Organic search generates 51 percent of all web traffic. If you’re not taking steps to maximize SEO traffic generation, you’re missing out big time.
SEO, or search engine optimization, can help your website rank higher in SERPs, or search engine results pages. The higher your rank, the more likely people are to click on your website listing.
Keep reading to learn about organic SEO and what you can start doing today to improve your organic ranking.
Types of SEO
Before you can learn how to up your SEO game, you need to have a basic understanding of what SEO is. Truthfully, the term “organic SEO” is a bit of an oxymoron because SEO is, by nature, organic.
You’ve probably heard of paid search engine marketing, known also as pay-per-click advertising (PPC). This is when brands pay for top positioning on SERPs.
SEO and PPC are both branches of search engine marketing, or SEM. If PPC is paid advertising, then organic is unpaid advertising.
A Hat of a Different Color
Within the SEO branch of digital marketing, there are subsets. Black hat SEO involves using ethically questionable techniques to achieve fast results. White hat SEO is when you use ethically sound techniques, but these can take longer.
There’s also gray hat SEO, which is somewhere in between.
In this guide, we’re going to show you how to improve your SEO through white hat techniques. You should be prepared that while some may yield fast results, it’s more likely this will be a slow(ish) and steady wins the race.
If you’re ready to go team tortoise, keep reading.
SEO Traffic Generation
Whether you decide to work with an SEO company or seek to improve your search engine positioning on your own, you’ll need to understand the basics of a solid SEO toolkit.
Just like any business strategy, you’ll need to set SMART goals. Remember, a SMART goal is:
An example of a SMART goal might be that you want to increase your organic search traffic to your blog by 30 percent in the next six months to increase brand awareness.
This goal is specific; you know how much you want to increase your traffic by (30 percent). You also know which page on your site you want to increase traffic for (your blog).
This goal is measurable. You’ll be able to find out–by using analytics software–whether your hit your 30 percent goal in the allotted time.
This goal is achievable. You’re not trying to quadruple your organic traffic in a week.
It’s relevant, too. When visitors read your blog, they’ll become more aware of your brand (this can be affected by your content strategy in degrees, as well, but we’ll get to that later).
Finally, this goal is time-based. You’ve set a deadline of six months. No matter what, you’ll be able to say whether you met this goal in time, and adjust accordingly.
Now that you have a foundational knowledge of SEO and how to make the most out of developing your SEO strategy, let’s get to the tactics that will drive the success of that strategy.
Use Organic, Targeted, Long-Tail Keywords
You’ve probably heard that keywords are important in organic search traffic. They’re one of the most important things. If you’re not using the right keywords, it’s unlikely people will find your listing in the SERPs.
But just any keyword won’t do. You need a certain type of keyword.
It should be organic, otherwise, you’re wandering into PPC territory. Maybe you want to pay for listings, but since this article isn’t about that branch of SEM, we’ll be talking about keywords you don’t have to pay for.
This gets into the long-tailed-ness of your keywords. Some people may think that a long-tail keyword means a long keyword. While these keywords often happen to be three to four words long (or more), that’s not what long-tail means.
It references their placement on a graph. Here’s what you need to know about long-tail keywords:
- They’re not usually highly competitive
- They target a niche
- They respond to how users search
- They’re best for organic SEO
How do you discover your long-tail keywords? You can use a keyword planner like the one Google Adwords offers for free.
Say you’re looking up long-tail keywords to help promote your dog-training biz. Some examples of long-tail keywords include: lead the way dog training, all positive dog training, and follow the leader dog training.
While these are long keywords, they’re long-tail because they fall onto the long “tail” of the graph that demonstrates a keyword’s competitiveness.
Long Live the Content King
Years ago, Bill Gates coined the phrase, “Content is King.” Digital marketers have made this phrase a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. Content rules, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Content can be blogs, website text, videos, images, infographics, ebooks, white papers…you get the gist.
Content wears the crown because it’s what your visitors want to consume. They’re like Hungry, Hungry Hippos and if you don’t have enough marbles for them to eat, they’re going to get sad and leave.
That said, if you don’t have a content strategy in place, you’ll start to feel the truth of the axiom, “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Thank you, Mr. Will Shakespeare.
Strategize your content creation and content marketing, and you’ll be feeling more like “It’s good to be the king.” Thank you, Mr. Mel Brooks.
Go to the Links
Okay, there’s not really a huge similarity between golf links and web links, except that people (and therefore search engines, but we’ll get to this soon) like them.
On the web, links are what create the web-ness. But it won’t due to have just any old link connected to your site.
You want backlinks from reputable and relevant sources. Getting them requires every bit of marketing know-how that you’d use to expand your reach on LinkedIn or at a local business professionals networking mixer.
This is one of those tactics that takes time, so be patient. Don’t just link to a site you want a backlink from and hope they’ll return the favor. This isn’t Twitter where you’re hoping for a follow-back.
Reach out. Build relationships. Then politely and tactfully ask for that backlink. The more good backlinks you have, the more connected you are on the web, and the higher your SERP ranking can rise.
Play Nice With Others
More and more, the internet is requiring that top-ranking websites be user-friendly. Search engine algorithms (those insanely complicated equations that determine your SERP ranking) take into account how much the end-user, or visitor, enjoys being on your website.
Not only does your website need to look nice, but it also needs to have streamlined navigation that guides visitors along their buyer journeys.
Users spend more time on user-friendly websites, which means those websites are going to make them happier, so search engines are more likely to afford better SERP rankings to user-friendly websites.
So please, for the love of all that’s sacred, don’t make a website with a navy background and crimson text. It’s painful for the eyes and creates a horrible user experience.
Likewise, don’t make your website navigation confusing.
Optimize Meta Data and Tags
Whoa, what’s metadata and tags? If you’re asking this, that’s alright. We’ll give you a quick tour of these terms:
- A title tag is the text you click on in the SERP; it also appears on the tab of your browser.
- The meta description is the brief paragraph that appears below the title tag and URL in the SERP, and while search engine bots don’t look at these, users do.
- Alt tags, or alternate text, is something you add to an image to tell search engine bots and users who cannot see the images what the image is.
All three of these need to be optimized to make the most of your SEO. They’re a good place to put a keyword, your brand name, and even your location if you’re going for local SEO (a branch of SEO that has additional strategies and tactics best saved for another discussion).
Put Your Strategy Into Place
Now that you have an idea of how to increase SEO traffic generation, it’s time to put it into practice. Remember that the strategies and tactics discussed above aren’t the be-all, end-all of SEO.
SEO is a practice that is ever-evolving. It also mixes nicely with other digital marketing approaches, like social media. In fact, these two are becoming inextricably linked.
It’s almost like SEO and social media are dating, and their relationship just got serious.
Speaking of social media, if you know someone who could benefit from this guide, why not share it for your audience to consume?