Trying to drive traffic to your website can sometimes feel like shouting into a void. After all, with more than 4.4 million new blog posts published every day, it can be tough to stand out from the competition.
But there are techniques that can bring your numbers up as fast as reasonably possible. Here at Clever Real Estate, we've deployed several strategies that have exponentially increased our traffic in less than a year.
Just keep in mind that bringing in sustained, organic traffic is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. A recent study of the top-ranked pages on Google showed that the average page in the top 10 page was two years old, while the average No. 1 page was just three years old.
The upshot? While the tips below will get your traffic up in the short term, you've got to maintain your efforts over the long term to get where you want to go. Here are the strategies we used to help us get a quick influx of traffic to our website.
Search engine optimization
Let's start with the most obvious, and most powerful technique to bring in eyeballs: search engine optimization. To put it simply, SEO is the art of refining your website so big search engines, like Google and Yahoo, will rank it higher. Appearing near the top of the search rankings gets you more visibility and more clicks. So how do you do that?
1. Choose the right keywords.
Using keywords is like a matchmaking exercise. Your ideal customers are out there using search engines to look for you. Incorporating the right keywords on your website is like lighting a beacon so your customers can find you. This means you have to do your research and try to anticipate your target users' searches. Keep in mind that this is a virtuous cycle: The more effective your keywords are, the more customers will be able to find you, and the more clicks your website gets, the higher it will rise in the search rankings.
2. Produce high-quality content.
Google doesn't just use initial click-throughs to evaluate your website; it also measures how long users stay after clicking through. If they bounce back to the search results after a short stay, Google will designate your website as "low quality," and your ranking will decline.
This means that enticing users to click is only half the battle. Once you have their attention, you have to keep it by offering them useful, high-quality content.
There are no easy shortcuts when it comes to high-quality content, though at this point we know what isn't high-quality content. Listicles, slideshows and short videos aren’t going to get the job done anymore. In 2019, long-form content is the new king.
That may seem surprising, considering attention spans are shorter than ever today, and there's never been as much competition for eyeballs. But think of it this way: Your customers haven't come to you to be entertained or amused; they've clicked through because they want specific answers and information. If they see that you're not going to give them that information, they'll click over to one of your competitors.
The average length of a piece of high-quality long-form content is about 2,000 words, but many sites are seeing results with pieces twice as long, or even longer.
3. Make your site easy on the eyes.
If you're producing long-form content, it’s more important than ever to make your site visually pleasing.
Think punchy sentences and short paragraphs of no more than three or four sentences. Leave plenty of white space on your pages so your readers don't feel overwhelmed or intimidated. And don't forget about the back end of the site. Make sure your site loads quickly and easily, and is aesthetically pleasing on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
4. Build authority with internal linking.
Cultivating a high authority rating is another way to rocket up the search rankings. That happens when Google sees users interacting with a website beyond their initial click-through, clicking deeper into the site. The more they click around and the longer they spend on your site, the higher its authority rating will rise.
So how do you entice users to click around your site? Well, there's an easy, surface-level answer to that question, and a deeper, more complicated one.
First, the easy answer. On those popular landing pages, you'll want to provide plenty of internal links to other pages on your site. Don't make them excessive or spammy. The links should be logical and discreetly placed. You'll also want to provide sidebars of related pages, which takes us to the next, more complicated answer to this question.
To effectively leverage your internal links, you'll need to anticipate your users' subsequent needs. For example, let's say the landing page in question is about how to calculate a mortgage payment. Once the user finishes reading that page, you can make some reasonable assumptions about the next questions: How do they qualify for a mortgage? How do interest rates affect mortgage payments? When is the best time to buy a home?
If you have pages that address these subsequent questions, you can place them in a sidebar to keep the user clicking around your website, seriously enhancing your site's authority.
Social media channels
There are more than 3 billion social media users out there right now. That's a massive potential audience. In fact, more people use social media than watch television. If your website is the library, where all the information is kept, then social media is the party, where all the people are. If you want to connect with them, you have to be on social media too.
Facebook has an ad program that lets you target a precise, specific segment of their users. If properly used, Facebook ads offer some of the greatest market penetration and conversion rates you can get.
YouTube is another social media platform that can be immensely useful. While you probably know the video platform is hugely popular, did you know that it's also the second most popular search engine on the web? That means YouTube isn't just the fun, peripheral platform many clients think it is. It should be right up there alongside Google as one of your main sources of users.
Producing video content for YouTube can be a fun, easy, low-cost way to reach hundreds of millions of people.
Guest blogging can be an amazingly effective way to get the right eyeballs on your website. Having a post appear on a popular, respected site lends you credibility as well as an immediate bump in traffic. Not only that, but a well-written blog post in your area of expertise establishes your authority word by word, line by line to an audience of knowledgeable readers.
So what should your guest blog posts be about? Obviously, you should write on subjects in your area of expertise. But beyond that, think about what people want to read. A good general rule when brainstorming guest posts is to think about content you wish you'd see, and then write it. It's always a good idea to think about things in terms of problem-solving. What obstacles have you run into recently in your field, and how did you overcome them? Posts that provide answers or solutions are universally compelling, and editors can't get enough of them.
LinkedIn is basically Facebook without all the static and distractions, and it gives you access to a network of professionals who share your interests. Though most everyone is on LinkedIn for networking purposes, it can also be a huge source of traffic.
Once you've completely populated your personal or company profile, the rules of posting on LinkedIn are a lot like the rules of posting anywhere else. Quality matters: The quickest way to alienate your ideal reader is to waste their time with low-quality content.
LinkedIn is a social platform, too, so engagement counts. Post two or three times a week to maintain a familiar presence. Pose questions in your posts, and answer and acknowledge comments. You should also join relevant LinkedIn groups and share your posts there. Don't forget that LinkedIn allows you to share your posts with individuals in your network, which can be a great way to touch base with important contacts or influencers. Just be sure that you don’t abuse this feature and come off as a spammer.