20 Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Organic Traffic and Top Search Engine Rankings

In today’s internet world, those of us who have businesses that require the internet to thrive (which business doesn’t?) care about one major thing, topping the search engine rankings so we can drive traffic to our website. Apparently, there are a lot of potential customers who are looking for what we are offering so why shouldn’t we be the one the customer sees when s/he uses the search engines?

All of us are trying to get to the front page. Unfortunately, only ten out of everyone would be on the front page. Another shocker is this, less than 2% of the traffic is what flows to the search results on the fourth page onward, it’s as good as not appearing at all. As far as the search engine optimization goes, it’s winner takes all. So what is the price to be paid to win? These 20 ways are sure-fire ways that have been used over time to increase organic traffic.

Ways to Increase Organic Traffic

Let’s be clear first of all. Organic traffic means that visitors searched for a keyword phrase and saw your result, clicked and then landed on your page. Now that this is settled, let’s get started.

1. Information Architecture

Your website is what we want to optimize and it is where we should start from. The architecture of your website goes a long way in determining how well you rank on the search engines and whether you end up always on the tenth page where no one will find you except those researching keywords and SEO performance. Your site has to be able to scale to whatever size possible, It has to be ‘crawlable’ – this means that when search engine robots have to be able to easily and quickly index your content and depending on what you attach relevance to which also depends on your business, the structure of your URLs have to be fed upwards to a specific directory. How these are organised on your website is (in my own opinion which I think you should take ) what determines the way search engines see your website and rank your page

2. Avoiding Bad Links

A lot of websites are have adopted strategies that focus on link-spamming and not link building such that a lot of the links that are bought or built in quick-fixes with the tricks that now fly everywhere there is air are bad links or over time tend to be bad. I want you to see it this way. The search engines are in business too. Most of the times we tend to forget that, and they want to provide the best service. Imagine walking into McDonalds and paying for spoiled burger, How would you feel? A bad link is just like the spoiled burger and because search engines don’t want to lose their customers, they avoid bad links at all costs. There are ways to find out if links to your site are bad and ways to also remove them, a free version of that is offered by google webmasters.

3. Correct Trivial Technical issues.

A large percentage of our focus is usually fixed on the huge tasks of link building and content generation which I will talk about soon while trivial issues that determine how successful the big tasks are, are left unsolved. Issues that fall into these categories are 404 errors on the site for pages that have been removed improperly, pages that are entirely created with javascripts that search engines cannot locate, some parts of the site have been blocked using robots.txt, some internal pages have been used as PPC landing pages and contents have been duplicated and so on. These small trivial issues will go a long way in determining how search engines see our sites and rank them.

4. Link Building

Now, let’s go in-depth a little. The core of Search Engine Optimization is building links to your site and every other thing is secondary. The robots are not yet humans and cannot really interpret content on the different sites they index and as such, the only way to rank how quality a page is with respect to the searched keyword or phrase is the number and quality of links that direct to such a page. There are different ways of building links to your sites and getting quality links that include internal links within your own site, incoming links and backlinks. Another post would do justice to building links because like I said, it’s the primary target, every other activity as far as search engine optimization and organic traffic is concerned is secondary.

5. Schema Markup and Rel = author

If you don’t already implement schema markup and rel = author on your site, you have been missing out. There is only one reason that google has been preaching its gospel for a while now. More so, if your competitor uses schema markup or rel = author, and you are not, you have been beaten out of competition because what this means is search engines will rank their site higher than yours. It is like saying one has ‘authority’ while the other does not. To get these, Google webmasters offer rel=markup for free and www.schema.org will provide the schema mark up.

6. Keyword Research/ Database

In dealing with organic traffic, Keyword is the key. When any one looking for the services you render or the goods you sell and they click on the search page, the words used in expressing what they would like to see are what determines what they will find. For your industry, the keywords that your potential customers will be using are those you should therefore target. If you have a keyword database for your industry, you are good to begin, If you don’t you have not even started. Chances are your competition is topping the ranks for a particular keyword phrase. That keyword is what you should be targeting. In choosing keywords to focus on, don’t just go after the popular keywords. Those are more competitive and streamlined. Be more specific and go for long tail keywords. These keywords will offer a broader range especially if you focus on a number of them and are not necessarily competitive.

7. Quality Content Strategy

If you have not heard the adage, Content is King, well, you are hearing it now. Content is King and until you can create quality content for your industry and not just sales pitch and news bulletin of what happened in your company, getting to the top of the search engines is going to be difficult. The secret to a great content strategy is not just creating content because you have to, but creating content that solve your potential customer’s problems even before s/he finds you. More so, content creation should not be on an irregular basis. Consistent creation of great content is a sure banker to getting to the top of search engine rankings.

8. Answer Questions.

This is a sequel from the previous one. Everyone wants answers and not only answers but industry specific answers to questions that only experts can provide. Remember I mentioned that the search engines are also in business and want to solve their customer problems too. If you can help them solve that problem by answering that difficult question in your niche or industry, search engines which are improving by the day will rank you higher.

9. Blog, Blogger, ‘Bloggest’.

If your website does not have a blog, you are behind. First and foremost, the best way to present content right there and then is through a blog. You can create a white paper or an e-book or even offer free hardcopies for Industry made easy tips. Not everyone will be ready to go through the process of getting it and your potential customers are those who want information NOW. Blogging is the best means of communicating your expertise in your industry to your potential customers. This will increase your chances of being found on the search engines especially when you take as important the next point.

10. On Page SEO

This is a different concept entirely and it is what determines the quality of your pages and ultimately how you are ranked. This means that for every page of your website, there is a particular keyword that you are targeting for that page. You don’t want to ram lots of keywords on a blog page, it dilutes the effect. You can include more than two keywords on your home page.

11. Authority Sites

If you can get authority sites that are already known and popular and get lots of traffic everyday to link to your site, then you can be sure that you are in for a lot of traffic. Truth be told, organic traffic is contagious. If your infographic or whitepaper or blog or write-up is published on say one of Huffington Post or the New York Times or one of the popular sites like Forbes on an industry specific topic, you will be automatically seen as an expert in the subject and then that imposed confidence will drive the traffic to your site.

12. Brand Mentions.

This is like the previous point but different in that authority sites might link to your site but brand mentions might not. This is basically having your name mentioned in an industry-specific conversation that customers are willing to hear especially if it is coming from industry giants. You have to be able to match up recommendation on your site though as a refusal to do that will generate the negative effect.

13. Go Mobile

If your website is not yet mobile compatible, it is high time you developed a mobile version of your site. This is because a lot of searches that are done now are done using mobile and as there are lots of other competitors who offer the same service as you do, search engines try to produce results that are valuable and immediately useful to the searcher. It is estimated that by the end of 2015, more than half of google’s paid search clicks will come from mobile.

14. Building or Buying

Usually this depends on the nature of your business but if you can afford to build, then you would be better off. There are various advantages of buying as there are a lot of people who make a living from building platforms and selling and we definitely don’t want them to go hungry. However, building from scratch hands you a lot of controls of what goes where and what stay where. Since a lot of technical decisions will affect your rankings, having absolute control over those technical decisions gives you a leverage.

15. Hosting and Evolution Issues

Where you host your site and with whom you host your site is also important and affects your site howbeit, indirectly. You don’t want to start to handle problems that generate from more than enough traffic that your server can take.

16. Localize Your Pages

Let’s use google as an example. You would observe that searches now return results based on geographical locations and the improvement on this is so the results can be relevant to the searcher who probably sees as relevant the closer businesses who offer such services than ones a quarter of a million miles away from her/him. Your web pages should target each city you have businesses in and should contain quality content that is useful to the potential customer and not some information you copied from Wikipedia.

17. Metrics and Analysis

The simple logic here is this: there are a lot of things you don’t know that a metric/analytic report will show you. This will include most times those of your competitors and this can go a long way in showing you the direction to go, the keyword to focus more energy on, where to put more money or the PPC ad to emphasize. If you pay attention, you would be saving more money and getting more traffic.

18. Stay Up To Date

Change they say is the only constant thing. In the world of SEO, change is a regular thing. This is the singular reason why tips and tricks most times don’t work with SEO. I earlier mentioned the limitation of the search engine robots and how they are not humans YET. Who knows what will happen in the next century? Let me tell you. The search robots in the next three or four years will be way ‘smarter’ than the present ones. Now, you can imagine what will happen in the next century. Staying up to date, knowing what works and applying it is the only way to get to the top of the rankings and stay there.

19. Monitor Everything.

This is another factor that determines your ranking position indirectly. A little tweak from one side that you would have refused to fix because of lack of monitoring would go a long way in determining whether you fall of the ranks or whether you stay there. There are SEO tools that will let you do complete daily analysis of your campaign and your site for free, including those at google webmasters. If you continue to run daily analysis or weekly analysis, depending on how large your site is, then you can be sure to a large extent that you are in control.

20. Create a structure that is repeatable.

Even though, you would have to adapt to the changing dynamics of the SEO world if you would stay relevant, organizing is key to your strategy. Once you can organize your strategy and repeat it for any scale you want, then you are on to the life at the top of the rankings. They say it’s lonely at the top but guess what, for SEO, staying lonely is what we all want.

Have you used other ways to increase organic traffic? Please feel free to share in the comments box.