Most marketers struggle to increase traffic to their websites, and there are a lot of ways to get from "point A to point B." Paid ads and traditional marketing can seem like the best quick fix, but they rarely equate to an investment in long-term results. So if you are trying to figure out how to generate organic leads without a monster budget, I've got a few ideas that will help you get the job done.
What are organic leads?
Organic leads are prospects who find your company by searching for a product, service or question in a search engine, rather than directly visiting your URL or clicking on PPC ad. These leads and prospects often don't know about your product or service before they do an online search.
Today, we use Google (and other search engines) as a way to answer all of our questions. Whether it's the name of an actor, how to change a setting on my phone or how to solve complex business problems, I know that Dr. Google will have the answer. And, as marketers, we're hoping that Dr. Google will prescribe information on our website as a treatment for the searcher. That's why companies fight to reach the top of SERPs (search engine results pages) — we want their attention!
So how do you get to the top of these results? And furthermore, how do you get visitors to take action on your site?
Here are a few principles that will help you understand your audience, capture their attention and ultimately convert them to advocates of your company.
1. Do Keyword Research
Organic traffic relies on your ability to understand what search terms your customers and prospects are using to navigate the search engines. In other words, doing keyword research is essential so that your audience can find you online. To grasp organic traffic, you need to understand the relevant keywords for your business, along with the competition for these keywords across the internet. When you incorporate keywords in both your website and content you create, your site will become more easily searched.
A key factor to SEO success and increasing website traffic boils down to doing some homework to identify the highest volume of keyword searches and the lowest degree of difficulty. You can use tools like Google's Keyword Planning Tool, Google Search Console, or SEM Rush to learn what your website is currently ranking for and to discover new opportunities.
Next, you can deploy a strategic content creation strategy to elevate your organic rankings. In other words, start with the low hanging fruit: where your website is ranking the highest matched with the greatest number of monthly searches. Also, seeking out new, relevant, high-volume keywords that you aren't currently ranking for.
Don't forget to spend some time digging through your site analytics to find out where organic visitors are regularly landing on your website (and fix any errors found on pages being indexed). Is it one of your main site pages or is it a blog post? Drilling down to this data is going to give to some really great insights about what Google values on your website.
If you find there is a big disconnect between what’s driving traffic and your business objectives, then your first focus should be adjusting your website content to align with your business and speaks to your personas.
2. Publish Regular, Consistent, Helpful Content
Now that you have a sense of what keywords you want to rank for, it's important to deploy a consistent content marketing strategy. Both search engines and your readers value consistency. One of the more frequently asked questions I hear is, "how often should I be blogging?" My answer is always, "it depends!" Why? It all depends on how aggressive you want to be with the number of organic leads you generate. The more content (good content!) you create, the more leads you will generate.
A manufacturing client we have been working with, W.C. Branham, had poor organic ranking on opportune keywords when we started working with them three years ago. We began publishing one strategic blog post a week consistently, and over time, they began to rank organically for several of the keywords that mattered most to their business. This growth in organic traffic has led to a consistency of organic leads.
3. Understand Your Personas
Before you write one piece of content, or definitely before you re-design your new website, create your buyer personas so that you know whom your content is trying to reach. In essence, define the IDEAL customer. By creating quality content that resonates with your target audience, you will naturally impact your organic rankings. Keep in mind, keywords and search only get you so far. Writing keyword-driven content without helpful information is not an effective way of generating new online leads.
Some examples of questions you will want to be able to answer when creating your customer profile are:
Characteristics (demographics, psychographics, behavior, etc.)
Where do they "hang out" online and what kind of searches do they conduct?
What are their biggest problems they are trying to solve, pain points, what solutions are they trying to capture?
What are their buying behaviors? What are their information sources?
When you know WHO you are trying to reach, you can begin to know how to create content that will resonate with and help your prospects. Download our easy persona template to get you started.
4. Create Compelling Conversion Points
Now that you know how to attract new traffic to your website, it's important that you have places to convert that traffic to leads. And that doesn't just mean a contact form.
Think about an experience where you've gone in to a physical store to browse for something. If a customer service person approaches you, you'll usually respond with "no thanks, I'm just browsing". That's how a lot of your website visitors feel when the only conversion point you have on your website is a contact form or request for a demo.
Now instead, imagine that you are reading a really helpful blog post that's detailing how to create your marketing budget for next year. When you get to the bottom of the post, you see a button that prompts you to download a free budget template. A much better user experience, this offer solves your immediate problems and helps you get what you needed.
Also, spend some time drilling into the User Flow tool in Google Analytics. Look at what pages readers are choosing to go to next and what pages are causing them to leave your site. It might even help to map out a common user flow through your website to make sure you have a clear picture of where the readers are coming from, where they are going, and where they leave. Now, ask yourself: "Does this make sense? Could I make this process easier for visitors? Is there information they are trying to find or questions they are trying to answer? Where are the best opportunities for conversion?"
Remember, every searcher is going have different needs and be at a different place in their research process. It's important that your website offers a variety of opportunities for people "opt in" to what your company has to offer.
5. Add Video to Your Website and Blog
Video has been an important element to SEO since 2007 when Google announced "universal search," yet video is an underrated element of search marketing today. One study boldly states that websites that incorporate video are 53x more likely to rank on the first pages of Google search results. There are many algorithmic reasons why this is so, but here are a few:
Google cares more about QUALITY content over keywords — because Google knows its users care about quality. Most videos are educational and informative content that succeeds in answering queries.
Search results with video have a 41% greater CTR than searches without.
Video makes visitors stay on your site longer, which means that your content is deemed more relevant and "authoritative."
Video builds more links. Having video rather than just text will triple the number of linking domains (one of the essential elements of SEO).
Need some video production inspiration? Here are some tips and tricks from our own seasoned TV producer to get you started.
6. Leverage Social Media
The more engaging content you create, the more places you can share it, the more visits you will drive to your website. Don't underestimate the power of social media. When you take the time to create engaging content, don't stop there... when you share it across social media channels, it increases the chance that those links are engaged and will bring interested readers back to your website. Think of each social media channel as its own search engine. As important as keywords are for blog posts, they are just as important in the social media channels. Don't forget to optimize your social media posts with #hashtags to bring in more views, clicks, and retweets.
Remember that the purpose of search engines today is to deliver relevant, meaningful search results that answer the questions of your prospects and customers. Don't waste time creating content that serves your company. Increasing your website traffic and organic leads will not happen overnight, but if you use these tactics, make data-driven decisions, and stay persistent, you can really impact results.