Without a steady flow of website traffic, all of your other marketing efforts won’t count.
Any fancy landing pages, well-lit product shots and compelling website copy will all go to waste. Essentially, all of your website’s assets will sit stagnant without anyone to experience or appreciate them.
We both know that as a marketer, you need website traffic.
Yet, funnily enough, good marketing is what attracts more traffic.
Paid and organic digital marketing helps to drive customers to your website so your domain can do what it’s designed to do — make sales.
That said, if you’re panicking about your website’s traffic, know that as the marketing manager, you’re in control.
Effective marketing strategies cause website traffic to increase. Yet you can also be held responsible if this figure starts to go down.
In this session, we’ll show you how to avoid the latter and — more importantly — achieve the goal of increasing your website traffic to meet your growth goals.
This is the first session in our entire growth module. That’s because having enough website traffic is essential before you can even start thinking about increasing leads, increasing sales and improving the conversion rate.
In this session, we show you how to increase your website’s traffic by:
- Understanding and identifying traffic sources
- Making simple website fixes
- Being aware of external factors
Not sure what volume of traffic your website is receiving? We’re giving you some extra homework before you carry on. Read: How to Check How Much Traffic a Website Gets.
Sources of Website Traffic (and Which to Focus On)
Each time you step into Google Analytics, you’ll notice there are many possible sources of website traffic.
So much so that you can play around with your existing traffic in multiple graphs, charts and tables.
Newbies to digital marketing might find this overwhelming.
And only a few digital marketing-obsessed people will find this type of data endlessly satisfying. (That’s us by the way).
For the overwhelming majority, it’s like having too much choice at the grocery store and not knowing which recipe to make.
Should I focus on those coming from Google? Or should I try to encourage my existing social followers to visit my website? If the largest portion of my traffic is a result of paid sources, should I forget about the notion of ‘free’ visitors?
Quickly, your traffic efforts can be spread too thin. Or worse, be directed in entirely the wrong place.
So how can you make sure you’re focusing on the right source of traffic?
First, you’ll need to understand a little bit more about traffic sources to demystify those complex graphs that explain the back-end of your website.
At its core, website traffic can split into two categories — paid and organic.
- Paid traffic represents users who visit your website as a result of a paid action — for example, a PPC ad or a sponsored search result.
- Organic traffic represents users who visit your website as a result of free promotion. This could be a brand search in Google or a link in a press mention.
Successful businesses that engage in digital marketing will have visitors as a result of both paid and organic marketing.
Some visitors will stumble onto the Adidas website after seeing an advertisement for a new running shoe. Others will consciously think about Adidas and type in the brand name into Google before purposely setting foot onto the Adidas landing page.
With this said, you shouldn’t assume you’ll only ever manage to lure more traffic through a bigger ad budget. You also shouldn’t write off paid promotion if you’re currently not engaging in it.
As with most things in life, balance is key here.
A steady flow of organic traffic signals that your marketing efforts are working. If your team is producing valuable content on and away from your website, it’s inevitable you should get some organic traffic coming through.
On the other hand, paid traffic can help to give you a sudden influx in traffic so you can ramp up sales dramatically, test a new page or make the most of a seasonal opportunity.
Paid traffic is rarely described as “steady” and will present more volatile data.
That’s okay as you’ll start to learn organic traffic is the foundation of your website visitors, while paid traffic can enhance your natural results. For example, if you have a high-converting page, you might use paid sources to direct even more traffic to this page. Or, if you figure out which portion of your website’s demographic is most likely to convert, you might set up an ad campaign to target this portion of your customer base.
Digging even further into website traffic, you’ll notice paid and organic traffic can come from different sources. The main ones are:
From most sources, it’s possible to attract both paid and organic traffic.
For example, in SEO, you could pay for a sponsored search result to appear above all organic results for a popular industry phrase. Yet, you could also feasibly strike a featured snippet, allowing you to sit in position zero in exchange for your superior knowledge.
Both of these paid and organic scenarios can yield impressive traffic results.
Featured snippets have more room on the page and on average, get an 8.6% click-through rate.
Google Ads appear above position zero — the position a featured snippet holds — to snap up the attention of search users. Does it matter that these appear as ads? Probably not, as only 49% of adults recognise these results as sponsored.
The key thing here is not to get held up by whether you should be paying for new traffic, or not. It’s the type of traffic you should focus on.
Each source of traffic lends itself to a certain type of business:
- Social — Businesses that rely on subscription and membership models bode well with community platforms. Most potential buyers will be open to seeing social ads and organic posts about businesses, designed to entertain and inform.
- SEO — Local businesses and information-based businesses are notoriously competitive on search. Do you want to be the go-to emergency dentist in London? You better get bidding on those keywords. Do you want to give the most reputable diet advice on the web? You’ll need to answer searcher’s popular queries to climb the search results.
- PPC — Broadly speaking, Pay Per Click (PPC) is designed for e-commerce businesses that want to push a product or limited time offer. Within PPC, there are various forms of ads from Google Shopping to remarketing advertisements. This aggressive form of advertising targets your core demographic to attract traffic.
- Content Marketing — Sensitive industries and individuals need impressive content to thrive. Are you building trust in the banking sector or positioning your brand? Articles, whitepapers and knowledge bases will help you reach your goals.
It helps to be able to assign your or your client’s business type to the traffic source that’s most likely to be lucrative to them.
Think about the above sources in terms of your brand and your client’s.
Which traffic source is most suitable?
In the beginning, you’ll want to put your time, money and energy into the source that offers the most opportunity.
Once you’ve become a master at accelerating traffic, you can bend the rules a little bit by mixing and matching these traffic sources where necessary.
How to Increase Your Website’s Traffic Quickly in 11 Steps
If you’ve selected a source of traffic to focus on this will massively help to guide your traffic efforts going forward.
Having a clear focus will help you to analyse data better, as well as to create a marketing strategy that is traffic-focused.
For example, if you picked PPC as your best bet for traffic, you’ll want to include plenty of PPC activities to increase your chances of reaching your growth goals.
However, there are a few simple fixes you can make before you even begin to set your sights on anything new. These 11 fixes will immediately increase the health of your website and its ability to attract traffic (without even trying):
- Revise Page Titles and Meta Descriptions — Are you really telling Google what it needs to know about your website’s key pages? We see so many high-level brands making the same mistakes by neglecting to use their target keywords in titles on key pages like the homepage.
- Choose Keywords with Commercial Intent — Hint, these are phrases that have a high Cost Per Click, i.e. phrases brands are actively bidding on. It’s important your website targets these types of phrases as these keywords are searched for by users who are willing and ready to buy. Not only will your traffic from search be increased, but you’ll also improve the quality of the traffic on your website.
- Improve Website Copy — It’s really important the copy on your website is SEO optimised. While you should work to make your copy compelling for the human reader, you should also give Google some good reasons why they should rank your page highly too. This means optimising titles, headings and text to include a range of exact and partial match keywords. Depending on your existing copy versus its competitors, it might be crucial to expand the length of your copy too.
- Check Google Search Console — If your knowledge of SEO health or website health is vague, that’s okay. Software like Google Search Console can flag any immediate errors for you. The tool will highlight how visible your website’s pages are to Google, giving you some indication as to why you might be temporarily below the search engine’s radar. It can also point out quick fixes like an abundance of 404 pages (pages that no longer exist) that repeatedly link to on your website.
- Listen to Sales Calls — To increase website traffic, you’ll really want to dig into the psyche of your customers to check if you’re on the same page. Are you targeting phrases your customers actually use? Is your knowledge of the average customer’s research journey up to scratch? Going back to basics and listening to customer interactions can help you to identify the most accurate phrases to target.
- Review High-Ranking Content — The act of competitor analysis is important in any marketing context. The same logic applies when increasing traffic as you’ll need to see the context in which your competitors are using your target keywords. How are they weaving these phrases into their ads? How is Google identifying these keywords in the top search results?
- Scrutinise Your Website’s Usability — Engagement is an important factor that Google (and other search engines) take into account when ranking your website. Clear usability and site navigation will help you to rise up the ranks in search, encouraging more traffic to come your way. Making your website user-friendly (this means working on all devices, having a quick load speed and avoiding loads of intrusive pop-ups) also encourages repeat visitation.
- Increase Internal Linking — You’ll want to give your website an almost invisible structure that only Google will pick up on. Important pages on your website will need to be linked to by other pages on your website, such as blogs and FAQs. Internal linking also improves engagement on your website, ensuring visitors don’t have to bounce off your domain to find out the meaning of a phrase or look for more in-depth information elsewhere.
- Improve External Linking — Ask yourself whether there are any obvious blockers to people reaching your website. Have you got a link to your website on every single social page? For example, on Instagram, you can create a website link on your main profile page under the “Bio” section. Are there plenty of articles where your brand is mentioned but never linked to? You’ll need to contact any relevant publishers, journalists and directories to credit you wherever possible.
- Check Competitor Backlink Profiles — It’s time to snoop on those competitors once again by sneaking a peek at their backlink profiles. From here, we can see which high-profile websites they’ve managed to get mentioned by and figure out what steps they took to achieve it. Have they produced a particularly successful piece of content picked up by several websites? Has a specific press story picked up like wildfire? This kind of information will give you some instant insights into the activities you should focus on in your content marketing strategy.
- Optimise Old Content — It’s much easier to tweak an old blog post than write an entirely new one from scratch. And sometimes it’s more fruitful. You’ll want to file through the archives of your blog to identify pieces you could repackage and better optimise for the questions your customers are actually asking. This might mean adjusting the angle of the blog, the format and its headline. The same goes for your service pages, which might need some more (sensible) keyword stuffing and detail added.
Finally, Beware of These Website Traffic Threats
As always in marketing, there are some external threats when it comes to improving website traffic.
- Competitive Bidding — We all know some keywords are more competitive than others, but that’s not what we’re referring to here. You need to be aware competitors may start to bid on your brand name, effectively stealing traffic from right underneath your nose. For example, if you type in any well-known project management tool into Google, you’ll also be met with ads from their competitors. Those searching for Monday.com will be reminded that Slack still exists and vice versa. You’ll want to monitor this and may have to start running paid ads on your brand name to protect your organic search traffic.
- PPC Restrictions — When running paid ads, you might come across some stumbling blocks — especially when it comes to platforms such as Facebook. In some instances, your advertisement might fail to get approved if the platform deems its content offensive, inappropriate or misinformative. When writing ad copy, you need to be aware of these restrictions to ensure your ad is seen by as many people as possible.
- Google Updates — Arguably the largest disruption to website traffic is search algorithm updates that can leave entire industries in the dark. We’ve written about the Medic update, which impacted many health and wellness websites, as well as overarching principles such as Google’s E-A-T guidelines. Needless to say, you’ll want to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to Google’s activities as new updates can have devastating effects on even high-performing businesses.
- Black Hat SEO — You might be tempted or even tricked into using Black Hat SEO — search practices that go against search engine guidelines. As a word of warning, this isn’t a path worth going down as you’ll get hit hard with penalties if found out. Slow and steady wins the race, even if increasing website traffic feels like a marathon.