There are several effective strategies for growing your website’s organic search traffic which can be broken down into a few common approaches. These basic SEO strategies can be combined as part of a multi-pronged approach or selected individually as the main focus of the overall SEO strategy.
Long tail strategy: Create lots of pages that target long tail searches
A long tail strategy involves creating a lot of content to attract visitors who search for a wide range of low traffic keyword phrases. A long tail phrase can be several words or it can be one word, but it is better defined as having a low search volume. Long tail searches account for approximately 70 percent of total searches. While each keyword phrase may only attract a small number of visitors, in aggregate the traffic can be very significant. The more content you have, the more chances you have that an individual page is highly relevant for a given search query. Sites that have had success with a long tail approach include user generated and Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers which has a massive amount of content (often low quality) that is highly relevant to a high number of searches. The downside with creating a lot of low quality content is that your site’s Google overall rankings can be hurt due to Google’s Panda update which aimed to lower the rankings of poor quality content, so it is better to have “quality” long tail content. Long tail searches also tend to be very specific and result in a higher conversion rate (for example: black hightop nike basketball shoes).
Linkbait Strategy: Create linkworthy content to build site authority
Pages on a website that aim to convert visitors into customers don’t typically earn a lot of links because they are not very linkworthy. An example of this could be an unremarkable product page on an Ecommerce site. In order to improve the rankings of conversion pages, one approach is to create remarkable content on your site that can send linkjuice to your less interesting pages. For example, if you created a fascinating infographic or a great information resource that attracted a lot of links, you could pass linkjuice to your conversion pages with an internal link. Additionally, these content pages that earn links can help the site as a whole by increasing the link authority of the domain which can have a rising tide effect on all the pages on the site. An example of this is Wikipedia. Some pages on Wikipedia attract a ton of links and it has a strong internal linking structure that passes link juice throughout the site. As a result, a page about a trivial topic with little content can rank very highly in Google.
Optimize Strategy: Optimizing The Onsite Aspects of the Site
Optimizing the onsite or on-page elements of a website for SEO is typically the easiest aspect of SEO to execute because it is completely in your control. On-page SEO elements include putting the right keywords in the title tags, URL, H1 and H2 tags, image alt tags, internal anchor text, and text content. It can also include technical aspects like avoiding duplicate content, setting up an XML sitemap, and redirecting 404 error pages if they have external links.
Trusted Resource Strategy: Attract a lot of links by becoming an online authority in your field
If you can build one of the top sources for helpful or useful information in your industry you can attract a lot of links and quality search traffic. In the marketing industry a couple of marketing software companies, SEOMoz and Hubspot have become some of the top sources of information for online marketing. As a result they have attracted thousands of links, high rankings for very competitive keywords, and receive many thousands of monthly visitors. This strategy combines long tail strategy (creating a lot of content) with linkbait strategy (creating some remarkable resource content).
Image source: SEOMoz
Charles Sipe is Director of Search of Sparkplug Digital and helps companies implement their SEO strategy.