Website traffic is often cited as one of the most important factors in determining digital marketing success.
Like how “location, location, location” is a popular mantra in the real estate industry, we can also say that “traffic, traffic, and traffic” are the three most important things in a website’s performance.
However, growing our website traffic is often easier said than done. After all, there are billions of websites today and there are millions of blog posts being published in a single day. How can we stand out among all those competitors?
Don’t be discouraged, though, as in this guide, we will discuss an effective tactic to grow you traffic in just six months with a step-by-step guide.
Let us begin.
Step 1: Know Your Audience Through Keyword Research
The first, and the most important step here is to do as much research as possible with two main goals: understanding your audience; and understanding how your competitors are approaching their marketing strategy.
The keyword must be relevant to your business, product, and/or service—pretty self explanatory—. Sometimes there are keywords that aren’t so obvious but can be a good opportunity (i.e. ‘slam dunk’ if you are a basketball-focused site).
According to your budget and timeline, the competition for the keyword must be manageable.
You can use various keyword research tools to help with this, and you can also use some of the tools to perform competitive research. Gain as many insights as possible about your audience and your competitors to develop your strategy.
Step 2: Competitive Research
In the first step, we have briefly discussed how we should perform a proper competitive research based on the target keywords.
You can do this manually by doing a quick Google search for your target keywords. Check out the top ranking sites for these keywords (if possible, check out all that are ranking on the first page, but at least the top 3).
Your goal is to create a (significantly) better content than these pages, so analyze various aspects from their content quality, style and tone, structure, how they use images, etc. It’s also possible to take a different approach and discuss the topic from a unique angle—you can even disagree with the content and deliver your argument—.
Alternatively, you can also use keyword research tools to analyze these pages. This way, you can gain insights about various metrics from their monthly traffic to readability to backlinks profile.
You can also check various other areas of these competitors’ marketing efforts from their social media presence and engagement to their advertising campaigns. There are plenty of tools that can help you with this.
The better you know your ‘enemy’, the better you can plan your strategy.
Step 3: Develop Your Content
There are two different types of content in a website.
First, there’s the static content—the ‘fixed’ information that is always there— like your about us page, your product listing, and so on. The thing is, if you only have static information in your website, you don’t give enough reason for them to come back after they’ve checked out your site.
So, here comes the second type: dynamic content. These are the pieces of content that are updated time and time again (i.e. blog posts), so when a new content appears, a website visitor might visit your site again and probably share it to their friends—netting you more visitors—.
Both dynamic and static content have their purposes, so the idea is to develop content according to the target keywords we have discussed above.
One of the most important things to remember is although SEO is about optimizing your content for the search engine, Google, Bing, and other search engines are now getting smarter. Their goal is to provide the most relevant search results for human audience, so your content must also have the same goal: bring as much value and relevance to your ideal audience.
So, include your keywords naturally, and focus on readability for human readers.
Step 4: Build More Backlinks
Backlinks are the commodity of the internet. Think of backlinks—or inbound links—, as a ‘vote’. The more backlinks you have, Google and the other search engines will determine your site as relevant and you will climb the search engine rankings.
The higher your search engine ranking, the more traffic you will have. This is the main goal of SEO.
It is, however, important to understand that today, quality is more important than quantity. If you get one backlink from a reputable site in your industry, you get more ‘vote’ than getting 5 backlinks from lower-quality sites. In fact, getting too many backlinks at one time might get you penalized by Google.
Aim to get just 2 to 3 high-quality backlinks a month. Yet, this can be easier said than done.
How to get backlinks? The most effective way is to actually have a high-quality content. If your content is good, interesting, and informative, you will get backlinks sooner or later.
Yet, how you promote the content is also important. Utilize all the available channels from social media to working with influencers to investing in paid ads to promote your contents.
Content promotion can lead to more organic traffic—our main goal—, and get more backlinks in the process, which in turn will produce more traffic through SEO. A win-win investment!
Step 5: Optimize Your Website
Again, there are two main goals in optimizing the technical aspects of your site: pleasing the search engines (making sure your site is easy to index properly), and bringing value to the human audience.
As this can be a very broad subject, you might want to check out this technical SEO checklist for this step. However, here are a few key areas to focus on:
Optimize your website’s speed. More than half of mobile users will bounce from sites that load in more than 3 second.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and preferably mobile-responsive
Make sure your website is easy enough to navigate according to UX principles.
Make sure your site can be properly indexed by Google by optimizing robots.txt file and optimizing redirects
Regularly check for broken links, and fix them
Step 6: Invest on Paid Advertising
We can consider this as an optional step depending on the results generated by the previous steps.
The idea of using paid advertising is to cut down time. Paid advertising—and other paid channels— can virtually generate traffic instantly, as long as you have the budget.
Find the right balance between your paid advertising budget and time invested. Doing this correctly can maximize the generated website traffic in six months.
The key of online paid advertising is targeting: the more specific you can target the right audience, the more cost-efficient your campaigns will be, and the more conversions you’ll get.
By doing the six steps we have discussed above, you can significantly increase your website traffic.
The key here is maintaining consistency. So, regularly monitor your progress, evaluate, and re-optimize your strategy accordingly.
Mike Khorev is an SEO expert and digital marketing consultant who helps small and mid-size businesses generate more leads, sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO digital marketing, web design, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter