Even though the number of online users is growing every year and opportunities are abundant, many website owners are finding it hard to maintain their traffic numbers and increase their income.
That’s because while the total number of internet users is growing, getting them to your site is now more challenging than ever before. More websites are competing for their attention than ever before, and the users themselves are much pickier and have higher expectations from sites that they choose to visit.
Luckily, there are still ways to attain significant traffic growth, even for smaller websites. Search engine optimization allows informative and useful websites to quickly rise through the search rankings and compete with anyone, even multi-million dollar corporations.
But to do that, know the essential aspects of a successful SEO campaign that you need to implement in your own strategy.
So, to help you get started, here are five things you must consider if you want to see a stable increase in your traffic from Google and other search engines.
Figure Out Your Ideal Visitors
Before you can implement specific strategies for increasing traffic to your site, you must know what visitors you want to attract because it won’t matter how many people visit your site if they aren’t interested in what you offer.
You need to come up with your ideal target customer and create a customer journey map to ensure that the new visitors you do attract will become your customers and make your SEO efforts worthwhile.
The first step of determining your ideal customer is looking inward – you need to analyze your products and services and identify the most pressing issues that they solve. Many companies that want to do blogging for startups don’t have a clear idea of who they want to reach, so this step can be beneficial beyond SEO as well.
To begin, you can look for groups of people that are facing these issues and then forming a customer avatar based on your findings.
If you’re more established and are already working with customers, try to see what type of customer is the most valuable to your company and focus your attention on getting more customers like that.
To get more people to come to your site, you need to get in their shoes and try to figure out the places they like to hang out online, and the best methods for you to get in front of them.
Select the Right Keywords
While there are plenty of paid advertising methods for getting visitors to your site, none of them can compete with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in terms of cost-effectiveness.
If you can achieve one of the top spots for some of the most relevant keywords in your niche, you’ll never have a shortage of eager leads coming to your site, which won’t cost you anything.
But how to choose the right keywords?
Well, if you’ve taken the time to identify the audience
you want to reach, it should be much easier to perform keyword research and identify the ones that have the most potential for your site.
Don’t be afraid to spend more time digging deeper for longer and less competitive keywords– they may allow you to start seeing the first results relatively quickly, and even if the keywords have lower monthly traffic, you can target more of them to compensate and will still have a much easier time than if you tried to rank for one of the more competitive keywords in your niche.
While this task may seem time-consuming, you cannot skip it.
If you don’t choose the right keywords, you may waste a lot of time trying to rank for phrases that are either unattainable or not relevant to your business, but if you pick the right ones to focus on, SEO may turn out to be your best traffic generation method that starts generating real results quickly.
Write Top-Quality Content
It’s impossible to achieve substantial results with SEO without content – it’s not only essential for letting Google know what your site is about, but it also entices users to click through to your site.
In fact, today it’s not enough to merely have content posted on your site regularly – Google is clamping down on websites that use filler content stuffed with keywords and is instead rewarding sites that have informative, engaging, and relevant content that helps the reader solve his problems and get answers.
But why is content so crucial for your SEO efforts?
Well, as mentioned before, Google’s ever-improving algorithm is now better than ever at discovering which content is truly useful, and the search engines also use a variety of user behavior metrics to determine if an article they stick around to read it.
But that’s not the only reason content is an integral part of any successful SEO strategy.
Another is that SEO mainly revolves around keywords – as we talked about before, they are what you need to focus on if you want to get in front of your ideal customers.
But once you have your keywords, you need a place to put them, and we already talked about how Google is penalizing sites that try to artificially stuff their sites with keywords instead of having them occur naturally.
That’s where high-quality content is so irreplaceable.
If you take the time to come up with relevant topics and thoroughly research them, adding the keywords won’t be a chore – they will often appear in the text naturally, and finding a place for them won’t be nearly as hard.
Also, high-quality, informative content is also essential if you’re going to get your article read and shared across the web.
Google places a high value on relevant and high-authority backlinks that link to your content, and the only sustainable way to attain them is to write content that makes people want to share it on social media, forums, and other websites or blogs.
By taking the time to create good content for your audience, you will gain traction for your SEO efforts, but will also establish your status as an authority in your field, and will probably be able to reach audiences that would otherwise be unattainable, which makes the effort you put in even more worthwhile.
Make Sure Your On-Site SEO is On Point
Producing high-quality content and targeting the right keywords is essential, but that won’t matter if Google crawl bots can’t understand your site’s structure and index it accordingly.
Google places high importance on your site being easy to navigate and use by visitors and takes it into account when deciding about which sites to rank higher.
But what should you focus on in terms of on-site SEO?
Well, there are numerous aspects that you need to consider, and while some of them may seem insignificant, together they play a vital role in how high your website ranks on the search engines.
We already talked about the importance of quality content, and that is one of the aspects that Google looks at – it should be easy to read, informative, have images and other media, and make visitors stay on the site instead of clicking the “back” button.
Another aspect you need to look at is how your pages are set up for Google bots – using meta titles and meta descriptions, clear HTML formatting, and having an XML sitemap are all important for ensuring that Google doesn’t have any issues understanding how to interpret each page on your site.
You should also try to include your main keyword in the title and the URL of the page so that there’s no confusion regarding what each page is mainly about.
Finally, your site needs to load quickly – ideally in under half a second. Any longer than that and Google may penalize your site, not to mention that a lot of potential visitors won’t have the patience to wait if your site is loading slowly.
User experience plays a huge role in the way Google ranks websites, and in the next section, we’ll look at perhaps the most critical aspect of a seamless UX which is ensuring that your site is easy to browse using any device.
Cater to Your Mobile Audience
Most online traffic came from mobile devices in 2018, with 52% of users using a phone or a tablet when browsing the web. That number is only going to get higher in the coming years, so website owners who want to have any chance of success will need to take a mobile-first approach in all of their marketing efforts.
And that’s especially true for Search Engine Optimization.
Google and other search engines are placing a high priority on providing the best possible experience for their users, and since the majority of those users use mobile devices, it’s natural that mobile-friendly websites will have a much better chance of being ranked.
But how can you make your site meet the requirements that are set out today?
Well, the first step is to make sure that your website has a responsive design that’s able to adapt to any screen size of a device, adjusting the font size, navigation, and images to make it convenient to browse even on the phone.
If you’re using WordPress, Wix, or another popular platform, chances are that your site already has a theme that’s responsive, but double-check to be sure.
And if you really want to provide the best possible experience to your mobile base, you could consider creating a mobile app that would allow you to add more functionality for your mobile users.
Apps can not only give you more possibilities to engage your mobile users but might even help you expand your audience using mobile app stores, and by getting your app ranked for app-related SEO keywords.
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.