your keywords to provide context.
- Don’t include alt texts for decorative images such as icons and page breaks.
- Don’t include the phrases “image of” and “picture of” before the texts.
- Don’t repeat what’s already in an image’s caption.
Include responsive images
Responsive images dynamically resize depending on a reader’s screen size. The main advantage is that they improve user experience. Your audience gets a consistent experience while on your website regardless of their device.
Responsive images reduce website load speed, thus reducing bounce rates. These practices help you create responsive images.
- Specify multiple image sources using the HTML “srcset” attribute. The user’s device will select the best one to display.
- Define the image container size using the HTML “sizes” attribute. A device will determine the image source to use to fill that size.
3. Off-page optimization
Off-page optimization refers to external efforts you put into promoting your content and gaining organic traffic. We can segment these efforts into link-building and social media marketing.
This section will explain how to optimize these segments to ensure your website gets to the right audience.
Link building is crucial to SEO optimization and contributes to organic traffic. This process involves acquiring links from other websites to your own. Sounds challenging, doesn’t it?
In this section, we will break down the types of backlinks in SEO and take you through how to build high-quality ones that will drive up your organic traffic.
Types of backlinks
Backlinks differ based on how you get them. Different types of backlinks have varying chances of earning you organic traffic. These are some link types you need to prioritize.
Natural links are also called editorial links. You earn editorial links when another website naturally directs its readers to check out the content on your website. For that to happen, you must provide high-quality information that provides insight.
Natural links are the best backlinks and usually the hardest to earn.
Guest post links
Guest post backlinks are links included in a post you wrote on another website. Such opportunities allow you to insert your brand in the content and a link directing those readers to you.
Directory links are links included in online directories and listings. There are many directories on the internet, many spammy with low domain authority. Carefully select high-quality listings to improve your chance of gaining organic traffic.
Forum links are links posted in forum posts and comments.
Social media links
Social media links are links shared on social media platforms. Either you or your audience can post these links. Social media links expose your brand to new audiences and increase your credibility. As a result, they increase your brand visibility and drive organic traffic.
Paid links are links you pay to appear on other websites. They are also referred to as sponsored links. While they provide fast results, they heavily impact your SEO strategy. Google specifies in its link spam policies that it regards this link as spam. The consequence of link spamming is Google failing to index your web page.
Worry not! Google allows you to have paid links if you specify that you purchased them. The way to do that is by using the rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attribute value to the <a> tag.
How to identify high-quality backlinks
Quality backlinks work better to increase organic traffic. They share these traits to help you know what to look out for.
High-quality backlinks come from relevant websites in your niche. These backlinks show web crawlers that you are a credible source of information and rank you higher on the SERP. Additionally, readers from these sites are already interested in your brand’s products and have become qualified leads.
High-quality backlinks appear on authoritative websites such as news organizations, government websites, and research publications. Users trust backlinks from these websites more, thus earning you quality organic traffic.
Anchor text is the visible text readers click on to get to your website. Quality backlinks have relevant descriptive anchor texts that give readers insight into what they should expect to see. Generic anchor texts rarely capture an audience’s attention, thus reducing your chances of getting organic traffic.
A website’s traffic is essential to how much organic traffic your links get. Low-traffic websites mean fewer people read them; 5fewer people will see your backlinks. Various traffic checker tools help identify which ones receive the most visitors in a month.
The position of your backlinks on a website’s content influences organic traffic. Quality backlinks appear in a website’s main content area, headers, and footers. These are the areas that attract the most attention.
Techniques for building backlinks
Building high-quality backlinks is time-consuming and challenging, especially for new brands. If done right, they earn your website organic traffic, contributing to higher search traffic. Implement these techniques to ease this part of your SEO strategy.
Create valuable content
A website rarely links to content that does not provide insight, new information, or linkable assets. Additionally, the readers that follow these links expect to see engaging content. A great way to create valuable content is to include linkable assets.
There are different types of linkable assets.
- Templates and tools.
- Research and case studies.
- Videos such as product demonstrations.
Ask for backlinks
Simply asking for backlinks works well when building links. However, it is mainly dependent on your relationship with another website owner. To build this relationship, interact with their content and social media profiles. Afterward, explain how your content provides value to their site’s audience.
Participate in online communities
Find forums and communities relevant to your brand that your target audience frequents. Interact with content and discussions to connect with them and naturally link your website. This method works well to gain organic traffic for your website.
Remember that oversharing your link everywhere makes it look spammy and has the opposite effect. Nobody will click on them, thus hurting your SEO efforts.
Create guest posts on other websites
A great way to build backlinks is to create content on other websites. In addition to gaining exposure to new audiences, you will build solid relationships with other website owners. Include links back to your website when writing guest posts.
Remember to offer to create guest posts on websites related to your niche. Otherwise, your links look misplaced to audiences and will not attract organic traffic.
Track broken links on other websites
Broken links are links that do not direct audiences to any content. These links allow you to contact website owners and offer to replace them with yours.
How do you find broken links on other websites?
Online site audit tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush detail the number of broken links once you paste a website’s URL.
Build relationships with influencers
Influencers are people who can sway the opinions of social media users. They are an excellent way to push your links to various audiences. In addition to getting organic traffic, influencers can convert their followers to customers for you.
Best practices for link building
You can perfect link building by keeping these tips in mind.
- Focus on creating a few high-quality backlinks instead of many low-quality ones. Prioritize creating relationships with authoritative sites and trusted influencers.
- Use varied anchor texts that are relevant to different audiences. Avoid rigid templates and adapt your anchor text to different websites and social media platforms.
- Avoid using link farms. Link farms are sites that direct to each other as a way to manipulate search engines and gain organic traffic. Often, link farms sell spots for website owners to create backlinks. Unfortunately, Google is against these link farms and may rank your website lower or remove them from their index entirely.
- Diversify your link profile by earning links from websites like directories, blog posts, and social media platforms. Flexibility in link placement ensures you cast a wide net when searching for organic traffic.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing uses social platforms to gain and interact with your audience. Social media indirectly affects SEO through social signals that tell search engines you are a credible source of information. Social media also directly impacts organic traffic. The wider your reach, the more social media users you convince to visit your website.
Social media is a delicate tool that can harm your brand as much as it can build it. Here are some helpful techniques you can employ to enjoy the best of this digital marketing method.
Techniques for effective social media marketing
To run effective social media marketing, select a suitable platform. Afterward, engage with your audience on those platforms and collaborate with influencers. Let’s break down these practices in this section.
Choose the right social media platforms
There are many social media platforms on the internet, each with its target audience and niche. For example, LinkedIn caters to business professionals, while Reddit aims to create discussion forums.
Keep these helpful steps in mind when brainstorming about which platform to select.
- Consider the type of content you aim to create. For example, Instagram is best for images, YouTube for long videos, and Tiktok for short-form videos. Most of them already support text-based content.
- Evaluate the time and resources you need to run a strategy on each platform.
- Research your competitors to find out which platform works best for them.
- Measure your engagement and follower count on your existing platforms to decide which ones to invest more in.
Engage with your audience
Your social media marketing goal should be to interact with your audience. You gain new organic traffic and maintain your existing one by responding to comments, liking related content, and offering prompt customer service. Let’s look at some tips when interacting with your social media audience.
- Use a conversational tone with your audience. The idea is to make it seem natural and less robotic. Conversational tones make people comfortable and more open to giving feedback and referring your social media handles to friends.
- Share user-generated content such as photos and videos to show you value their contributions. Doing so builds community and assures they visit your website, thus building organic traffic.
- Ask questions that start conversations and work as a way for your audience to share feedback naturally.
- Organize contests and giveaways to incentivize your audience to share your content with friends. Giveaways also build communities and generate buzz around your brand. This buzz turns to increased organic traffic for you.
- Use humor and storytelling to keep your content interesting and fun. People remember funny stories more than the alternative.
- Provide valuable content such as tutorials and advice on your social media. These types of content build credibility and assure your audience you are an expert in your niche.
Use social media advertising
Collaborate with influencers
Influencers have large followings on social media platforms and can make their audience love or hate your brand. Strategic influencer relationships ensure they promote your products or service to willing buyers. This referral shoots your organic traffic up.
However, for influencers to promote your brand, you need to build solid relationships with them. Regularly interact with their content and suggest ways you aim to benefit them and their audience. Give constructive criticism where necessary and promote the collaborations on your social media profiles.
Keep track of your social media analytics
Your social media marketing strategy is only possible if you keep track of its performance. This breakdown will help you measure your strategy’s success.
- Choose relevant metrics to observe. The metrics to keep your eyes on include social shares, click-through, and conversion rates. These metrics indicate how an audience interacts with your content and boosts organic traffic.
- Use in-built analytics tools. Each popular social media platform displays the metrics of your business profiles. Use them to monitor progress and determine the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
- Monitor brand mentions using brand mention tools to track your brand’s reputation and address any negative feedback you spot.
Optimizing for local SEO
Local SEO is optimizing websites to appear in searches within a specific geographical location. It works best for businesses with physical locations that residents can visit. The best tool to optimize for local SEO is Google Business. Google Business shows your name, address, contacts, and business hours to local audiences.
Branding and reputation management
Brand and reputation management influence the public’s opinion of your brand. Negative brand perception will drive people away from you despite your SEO efforts. A negative reputation is evident in reviews, testimonials, and social media posts about your brand.
You could censor reviews to combat this, but you lose out on 62% of consumers who frown upon censorship. How, then, can you ensure your reputation remains positive?
- Deliver high-quality goods and services and offer maintenance services where possible.
- Provide prompt, respectful customer service with empathy. Customers love brands that make them feel heard and tend to speak highly of them.
- Build a solid online presence using informative and engaging social media content.
- Monitor online reviews on Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor sites and to these comments with empathy and offer ways to resolve their complaints. Additionally, request satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
- Participate in corporate social responsibility by supporting worthy social causes. Ensure they are initiatives your audience is passionate about that align with your brand’s values.
- Be transparent by communicating openly with customers. Take accountability for mistakes and take steps to fix them.
These steps ensure your audience constantly refers you to their communities, earning you quality organic traffic.
4. Technical SEO
This type of SEO refers to the refining of technical aspects of a website to improve its visibility on the SERP. Search engines consider these aspects when determining whether users will enjoy being on your website. These technical elements include mobile optimization, site speed, security, and accessibility.
Mobile optimization refers to refining content to make it suitable for mobile phones. With over 60% of internet users accessing it on their phones, it is crucial to prioritize mobile displays.
Here are some steps you can take to optimize your website for mobile.
- Refine your website’s navigation using easy menu systems like the hamburger menu.
- Use Google PageSpeed to see your load speeds and use its suggestions to make them faster.
- Use responsive design elements to make the user experience uniform on PC and mobile.
- Use large fonts and buttons to make them easier to find and interact with, even on small screens.
- Optimize images and videos to make them lighter.
- Create short, concise articles that are easily read on smaller screens.
- Display minimal popups.
Site speed determines whether your audience waits for your website to load in the first place. One of the largest repellants of organic traffic is slow websites. You increase your bounce rates by up to 123% the longer your site takes to load.
The ideal site speed is 3 seconds, achievable by keeping the site limit under 500 KB.
Website security focuses on your steps to protect your site and its users from cyberattacks. Nobody wants to browse through an unprotected website for fear of malware. This occurrence means you receive little organic traffic, and your brand’s credibility diminishes.
How do you protect your website and your audience? By using an SSL certificate and a web application firewall.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a security measure that encrypts data between you and your audience. A padlock sign on the address bar indicates a website has SSL certificates on most browsers.
Google now penalizes sites without SSL certificates by ranking them lower to improve website security. Doing so means you have a smaller reach and, thus, smaller organic traffic. There are different SSL certificates, so take your time to determine which SSL to choose for your website.
Accessibility refers to efforts you make to ease your website’s experience for audiences with disabilities. People with disabilities make up part of your organic traffic. Neglecting them has a domino effect that prevents them from accessing your website, and your reputation also suffers. A bad reputation then repels other demographics, further tanking your organic traffic.
Luckily, the Web Content Accessibility guideline guides you on how to enforce accessibility measures.
Benefits of SEO for organic traffic
It can be hard to identify all benefits SEO earns you for organic traffic. Let’s review a few of them to show the importance of a well-executed SEO strategy.
SEO is a constant process that puts your pages on top of the SERP. Unlike paid ad campaigns that run for a specific time, SEO benefits you if you monitor and make relevant tweaks to your content.
Thanks to SEO, your pages rank higher, thus becoming more visible to internet users. The top three Google search results get 54.4% of all organic traffic, and your website can be one of them with the right SEO strategy.
Improved user experience
Proper SEO ensures users get the best standard experience across all devices. When people enjoy being on your website, they return and refer to their network. These referrals translate into increased organic traffic.
Results in qualified leads
SEO ensures search engines recommend your website to audiences ready to convert to buying customers. These leads make for high-quality organic traffic that increases your conversion rates.
Unlike paid advertising, requiring subscriptions and promotions, SEO is cheap to set up and implement. SEO costs even less, thanks to the variety of free tools available to handle certain aspects of the strategy, such as keyword research tools.
SEO drives organic traffic by ranking your website higher on the SERP. Optimize keywords, on-page, off-page, and technical elements to stay competitive and increase your brand’s visibility. Focus on improving your user experience and exploiting social media’s power to reach new audiences and keep your current ones hooked.
While SEO is time-consuming, it offers long-term results for your brand. Follow the tips in this article to start improving your organic traffic and turn them into buying customers today.