Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been around long enough for people to understand that it’s an effective acquisition channel. The only problem is that there has been a lot of bad press regarding SEO because of people claiming to deliver on promises and then failing. The truth is SEO isn’t that hard once you start to get a hang of it. And once you get a hang of it, you’ll start to see your traffic start to grow.
Here are 5 tips to increase your organic (SEO) traffic:
1. Internal Linking
Sure, everyone talks about how external back links are better than internal back links, and they’re right. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore internal links.
Internal links help guide the search engines through your site. Without internal links, search engines have a harder time figuring out where they should go next. It’s your job to make it easier on them to find your important pages. The harder you make it for the search engines, the more likely it is that important pages will be missed by the spiders. And that means lost traffic.
You don’t want lost traffic right?
Here are 3 examples of how Zappos kills it with internal linking. Also note that Zappos does a great job with SEO, but the site isn’t being ‘SEO’ed’ or ‘manipulated’ in any way.
Breadcrumbs funnel link juice to the home page, categories, and sub categories. By adding breadcrumbs you’re adding a layer of internal links across your site. In short, your site becomes a little more accessible to search engines.
Think of your site as an ant hill. Your homepage is the top of the funnel and your categories/sub-categories are the little sections in the middle of the ant hill. Internal links are what will help build more tunnels.
b. Content + internal links
Here’s a snippet of content on the ‘Shoes’ category for Zappos:
This does two things. The first sets the foundation for internal linking and also brings more relevance to the page: content. This section tells the search engine that this page is about different shoes and makes it easier for this page to rank for ‘shoes’ related keywords. The second part is internal linking with rich anchor text. These are the types of keywords that Zappos wants to rank higher for.
Ranking higher usually means more traffic and more traffic for an e-commerce means more conversions. Careful that you don’t overdo this though. You could get penalized.
c. Related links
Here’s a look at a Zappos product page:
These related product links do quite a few things for Zappos. As you know by now, links are part of the equation when a search engine determines how important a page is. With e-commerce SEO, there are thousands of products and it’s hard to give each product some link love. Linking to related products spreads the link juice around relevant products so they all get a small boost. Let’s also not forget about the increased chances of getting an extra conversion by linking to related products.
If you don’t have an e-commerce site, no problem. Blogs can take advantage of great related internal linking by doing something like this:
2. Great content
I know, I know. They say everywhere that content is king and content marketing has been a growing trend in online marketing. For example, BufferApp grew its their customer base from 0 to 100,000 with content marketing. Another good example is Fraiser Cain growing his monthly traffic from 0 to 3 million visitors with content marketing.
The truth is, great content is extremely powerful and separates the wheat from the chaffe. Let’s look at some benefits of great content:
- Establishes you as a thought leader – this can lead to unforeseen opportunities (such as speaking or consulting gigs)
- Attracts links – if your post is really good, you can expect to get links from high quality sources. It sure beats having to manually prospect for links.
- Attracts social shares – social shares are now part of the SEO equation and will bring in more traffic. This can even result in more links.
- Brings traffic to your site – if your content is evergreen, then expect that traffic to last for awhile.
- Builds trust with your audience – the blog is an excellent point in your sales funnel because people tend to remember people that helped them. Let’s say you sold toilets and you had a blog about home improvement and someone has gone to your blog for tips on multiple occasions. Who do you think they will turn to when they need a new toilet? It’s all about helping others.
Keep one thing in mind though, creating great content is not only really hard, but it also takes a long time.
Content marketing can be one of your biggest competitive advantages if you can execute. Some of the most successful bloggers on the internet took years to build up their blog. Slow and steady wins the race so be patient!
3. Great relationships
Link building is still one of the most important aspects of SEO. Assuming you have your on-site/technical SEO taken care of, links can really be a traffic driver if used correctly. The problem here is links are really hard to acquire. Good links are even tougher to acquire. And with the recent Google Penguin update, you don’t want to be messing around with too many dirty links. You want the good stuff.
So what’s a good way to acquire links? Relationships.
Seems like an underwhelming answer huh? But I assure you that building great relationships with people will yield you some of the highest quality links you’ve ever seen. It’ll take you some time to develop these but they’ll be worth it. And you’ll get a lot more than a few links if you play your cards right.
If you want to start building these relationships, you can look for influencers online or go to offline events. After that, it’s a matter of following up and helping people before you expect anything back.
I guarantee you’ll feel much more satisfied from building a relationship versus building a few links.
First, an example of a transcription done right:
If you ever wonder how certain websites rank for so many long tail keywords, it’s because they have a lot of content and a lot of links. The links tell the search engines that a particular site is authoritative so it tells the search engines that they should be placed higher in the search result pages because the site has pretty much earned it. Conversely, a newer site with no links and a lot of content wouldn’t do that well because it’s still relatively new and unestablished.
If you post video content, it’s smart to make use of transcriptions. Search engines can’t exactly crawl everything that’s being said in a video so it’s your job to make this content visible in text format. If you do that, you open yourself to ranking for more long tail keywords.
5. User Generated Content
Giving your users the option to produce content for you creates a sense of community and can even help with decision making. For example, just look at how Amazon’s product reviews:
Besides helping with a purchase decision, the content generated here is great for SEO. Search engine spiders like unique, helpful content and they get plenty of it from product reviews. This is also a big win for Amazon because they don’t have to spend more money to produce content – their customers are doing it for them!
If used correctly, SEO can be a very powerful weapon. Like anything else though, there are no shortcuts. And if you try to take shortcuts, you’ll eventually end up falling short because you’re competing against some of the smartest engineers in the world at Google. It’s best to invest in a long term strategy that adds value to your audience.
Try using one or two of the tactics above and see how it works out for you.
What are some other SEO tactics that have been effective for you?