Although all businesses with an online presence should invest in search engine optimization, it isn’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to driving traffic to a professional website.
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It's no surprise that driving traffic to your website is the key to higher conversions and increased revenue. After all, if people aren't visiting your business online, they certainly won't be completing ecommerce purchases.
However, it seems as though every business in 2018 has gone all-in on search engine optimization (SEO) to increase traffic to websites.
Now, SEO is an effective digital growth strategy. Google alone drove 72 percent of all global desktop search traffic to websites in the past year, according to Net Marketshare. However, as the internet grows and more companies continue fighting to rank No. 1 for the same keywords, the odds of ranking and driving enough traffic dwindle. Therefore, it's in brands' best interest to explore other ways of increasing site traffic.
Before marketers implement a new site traffic campaign, they should first take stock of their current traffic and analytics. Use tools such as Google Analytics and SEMRush to determine where your traffic is coming from, how long users are exploring your site, the web pages and content they enjoy the most, and when during their user journey they typically leave your site. Access to this information will empower you to create a better, stronger strategy on the channels we'll be exploring and improve your potential click-through rates.
Then, you can increase website traffic with these five strategies:
1. Start guest blogging.
Guest blogging on other websites achieves several goals. Firstly, it adds a boost of PR and improves your credibility as an expert in your industry and the public space. It increases brand awareness and exposes your company to new potential customers. And, as a little bonus, it does increase SEO rankings through its links back to your site (although it still isn't the point of this article …).
To guest blog effectively, find businesses and websites to partner with that share a target audience and/or industry and receive enough traffic themselves to make it worthwhile. If your business has a blog, you can also interview other applicable industry experts and encourage the interviewees and their companies to share the interviews on social media and their press pages.
Ask them their monthly metrics, what calls to action pointing to your website you'll be allotted and if they will post your article on their social media channels. And speaking of social media …
2. Invest in social media.
Social media is an ever-growing market for online businesses. After all, according to Sprout Social, social media directly influences 74 percent of consumers' buying decisions. Various social media platforms can act as both a brand builder, which will influence long-term brand loyalty and traffic, as well as immediate click-throughs and traffic.
Make sure you're posting on the social networks your demographic is active on — some quick market research will make this crystal clear. In addition, don't rely on organic postings. Unfortunately, many social media algorithms drive business posts to the bottom of newsfeeds and require companies to pay to promote. However, paid social media such as Facebook Ads are one of the cheapest forms of online advertising and can provide a strong return on investment if executed well — the key is finding a great social media marketing company to create an effective strategy.
3. Utilize email marketing.
Although there's some discrepancy as to the exact return on investment email marketing provides, sources all agree that it's one of the most useful marketing tools and provides a high return on investment. Brands can promote products, services or even content marketing initiatives with a simple email blast or newsletter.
To maximize email marketing benefits, try A/B testing, segmenting and personalization. These tactics will foster a more personal relationship between you and your customers, help you determine the content and subject lines they prefer, and send your emails when your subscribers are most likely to both open them and engage with them.
4. Integrate video content.
Video is an extremely effective yet underused form of content marketing. Although many businesses focus on blogs and Instagram followers, for example, video initiatives receive high numbers of shares and views. According to HubSpot's State of Video Marketing report, 76 percent of marketers say that video content has increased traffic to their website.
Shaving startup Harry's has a great example of engaging video marketing. This short video introduces consumers to the brand, sets a lighthearted and playful tone, and informs potential customers about the company's origins in an engaging snapshot. The company smartly embedded it directly on its website as well as shared it on social media.
There are plenty of videos you can include in this strategy, including brand videos, short social media clips, advertisements, informational, about and demonstrations. What's more, if it fits your brand, go a step further and offer webinars. This will digitally engage customers, provide high value to consumers and even give you the chance to collect emails, which can help you with step three above.
5. Advertise online.
While organic, non-paid strategies that drive traffic are every brand's dream, sometimes, you just can't beat advertising. Luckily, we've moved past the days of billboards and Mad Men campaigns. Instead, look to unique advertising tactics such as retargeting and remarketing.
According to ReTargeter, only 2 percent of websites convert on the first visit. Both retargeting and remarketing rely on cookies, which are dropped on browsers, to follow users around the web. Retargeting then serves consumers ads for your website, encouraging them to revisit the destination. Meanwhile, remarketing sends users a curated email based on their activity on your website.
Although search engine optimization is effective and all businesses with an online presence should invest in it, SEO isn't the end-all, be-all when it comes to driving traffic to a professional website. By investing in social media, guest blog posts, regular email marketing, video content and digital advertising, you'll be sure to increase site traffic without the outright competition that comes with SEO keywords.