Increase Website Traffic The Dummies Guide
Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck swimming through your gold vault, there are few good reasons to ever stop trying to boost the number of unique visitors your website attracts. The logic is just too obvious to ignore—the more eyeballs on your site, the more business you generate.
But running a company is hard work, and it’s easy to get distracted by other, equally important, tasks and strategies.
This article is for those business owners who want to get back to the basics—business owners who are ready to throw some money and effort at the top end of their marketing funnels.
Google loves serving pages that are likely to satisfy its users’ needs. The search engine is on a neverending mission to find ways to separate good content from bad.
Over the years, Google has used many techniques to do this. Keyword density and quality backlinks have traditionally been two of the biggest drivers here. But now, a new metric is starting to become increasingly influential in SEO: topical authority.
Topical authority is the ability to show expertise on a specific subject. Google is increasingly favoring sites that cover a specific topic in great depth over a series of posts rather than a single article.
More and more SEO experts are encouraging site owners to show Google that their site is an authority on a specific topic by publishing several posts on it.
In practice, Google likes seeing “depth” of coverage. For example, a single post on “The Benefits of the Keto Diet” may use keywords brilliantly and also have tons of backlinks. But if this topic isn’t covered elsewhere on the domain, Google is likely to penalize it in the rankings.
To prevent this and also see your articles get a ranking boost, write as many other meaningful articles on this topic as possible. Think about what other information readers may want about the keto diet and publish as many posts on it as you can.
The key here is not to replicate content or to create “fluff.” Use Google to see what questions people are asking about the keto diet, and answer the top five in a highly detailed article.
When displaying search results for the term “keto diet,” Google also shows some very handy content under the heading “People also ask.” For instance, “What can I eat on the keto diet?” and “Is the keto diet bad for me?”
Don’t answer this question inside your main article. This is an amazing opportunity to show topical authority by publishing a dedicated article for every single one of these questions.
Backlinks are still important.
Sure, SEO tactics like “topical authority” (we’ll get to this later) may have started to hog the spotlight over the past 18 months. But, that doesn’t mean Google has completely forgotten how big a signal of quality it is when external sites link to one of your blog posts.
But how can you increase the chances of your content being referenced by a reputable third party? I’ll share two crucial tips.
It’s worth noting, though, that all of these tactics will have benefits outside of increasing the chances of landing a backlink. So try not to think about them purely from this perspective.
Create new knowledge
Websites aren’t going to link to your content if you don’t give them a reason to do so. And the best reason of all is if you’re the only site that offers information they can’t find anywhere else.
If you’re sitting on an email subscriber list or social media following that’s big enough to mine for new knowledge, consider conducting surveys and building data from responses.
Reach out and ask your followers questions about your industry. Convert their feedback into blog posts or infographics that shine a new light on an existing topic. This information could be extremely valuable for one of your peers looking to make a specific point in one of their own blog posts or marketing material.
Data is immensely referenceable – a fact evidenced by the WyzOwl domain having close to 20,000 backlinks, according to Uber Suggest.
Another way to create “new” knowledge is to interview reputable industry experts and thought leaders. Get them to weigh in on an issue closely related to your industry.
These articles, often called “expert roundups,” take a lot of time to complete and require a ton of legwork, but the payoff can be immense. A well-populated roundup post is packed with highly referenceable quotes that support claims made by your peers.
In most cases, you’ll also score backlinks for roundup posts because the person being quoted wants to show their contribution.
Make the right people aware of your amazing new knowledge
If you’ve spent weeks creating a 4,000-word blog post packed full of awesome referenceable material, you’d be crazy to just sit and wait for people to find it organically.
This is where “outreach” comes into play—the assertive, diplomatic act of suggesting to someone that a link to your data would benefit them.
A word of warning: this is not a simple undertaking. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also not something you’re going to implement over a long weekend.
There’s a ton of great content online about the finer points of outreach, but a quick summary of the process won’t go amiss:
- Use Google to find blog posts that cover the same keywords as your blog post. These are your competitors’ posts.
- Using a tool like Ahrefs Link Explorer, find the sites that have backlinks to your competitors’ posts. These are your prospects.
- Prepare and make email contact with your prospect. Your job here is to make a solid case for them to link to your content. This is a delicate process that needs a lot of preparation and communication. Do your homework before taking this step.
Consider Using Paid Advertising
As much stock as content marketers put into their chosen channel, driving organic traffic to your site with great content is always going to be a long game.
Creating a successful blog with a steady stream of traffic never happens overnight. On average, it takes six to nine months, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
If you need to see results quickly and you have the budget for it, don’t forget about paid ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram.
Don’t let the “quick results” angle fool you into thinking that this is an easy channel to generate traffic with. There are tons of complex factors that influence a paid campaign’s success.
Here’s a quick summary (along with some helpful resources) of paid advertising’s best practices.
- Plan and strategize properly. Don’t launch an ad campaign without having a roadmap that details exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re planning to do it.
- Work to a budget. Paid advertising is a numbers game. You do not want to spend more on a conversion than the conversion is worth.
- Pay attention to your ad copy. The text that entices people to click on your ad is no small matter. Don’t underestimate the importance of research and A/B testing here.
- Make sure your landing page delivers on the ad’s promise. Your potential customers want to see consistency between your ad and the page it takes them to. If a specific claim or promise got them to click on the advert, your landing page needs to continue with that message.
Another piece of advice I can offer here is to involve a professional, especially if you’re new to paid advertising. Even though all the various platforms make it relatively simple to get started, there’s a level of nuance to running a successful campaign that could take years to master.
Create evergreen content
Forget, just for a minute, the marketing industry’s understandable preoccupation with creating content that ranks on Google.
Sure, it’s madness to completely overlook this aspect of SEO-focused content marketing. Your blog post means very little if it’s never going to be found using a search engine. Having said that, Google rankings shouldn’t be your only concern. When you publish a post that offers exceptional, evergreen value, you’re creating a marketing asset that will attract visitors for as long as it’s on your blog.
SEO concepts like keyword density and search volume should heavily influence your marketing strategy. However, it’s fine to occasionally put these aside in favour of creating content that delivers extremely helpful, evergreen information.
Certain subjects are just always popular amongst the citizens of the web. People always want to get healthier. They always want to find interesting things to entertain themselves with. Business people always want to find strategies to become more successful.
EachNight’s detailed blog post titled “Sleep Calculator: What’s the Best Time to Go to Sleep” is an excellent example of evergreen content.
Everyone wants a better night’s rest. It’s a matter of mental and physical health that affects literally everyone on the planet. Sleep isn’t a “seasonal” activity either. It’s an unavoidable part of the human experience. Until people evolve out of their need to sleep, this is as evergreen as content gets.
Focused Niche Down Approach
The internet is a big place. It’s everything—all the information.
When fishing for traffic with content, casting your net wide means you’re trying to attract hundreds of millions of people. If you succeed… fantastic. You’re going to see an overwhelming influx of traffic.
But success here means you need to beat some pretty stiff competition for Google’s ranking. And the average small business website has virtually no hope of doing something like that.
A feasible alternative is to throw several smaller nets into very specific areas of the digital ocean. In practice, this means aiming for smaller niche audiences with your content’s topics and keywords.
Finli demonstrates a great example of this approach with their blog post “How to Grow Your Martial Arts Business | Ultimate Guide.”
Rather than aiming for the biggest possible audience pool with a topic like “How to Grow Your Small Business” or even something slightly less ambitious like “The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-Commerce Business,” the blog post aims for a very specific audience.
By creating information in this specific niche, Finli is making two outcomes very likely.
Firstly, their chances of ranking on Google are much better than if they’d aimed for a more saturated topic.
Secondly, the chances of their content being shared on social media are higher. That’s because online communities typically form around very specific topics, like the business of martial arts.
Worth noting is that you won’t achieve these two goals simply because you choose a niche topic. Even a very specific subject is still going to have a ton of competition. You’ll still have to apply the fundamentals of SEO to ensure your content ranks. And to increase the chances of your content going viral, focus on delivering genuinely exceptional information.
Some brands have done an excellent job at building an audience on social media. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Like generating traffic for your website, you face tons of challenges when growing a following on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
But persistence and following proven strategies will pay off in the long run. People are hungry for excellent content on social media, and if you deliver, they will come.
But that’s not what this section of our piece is about. We’re here to talk about how your social media presence can be used to channel traffic to your website.
Skillcrush usesits Instagram account brilliantly to direct traffic to its website. The brand uses a super simple, highly effective tactic. Directly above the website link on their Instagram bio, the folks from Skillcrush were smart to tell users about the benefit of visiting their home page: “Take our free 3-minute quiz to find out if tech is right for you!”
They’ve attached a compelling hook to their website link.
Sure, some Instagram users may click on your website link purely out of curiosity or because they want to find out more about your company. But if you give them a solid reason to go down the rabbit hole, you’re getting the most out of this element.
On Facebook and Twitter, Skillcrush chooses to adopt a slightly different approach. Instead of using a functional CTA (the quiz), the brand opts to appeal to users’ emotions.
“Digital skills are job skills. Learn the web development & design skills you need to get the money and freedom you deserve.”
“Skillcrush is an online platform and community for learning coding and design skills to change your career.”
Both of these passages aim for the visitor’s heart by using emotive language. More than half of workers in the United States are unsatisfied with their jobs. Skillcrush leverages this fact to channel traffic to their product—a product capable of changing lives.
When creating your company’s social media profiles, make sure to give compelling reasons why followers should click through to your site.