People don't visit websites based on whims.
Prospect Peggy does not sit down at her computer, think about her desire and randomly think to type in the URL for your business (that she has never heard of before).
Sounds ridiculous, right?
Ironically, the entire concept of search engines would have sounded every bit as fantastical to companies 30 years ago: What? Cold leads can learn about us by typing a question into a rectangular box on a screen?
Though modern search engines are undoubtedly amazing tools for businesses, getting them to send free traffic to your website isn't easy. Don't get us wrong: Increasing organic search traffic isn't rocket science, but it does require repeating a few actions over and over again.
Actions like choosing the right keywords, optimizing pages and link-building are integral to any comprehensive SEO campaign. When done consistently, and over a significant period of time, following SEO best practices will boost traffic.
With that said, what are top marketing experts doing to generate even bigger and faster results?
In this article, we've gathered some of our favorite (beyond the basics) expert tips for increasing organic search traffic.
Whether you are only recently trying to move away from a dependency on Pay-Per-Click traffic generation, or are wanting to turbocharge your current SEO, this one's for you.
Ask The Experts: How to Increase Organic Search Traffic (for free)
Get Brand Mentions
According to Neil Patel at Quick Sprout, implied links may be "the future of ranking."
Just what exactly is an implied link? Google describes it as "a reference to a source without a link."
Shout-outs, brand mentions and attributions with no anchor text could all be considered implied links. Implied links can be found in a variety of places; most obviously, on websites that purposefully highlight other brands as part of their business model (e.g. Kickstarter, ProductHunt, Indeigogo).
Why does Patel anticipate brand mentions becoming an increasingly important factor in achieving organic search traffic?
1. Moz recently found evidence that implied links matter by reading the fine print of Google's Panda patent.
2. Google's mission is to deliver the most relevant, comprehensive and high-quality search results possible. That means the search giant is constantly tweaking its algorithm to prevent marketers from excessively gaming the system.
Case in point: While, it's no secret that link building increases SERPs today, only a handful of people were privy to that information several years ago.
Thus, it's not a stretch that brand mentions would also be given more weight in the years to come. So, how do you get more brand mentions? Patel primarily recommends three actions in addition to guest posting (which we'll talk about more in a minute).
1. Conduct Social Campaigns
After its debut on the hit reality TV show Shark Tank, women began blogging about their experiences styling their hair with The Sleep Styler.
The website is getting a ton of brand mentions which are both boosting domain authority and increasing organic traffic.
Obviously, we can't all get on a reality television show. However, with a little ingenuity, you too can create a buzz-worthy social campaign.
2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Companies like Southwest Airlines are known for providing an exceptional level of customer service. Not only does that service keep customers coming back for more peanuts, but it also inspires them to tell their friends on social media.
Truly fabulous customer service is a rarity--figure out how to delight your customers and they will talk about it.
3. Identify Existing Backlinks
Could you already have buzz you're simply unaware of? Find out by setting up Google alerts to monitor your brand name for online mentions.
Once you know in what capacity you are already being talked about, you can begin strategizing how to get more of the same coverage. Also, contact sites with a domain authorities of 40 or higher and ask them to change their mentions into links for even more SEO power.
Build Your Own Backlink Network
Google sees backlinks and says something like:
People are talking about this brand; they must be doing something interesting... Let's increase their SERP so others can find them more easily.
But what if you're just starting out? What if no one is talking about you?
In such instances, serial entrepreneur Ameer Rosic is a huge proponent of building your own backlink network to quickly increase organic traffic. His two primary methods for proactively building backlinks are guest posting and getting interviewed on podcasts.
1. Create Pillar Content
Ameer recommends you publish three high-quality blog articles on your website. Makes these articles really good and really long (2,000 to 3,000 words is best).
Choose the topics that are most heavily searched for by your Buyer Personas. These posts should include compelling copy, high-quality images and resource-backed information. They should also be fully SEO-optimized around your target keywords.
2. Research Guest Post Opportunities
Next, it's time to identify who might be accepting guest posts. The paid version of BuzzSumo makes this a breeze. Simply, type your keywords into the search bar, check the "Guest Post" filter option and you will be presented with a list of sites who have published guest posts within your industry.
Choose 40 websites you would like to approach--prioritize sites with high domain authority--and enter them into a spreadsheet.
3. Pitch Yourself
This is the part that stops many business owners before they even begin: What do I say? What if they don't even read my email? Blah blah blah.
Ameer has proven that pitching guest post ideas doesn't have to be a big deal.
Here's the individual email he sends to each prospect:
Subject Line: Trying to connect
Body: Are you accepting guest posts?
That's it! Ameer says he receives a response about 80 percent of the time. The website manager will most likely say, "Yes, what's your idea?" or "Yes, here's a link to our guest post guidelines."
4. Write Your Post
Choose topics that:
a). Haven't already been written about on your prospect's site and
b). Contain subject manners that can seamlessly correspond to your pillar posts.
Link to the appropriate pillar post within your guest post. Rinse and repeat.
5. Create a Lead Magnet
Finally, create a unique page for your audience with a special offer in exchange for their contact information. This small effort can go a long way toward increasing conversions.
Ameer's method for approaching podcasts is the same.
Simply, identify the most popular shows via iTunes and go from there. By consistently using this method, you will gain quick bursts of direct traffic, while simultaneously increasing your organic SEO.
Thicken Old Blog Posts
Have you been blogging for a while now?
If so, a handful of older posts are probably driving the largest portion of your organic search traffic. According to Tom Demers at Search Engine Journal, approximately 10-20% of a site's traffic stems from its top two posts and 75-80% comes from its top 25-50 posts.
An easy way to increase organic search traffic is to enhance old posts.
Here's how to do it:
1. Update Links
Sometimes web pages get deleted, thus rendering links useless. Use a chrome extension like Link Miner to identify and fix broken links. Additionally, update any outdated information with fresher resources. For example, don't point to a 2013 study when you could be pointing to a 2017 one.
2. Create New Sub-Sections
Incorporating new, useful content is a reliable way to increase long tail traffic. Demer's recommends using Google’s “people also ask” feature to get ideas for additional sub-sections worth adding.
3. Increase Internal Linkage
We're huge proponents of internal linking at Lean Labs. It's something we regularly practice with our clients and ourselves because it delivers significant boosts in organic search. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to identify your site's most linked pages, before adding internal links from key pages back to these older blog posts.
4. SEO Clean-up
Finally, double-check the page's SEO. Do all images include the keyword in the alt-tag? Is the keyword within the URL? Could the headline be more compelling, while still remaining on target?
While thickening old blog posts can definitely increase organic search, it probably won't produce significant results for websites with less than 5,000 unique visitors from organic search a month.
In that case, focus on creating a strong internal linking system with high-quality content first.
4. Post to Forums & Groups
What online watering holes are your ideal customers visiting?
Interacting with prospects on social platforms, and providing genuinely useful information, is a great way to begin building organic traffic. As Richard Lazazzera of A Better Lemonade Stand says, to drive traffic you have to go where people are hanging out!
Lazazzera's top locations for posting include:
Just remember: Each of these communities have their own guidelines, rules and social norms. For example, Quora is centered around providing thoughtful answers to targeted questions. Blatantly try to promote your product and no one will upvote your answer!
While posting to social groups at platforms won't provide instant results, it can help your brand build authority that can be leveraged to promote over time.
Increase Organic Search Traffic Now
As you can see, there are a ton of things you can do to increase organic traffic; whether you're just starting out, or have been at the blogging for a couple years already.
Though we highly recommend experimenting with the aforementioned tips, we want to let you in on a secret: Most of our clients have actually increased their organic search traffic without ANYexternal link building. And guess what? They didn't purchase online ads either.
Want to learn how they did it?