Your website is keeping your business alive. If you don’t have a well-functioning, intuitive online storefront, you aren’t really making the most of your business’ potential. But building a website isn’t enough – you need to draw people to it. You need it to be on page one of Google for your desired keywords. You need to attract your target audience, give them a great customer experience and give them the incentive to convert into paying customers. It’s a tall order, and not one that every business owner has the time for – where do you start and how can you significantly increase organic traffic to your website?
The reality is, we’re slipping into a pretty steep recession, and 2023 isn’t shaping up to be a great one for many people – at least not financially speaking. We’re all having to mind our money, make difficult decisions, and cut unnecessary expenses. With that in mind, many businesses are making the decision to shift their efforts from paid advertising to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in an effort to accumulate the largest amount of organic traffic and qualified leads, possible. After all, as well as being cost-effective, there are many benefits of organic marketing, – it allows you to build credibility and increase customer loyalty, particularly important during a recession when competition is a very real concern.
SEO isn’t an easy game to master – there are a lot of facets to consider, many angles to explore and a lot of algorithm changes to keep up with. But there are some ways you can increase organic traffic in 2023 – below are the tried and tested methods that are working best for businesses around the world.
Look After Your Technical SEO
First things first – you need to get your technical SEO in check. Your website could be the most beautiful site ever created, but it won’t amount to anything if your technical SEO score is low. Think of it as a house – everyone loves a bit of curb appeal, but trellis and fresh paint don’t matter if your wiring is hazardous. A website is much the same. The interior needs to be usable, or people will avoid it like the plague.
To bring in organic traffic in 2023, you need to ensure you comply with Google’s Core Web Vitals. You need optimal site speed, optimised URLs, SSL certificates and you need your site to work well on mobile. For those keen on doing more research, here’s a Technical SEO checklist that covers all the bases.
Test Your Metadata
We all know that page titles are a key ranking factor. Meta descriptions are also a huge factor in determining click-through rates. To increase organic traffic, you should spend time optimising this metadata to ensure it is optimised for length and keywords (without keyword stuffing), while also reading well. The meta description needs to accurately and succinctly explain the content of the given landing page in a compelling way. Done right, you’ll end up increasing visitors to your site. Done badly, you’ll end up with a poor bounce rate and increasingly annoyed people who are likely to not revisit your business.
Come at Your Keyword Research From a Different Angle
We all know that keyword research is a crucial foundation when it comes to SEO and bringing in organic traffic. But you need to be creative, adaptive, and forward-thinking when it comes to keyword research. We don’t want to bring out an old cliche, but you really do need to think outside the box and cast a wider net in order to bring in your target audience.
Take for example Call Handling, a CCaaS (contact centre as a service) company. Clearly, the initial instinct would be to try and rank for keywords such as ‘contact centre’ or ‘CCaaS’, while creating posts around ‘what is a cloud contact centre?’ or ‘the business value of CCaaS.’ These topics and keywords will of course be useful, but we drilled deeper to find related keywords and topics, helping to draw in customers who may not even know yet that they need Call Handling’s services.
Taking this example further, we conducted extensive keyword research into topics like: communication in the charity sector, retail, public services, and construction industry – all key audiences for Call Handling. Furthermore, we created thematically-related content clusters around topics like ‘productivity’, ‘omnichannel efficiency’, and ‘first-call resolution.’
Think about frequently asked questions in and around your field and question how you can add some real value to your end user in order to draw in increased amounts of qualified organic traffic. It also helps to develop trust between your brand and your target audience – so even if they’re not in the position to buy at the moment, they will likely remember you when their situation changes.
It’s also worth noting that if you create truly valuable content, you increase the odds of external parties linking to you and increasing your authority in your field, bringing in yet more organic traffic.
Don’t Underestimate the True Value of a Single Blog Post
We’ve all heard that content is king – and it’s true. We’ve also heard that frequency is incredibly important for SEO content. There is an element of truth in this, but more important than frequency is quality. Every post you create on your website should have a real purpose in terms of business objectives and SEO metrics. Blog posts represent a real untapped potential for businesses – and it’s not all about SEO. While optimising a blog post around a valuable keyword can certainly draw in traffic, writing it in the right way can also convert and increase ROI dramatically.
At The Brains, we worked with a client to create a single blog post that resulted in $231,000 in sales opportunities. The blog allowed the client to discuss a pressing question often asked by their target audience while simultaneously highlighting the benefits of their offering. The client drew inspiration from this blog post and created a webinar and other sales collateral which influenced or sourced more than $231k in opportunities.
Blog posts deserve a lot of care and attention – they need to be written purposefully and well because you never quite know how they will go on to impact your business.
Understand the Stages of the Buying Journey
You want to have content on your website that captures relevant traffic at different parts of the buying journey. All too often businesses focus solely on customers who are aware of their product or service – but what about those who know they have a problem, they just don’t know how to solve it?
The different stages of a buying journey include
- Unaware: This is when the potential client has no real knowledge of your market or niche.
- Problem aware: At this stage, the client in question is experiencing an issue and they are looking for information to solve it, but they aren’t aware of any available solutions. Creating content around common pain points for your clients is a great avenue for content here.
- Solution aware: At this point, the potential client starts actively looking for solutions that can help them, but they still are unaware of your business or how they can help.
- Product awareness: At this point, the visitor knows about your business and product or solution, but they aren’t entirely sure you are the right business for them – this is the time to highlight your unique selling points.
- Most aware: At this point, you are nearly past the finish line with a potential client – they know about you and know your product is right for them, but they need to know more about prices and incentives in order to complete the deal.
Before you begin to write content for each stage, begin with persona workshops to determine what content types would be most relevant to them and their needs or interests.
Do Not Give in to AI Generated Content
As reflected in Google Trends, over the past year alone, there has been a 270% increase in searches for, and interest in, AI content. This is all really concerning for thriving businesses. We know that content writing is hard to do well and very time-consuming. We also know that it needs to be done frequently. However, pumping out AI content is not the answer and, if detected, could lead to a manual penalty for your site, which would severely impact your rankings – Google is really not fond of AI content as a rule. So be cautious of caving in, and rest assured that the best content that draws in the best traffic will always be created by people.
Optimise Old Content
Sometimes the efficacy of your old content will dwindle and fail to bring in the traffic it once did. If this is the case for you, consider giving it a revamp. Update the content and modernise it, and consider reframing it around a different keyword. Doing so can seriously improve the user experience and strength of the content while allowing you to reach more people.
Optimise Your Site for Local SEO
Don’t underestimate the value of local SEO strategies to your business’ success. If you have a physical business presence, in a specific geographic area, you need to stand out from your competitors. You should start by claiming and optimising your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
At The Brains, we optimised our GMB profile. Within 6 weeks, we were ranking in the top 3 in the Google Maps pack for twelve terms, when prior to optimising, we ranked for nothing above ten. In fact, it has become our third-highest driver of traffic and second-highest driver of conversions since the optimisation.
Aside from GMB, there are other ways to optimise for local SEO including adding your locations in your page title and meta descriptions, adding location-specific pages, and adding schema markup for your address and contact information. If you want local people to find you and make use of your services, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to find you.
Create High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks remain a hugely important part of off-site SEO and one that can seriously improve your rankings for desired keywords, as well as increase organic traffic. Every backlink is a vote for the trustworthiness and authority of your site, acting as a trust signal, which is crucial – customers are forever looking for more and more reasons to trust you, or warning signs to go elsewhere.
There are a number of ways to build backlinks, including blogger collaborations, guest posting, and responses to journalist requests. You can also put out press releases when your company has a meaningful or newsworthy update to share. You can even conduct your own studies and surveys to try to drum up some excitement – done right, you can pick up some exciting backlinks from some well-known nationals.
As the years go by, Google becomes more and more sophisticated in order to give the end user the best results. To meaningfully increase organic traffic over the long term, you need to keep up with the changes in the Google algorithm, continually monitor your SEO data and update your website with relevant, valuable content. The weight of certain elements of SEO will likely change over time but the golden rule will still remain constant – if you keep the end user in mind and design your website and business around them, Google is likely to reward you – and your traffic will follow suit.
About the Author: Samantha Lyon is a Senior Account Manager for Digital PR and Content Marketing at The Brains. With a decade’s experience in Digital Marketing, Samantha enjoys working with clients to create high-value content both on-page and off-page to increase rankings, recognition, and revenue.