You’ve been working hard establishing a solid basis for your marketing efforts.
Defining your target customer, mapping out their journey and producing content assets that will appeal to those customers takes a lot of effort – you now need that effort to pay off in the form of finding those people!
The key part is you want sustainable, organic traffic. Spikes in traffic through getting a high-profile mention every now and then are nice, but aren’t going to deliver long-term results.
How do you achieve sustainable, organic traffic? By putting in place repeatable strategies that you can rely on month after month to deliver that traffic. You need strategies that not only deliver, but are easy to measure results from so that you know what’s working and what might need tweaking or rethinking.
This is part 5 in our 90-Day Marketing Plan. Download the entire eBook here. Or dive into specific sections:
- How to Define Buyer Personas For Your Marketing Plan
- Mapping Out Your Customer Journey
- Your Marketing Website’s Optimization Checklist
- Content Marketing Strategy: From Planning Through Execution
- 5 Systems to Increase Organic Website Traffic
Quality AND quantity
When it comes to generating the numbers of free trials or product orders that you need, you’re in the business of quantity. You need a large audience in order to produce enough of those outputs because you know that you’ll also have some people who look, but never buy.
Quantity is good, but only if it performs.
Your website can be generating thousands of views, but it is absolutely no good to you if none of the visitors you attract are converting to buyers.
This is where quality comes in.
The more your content is honed in on the target audience whom you want to attract, the better results you get from attracting the right kind of traffic. This is where it’s important to define and come back to your buyer personas, ensuring that they are accurate and precise enough to guide your content.
“You can either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.”
– Jim Rohn
When it comes to generating sustainable traffic, you don’t want to rely on luck. We always hear about “the hustle” and how it is the way to build success, but we would argue that hustle is not something that you want to be applying in order to get that traffic.
You need a system that allows you to magnify your skills and save “hustle” for other vital parts of your business. A sustainable traffic system. This means building a system that sees your organic traffic increase month after month, just by keeping that strategy in place.
Internal traffic systems
Once you have email subscribers and social media followers, a good internal traffic system ensures that those networks are continuously hearing from you and being invited back to your site.
This means channels, like your social media, should be maximized – used to regularly promote your content, or variations of it rather than a “post once then forget” approach. Here at Ops Calendar, we’ve created features to automate this process, including “smart queues”, where social posts are scheduled out from the time your content publishes and “social loops”, a feature which ensures your posts get cycled on a recurring schedule.
As for your email list, an ideal internal traffic system involves live broadcasts for all new content and email marketing automation to promote your evergreen content, as well as the key benefits of your product. This kind of automated system allows you to regularly communicate in a systemized way, so you don’t need to sit down and come up with something new every time.Increasing organic traffic means building good internal and external traffic systems Click To Tweet
5 systems to increase new organic traffic
What sort of sustainable systems can you put in place to consistently bring in organic traffic? Here are our top 5:
Search engine optimization is one of those “slow burn” strategies that starts to deliver results over time. There are around 200 known and supposed ranking factors (which Brian Dean goes into here), but strategic use of content and the keywords used with it always factor highly.
How? Well first of all, when Google or other search engines serve up your website in search results, they take signals from the words you use to try to deliver meaningful results to the searcher. This means you want to be quite strategic about the words that you choose – what is your target likely to be searching for? What words do you really want to rank for?
If you’ve spent much time in the content world, you’ll know that’s not the end of the story. It’s not easy to rank for keywords and it’s highly competitive.
Context is another important factor to be aware of. Your page might rank for a keyword, but if searchers then click on your link but immediately bounce away, Google will take that as a signal that your page didn’t deliver a good result and it can impact your ranking. Its mission is to deliver quality search results, so the content you provide needs to be a quality response to the keyword or phrase.
How can you get the context part right? It begins with planning topics that are a good fit for your customer personas and then aligning them with appropriate high and mid-volume keywords. As Content Marketing Institute discusses, be very careful not to “over” optimize – keyword stuffing or trying to rank for a keyword just because it has a lot of searches can backfire on you. Always keep that target audience in mind.
#2. Mention and outreach
Finding quality content to back up the points in your own, then linking to it from within your content is a good strategy to add weight to your own work. In terms of driving traffic, it’s good to let the author of the content you linked to know that you’ve done it.
For example, you could give them a shoutout on Twitter, including a link to your article. This often will result in a retweet out to their followers. Secondly (although this is slightly more time-consuming), you could reach out to them via email letting them know that you’ve quoted them and linked to their content.
Any time you get first-hand information, say from an interviewee, it is good practice to mention them on your social media, too.
The point of mentioning others and reaching out to let them know about your content is that it can be a good way to help build a relationship with them. Look for ways you can help with their own engagement too – for example, join in conversations in their blogs or social channels, make valuable contributions and share their work.
There’s a law of reciprocity at work. If you build these relationships and include mentions on your social channels, you can find that they’re doing the same thing for you and helping to drive traffic your way.
#3. Links from communities
Another strategy that can bring some good traffic is to have links to your content coming from outside communities. One of our favorite spots for this strategy is to use Quora, but of course you might also use other groups or forums that are very specific to your niche.
Just to take the Quora strategy as an example, what you would do is look for questions that are related to your content, preferably those which don’t yet have a lot of good answers or those that you really have something valuable to add to. You then provide a quality answer, that is, one that really adds value to the conversation. No one likes seeing those answers where someone has simply said “I wrote about that recently, check it out.” People give upvotes to good answers and the answers with the most upvotes are always found at the top of the thread.
Once you’ve written a good answer to the question, include a link back to your relevant content. The ideal strategy is that you give them something of substance, but the article you link to can add even more.
One of the cool things about sites like Quora is that they tend to rank well in search results. This means that someone searching for a similar question on Google can get directed straight to your answer for quite some time to come, often leading to clicks on your content link.
This same basic strategy can be used in many other communities, but just make sure you’re following their rules – some don’t allow links to your own website.
#4. Guest posting or guest podcasts
Guest posting or appearing as a guest on someone else’s podcast are great strategies for leveraging other people’s audiences. The idea is that by contributing to their blog or podcast, you get visibility with an audience you don’t otherwise have and can build your own thought leadership and authority.
You may have heard talk of Matt Cutt’s post a couple of years ago saying that “guest posting is dead.” This caused an immediate furore in the content world, but mostly because many people missed his meaning. Spammy, valueless guest posting will get you nowhere, in fact it will probably harm your rankings – quality content is where it’s at.
Honestly, no one with any clout is going to allow you to appear on their podcast or write a guest piece for their blog if it doesn’t deliver value for their audience. Guest posting is a two-way street – the blog owner gets traffic to the content while the poster gets a link to their own website and the chance to get referral traffic back to their site from it. The reputation needs to be upheld by both players.
That said, the sites you choose to guest post for need to make sense. Will you reach a sizeable number of your own target audience? Will the site add to your own reputation in terms of aligning with your own values and beliefs? John Rampton put it well in an article for Forbes:
“Only guest post on a site if you’d do it without a link.”
The link shouldn’t be the primary motivation, but reaching the right audience and contributing to a quality blog or podcast. Doing so can help boost your profile and drive traffic over time, with or without a direct link.
#5. Paid traffic
Organic traffic is the best sort, particularly because you’re not paying for it, but using a paid traffic strategy can complement your organic methods and help to drive more traffic, more quickly.
For one thing, when someone clicks on your article from a paid source, there’s a chance that if the content is good, they’ll share it and draw in even more organic traffic. Secondly, there has been evidence to show that paid listings have a positive impact on your search presence and can boost results from organic listings. Note that a paid ad in itself doesn’t boost your search rankings, but it contributes to your overall presence and may lead to further searches of your brand later on.
Some paid traffic sources we like to use include:
- Facebook PPC
- Outbrain, Taboola and Revcontent PPC
- Retargeting ads (such as through Facebook or Adwords) to bring visitors back to your website.
Driving paid traffic, even in the short term, can offset the slowburn that tends to happen before content results are seen organically. To be successful, once again keep it hyper-targeted to your customer personas.
This was part 5 of our 90-Day Marketing Plan. Once you’ve completed all of the hard work of defining your audience, identifying their journey and creating the content that will appeal to them, it’s important to make sure that doesn’t go to waste by have good systems in place to drive traffic.
If you leave it to chance or to “when I have time,” it will probably never happen, which is why systemized traffic solutions are crucial.
Take the opportunity to assess your own sources of traffic and whether you could do with a more sustainable strategy. The five systems outlined here just might be your answer.
Thanks for being here with us on our marketing journey! This was our fifth and final part – to see the other four parts, check out our 90 Day Marketing Plan page here.