15 SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Website

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing, Search

  • Date:

    August 23, 2018

15 SEO Tips to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Website

Content Marketing Search

Web traffic is the heartbeat of any website or other digital property, meaning the number of visitors you receive has a significant impact on the success of your business. You can always pay for traffic, and PPC (or paid search) is an excellent way to reach your potential customers. But if you want your web marketing efforts to achieve long-term success with a relatively small upfront investment, organic traffic is also critical.    

Search engine optimization (SEO) has the greatest influence on organic traffic — defined as traffic generated when users type a search term in Google and click on your organic listing in the search results (SERPs). Most people never scroll past the first or second page of results, which is why marketers covet top spots. 

The problem? Because so many websites are competing for those sought-after positions, earning one is easier said than done. However, if you consistently develop and publish content that has been optimized for search, you’ll build your authority on industry topics and can begin to experience a steady increase in organic search traffic and higher placement in SERPs. 

Here are 15 SEO tips to increase organic traffic to your website.

1. Write for your audience. 

Identify your audience’s problem or need and deliver content that helps lead them to a solution or answers common questions. Also, remember that your audience may not refer to products or subjects in the same way as your organization. For example, if you reference smart homes as “connected homes,” but your audience is more likely to search for “smart home technology” versus “connected home technology,” you will have more success incorporating smart home language into your content. Keyword research is critical in order to determine how people phrase their searches, and you should always write content to respond to those searches.

2. Create an editorial calendar but be flexible. 

Depending on how often you publish, you may want to plan topics for an entire quarter or more. However, leave room in your plan to shuffle article order as needed or add topics to capitalize on industry trends or user searches. Did a recent energy code update create new demand for information on that topic? Does your organization have the expertise to develop content that meets that demand? 

3. Leverage industry trends or timely topics. 

Does your industry fluctuate throughout the year? Think about industry or seasonal trends that may incite your audience to seek out relevant information online and create content to support those searches. Collaboration is key: for example, I meet with our SEO team on a quarterly basis to review search trends and identify gaps we can fill for our clients with content marketing programs. Between meetings, we measure our efforts monthly and discuss key search terms or opportunities as they happen. These meetings are the reason we wrote articles on topics such as landscape lighting design for The Lighting reSOURCE, a content-driven site that educates and inspires lighting industry professionals while establishing our client, Eaton’s Lighting Division, as a thought leader. These articles earned The Lighting reSOURCE featured snippets on Google (also known as ranking 0, a coveted position above all paid and other organic search results).

4. Develop evergreen content. 

Evergreen content, or content that can drive traffic to your site over an extended period of time, is the bedrock of a successful SEO strategy. But this doesn’t equal a one-and-done approach. Freshness is key, particularly if you’re in a competitive industry, so make sure to balance evergreen content with more timely topics.

5. Be unique. 

Don’t simply regurgitate content that already exists elsewhere. If you want to grow organic traffic to your site, you have to offer a unique or different solution to a question or problem. 

6. Be better. 

If people are looking for information on a particular subject, you likely aren’t the first company to publish relevant content. Mine those sites. Think about what they do well and where they have room to improve. What can you offer that they don’t already provide? What can you add to the conversation?

7. Conduct advanced keyword research and have realistic expectations. 

Choose keywords you can rank for, not just those with the highest volume. Is your audience interested in niche topics that are underserved or lightly covered? For example, in our keyword research for The Lighting reSOURCE, we discovered that users were searching for content on lighting and autism. The resulting article continues to rank highly on the first page of SERPs, more than two years after it was published. Some key terms may have small search volumes, but by developing smart content for multiple terms — think of these as pillars or buttresses supporting your overall SEO strategy — you can build your authority on a particular topic. We employed this approach to develop The Lighting reSOURCE, and Eaton’s Lighting Division, into an authority on lighting in health care.

8. Include keywords in your title, headlines, subheads and bold copy. 

Google scans content much the same way humans scan content. Make it easy for search engines to determine what your content is about by including relevant keywords in places that are easy to spot. If it makes sense, you may also want to consider putting keywords at the front end of your headlines.

9. Build relationships with subject matter experts and industry influencers. 

When you invest the time to partner with true subject matter experts, your content will be higher quality and more useful to your audience, resulting in more traction and organic growth for your site. You may want to rely on a mix of experts within and outside your organization. The former can help further your organization’s profile as an authority, while the latter can cast a wider net and help get your content to people you may not already reach. This can be manifested through social media or through links from other authoritative domains to yours. The Lighting reSOURCE features many Eaton experts but also leverages the knowledge of outside sources. For example, we interviewed a Smithsonian American Art Museum lighting designer for an article on art museum lighting design and an Aspen lighting designer for an article on lighting for luxury homes.

10. Have a link building strategy. 

This is a two-way street. Selectively linking to other trustworthy sites can encourage links back to your site. (The Lighting reSOURCE has earned referral links from other lighting industry authorities such as the Lighting Controls Association.) Internal link building gets less attention but is also an important step. Lots of orphaned blog posts don’t receive traffic as they age, because the site has no links guiding visitors from one evergreen content post to the next. Your mission is to keep people engaged and on your website by feeding them more relevant content instead of dead ends.

11. Address back-end measures such as title tags and meta descriptions. 

This is almost an easy win for SEO, considering how many people skip it. Your content should always include title tags (which appear on SERPs as the clickable headline) and meta descriptions (which summarize the content on a page).

12. Don’t forget image file names and alt tags. 

Search engines can’t see images, but many people still forget to assign image file names and alt tags — which are crucial for helping search engines understand what the images, and the pages where those images live, are about.

13. Avoid careless technical errors. 

Never move your website or delete a blog post without doing your due diligence on the back end. A few simple and necessary steps, such as creating 301 redirects, can help you avoid a damaging rash of broken links.

14. Provide a great user experience.

Search engines are amazing, but they still can’t consume and understand content the same way humans can. Instead, they monitor the way humans interact with websites to infer the quality of those sites — and reward the sites that perform better on these metrics with higher search rankings. If your site provides a poor user experience or doesn’t have a mobile-friendly design, its potential for organic growth will suffer. 

15. Remember that there are no shortcuts or secret formulas to SEO. 

I can’t stress this enough. Content marketing can pay huge dividends, but it won’t happen overnight. Proceed with the understanding that you’re unlikely to close the sale the first time a person lands on your site, and treat SEO and organic traffic growth as an open-ended goal. My colleague John Mader discussed the virtue of patience in this post on content marketing that drives results.  

If you’re still not convinced of the power of SEO, the proof is in the pudding. Since launching The Lighting reSOURCE in October 2015, Eaton’s Lighting Division — a relative newcomer to the lighting industry — has become the internet’s clear authority on all things lighting, significantly outpacing all other manufacturers and the American Lighting Association and Lighting Controls Association in search visibility for leading industry search queries. The thought leadership site has demonstrated 210 percent organic search traffic growth in the past 12 months and established a foundation for solid gains moving forward. Accordingly, Eaton has achieved increased awareness among key audiences, further supporting its business goals.

While there’s no magic solution for organic traffic growth, these tips, adapted to fit your specific goals and objectives, can give your website the boost it needs to achieve steady gains and higher placement in SERPs. Need help? Feel free to contact us.

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