How I Increased Organic Search Traffic by 33%
To say search engine optimization is a difficult task is putting it mildly. SEO is a constantly changing landscape that requires you to stay informed on the multiple algorithm changes that occur yearly. Search is something that you need to commit time and resources to. However, there is one aspect that never has changed- the weight that is put on quality content. When it is all said and done, quality content is king.
How I Increased Organic Search Traffic by 33% | (2017 vs. 2016)
Heading into 2017 I wanted to get us over the hump as far as our search engine rankings go. We ranked fairly well in the search engines for most of our target keywords. We were positioned anywhere between search result number three and search result number five on the serps. Being ranked right in the middle of the first page is good, but not great. Our goal is to be number one for all our major keyword targets. In addition, we wanted to be number one for our target keywords in Google search, Google Images, and Google Videos. We wanted to ranking number one across all of these search fields for our targeted keywords.
In 2017, we more than double the amount of articles we released on our blog (vs. 2016). We posted two times a week during our slow months and three to four times a week during our busy months. We assembled a team of writers, some of which we paid and some of which wrote for free. We would offer incentives to write for us. These incentives included, cash (20$-30$ per article depending on how well they write), we would give recommendations (LinkedIn), and we would give them a free product or T-shirt. We utilized Upwork.com, LinkedIn, and social media to find content contributors.
We had one plan and that was…. Content. Content. Oh and more Content.
- Content/Articles. We decided we wanted to release a blog at least twice a week. So we decided to release up to as many as four blogs a week during our busy time. We released them one the days and time we received the most visits. Having a ton of unique and quality content gave us content that we could utilize on social media as well.
- Diversify! We were a bit repetitive at times in regards to the style of our writing. We wanted to freshen it up a bit and touch on addition topics. So we brought in a team of writers that can address those topics.
- Writers! We assemble a diverse team of writers. We then created a content schedule and assigned topics. We also brain stormed topics with our team of writers. We assigned topics which fit the writer’s interests. For example, if you want to write about ‘ Strength and Conditioning’, then find a strength and conditioning coach and have him write for you!
- Content Schedule. This was a bit of a pain in the butt but it had to be done. We created a content schedule in Google Docs. Anyone on our team of writers could access the content schedule. This would allow them to see their topics and which day of the week/month they needed to have their article submitted to us by. We generated a schedule so we could provide our audience with unique and relevant content!
- Landing Pages. For important/popular keyword phrases we would create landing pages. We didn’t want to over do it with the landing pages, but I believe we created six new pages last year. These landing pages were created to capture traffic for the keywords that have a high index of search volume. Landing pages will typically out rank an article or blog, so for those few CRITICAL keywords, we went with a landing page.
- Social Media. When 81% of people in the United States use social media. Businesses need social media strategies! For social, we utilize a content schedule much like our website’s content schedule. We came up with relevant posts and focused on posts that generated engagement. Since social media is all about engagement and discussion, it is called ‘social’ media, we wanted to focus less on selling, and more on engagement. Throughout all our platforms we created fun contests and presented them with content that is original, relevant, and useful. Whenever we released an article, we pushed it out on all our social platforms as well. Since our articles were always high quality, our audience looked forward to our articles. It’s important that you make social media about your followers. Ask them what they think!
- Optimization! We have strict guidelines when it comes to writing for us. All content must be original, nothing that is already on the internet. This is critical because duplicate content will kill you in regards to website ranking. All articles must be at least 500 words. We need dense content, thin content will hurt you in ranking. All content belongs to our website. The writer gets the credit and recommendation, but an article on our website cannot be used or featured on any other website they write for.
- Link Building. Link building is one of the top ranking factors. However, the old school SEO focused on the quantity of links. Today’s SEO is all about the quality of those links. A good rule of thumb is to focus more on quality content, rather than links. When you write quality content the content will get shared naturally and that is what Google wants. Good Content= Natural Link Building
Miscellaneous tactics that helped boost our rankings….
- Switched over to a secure site (HTTPS encrypted). If you have a site that is equal in ranking, but one is HTTP and one is HTTPS, the secure site will be favored. Google clearly stated that HTTPS sites would be preferred. It will give you a little bit of a ranking boost.
- We committed a few hours a week to forum boards. It’s a decent link building tactic that can drive some traffic to your site. Popular forum boards are great because you can get your site more exposure and forum boards consist of questions. If you can provide people with quality answers to the their inquiries, then they can turn into potential customers.
- Guest postings. We still do some guest blogging on certain websites. It’s a little tricky because Google keeps an eye on how much and the quality of those guest postings. We had to make sure that we were only being featured on quality sites that are relevant to our website. We pushed hard to get featured in a couple of big publications. These popular publications gave us a strong link back and some major exposure.
- Mobile friendly. More visits come to our site via mobile, not desktop, mobile! 65% of our traffic is from mobile. Our responsive website design really put us over the top. Our site looks amazing on every device! A responsive website design will allow your site to fit into any sized mobile screen with minimum panning and scrolling. Everyone visits, researches, uses social media, and makes purchases with their phone. If your site doesn’t offer a good mobile experience, then the visitor will leave the site (bounce) and never come back. Keep in mind that a website’s bounce rate and mobile usability does affect ranking.
- Optimized images and videos. When your ranking number one on Google Search, Google Images, and Videos for a high valued keyword there is no better feeling. We made sure all our videos and images were high quality and that they were optimized for search.
We plan on utilizing the same tactics as we did 2017. However, we are going to focus a bit more on video content and video optimization. The bar is set, and let me tell you, it’s high. I’m really going to have to step my game up and figure out ways to generate event more content!
Bring it on!
Let’s connect on LinkedIn: Jeff Hemhauser