Road traffic is always a pain in the rear. Web traffic, on the other hand, is a whole different story. For a marketer, at least.
In the days of global digitalisation, humans - not data - remain the most valuable resource in the world of commerce. The number of people visiting your website is a key factor in your business’ success online.
What is SEO traffic?
Web traffic (SEO traffic) is the volume of internet users that visit any given site. It’s used to measure the movement of website users and acts as a key performance indicator (KPI) for further analysis of a website’s marketing success.
Surely… the formula is simple. More traffic = More money.
In an ideal world it would be true. The more visitors you attract to your website, the higher your conversion rate is. In reality this isn’t always the case. Attracting large masses of random people who aren’t interested in your product likely results in a decrease in conversion rate.
Increasing traffic to your website quantitatively, without qualifying it first, is likely to have little to no impact on your bottom line. You end up with a severe imbalance between the number of visitors and the number of conversions. Instead, you want to focus on attracting people who’re likely to become future or recurring customers of yours.
Human traffic can be categorized with the five different, key types of traffic. They are direct traffic, referral traffic, social media traffic, paid traffic and organic traffic.
Direct traffic is a unicorn in the world of traffic. Everyone has heard of it, everyone wants to get it, but only a few chosen ones actually can. Direct traffic refers to visitors traveling directly to your website, without any intermediaries such as a search engine or other referring sources or channels.
Direct traffic is usually associated with brand awareness and familiarity in the market. It’s intrinsic to large companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay, YouTube, and Facebook that are well-known to internet users.
Alternatively, we can also measure the users who have a bookmark for the website saved, or those who type a URL directly into their browser. Direct traffic accounts predominantly for returning users and customers who have the URL memorised or saved.
There are no shortcuts to improving direct traffic. To do this, you need to build brand awareness and loyalty first. The best approach to take to start generating more direct traffic is to produce more high-quality, unique content and establish your expertise in your industry.
Key features of direct traffic:
- Easily scalable once you grow your brand awareness.
- Equates to brand loyalty and trust.
Referral traffic is generated when users visit your website after being directed to it from external sources and channels. In this case, external sources are all the links that aren’t located within your website.
Every time someone clicks a link that leads to your website, your referral traffic increases. This metric is extremely important for your business as it helps Google recognise you as a trustworthy, respectable source. More links = more credibility. By that logic, referral traffic is also known as backlinking.
If you aren’t that keen on reaching out for link exchange, you can focus your attention on stepping in your industry news coverage game. Create unique, practical content such as eBooks, tools, and checklists that will be frequently referred to by other websites and bloggers.
Key features of referral traffic:
- Can be managed through backlinking.
- Equates to credibility and expertise of the website.
Social media traffic
As you can tell by the name, this type of traffic refers to the volume of users directed to your website from social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Google doesn’t take links built on social media channels into consideration when ranking websites. So, social media doesn’t make much difference to your off-page SEO. It’s only really good for increasing web traffic to your website.
Social media constitutes 72% of the total amount of Internet traffic accounting for over 3 billion people worldwide.
Whatever social media does, it does it well. Due to the ever-increasing popularity of social media, it’s predicted that most website traffic will soon be sourced from it.
Key features of social media traffic:
- Free. Unless you pay for promotion on social media, then it is classified as paid traffic.
- Social media traffic is identified by Google crawlers as no-follow links.
- There’s a direct correlation between the number of followers, likes, and comments and the amount of social media traffic generated.
Paid traffic is the volume of visitors that come to your website upon clicking the links you have paid for. Usually, these are links placed in the form of ads on social media channels, or on search engine results pages (SERPs) for a set amount of money.
The great thing about paid traffic is that you can target it to specific audiences, so you’re in better control over the quality of it. Normally, paid traffic originates on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) basis.
Key features of paid traffic:
- Gives you control over the audience you want to reach.
- Can be tailored to your budget .
Last but not least, organic traffic is traffic that comes from search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex. The main difference between organic traffic and paid traffic is that organic traffic is absolutely free; you don’t pay for your website to be shown in SERPs.
It doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for it. Contrarily, obtaining organic traffic requires plenty of optimisation of your website, including both off-page and on-page SEO. Nonetheless, it’s worth it! Organic traffic is considered to be the best type of traffic to generate as it’s usually qualified traffic. The combination of the fact that your website is ranked high by the search engine (=great content) and that your visitors have deliberately looked at the keyword your website is associated with results in higher conversions.
Key features of organic traffic:
- Depends on the level of search engine optimisation.
- Continuous traffic (effective website optimisation guarantees long-lasting results).
Why is it important to increase organic traffic?
After direct traffic, organic traffic is the most valuable kind of traffic for your website to acquire. But organic traffic is much more obtainable.
51% of website traffic comes from organic search results; over 40% of revenue is captured through organic search traffic.
There are a bunch of different benefits for boosting organic traffic.
- It gives you credibility. You must be really desperate if you ever go past the first page of search results. The second page, let alone anything further than that, is believed to be sketchy. Why? Because there’s a social stigma; people believe the most trustworthy, accurate information is presented on the websites at the very top of the search results page. In fact...
53% of organic search clicks go to the first link.
[Search Engine Watch]
- Google favours your website. To some extent, those looking for the most up-to-date, trustworthy information exclusively on the top-ranked websites are right. Once you get a lot of organic traffic, your website becomes valuable to Google. Subsequently, it moves higher up the search results page.
92.96% of global traffic comes from Google search, Google Images, and Google Maps.
- It gives a competitive advantage. You can steal your competitors’ traffic by increasing yours. If you manage to place yourself at the very top of the SERP, providing high-quality, relevant information, you’ll strip your competitors off the chance to offer an alternative. There will simply be no need for their services!
- It provides long-lasting, positive effects. Paid ads will get you a fair deal of paid traffic, which can improve your ranking. However, as soon as you stop investing money in those ads, you’ll disappear from your usual spot and suffer from a loss of traffic. With organic traffic, you get a significantly more stable position.
- It helps to boost conversion rates. If people are looking up a specific keyword, they are more likely to become leads because you potentially have something interesting for them on offer.
- It’s cost-effective. Although finding a good SEO specialist is quite the task, once your website is optimised you’re good to go! There’s no need to exhaust your budget with constant paid ads expenditure.
5 best SEO practices for garnering organic traffic
Minimise keyword cannibalisation
Don’t bite your own bum!
It might seem like a great idea to create multiple pieces of content targeting the same keyword, because you’ll outcompete all the other websites and monopolise the SERPs. However it isn’t. What happens instead is keyword cannibalisation.
While you will probably outdo your competitors, you still won’t get as much traffic as you could. That’s because now you’re competing with yourself, with one of your pages stealing organic traffic from the other ones. The accumulated number of visitors is divided between both blogs, which makes both of them more vulnerable to being outranked by actual competitors.
However, not all articles targeting the same keyword are cannibalising. If they have different context, i.e. visitors have different intentions when coming to them, they’re not doing any harm to each other.
Some of the best ways to avoid keyword cannibalisation include:
- Identify the pages that cannibalise each other’s traffic. If you can’t change the context of them to target different audiences, merge them and remove the less successful one. Just make sure to remember 301 redirects while merging so you don’t lose any acquired backlinks.
- De-index the lesser-performing page. This stops the page that brings less traffic from appearing in search results.
Optimise for voice search
The future is here. You can now ask the void a question… and get an immediate answer!
2 in 5 adults use voice search once a day and 25% of individuals ages 16-24 use voice search on mobile.
This stat is juicy in itself, but what makes it even more so is the fact that it’s projected the figures will only continue to rise. It’s predicted that by the end of 2022 more than a half of all internet users will completely shift to voice search, abandoning keyword search.
This has implications for organic traffic. You need to actively attend to the fact that more and more people are using voice search to optimise your content accordingly.
When typing, you’re likely to search for the ‘best CRM for business’ in your search bar. But that’s not how we humans speak. When using voice search, you’d go for something more similar to ‘What is the best CRM for business?’.
The difference between the two isn’t that drastic. Still, the disparity in organic traffic it can create between websites who optimise their content to fit the question format and the ones that don’t - is.
Some of the things you can do to factor voice search into your SEO strategy include:
- Target long-tail keywords.
- Optimise your content for mobile devices (this one isn’t a direct link, but most voice searches traffic comes from mobile devices).
- Pay attention to your features snippets - 40.7% of voice search results are taken from those (Source: Backlinko).
- Adapt your content to be more conversational.
Topic clusters > individual keywords
Marketers used to be slaves to keywords. Picking the right keyword to build an entire digital strategy around was the backbone of search engine optimisation. Needless to say, it was risky business.
Individual keywords no more! For better or for worse the days of keyword glorification are behind us. Today, the most effective strategy is topic cluster SEO, covering as many topics surrounding your target keyword as possible.
Search engines aren’t stupid, and neither is your target audience. They are both interested in the context. You need to prove it to search engines that your website isn’t randomly using a keyword that is going to perform well, but can actually be of value to the users. That’s why you need to develop a strong content plan that would include a heap of different sub-topics relevant to your main topic.
The best way to achieve this is by dividing your content into clusters: a pillar page and surrounding it cluster pages.
A pillar page — the website’s most important page that attracts the most traffic and can target broader keywords.
Cluster landing pages — a set of less SEO-important pages that target specific keywords and are linked back to their dedicated pillar page.
You can think of a keyword cluster as a tree. Your pillar page is the rock-solid trunk; the cluster pages are the branches and leaves, giving it more definition and further exploring its meaning.
The more the merrier (usually)
This one isn’t new. You probably know it already. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that putting out longer pieces of content remains hot!
According to a study conducted by Backlinko, longer texts tend to accumulate more backlinks and get ranked higher by search engines.
The optimal volume of text for high-ranking pages is 2000+ words. However, writing extended essays isn’t for everyone. It’s time-consuming and… not always necessary? Perhaps, your industry and your target audience are the fans of the ‘less is more’ approach.
Therefore, I’d strongly recommend you A/B test this SEO trick to see if it works for your organic traffic.
And now, to answer the question in the headline of this article…
If you paid attention to the most effective SEO practices for increasing organic traffic, a lot of them are in one way or another connected to blogging. Almost all key SEO trends are significantly easier to hop on if you have a blog on your website.
Here are just a few reasons why having a blog can help you boost your website’s organic traffic:
- It helps to increase visibility. You can only cover so many topics on the pages of your website. With a blog, the number of things you can talk about increases exponentially. The more content you have, the higher the chances of visitors coming across your platform.
“In terms of search engine rankings, I like to think of blogging as fishing. The more hooks you have in the water, the more likely you are to catch a fish. In the same way, as you add more content to your site, more pages from your domain become indexed in search engines. This improves organic search visibility and increases website traffic.”
- It makes it easy to rank for specific keywords. Even if you choose to stick with the keyword ranking SEO strategy, you can be successful at growing your organic traffic with the help of a blog. You can focus it around the keyword you’re targeting and produce valuable pieces of content that’ll convert leads.
- It simplifies backlink acquisition. If you have a lot of engaging blog posts to refer to, people inevitably start citing you.
- It keeps your website fresh and updated. A blog is a source of continuous and regular updates, which is exactly what Google looks at when ranking pages.
- It allows for multiple page indexing. The more pages you have to index, the more traffic you can get. As long as you produce high-quality articles, you can keep suggesting them to Googlebots to crawl, showing in SERPs.
- It builds credibility. This one is tricky, since it’s not directly linked to boosting organic traffic. People tend to trust websites with blogs more because they believe such platforms have more expertise in their industry. After all, you wouldn’t share content about stuff you know nothing about, would you?
Organic traffic is easier to harness than it sounds. If you’re determined to get to the very top of search engine page results, there are plenty of opportunities for you to reach your dream. Most of them are accessible through a neat blog. But where does it curve from there?..
You can follow in NetHunt’s footsteps and enter the world of YouTube SEO once you’ve leveraged the power of blogging!
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