One can spend tons of money promoting their site and draw traffic to it—temporarily. Truth be told, paid marketing efforts tend to be effective at building traffic only as long as they last. Once the spend is depleted, most of the people who came to see you as a result of the campaign will have taken a look and moved on.
Meanwhile, improving your organic search rankings is a more long-term solution to attracting traffic to your site. This strategy, while admittedly taking longer to implement, builds upon itself over time and will continue to grow.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Your first step should always be defining your ideal customer. This step will determine the nature of everything else you do, from developing the look of your site to the nature of the pictures and copy you employ. Getting to know your customer will identify your choice of keywords, help you develop your content strategy and ensure it ranks well.
2. Create Your Keyword List
Here’s where getting to know your target audience pays off; rather than following the herd and choosing keywords based upon what your competitors are doing, base your keywords on what the members of your target audience are looking for. If you’re selling used cars in Poughkeepsie, instead of trying to rank for “used cars” go for “used cars in Poughkeepsie.”
Further, if you specialize in a particular type of car, include that in your long-tail keyword string as well. The goal is to think like your customer and rank for what they’re trying to find.
3. Devise a Content Strategy
Whatever your planned endeavor – be it learning to market tie-dyed t-shirts or understanding how to sell ebooks on your own website – your web presence should also include a blog. This will give you a means by which to keep adding fresh content on a regular basis. It will also give users a reason to visit your site other than to buy your ebooks or t-shirts. Blog posts also give you something to promote in social media in addition to your products.
4. Optimize Your Pages
As logical an action as this seems, it’s amazing how many sites don’t reflect this. Beginning with your URLs, make sure they’re short, search friendly and include the targeted keyword. Incorporating outbound links to authoritative sites relevant to your content is another best practice. When you title your page, make an effort to include the keyword once, as close as possible to the beginning of the title. You should also make sure the keyword resides within the first 100 words of the page’s content. Images should include ALT text so search engines can find them and of course, you should make your content as high in quality as possible.
5. Encourage Quality Links
Yes, getting others to link to your site can be somewhat tedious. However, do not succumb to enacting shortcuts. They’ll cost you more than they will help you. The best way to go about it is to produce quality content and promote it vigorously so others see it, appreciate it, and link to it. Guest blogging and distributing infographics are proven methods of accomplishing this. Again, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it takes on a life of its own when it takes off.
Once you have these strategies in play, keep an eye on them and institute enhancements whenever you see opportunities. While improving your organic search rankings requires a lot of patience and diligence it’s well worth the effort in the long run.