Since my speciality is organic traffic, it seemed fitting that my inaugural blog post should explain what it is actually is, and why your business should target it. Plus, I’ve been asked all the questions answered below by clients at some point or another so this should also serve as a great little Q&A.
If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a contact form so I can shoot you back an answer and add it for future readers.
Now let’s jump in:
What Is Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site via channels that you did not have to pay to access or receive traffic from. This means that your visitors are earned not bought, and that they have arrived at your site due to the value you offer perfectly aligning with the solution they’re hunting. Or, in other words, a search engine or other medium decided that your content would be useful to them.
Where Does It Come From?
As a general rule, the majority of your organic traffic will come from search engines. This is why SEO is important for your business.
When your content is valuable to your target demographic, informative in nature and properly put together, you’ll naturally rank higher in search engine results, therefore boosting your chances of bringing a lead to your site in this manner.
Why Is It Important?
Because of the way organic traffic is acquired, it offers the best long term sustainability and ROI. Once you’re ranked highly for a search term, your only continued investment is ensuring that your content remains relevant and useful to users searching for that term. This means that although it takes longer to reach the front page of search engines through SEO than it does via paid channels, the long term cost will be much lower, therefore greatly improving ROI.
How Do I Get Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic is earned. There are no shortcuts with SEO and the only way to do well in this category is to consistently create quality content that serves the needs of your target demographic. While there are certainly other factors that contribute to SEO, you could have every other point perfect and it won’t make any difference if your copy and content aren’t useful to your audience.
The simplest way to get more organic traffic is to regularly published useful content and make sure that all your on-page copy is optimised for both user experience and SEO. This is usually achieved by having a blog on your site and reviewing your page copy regularly to ensure that it aligns with your brand, products and services, while also providing users with a clear idea of what they can expect from you.
Is Organic Traffic More Valuable Than Paid?
The importance placed on each form of traffic within your business will depend on the way in which you operate. Generally, however, organic traffic will convert more efficiently as those who come to your site through organic channels are often arriving with more defined intentions. For example, if you are running an ad through Google, you can target a wide audience easily, but they may not necessarily be searching for exactly what you have to offer. Organically, however, results are served based on which content the search engine’s AI believes will be most valuable to the searcher. This leads to higher conversions as by selecting your specific link, the visitor is indicating that their intent directly aligns with your offer.
Is Organic Traffic Actually Free?
The answer to this one is both yes and no.
While the traffic itself is “free”, you do still have to invest time and effort into building up a content base that will bring organic traffic to your site. This requires you to either invest in learning the necessary skills yourself, pay the wage of an employee skilled in this area, or engage the paid services of someone like myself.
The good news is that over time, as noted above, organic traffic still provides the best ROI and sustainability across the life of your website.
Why Does My Search Traffic Fluctuate?
Bringing organic traffic to your site is an art form that is dependent on a lot of variables. Unlike paid advertisements, your organic listing is not guaranteed to come up for your chosen keywords. Google and other search engines serve organic listings to users that they believe the content will be helpful for, not to users you have chosen to target. This means that the user’s search history, perceived intentions and many other data touch points will be considered when organic listings are selected. Due to this, your organic traffic flow with differ from day to day as users are hunting different solutions on a daily basis.
Large fluctuations could be a sign of underlying issues within your site, but if your traffic differences are minor, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Traffic will go up as new content is created (as long as it is relevant to your target audience), when existing pages are updated to better reflect your identity and as your domain authority grows. This is a good way to see how your new content is performing over time, however, you’ll hardly ever see an instant spike as SEO takes time to work.
If you are experiencing a significant drop in traffic, it could be a good idea to go back and see what changes have been made recently as reassess their implementation.
But Won’t I Just Be Outranked By Someone Who Uses Keyword Stuffing?
Short answer: No.
It is true that back when search engines like Google were first born, they ranked sites based on the amount of instances of a certain word in a piece of content. These days, however, search is based on user experience and the relevance of what you’ve created to the searcher’s query.
In fact, it’s actually super bad practice to keyword stuff and will hurt your rankings. If your keyword naturally appears multiple times, like mine does within the questions answered in this article for instance, that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re throwing it in repeatedly just to get Google’s attention, you’ll grab it, but not in the way you’d hoped.
Is Social Traffic Organic?
Although your analytics platform of choice will most likely define “social traffic” as a separate metric, many visitors that come to your site from a social platform can still be considered organic. Defining whether a user has come to your site via a social post or ad will take a little more effort than simply scanning the overview for the social section of your analytics report. Once you’ve dug a bit deeper you’ll be able to clearly identify which users have arrived due to advertisements you’re running, and which can be consider organic.
Is Organic Traffic Dead?
I get asked this a lot more often than you would think, but the answer is still no.
Organic traffic is the main way in which users find useful information, and as such, it will never die. Plus, organic is a relatively broad umbrella so even if you’ve never optimised a page in your life, you’ve probably gotten organic traffic in one way or another.
On the other hand, it is certainly possible for a specific site to see a crash in their organic traffic, as noted above, which can lead the owner to believe that it is dead. Luckily, this can be fixed as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort (or drop some dollars from your budget to have someone like me do the work for you).
Why Don’t I Have Any Traffic?
This one usually follows after the ‘is organic traffic dead’ question once I explain to clients that it’s not actually possible for this type of traffic to die.
Generally the answer to this is one is that you’re still too new to have established any rankings or authority with search engines. Being presented to your audience doesn’t just magically happen the second you create your site. In fact, Google deliberately keeps new sites somewhat hidden until it can verify their credibility (this is often referred to as being stuck in the sand box). As your site grows older and you establish a stronger content base, you will naturally see an increase in search traffic. Until you reach this point, however, your best bet is to have a strong social strategy that allows you to get traffic flowing. You can also invest in advertisements to speed up the process if you have the budget to do so.
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