Having a great idea, a superior product, or the best service in the industry will only take you so far if the people who should be your customers can’t find you online. And helping your audience connect with you requires not only creating a website, but also driving more traffic into the top of the funnel so you can get the conversions you need to grow your business.
#1 Create quality, relevant blog content
It’s pretty simple, really; the more content you have on your site, the more opportunities you have to get found by search engines and the potential customers who use them.
What’s the simplest way to put out regular content that’s easy to find and share? Add a blog on your site! (Note: do not create your company blog on a new domain name, as that defeats the purpose).
Not convinced that blogging is worth the time investment? Consider this data from Hubspot: companies that blog receive 55% more website visitors than those that don’t.
#2 Guest post and request backlinks
Starting your own blog is important, but if you want to get more exposure quickly, a great strategy is guest posting. Find highly relevant blogs that share your audience (but are not competitors) and write the editor a quick, friendly email that cuts to the chase, and you’d be surprised how often they’ll respond positively.
Ask permission to include one or two relevant backlinks to your blog or website. Not only does this increase exposure to the people who read that blog, it also signals to search engines that your site is good enough that other important sites link back to it – thus bolstering your search engine ranking.
#3 Leverage content aggregators
Some aggregators will simply let you set up a profile with your RSS feed, and some are more highly curated. A quick Google search can help you find the right fit for your content.
#4 Take advantage of local search
Especially if you run a small business, local search is essential to driving traffic both to your physical store and also to your website. You might not have the budget or popularity to rank on Google for “best hair salon,” but you might very well be able to rank for “best hair salon in Kansas City.”
By listing your business (and web address!) on local directories like Yelp, YP.com, Google, and Yahoo, not only will you be listed on those sites, but your listing will also show up in search engine results. According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
#5 Optimize your website for search
The concept of search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty well known nowadays, but you’d be surprised how many people doing far more advanced marketing tactics have not done an SEO audit of their website.
There are lots of things you can do – from basic to advanced – to improve your ranking on search engines, and you can learn about all of them in Google’s SEO Guide. Two of the easiest wins that website owners overlook are optimizing their site’s images, and updating their homepage title tags!
— Sarah Matista (@SarahMatista) March 26, 2015
#6 Use the best keywords for your business
By now, everyone knows about the importance of choosing the right keywords for your website. Google and Wordstream offer keyword search tools, or you can use a built-in optimizer like Vistaprint’s to find relevant terms for you.
They key is to find the find balance; your keywords should have a high search volume, but be as specific to your business as possible. Otherwise you will be competing with everyone else who sells “beauty products” online. Consider long-tail keywords like “gluten-free lipstick” instead in order to decrease competition.
#7 Make the most of social media
There is some debate about the extent to which social signals play a role in search ranking on Google (though Bing has been clear that they are considered). Regardless of the technicalities, it’s a widely held belief among experts that an active social presence can be tied to positive brand lift and great referral traffic on the web.
In fact, search for any popular topic on Google now and you’ll see related tweets on page one of the search results. Make sure you have some tweets for Google to show here!
The other obvious benefit of social media is its role in increasing exposure for all that great content you’re creating on that blog that we talked about earlier. More exposure means more shares, which means more social discovery, which means more website traffic for you.
If you’re struggling to get the kind of organic reach you want on Facebook for your content, consider running a few Facebook ads for your business. The ability to show ads to a very targeted audience makes them surprisingly affordable and effective.
#8 Good old-fashioned email marketing
While email marketing might seem like an ‘old school’ tactic in the age of Snapchat and Periscope, some things become classics for a reason. If you’ve legitimately collected email addresses over time, then you have a list of leads who share the quality that best predicts future engagement: they’ve already asked to hear from you!
The opt-in nature of emails is most likely the reason why they’re so effective. Research from GIGAOM showed that marketers see email as the most effective tactic for conversion (42%) and retention (56%).
Email is a great way to drive one of the most important kinds of website traffic: return traffic. A quick hello, a cart abandonment notice, or an email about a blog post you just published might be just the push a previous visitor needs to come back to your site and become a customer.
#9 Team up with partners on shareable content.
Infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, and other forms of downloadable content are great ways to collect leads, increase brand exposure, and drive traffic back to your website.
If you possess (or have access to) the research, design chops, and technical resources to create your own, fantastic. If not, you can still tap the power of these content formats; you just have to get a little more creative!
Every successful entrepreneur is an expert at something, and your expertise can fill a hole for someone out there who is also looking to create these resources – you just have to find them. Start by looking at blogs in your space, and search their archives for infographics.
You can also search design communities like Visual.ly and find people who are actively making visual content. Next, you just have to reach out and offer your niche expertise or business data and see if they bite.
Speaking of teaming up, another untapped resource for shareable content is your customers! Your blog and social media platforms are the perfect place to feature success stories, photos, videos, and other interactions from your customers.
The best part about featuring user generated content like this is that the original creators will be thrilled to share your feature with their own social networks. You build goodwill and send more traffic to your website at the same time.
#10 Answer HARO inquires
This final tip is a little more ‘outside the box,’ but nonetheless a great way to get exposure for your brand, your website, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
For the unfamiliar, HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a network that connects brands that want to be quoted in the media with reporters who need sources for their upcoming stories. Not only can providing quotes lead directly to site traffic through quality backlinks, those backlinks are also a valuable signal to search engines about the importance of your website.
Providing a quote about your niche business area to a reporter for a major media outlet can mean the difference between being on page one of Google search results, and the dreaded page two.
The art and science of driving traffic to your website is ever-evolving as search engine algorithms and marketing platforms grow and change. The tips above are far from being the only methods to increase visits to your site, but they will provide you with a solid foundation for driving people to the top of your brand’s funnel.