You’ve probably heard at some point that a website’s #1 goal should be to get free Google traffic. All businesses are built on this premise and dedicated to bringing you as many free visitors from Google as possible through Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Essentially, SEO is the process of optimizing your site, so it shows up in the top rankings in organic (non-paid) search results when someone searches for content related to your business or products. Today, we’re going to show you how you can optimize your site for “organic” or “free” traffic from Google — not AdWords traffic, which comes when someone clicks on one of the ads in the paid listings.
The following actions are the best practices to optimize your site for organic search. In addition, they will help you get ready to start ranking on Google and getting Google traffic.
How much traffic can I expect from SEO?
Depending on your industry and how competitive your keywords are, you should be able to see anywhere from 5-20% of your website visitors coming from SEO in a few months. But, of course, it depends on what kind of business you have and how hard it is for people to find that service or product online.
For, they want answers on their screen example, if you own a restaurant in a small town where there’s only one other place people can eat, it’s probably going to take less time than if you were selling puppies online (where every pet store in America seems to be trying to get a piece of the pie). That being said, if you’re consistent with your efforts, SEO can be a steady stream of referral traffic year round that could increase or decrease depending on the season.
How to Start Getting Google Traffic?
The first step is going to be optimizing your permalink structure and content for Google. If you need to have more Google traffic, then this step is essential. This means setting up short URLs (i.e., nine characters or less) that include keywords related to your business. We like Bitly , Goo.gl , Ow.ly , and TinyURL . You should also implement clean URLs as much as possible, so Google does not have to guess what page they are looking at (more about this later). If you don’t know how to do this in WordPress, we wrote an article with instructions for every platform.
The next step is to make sure your site has a blog and new content being published on it regularly. Google wants up-to-date sites with content that is relevant.
1) Create an editorial calendar of sorts based on the seasonality of your business or whatever makes sense for you. For example, if you’re selling children’s toys, posting a series around Halloween is going to be good because people are shopping for their kids’ costumes then.
A great idea we’ve seen work well is publishing posts related to popular holidays to capture traffic spikes; so just before Mother’s Day in May, you could have a couple of fun posts about Mom or some gift ideas/recipes that would be perfect for a Mother’s Day Brunch.
This is also a good time to start looking at things from a search standpoint. Ask yourself questions like, “What are people searching for in my industry?”, “Why would someone want to hire our service?” and “When are people shopping around for this kind of product or service?”
2) Once you have your plan, get the most important keywords into your titles and URLs as possible. This is the key to getting more Google traffic, especially organic ones. The more specific the better. This might feel difficult because you need to make every post unique and interesting — but that’s exactly what Google wants: they don’t want 1000 sites all with the same content (or even very similar). Instead, they want answers on their screen when they enter a question or search term related to whatever you’re producing.
A good example is this article we wrote about SEO for photographers. It would be a lot different if we just called it, “SEO Tips For Photographers” because there could be 20 other articles with that same title. Instead, our post has an insightful and unique title: “7 Ways Your Photography Business Can Benefit From SEO .”
3) Once you have your base set (permalink structure / clean URLs), it’s time to start building out your content. Keep in mind the best practice of publishing new content regularly. If you can’t keep up with a regular schedule, consider hiring an intern or virtual assistant to help with research/publishing new posts. That being said, 3 times per week is usually doable by one person as long as they know what they’re doing.
4) Once you have your content written, let’s make our posts stand out a bit more. Let’s start by talking about images.
5) If possible, use higher quality or custom images in your posts and be sure to optimize the alt text with keywords that describe the image or add value to the post. We suggest testing different alt text sizes (i.e., “alt=” vs “alt=”) because it could impact whether your site is indexed in Google for certain phrases or not at all — so test, test, test until you find something that works!
6) Make sure you have a working author section on your site/blog with links back to each individual author’s social media profile. Why? Because you want to make it clear who wrote what. This not only makes your posts more authoritative, but it also puts their faces, names, and social profiles out there for Google to find.
7) Finally, make sure you add a description meta tag (see our guide here on how to do this), as well as an XML site map, so Google traffic can easily crawl your pages.
Once you have all of these steps complete, sit back and let the magic happen; monitor your traffic, keyword rankings, and conversions through UTM codes or call it in with Google Analytics. If everything is going well — awesome! Now we’re ready for the next step: link building.