7 ways to drive traffic to your website and increase your search ranking
Ready to ensure that you maximize the number of people visiting your site each day? These highly effective strategies will help.
February 27 · 10 min read
No matter your unique business goals, increasing the number of visitors to your website is an effective way to increase conversions, grow your brand, and ultimately boost your revenue.
Your website is no longer the only piece of your online presence. In 2018, most businesses are active on several social media platforms and online directories. However, your website is arguably still the most important part of your online persona.
Your website is the place where you’re in full control. It acts as the central hub for all of your other online marketing activity. Not only is it expected that a reputable brand should have a website, but it also works on your behalf — in many cases making sales and boosting your ROI even while you’re off the clock.
If you already understand the importance of having a great website, you’re halfway there, but there’s still a vital piece of the puzzle missing. Even if you have the best website ever created, it won’t do you much good if nobody sees it.
It’s vital not only to invest in your website itself but also traffic strategies to ensure you maximize the number of people visiting it each day. Luckily there are several highly effective strategies to drive traffic to your website.
SEO, or search engine optimization, should be the cornerstone of your traffic strategy. Pretty much every other method listed in this article will also help to improve your SEO.
SEO is essentially the process of optimizing your website to make it more attractive to search engines. When a search engine like Google processes a user search such as “Chicago design services”, it not only has to decide which pages are a good match for this search, but also the order to place them in the search results.
Google uses an algorithm to score the quality and relevance of each webpage for a particular search term. Those that are deemed to be the best and most relevant to the searcher will be displayed at the top of the results.
As a website owner, there are several things you can do to make Google and other search engines view your site as relevant and useful. These are known as “ranking signals.”
High-ranking pages will usually display several (if not all) of these ranking signals including:
- High-quality, relevant content. This means content that humans (not just search engines) want to read and find useful. Relevance is judged by the search term, or related terms, being included in the page text. It used to be the case that the more times you used a particular keyword on a page, the better it would rank. However, this is now seen as over-optimization and is likely to be penalized with a lower search listing.
- Properly structured. With appropriate HTML tags for headings, images, etc.
- The page is easy to use and read on mobile devices.
- Fast load time.
- It’s secure. Preferably using HTTPS rather than HTTP — especially important for ecommerce sites and other sites that collect user data.
- Has links from other high-quality websites. Several years ago it was important to get as many links as you could, and it didn’t really matter where they came from. These days, quality beats quantity and a few links from authority websites are infinitely more valuable than thousands of low-quality links from comments and article directories.
SEO is part science and part art, and best practices are changing all the time to keep up with Google’s regular algorithm updates.
While it’s relatively straightforward to take care of some of these jobs yourself, other aspects such as knowing exactly which keywords to optimize for, and obtaining links from high-authority websites, can be quite tricky.
For these reasons, a lot of businesses opt for professional SEO services like B12 SEO to come up with a fully integrated and effective SEO strategy.
2. Social media marketing
Social media didn’t even exist a little over 20 years ago, but these days it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Over 3 billion people worldwide now use social media — a number that’s growing every year. Over three-quarters of Facebook users access the site every day and spend more than 40 minutes scrolling once they’re there.
Despite its name, social media isn’t just for catching up with friends. Businesses also need to be active on social media to stay competitive, communicate with customers, and as another channel for driving traffic to their websites.
One of the most effective ways to promote your content is by using social media. The nature of social networks makes it so easy to “share content”. When you promote a great article on your website, it won’t only be your audience that sees it. If they choose to share it with their friends, it can reach an exponential number of people very quickly – this is how content goes “viral”.
Most brands find that concentrating on a few key social networks is the most effective strategy. Facebook is the most widely used social site, so it’s a good place to start. Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic for visual content. Twitter can be really effective for sharing links, but you’ll need to contribute and share other people’s content too if you want to grow a dedicated following.
3. Email marketing
Social media marketing is highly effective at attracting new users to your website, but what about your existing followers?
Don’t overlook the value of your current audience. If they’ve signed up for your mailing list, that means they’re already interested in your services, products, or what you have to say and therefore are much more likely to click through to your site than someone who has never been exposed to your brand before.
Email marketing is still powerful, and in fact, it offers a higher ROI than any other marketing channel, but you need to plan it carefully to get it right.
Figure out the sweet spot for how often to email your list – not often enough and they might forget about you; too often and you run the risk of annoying them.
It’s also important to plan your emails carefully and mix up your content so it doesn’t get boring. Don’t just send out sales messages – offer extra value to what’s already on your site and make your emails something that your list really looks forward to opening.
4. Blogging & content marketing
You probably have a vague idea that you should be blogging on your website but you might not be sure exactly how powerful this strategy can be.
Content marketing is an affordable and highly effective way of driving clicks to your website, and blogging is one of the most common forms of content marketing. B12 offers a custom blogging service as part of its Get Found Pro plan.
- When you regularly publish informative and entertaining content on your site, you’re benefiting in several ways:
- Increasing the amount of relevant content and search terms on your site, which helps to boost SEO and bring in more search traffic.
- Keeping website visitors on your site because there’s something interesting to read – which means you have more chance of converting them later.
- Building trust with your readers and customers, and positioning yourself or your brand as an expert in your field.
- Helping your readers solve problems, which will make them more likely to use your services over others.
While blogging on your own site can be a great way of getting started in content marketing, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can also guest blog on other sites to increase your audience, as well as publishing other types of content such as ebooks, infographics, videos, and webinars.
5. Publishing videos on YouTube
YouTube is predicted to overtake Facebook as America’s second-most popular website very soon. It would be a huge mistake to overlook this massive platform.
Video is becoming an increasingly popular way to consume content online and as well as an effective way to grow your audience and brand presence. It’s also an easy way to drive traffic back to your website.
Each YouTube video has a description section, which you can put as many links in as you’d like. You can use this to link to content on your site related to the video or offer a free resource to those who’ve watched your video. This can also be a really effective way of getting more people to sign up to your email list.
6. Paid advertising
So far we’ve focused on methods of traffic generation that are free or require only a modest budget. While all these methods are certainly effective, it doesn’t mean there is no place for paid advertising.
There are various different ways you can pay for traffic online. Two of the most effective are paid search ads and social media ads.
Paid search listings appear alongside the organic (non-paid) search listings in search engines like Google when a user searches for a particular term.
With this type of advertising, you’ll normally target a group of keywords and set a monthly budget for each campaign. When a searcher clicks on your ad, you’ll pay for the click, which can be anything from $0.01 to tens of dollars, depending on how competitive the keywords are. Once your monthly budget is used up, your ads will stop being displayed.
If you’re finding it difficult, or you don’t want to invest the time in SEO to get on the first page for your targeted keywords, paid search advertising is a shortcut to get there. You can also use PPC alongside SEO quite effectively.
Social media ads work in a similar way in that you set a budget for your ads and you’re charged every time someone clicks on them. However, while search ads are text only, social media ads usually include images. As social media networks collect a lot of information about their users you can also target your ads at a much smaller group (such as females aged 16 – 25 who like cats and coffee, for example!)
Paid advertising can be quite effective at driving traffic that is ready to buy, however, it needs careful management or you can blow through your budget quickly without much to show for it.
7. Publish an ebook
Publishing a book is one of the most effective ways to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Being a published author definitely gives you credibility, despite the fact that it’s quick and easy for anyone to self-publish on Amazon Kindle and similar platforms these days.
Books can be a great promotional tool for your name or your brand, but you can also use them to directly drive traffic back to your website.
The benefit of ebooks over traditionally published paper books is that you can include live links in them that the reader can click to be taken directly to your website. You can do this by including a link to content on your site that expands on a point you’re discussing in the book, or by offering a special bonus or free gift as a “thank you” for downloading the book.
You can choose to sell your book but if your main aim is to drive traffic back to your website, you can also choose to publish it on Amazon as a free book. This will maximize the number of downloads and therefore the number of people who click through to your site.
The sky’s the limit!
The methods we’ve discussed are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to traffic generation for your website.
While some of these ideas seem obvious, you may need to experiment with several different strategies before you find the marketing channels that are most effective for you.
Be creative and think out of the box. Look for new opportunities to generate traffic at every opportunity. A little bit of effort put into marketing your site can lead to great rewards further down the line.