You’ve built your perfect website or application: the perfect design, all the ideal features, and great content.
Yet, what good will the website bring if you can’t attract enough visitors?
For businesses in this digital era, website traffic is a very important commodity: website traffic will convert into leads, and some of them will convert into actual customers. At least, that’s the ideal scenario.
So, whether or not your business can generate enough organic traffic into your website or application can literally make or break your success, and if you’re looking for how, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we will discuss some of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your website, especially organic traffic, but we’ll also explore some effective paid traffic generation strategies you can try.
Without further ado, let us begin right away.
What Is Website Traffic?
Simply put, website traffic is any random user who visits a website. When, for example, someone stumbles upon your site’s URL written on a bumper sticker, then your site gets one traffic. Similarly, when someone clicks on a link pointing to your website, you get another traffic.
Website traffic is measured in visits or sessions and is one of the most important metrics to measure the performance of a website.
However, although website traffic is definitely valuable and important, it is not the only metric you should measure. Not all website traffic is made equal, and when evaluating a website’s performance, we have to also consider:
- Dwell Time and Bounce Rate: “Dwell Time” refers to how long did a visitor stays on your website, while bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave after just a few seconds without visiting other pages. Not all those who visit your website will find it valuable for them, and this is why measuring the number of traffic alone is not enough.
- Cost of bringing in a visitor: if you pay anyone $1,000 to click a link pointing to your website, virtually anyone will do it. Yet, while it’s technically a visit, it obviously has a different value than if someone clicks the link for free. Some website traffic is 100% free, which we call organic traffic, but there are also paid traffic strategies that can work, like social media advertising or influencer marketing, among others.
- Conversion rate: how many visitors made a purchase and converted into actual customers? While you should aim to generate large traffic, it’s also important to generate the right audience. Conversion rate shows whether you are attracting the right traffic or whether you should adjust your strategy.
Attracting eligible website traffic and converting it into actual sales is the core principle of digital marketing. This is why we can say website traffic is the lifeblood of modern businesses and can literally make or break any business’s success.
Paid VS Organic Traffic
While there are various different ways we can do to generate website traffic, we can generally divide it into two main categories: paid and organic (free).
1. Paid Traffic
Fairly self-explanatory, paid traffic is any website traffic you get by using paid marketing channels, including but not limited to:
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click) search ads, like Google Search Ads
- Social media ads (i.e., Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn sponsored posts)
- Sponsored promotions by influencers
- Advertorial on relevant media
These paid channels can guarantee quick and even instantaneous results but can be (very) expensive in the long run.
As we’ve discussed above, if we spend too much money to generate a single visitor, then it will defeat the purpose of generating valuable traffic and, ultimately, having a profitable business.
2. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic, on the other hand, is any website visitor you get without spending anything (at least, not directly).
For example, let’s say you are a restaurant business.
A customer visited your restaurant and decided to post on social media, mentioning your delicious seafood bisque and your social media handle. The follower of this customer is curious, visit your social media profile (in which you’ve linked your website URL), and visit your website to check your menu.
In this example, you get organic traffic to both your social media profile and your website.
While there are many different ways you can get organic traffic, nowadays, there are three main channels where you can sustainably get organic traffic to your website and/or platform:
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is about optimizing your website and its content so that it can rank higher on search engines (especially Google) for relevant keywords.
For example, if you are a SaaS business with an email automation solution as your product, and you have your content titled “How to Get More Clients via Email Automation” ranking on the top 3 results for “email marketing” keywords, then more people will click on this search result and visit your website.
- Referral Traffic
Referral traffic happens when your page is linked by another website, and then the link is clicked by a potential visitor.
The best way to get more referral traffic is to have a strong content marketing game. If you have great content, more websites will link your blog posts, videos, infographics, or other types of content on their website, and the more chance you’ll get their visitors to click on those links.
Also worth noting that inbound links (links pointing to your website) are a very important ranking factor for Google. The more links you have from other websites, the higher your site will be on the search results, so you are killing two birds with one stone.
- Organic Social Media Traffic
Your social media profiles and posts can be a very important organic traffic source for your website or platform.
For example, if you have 10,000 followers on Instagram, that is gradually increasing, there will be some of them that will click on your website URL (that you’ve put in your Instagram bio or mentioned in your posts), and you’ll get organic traffic.
Vice versa, if you have more visitors to your website by other means, you can also put links to your social media profiles on your home page, and you can generate organic traffic to your social media traffic this way.,
Inbound Marketing and SEO: The Best Way To Increase Organic Traffic
Inbound marketing and SEO as one package are, without a doubt, the best way to increase organic traffic to your website in 2022.
The term “inbound marketing” has been such a major buzzword since the 2010s, and many enterprises have adopted the concept as a core part of their digital marketing strategies.
Yet, what actually is “inbound marketing?” Why is it effective?
Inbound marketing, simply put, is a marketing effort that is designed to pull your target audience inwards to your business as opposed to traditional marketing efforts (now known as outbound marketing) that are designed to push the marketing message outwards to as many people as possible.
The Case With Outbound Marketing
Traditional advertising, for example, is designed to reach as many people as possible, so it may reach people that aren’t necessarily our target audience. While modern online advertising (i.e., Facebook and Instagram Ads) is relatively good at targeting the ideal audience profile, this problem still persists.
Also, traditional (outbound) marketing efforts will naturally interrupt what the audience is currently doing: the audience wants to scroll on their Instagram feed and not see an ad. The audience wants to watch a YouTube video but then is interrupted with an ad and has to click “Skip” and other similar situations.
In the past, when we only had newspapers and TVs, we didn’t really have any option but to watch the ads. Nowadays, however, consumers can easily switch to another channel or app, and there’s also the case of ad blockers. Many people nowadays have now grown resistant to traditional advertising and will instinctively “skip” seeing the ads, a phenomenon we call “banner blindness.”
The Inbound Marketing Methodology
Inbound marketing is designed to tackle all the issues faced by traditional marketing that are discussed above.
When implemented correctly, inbound marketing will not interrupt the target audience’s activity, and so we’ll face less resistance.
The inbound marketing methodology is based on the typical buyer’s journey, which can be visualized in the form of a funnel. This funnel can vary depending on the business model of the company, the products/services they are offering, and other factors, but below is the basic AIDA (Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action) funnel to explain the concept:
As we can see, in an AIDA funnel, a typical customer will go through four main steps before they purchase a product or service:
- Awareness: the prospective customer is aware that they have a problem and is now searching for a solution for this problem
- Interest: when researching for a potential solution for the problem, the consumer is now interested in one or more potential products or services
- Desire: after comparing different products/services, the consumer is now interested in purchasing one or more options
- Action: the customer finally make the purchase
The inbound marketing methodology, therefore, is designed to leverage this purchase funnel to generate organic traffic (and more).
This is mainly done by publishing content and optimizing it with B2B SEO. When prospective customers search for solutions, the goal is so that they stumble upon this content and visit the website.
Using Inbound Marketing To Generate Organic Traffic
Inbound marketing can be executed in various different ways, and literally, your creativity is the limit; below are some key principles you can follow in using inbound marketing to generate organic traffic:
1. Develop a Strategy First
Before anything else, make sure to develop a strategic plan on how you are going to generate organic traffic that include the following aspects:
- Define your goals: set goals and objectives first. How many visitors are you planning to generate in a certain time frame? What will you do with the generated traffic? Be as specific as possible, and make sure your goals are attainable (realistic) and measurable.
- Analysis: assess your website and content and identify your strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, analyze how your competitors approach their marketing strategy, especially if they are also performing content marketing.
- Market research: identify who your ideal audience is and gather as much information as you can about them; demographics data, pain points, needs, behaviors, content preferences, platform preferences, and more. The better you understand your target audience, the better your strategy will be.
- Develop a content plan: estimate the tasks and budget, and prepare a comprehensive content calendar.
- Monitoring: establish a system to measure your inbound marketing performance; define KPIs and metrics to measure. Establish necessary analytics and reporting tools as needed.
It’s especially important to develop your goals as early as possible. You can’t evaluate your success if you don’t know how you define success. Yes, here, our focus is generating organic traffic, but how much organic traffic you’d like to generate in a specific timeframe (i.e., a year)? Are there other objectives you’d like to pursue? How would you define high-quality and low-quality traffic?
Assess your current circumstances (including your current marketing campaigns’ performances) and define where you’d like to be 6 months or 12 months in the future. Develop monthly plans (or at least quarterly plans) to get you there.
2. Develop a Buyer Persona
We have briefly discussed the importance of knowing and understanding who your target audience is, but in this section, we’ll have a more in-depth discussion about it.
Again, the better you know your target audience, the more effective your marketing strategy, and the more organic traffic you’ll be able to generate.
The purpose of identifying and understanding your audience is so that you can choose the right type of content to develop and which channels you should leverage, and you can start by developing a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional model of your ideal customer that is based on deep research of your desired audience (or existing audience). In a buyer persona, you should include a thorough description of:
- Demographics data:
- Language Preference
- Occupation/Stage of Life
- Goals and pain points
- Behavioral traits:
- Social media they frequent
- Traveling habits
As an important note, if you are a B2B business, your buyer persona should cover the size of companies you are targeting and an individual buyer persona on who makes purchase decisions.
How can you model your buyer persona? There are basically three basic approaches:
- If you already have existing customers, you can analyze your current customer base and create a model based on this data
- Assessing your closest competitors’ target audience. You may be able to target the same audience.
- Analyze your social audience: those who interacted with your social media posts and your content.
Fortunately, there are now various tools you can leverage to help you model your buyer persona, including the free and handy Google Analytics, BuzzSumo, and various other social media analytics tools.
Focus on identifying your target audience’s main problem(s) and how you can help with these problems, and you’ll want to answer the following core questions:
- What are their objectives, and what are their fears?
- How do they prefer to make their purchases?
- How do they research potential solutions for the problems they are facing?
- What kind of content is useful to them?
- What type of jargon/language is familiar to them?
- How do they interact with brands?
- Who influences them when making (purchase) decisions?
- Where do they hang out?
Answering these questions will help you in designing your content and deciding on which channels you should use to publish your content, which we will discuss in the next sections.
3. Content Planning and Keyword Research
For your content to be effective in generating organic traffic, it has to be found by your target audience when they are searching on the search engines.
Your content must be optimized for the right target keywords searched by your target audience, or else no one will see it. So, you’ll need to perform keyword research as the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy.
What kinds of keywords should you target? In general, there are three main principles:
- The keyword must be popular with your target audience, signified with a high search volume.
- The keyword must be relevant to your business’s goals and objectives. Not all keywords that are popular with your audience will be valuable for your business.
- Depending on your budget and timeline, the competition for the keyword must be manageable. There’s no use pursuing very popular keywords if you can’t compete with the top results.
There are many different approaches you can use in order to find the target keyword(s) that can fit those criteria. However, here are some tips you can try:
- Don’t just focus on broad, popular keywords, but you can explore the possibility of targeting long-tail keywords (with three, four, or more phrases). Long-tail keywords are more specific, so you’ll only have to fight against less competition.
- There are many keyword research tools available, both free and paid. Leverage these tools to your advantage. Even free tools like Google Trends can help you collect broad, seed keywords. You can then expand these seed keywords into long-tail keywords based on the results.
- Search the seed keywords on Google and analyze the top-ranking results (the first page):
- What topics do they cover?
- How long are the articles?
- What keywords are they targeting?
- Monitor social media and online forums, as well as tools like BuzzSumo to identify what kinds of questions your audience is frequently asking. This approach can also help you in planning the topics for your content.
- Assess what types of content your target audience has already consumed. Again, you can use tools like BuzzSumo for this purpose.
Build a comprehensive list of your target keywords, and we’ll use this list in the next step.
4. Develop Your Content Plan
Now that you’ve got your keyword list, the next step is to develop a content plan to craft various types of content optimized for these target keywords.
Your content must be perceived as valuable by our prospective audience, and to be valuable, it has to meet their search intent.
The search intent is, simply put, a searcher’s reason for searching a query, which can vary a lot, for example:
- Are they searching for potential products to purchase?
- Are they looking for specific information?
- Are they looking for a specific website’s address?
Try to understand the potential search intent behind each of your target keywords, because different intent demands a different type of content.
With that being said, there are four basic types to consider when planning your content:
As the name suggests, the searcher is looking for information, so the queries used (although not always) are typically formulated as questions.
The answer to informational queries can be relatively short and simple, for example, for questions like “Who played Batman in The Batman?” but there are also queries that demand more in-depth and complex answers like “what is a backlink?”
For keywords with informational intent behind them, you should offer content that can answer their questions and provide the information they desire.
Searchers with commercial intent are currently looking to purchase a product or service and are possibly still comparing between different products or services. For queries with commercial investigation intent, the searchers are most likely looking for products comparisons and reviews, and they may use queries like “iPhone review,” “iPhone 13 Pro VS Samsung S22”, and so on.
Solicit reviews from your existing customers to target keywords with commercial investigation intent, and you may also publish comparison content comparing your product with your competitors’.
It’s also worth noting that if you are a local brick-and-mortar business, many local queries have commercial intent (i.e., “top restaurants near me,” “best bar in Singapore,” and so on)
In this type of search, the searcher is already looking for a specific website address. Many people now rather type a company name on Google search rather than typing the entire URL into the browser’s address bar. Of course, there are also cases when people aren’t sure of the exact URL address, so they would rather make the search.
Not much you can do about keywords with navigational intent, but you should make sure to optimize your website for branded keywords (search phrases directly associated with your brand, product, or service name.)
In queries with transactional intent, the searcher is ready to make a purchase, and most likely, they already make their decisions on what they’d like to buy.
In most queries with transactional intent, the searcher is looking for the best place to buy a product/service from. For example: “cheapest iPhone deals,” “buy iPhone,” and so on.
Develop a Content Calendar
Based on the search intent of each of your target keywords, you can start planning a comprehensive content calendar/editorial calendar. If possible, plan a 12-month worth of content calendar, but you can start with a 3-month or 6-month plan.
The content calendar should include:
- The topic/working title of the content piece
- The keyword you are targeting and potential search intent (so it’s going to be easier to track SEO performance)
- The person responsible for developing the content, and the person responsible for publishing and promoting the content
- Status of the content (on progress, published, revised, etc.)
- When the content is going to be published
- Where the channel is going to be published
- Promotional plan for the content
Diversify Content Types
When planning your content calendar, remember that nowadays, content can come in various different forms. While you should mainly focus on textual content (i.e., blog posts) both on your website and on other publications (guest posting), you should also leverage different formats and mediums to maximize your content’s ability to generate organic traffic to your website.
Consider diversifying your content in as many different formats as possible:
- Video content (including live-streaming content)
- White papers and eBooks
- Research reports/studies
- Testimonials, reviews, and case studies
- Tools relevant to your product/service
5. Technical On-Page Optimization
You’ve created your content based on the results of your keyword research. Now what?
First, make sure all your content pieces are properly optimized to the keywords you are targeting. However, don’t overstuff your content with keywords; focus on ensuring your content is comprehensive and naturally readable for your human readers, so use your keywords and related phrases naturally (and sparingly).
The next step is to optimize your website according to the best practices of SEO.
On-page SEO optimization can be a very deep subject to discuss, and you can refer to our technical SEO checklist for a more in-depth guide on this topic.
However, here are some key optimization areas to consider:
- Mobile-friendly: make sure your website is mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive. Test on as many devices as possible.
- HTTPS: make sure your site uses HTTPS instead of HTTP. This is a very important SEO ranking factor.
- Speed: use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to assess your website’s speed. Make sure your site is properly optimized for speed.
- URL: in most cases, shorter URLs are better. Make sure your target audience can easily comprehend what the page is about just by reading the URL. Include your primary target keyword in your URL. Also, use dashes instead of underscores.
- Structured data markup: implement schema.org markup accordingly. This is important to make sure your site is eligible for being featured as rich snippets by Google, which can dramatically increase organic traffic.
- Internal linking structure: maintain an optimal internal linking structure. Check that all redirects are working properly, and check for broken links and orphan pages regularly.
How do Google and other search engines determine whether your content is credible and relevant for its target audience?
The answer is the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to the content. Regarding organic traffic generation, backlinks (or inbound links) have two functions:
- Backlinks remain one of the most important ranking factors when it comes to search engine results. The more backlinks, the higher your content will be on the search results, which will drive more organic traffic to your site.
- The visitors of the websites that link to your content may click the said link and thus become referral traffic for your website.
So, backlinks will literally make or break your content’s ability to generate organic traffic, and having a link-building strategy for your content is a big must.
How can we get more backlinks to our content?
First, we have to understand that the best way to generate more backlinks for SaaS companies is to make sure our content is relevant and high-quality. Relevant and valuable content will get linked sooner or later. On the other hand, if the content is bad, no amount of link-building efforts will help it.
Using a content hook to get more backlinks
We can amplify the content’s linkability by giving people more reasons to link the content, or as we call it, “link hooks.”
These hooks can be:
- An original and new information data. For example, an original research report. Data roundup can also belong in this category
- A totally new idea about a specific topic
- Aesthetically pleasing assets (i.e., images, photos, infographics) not available anywhere else
- An attractive or interesting story worth sharing
Developing a link-building strategy
Once you’ve made sure your content is already good and relevant and you’ve added appropriate link hooks, it’s time to plan your link-building strategy.
There are three basic approaches to link-building that you can consider:
- Broadcast: list potential backlink sources, then send your request for links to as many websites/people as possible. Promoting your content on social media (or asking an influencer to promote it) can also belong to this category.
- Outreach: individually reach out to potential backlink sources and aim to build lasting relationships. This approach may require thorough research of each prospective backlink source.
- Paid: using paid channels to promote your content to amplify our broadcast reach and get the desired backlinks. Paying for guest posting opportunities or even paying directly for backlinks can be categorized here.
Wrapping Up: Monitor Your Progress and Adjust
Even after you’ve successfully generated organic traffic as desired, remember that digital marketing is not a one-off thing but rather a continuous one.
Establish a system to monitor your progress and your website’s performance, so you can adjust your strategy as needed.
While building a successful organic traffic strategy might not be easy, it will be worth it in the long run, as you’ll get a sustainable source of qualified leads, which will help you to sustainably grow your business.