Naturally occurring—or ‘organic’—website traffic is a holy grail in today’s world of digital marketing. Why is that? Why is it so helpful for people to naturally happen upon your website and its content?
Think of it as the difference between a referral customer and a customer who comes to you through some kind of paid promotion. The referral customer proactively chooses you first based on the merit of a trusted recommendation. She’s poised to make a decision in your favor from the get-go, while a customer responding to a promo may require lots of convincing before she’ll be sold.
Organic web traffic is similar to referral customers, in that they searched and found you. Through their queries, they discovered your site at the top of the heap of search results. They click because they believe your site will tell them what they need to know. Now those are quality leads!
Being discovered at the top of the heap of search results is where things seem to get tricky. The internet is a veritable smorgasbord of content, and the stuff specific to our industry is certainly part of the glut. I just searched “flooring retailer” and was served about 4,150,000 results in 0.69 seconds. (Thank you very much, Google!)
If you’re hoping to improve your site’s ranking in search results, my advice is relatively simple: do the right thing, and then follow up with the top five ‘write things’ for your site’s on-page and metadata content.
Do the Right Thing:
First and foremost, you must create content that is relevant and useful to your target audiences. Search engines will serve up organic results based on the relevancy of sites’ content to the users’ search queries. Your core approach to website content should simply be to speak to the humans you hope will find your site because they need what you’re selling. You don’t need to know any internet tricks or pay a search engine optimization (SEO) guru to make this happen; you just need to be sure every word on every page of your website is intended to connect with real people about what they are searching for.
Now, do the ‘write things’—the more technical stuff that will help you rank higher and connect with your customers more quickly:
Find the key(words) to success.
It’s imperative that you determine the keyword that will serve as the, well, key to your content strategy. Please note that a keyword can actually be a term or phrase, i.e. flooring retailer scottsdale, tile showroom des moines, carpet outlet barrington. Beyond your designated—dare I say ‘anointed’—keyword, you will also need to create a list of terms that are similar or synonyms to your main keyword (some fancy content marketers might call these “LSI terms”, just FYI).
How do you determine the right keyword and supplemental terms for your biz? Think like your customer. What do they type into Google to seek and find businesses like yours? Don’t just go on instinct; survey and poll people if you feel it’d be helpful to identify these words that will be essential to your site’s SEO success.
Get a header of the game.
Google ‘looks’ at the headers on your website to find and prioritize your content, in order to determine where your site will show up in search results. Google presumes any terms that are worthy of being stated in sites’ headers must be pretty important and indicative of what the content is all about. This is why it is so important that your site’s headers—your H1, H2, and H3 tags—contain your keyword. Note that Google prioritizes tags in order, so use the headers accordingly to organize and separate your site’s content.
Be mindful of terms of engagement.
Use your keywords and relevant terms in your content only in ways that make sense for real-life human readers! We are long since past the days when Google’s crawlers could not identify the difference between real, useful content and verbiage stuffed with keywords merely so the webpage would rank in search. Today, your site will get penalized if Google determines that the content is stuffed with keywords or contains redundant or plagiarized/copied content.
Improve your image(s) with alt tags.
Every image on your website should have alternative text, or alt tags, that contain your keyword so that the image can be found by Google and, thus, contribute to your search rankings. Since Google is not an actual person with eyeballs, it can only “see” all those pretty images on your site by reading the alternative text you’ve assigned to them. Images with alt text that is meaningful are really helpful in supporting your SEO. Take time to update existing images, and make it standard practice to add in alt text with keywords to any new pictures you add to the site along the way.
Work the excerpts and put metadescriptions on a mission.
When creating site pages, don’t skirt the excerpts and descriptions. Though these snippets of copy won’t sway Google’s crawlers, they will be seen by potential site visitors. The more compelling your excerpts and metadescriptions, the more likely people will be to click through to the page. Use these to entice rather than to summarize, so that potential visitors have reason to keep going.
What’s in a name? Hopefully, your keyword!
Include your keyword in the names of your webpages, and importantly, place them as close to your domain name as possible for best results. For example, it’s better to go with “bestfloorstore.com/tileshowroomdallaslocator” than it is this “bestfloorstore.com/locatorfordallastileshowroom”.
Looking for even more “OH!” in your SEO efforts? In addition to tactics for attaining organic site traffic, you can pay for placement in Google search results. Many retailers budget for such advertising and make it a core aspect of their digital marketing strategy. I strongly recommend that businesses get the fundamentals for organic traffic in order first and make those part of standard operating procedure before they dig into paid solutions.
Do you have some FAQs about SEO? Reach out to me anytime. You can contact me via my website at msg2mkt.com.