How to Increase Traffic to your Website
There are two basic ways to drive traffic to your website: paid and unpaid. Paid includes social media advertising, paid search advertising and banner display campaigns, while unpaid includes SEO and organic social media.
The distinction between ‘paid’ and ‘unpaid’ is slightly misleading however. For example, SEO is a fine art, and one for which you will often have to pay for if you want it done well. You can always learn to do SEO yourself, but that will take time and resources.
Generally speaking, if you want to increase website traffic rapidly, you’re going to have to pay for it. That’s ok though, so long as you choose the right marketing method for your business you will be able to cover these costs and more with the conversions you make on your website.
For now let’s take a look at the three main ways to increase traffic to your website: social media marketing, SEO and paid search.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is, you guessed it, marketing on social media. There are two ways to go about this: paid and organic.
Organic: Driving traffic with organic social media requires the cultivation of a loyal and engaged audience. The best exponents of organic social media marketing provide value to their audience independent of their product or service. This can be done by the creation of original and stimulating content, or simply by engaging directly with your audience and building a personal rapport with them.
While organic social media marketing is ‘free’, like SEO, to be done well it can cost money. Unlike SEO, there are few proven specialists, and even fewer proven methods of delivering ROI. Generally speaking, if a company were to employ a seasoned social media professional, it could take anywhere from 6-12 months to see tangible results. This is not to say that you should neglect organic social media marketing altogether, but rather that you should not count upon it to drive any significant traffic to your website in the short to medium term. By all means maintain a social media presence, however. Visibility is key online, and you want your customers to be able to find you and contact you wherever they choose to hang out online.
Paid: Paid social media marketing generally consists of advertising on the four main social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Paid social media marketing is capable of delivering tangible results very quickly, and can be a great way of driving relevant traffic to your website. Depending on the platform, the target audience and the product, however, this can sometimes be relatively pricey.
Nevertheless, if you do have a little bit of budget to play with then this is definitely an avenue you should look to explore. Choosing which platform is right for you will depend entirely on the nature of your business.
- The visual nature of Instagram means it generally favours well established brands and bricks and mortar businesses.
- Twitter has a broader appeal, and its keyword focussed advertising can be hugely effective with the right targeting.
- LinkedIn is the most expensive of the four platforms, but in return for your outlay you are able to target individuals based on their professional attributes which can be highly valuable in advertising certain products and services.
- By far and away our favourite social advertising platform is Facebook, however. Here you can create highly targeted ads, based upon key demographics such as income and occupation. The nature of Facebook means people are much forthcoming in sharing a broad range of personal information than on any of the other platforms. This is a marketer’s dream, as you can place your ads before highly targeted audiences, based on demographics, interests, behaviours and a wealth of other options.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the art of optimising your website for search engines. The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase the ranking of your website in the SERP (search engine results page).
If you can make sure your website is near the top of the rankings for your relevant keywords, then the traffic will drive itself to your site. The difficulty is getting your website to that point.
SEO is determined by many factors but authority and relevancy are of high importance.
Authority can be measured by the amount of links from authoritative sources to your website, hence the importance of backlinks. Sometimes the amount of shares your content gets on social media can be a sign of authority.
Relevance is measured by how relevant the content on your website is to any particular search query, hence the importance of maintaining keyword focus when creating content.
The problem with SEO, as outlined above, is that it is only ‘organic’ by name. To achieve results you will have to invest in either time or money to build your presence in search.
There are a few tweaks you can make to your website yourself, such as optimising title tags, increasing mobile friendliness and by optimising your images, but SEO is a long term commitment, and generally you will need to allocate budget to drive traffic to your website in this way.
Paid search, otherwise known as SEM (search engine marketing), or, more commonly, PPC (pay-per-click), consists of advertising on and across the major search engine platforms. The biggest appeal of paid search is that it allows you to gain high visibility in search engine results without the need for a naturally high ranking website.
The most popular paid service is Google AdWords, Google’s own advertising service which allows you to advertise not only in the Google search engine results, but across its vast network of partner websites.
So how does it work?
The AdWords system is built around ‘keywords’ - words and phrases which users might use to enter a search query into Google. The key to success with AdWords is effective keyword research. If the right keywords are targeted, if the sweet spot between high search volume and low competition can be met, then you will be able to drive high volumes of relevant traffic to your website, at a price that enables you to post a healthy ROI.
So, for example, if you sell garden furniture, you may want to target keywords such as ‘garden chairs’ or ‘garden bench’. In theory, when an individual enters either one of those search terms into Google, your ads will be triggered, and will appear at the top of the search engine results page above the ‘organic’ results.
Unless you’re already ranking in the top two or three organic results for your keywords then the chances of someone reaching your website through organic search for broad terms like these is very low. The beauty of PPC is that you only pay for your ad when someone clicks it, meaning that in terms of driving traffic to your website AdWords is essentially the advertising equivalent of ‘no win no fee’!
For this reason PPC is an utterly invaluable marketing method, and is by far our favoured means of driving traffic to websites.
Hopefully this article has helped you think more clearly about the options available to you in your search for traffic, and that you will be able to go forward from here to choose the right method for your business and your marketing objectives.