We produce several social media and website audits for our clients and one of the most popular questions we get asked is: “How do we get free traffic from Google”?
Believe it or not, there are several ways; some you may already know and some you may not. Some you may have forgotten and others you’ve tried and failed to make work.
No matter what your situation, there’s bound to be a few strategies that I go through in this article that might help your traffic situation.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Local SEO Strategy
- 2 Content Marketing Strategy
- 2.1 Optimise Your Content For Search
- 2.2 Great UX
- 2.3 Do Content Outreach & Guest Posting
- 2.4 Use the Micro-content Strategy
- 2.5 Continuously Update Old Content
- 2.6 Target Long Tail Keywords
- 2.7 Interview BIG Players in Your Niche
- 2.8 Leave Long Comprehensive Comments
- 2.9 Produce A Video For Every Blog Post
- 2.10 Promote Content With Email Marketing
- 3 SEO Strategy
- 4 Social Media Marketing Strategy
- 5 Final Thoughts
Local SEO Strategy
Irrespective of the size of your business, you should always have a local SEO strategy. The fastest and easiest way to start your strategy is to ensure your Bing and Google business listings have been completely filled out (yes, that also includes adding images and videos to your listing).
You probably didn’t know this but these listings send you free traffic – in fact, if you are logged into Google, it will show you how you are performing for the keywords you are targeting. It draws this information from Google Search Console (which is why you need to log in to see impressions and rankings, etc).
Optimise Google For Business Listing
First off, the basics: If you haven’t claimed your listing yet, please claim it. You simply do a search in Google for your business name (unless you are a brand-new startup, then chances are, you won’t appear), then start filling out your profile.
Click here to get your Google for business listing set up.
Optimise Google Posts
Did you know you can post your latest offers in the Google post section? These posts will show up in Google search if someone enters your business name into the search bar. These posts do expire but it’s a good way to promote your latest offering to a targeted audience.
If you are already logged into Google you can add a post this way:
- Enter your business name into Google. If you are already logged in it should show your Google business listing.
2. Click on the “add a post” tab in your Google business listing.
3. Create a Google offer post. You can choose what type of post it is by selecting “what new”, “event”, “offer” or “product”
Here’s an example of one of mine:
Don’t Forget Your Bing For Business Listing
We work with several businesses throughout the world and one of the search engines they always forget about is Bing for business.
Yes – I know, Bing isn’t the largest search engine. However, it will still send you free organic traffic, as long as you have claimed your listing and fill out that category section properly.
Click here to get your Bing for business listing set up.
Make Sure You Register For Citations
A citation is basically a mention of your business name, address and telephone number. The idea is to register with as many local business directories and forums as you can.
Better still, register and get involved with other people on those websites. That way, each time you post on a forum, you increase the chances of somebody clicking on your name or forum signature and going through to your website.
Content Marketing Strategy
As I have mentioned a thousand times in my other articles, content marketing should be the foundation of all of your online marketing efforts.
Whenever we take on a new client, who is looking to get new business leads or sell more stock, this is the very first thing we look at.
Most businesses, especially long-established players, don’t really take content marketing that seriously. It’s normally an after-thought following a meeting or something they “will get round to”.
Optimise Your Content For Search
This point may seem a little obvious, but you need to ensure that your content is of the highest quality. Those 200-word blog posts just won’t cut it, I’m afraid.
It’s really important that you get to know your audience.
Before you start writing any type of content, you need to know who you’re talking to, what their pain points are and if you have a solution to those pain points. It’s also a good idea to find out where they are in the buying journey.
For example, if you’re a kitchen design and supply company, most of your content needs to be pitched at people at the very beginning of their journey to buy a kitchen.
Very few people will do a Google search for a new kitchen and buy one straight away. For that reason, your content needs to be mostly educational and having a large emphasis on video and images is a must.
As a bonus, you really want to start getting good at lead generation as your prospect is at the start of the journey.
On the other hand, if you’re a landscaping business, the journey for somebody to purchase your service is a lot shorter than our friends’ with the kitchens.
When somebody types in a search query into Google, they’re almost certainly looking for a landscaper to carry out some work within the next few weeks.
For this reason, the content needs to be more story-based and explaining the exact process you go through with regards to landscaping.
Where lead generation is quite important for a kitchen company, our recommendation for a landscaper is to provide as many calls-to-action (places where people can get in touch with you) as possible.
The content also needs to have a lot of “before and after” pictures as well as testimonials. Nothing builds trust quicker than before and after images and a lot of testimonials.
Having a great design and making sure the user experience is fantastic is really important with regards to getting traffic to your website.
The format of your website needs to be clear, concise and really easy to understand. It needs to be both educational and entertaining at the same time. By entertaining, I don’t mean telling a lot of jokes on your website – I mean, having lots of instructional videos, nice images like infographics and a way for them to contact you on every single page.
Do Content Outreach & Guest Posting
One of the very best ways of increasing your website traffic is by stealing traffic from another website that receives a lot of traffic.
I don’t mean “stealing” in the criminal sense, I suppose what I mean is, finding high traffic websites in your niche, who are willing to accept the content from you.
With every piece of content you publish on someone else’s website, you make sure there’s a link back to your website.
Use the Micro-content Strategy
The micro-content strategy is basically using a piece of your long-form content (a long article) to produce snippets of content that can be used on social media. In essence, you are using an existing asset to produce multiple smaller assets.
Let me give you an example:
This article that you’re reading now is fairly lengthy and covers a lot of ground.
From this one article I can:
- Produce a video
- From that video, I can produce slides that can be shared on slide sharing websites and can also be embedded in other related articles.
- I can use the audio from that video to be used in a podcast.
- I can use quotes from the article to publish on social media sites such as Twitter, where I have the ability to either use them as text quotes or producing an image from software like Canva to do an image quote.
- I can produce graphs and infographics from this article which, in turn, can be used in other related articles.
- I can edit snippets from the video, add subtitles and publish it on social media.
- I can post a snippet of this article to websites like Linkedin, Tumblr and Medium
Can you see how it works?
From one article, I can produce many types of different content. That content can then be shared across multiple platforms over a series of months or even years – that’s how powerful the micro content strategy is.
Continuously Update Old Content
When we take on a new client, one of the first things we do before we produce any new content is look at their old content. Nine times out of ten, the content is what we would consider being quite thin (very short in length). This means we are in the position to make it longer, correct any bad formatting, add images and videos and update any statistics where old statistics have been used.
Now, you’ve got two choices here; if you use WordPress as your website editor, you have the ability to republish this piece of content after editing – not only does the search engine re-crawl your content, it also sees it as your content on your website, especially if you have added quite a lot of content to it.
You don’t need to re-publish it to see real benefits – a strategy we use quite regularly is linking to this piece of content with new content that we publish (obviously, it needs to be relevant). This is another way for the search engines re-crawl this old piece of content again.
This isn’t just good for getting new traffic to your website, it’s also good for long-term SEO purposes. The more valuable you can add to each page on your website, the more traffic the search engines will send you.
Target Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are generally between 3 and 4 words and extremely specific to what you are selling. To be honest no matter what niche you are in, trying to rank for short keywords these days is extremely difficult. Not impossible, just really difficult…
It’s much easier to go after long tail keywords – they don’t receive as much traffic but are easier to rank for. There are quite a few tools out there that will allow you to find these keywords, such as Wordtracker and Long Tail Pro. It’s very hard to find them these long tail keywords in the Google keyword planner like we used to.
Interview BIG Players in Your Niche
In the header, I say: “interview big players” – what I mean by that is, try to interview and record prominent people in your niche ( sometimes also called “influencers”) who are willing to be interviewed (normally for a podcast) and are willing to help you promote that interview on their website and on social media.
I will just say this; it’s not the easiest thing to do and my recommendation would be to plan this well ahead of time. By that I mean, comment on their content regularly, get involved with their Twitter chats and even write about them.
Note: if you do write about them, be sure to let them know in an email – that way when it comes to asking them for an interview, it will be a lot easier.
With any luck (depending on how popular this person is), you should start receiving quite a good chunk of traffic via this prominent person.
Leave Long Comprehensive Comments
Leaving long comments could actually be part of the previous strategy, however, on its own, it still works really well to get traffic.
Granted, it doesn’t work as well as it used to as fewer people are reading comments on blog posts these days. But, if you take the time to read the content and leave your opinion as comprehensively as you can, depending on which website you’re leaving a comment on, it should provide you with some free traffic as people are able to click on your name which, in turn, should link to your website.
Produce A Video For Every Blog Post
This is more of an advanced strategy and, to be honest, the vast majority of businesses won’t do this but, depending on how large your budget is, I would recommend using an agency to produce a video for you.
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet? This means you have the ability to rank in the Top 2 places where people would search for your content. In essence, it’s a double-whammy. Then, if you use the micro content strategy that I talked about earlier, you’ll be able to 10x the amount of traffic you can receive just by producing an additional video.
Promote Content With Email Marketing
People don’t seem to think that getting traffic from emails is that important. I can tell you this, if you start building a lead generation strategy on your website, not only will you receive a ton of traffic from your subscribers, there’s also a good chance that when they return, they will purchase one of your products or services.
Every time you publish a new piece of content before you share it to social media, always email it to your subscribers first – the idea is that they will go to your website, read your content and will, most likely, share it.
Email is a great way to get traffic to your website and do you know the best thing about this is? It’s classed as returning traffic which is worth a lot more in the Google statistics than a new person coming to your site for the first time.
That’s why so many businesses go wrong and fail at content marketing – they don’t utilise the power of building a subscriber list.
As a full-service agency, we try to encourage every single one of our clients to take SEO seriously. Even though it’s a long-term play, it pays you back dividends, if you’re willing to be patient and not looking for short-term fixes.
There’s quite a lot to SEO (far too much to go through in this article), but what I will do is just go over a few of the elements that will increase traffic to your website.
Write Great Titles/Headlines
Writing good titles sounds easy to do, doesn’t it? It’s actually really hard to write a compelling, clickable title. Not only are you trying to include the keywords in the first portion of your title, but you’re also trying to entice and encourage the person browsing on the search engine to click on your link.
It’s really hard to get this right and that’s why we spend a good chunk of time going through different types of titles for a piece of content before it gets published.
Write Great Clickable Meta Descriptions
Writing a good meta description goes hand in hand with writing a great title. Don’t forget, when somebody is searching online and scrolling through the search results the first thing they ’ll come across will be the title and the second thing they will see is the description.
Where companies are going wrong is that they try to be far too descriptive and almost robot-like when crafting their meta descriptions. However, the correct approach is to write your description in such a way that you entice the viewer to click on your link. This means it needs to be both compelling and intriguing.
If you get these two parts of the puzzle right, there’s no reason you wouldn’t get a ton of traffic in the search engine results.
Most companies don’t give these elements enough time and think that simply writing a nice piece of content will do. The landscape is becoming more and more competitive and it’s a lot harder to get and keep somebody’s attention these days, hence the reason why we spend a long time on this.
Use Great Looking Images With Alt Tags
You may not know this, but Google has a third search engine. The search engine goes by the name of Google images. That’s why is important to add images to your content. It helps if the image you use also includes a description of that image. This is called an “alt tag.”
Depending on how large your website is, if you take a look at your Google analytics, you will generally find that quite a lot of traffic comes from Google image searches. Now, I’m going to be totally honest and say that the chances of somebody doing an image search and then landing on your website are pretty slim.
Most people are only looking for an image to use on their website and not looking to read your content.
What I will say is, the more traffic you get from Google image searches, the better your page will perform for SEO. Google likes to show the most relevant and comprehensive piece of content they can when somebody does a search.
The more you can improve the user experience, the better. This means adding images, videos, infographics, etc.
Ensure Your Content Is Over 2000 words
It’s been proven that content over 2000 words performs a lot better for SEO than content that has less than 2000 words.
If you can, when writing your content, try to make sure that it’s either 2000 words or more in length. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than this, but, it’s one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking highly in the search engines. The higher you rank, the more traffic you will get.
It’s always a good idea to include relevant links in your content. If you have content on your website that matches the content that you’re writing about or a specific keyword, always link to it.
Not only is this seen as a vote of confidence to your own piece of content by Google – but it also makes it possible for people reading that content to click through to it.
Note: There’s no need to link to that page or post multiple times in your article. Just the once will do.
By encouraging people to click on your internal links actually decreases what Google calls a bounce rate. The lower this rate provides a positive signal to Google that your website is worth ranking.
The more pages you can get people to click through on your website, the better. It sends a lot of good signals back to the search engines, suggesting that you have a lot of useful content on there.
I think it goes without saying but the more pages you can encourage people to look at, the more traffic your pages were received overall.
Link Out To Authority Websites
The vast majority of clients we work with either don’t feel the need or are scared to link out to external websites. In most cases, we actually discourage linking out because it’s another way for somebody to leave your website, never to return. However, studies have shown that linking to a website that has a lot of authority in a small way helps to rank your page.
Linking to an external page doesn’t send your page any traffic, but it’s one of those SEO factors that Google looks at when evaluating the user experience of a page.
If you link to a resource that is of a high quality and has a lot of authority, this actually improves the user experience for your reader.
My trick is to link out but not to highlight it – that way, I get full marks in the search engines for linking out to it and there’s less of a possibility of the reader clicking on it.
Make Sure Your Website Is Superfast
I talked about the importance of site speed in our SEO audit. In short, your website and web pages need to load as fast as possible. Not only is Google taking a notice of this, it’s also good policy to do this for your readers, as well.
The faster you can make the page load, the more chance you have of somebody staying on that page to read it.
If you have slow-loading pages, people won’t wait for it to load up, they will just navigate to another website.
This means, even though you had the traffic initially, it’s been lost due to bad page loading times. (This is more common than you think).
That’s why we recommend carrying out a full SEO audit every single month. By doing this, you ensure that you are keeping to Google’s terms and conditions, whilst at the same time making the user experience the best it can be.
Add all this together and it means your website gains a lot more traffic. In essence, Google rewards websites that load fast by giving you high rankings.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
One of the fastest ways to get traffic to your website is using social media marketing. The only problem is: The vast majority of businesses are doing it wrong.
To use social media for more traffic, you need two things:
- A lot of content published on a regular and consistent basis
- A large, ever-growing following on your chosen network
Producing content and increasing the number of people following you go hand-in-hand. There’s no point publishing lots of content if you have a small following to post to. On the other hand, if you don’t consistently post new content, you will have nothing to share on social media.
This seems obvious, doesn’t it?
The problem is, most businesses get one or even both parts of this strategy wrong.
If you’re looking to get traffic from social media, you need to be publishing articles on your website at least twice or three times a week.
With that level of content, you have the ability to use the micro-content strategy of repurposing and producing new content. You also have the ability to use different text, hashtags and images to post multiple times on the same network.
Growing your following
No matter what social network you choose, having a large following is key to getting a lot of traffic.
Facebook, more than any other network, has made this a lot harder to do. In the last few years, they have throttled back the number of people who will see your post (when published organically – not paying to advertise).
Unless you advertise with Facebook, don’t expect to generate a lot of traffic by posting organically.
The same goes for Linkedin – they simply won’t show your content, if you continuously link out to an external website.
By the way, don’t forget, Google+ is closing down later next year. There’s no real point in sharing your content on that network anymore (I wrote about this earlier in the month).
I don’t recommend posting to every social network – just the ones you feel comfortable with and feel you would get the best return from.
When we first start working with a business, we categorise the type of business they are – whether they are B2B or B2C. This is important to know as some social networks will be better to add content to than others.
The two categories are below, but not written in stone. As you can appreciate, every business is different and the same rules don’t always apply. However, there are very few businesses that are not categorised in this way.
If you are a business to business (B2B) company, these are the social networks you should be posting content to:
Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
If you are a business to consumer (B2C) company, here are the social networks should be posting content to:
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest.
This list is in no way complete. In fact, there are several other ways you can get traffic to your website.
The ways I’m showing you here are tried and tested and don’t really cost you anything other than time and a little bit of patience.
What do you think?
Have you come up with other ways to get traffic from Google?
Image: Main image