Organic traffic is essential to the long term growth of your website. Paid traffic has the decidedly important problem that, when the money runs out, so does the traffic. You need the organic traffic, be it from search, mailing lists or backlinks, to keep your site running.
At some point, you’ve done all of the easy optimizations and you’re stalling out with your traffic. Your growth has halted, or is increasing at a miniscule rate. You have to decide what your next move is, and hope it’s one that can get you growing again.
I’ve prepared six possible options; investigate them and see if they’re areas in which you can improve your site, your blog posts, or your user experience.
1. Provide the best answer to a clear, common question
Check out this Google search results page. What you see here is a simple question in the search bar, in this case, “How to retweet.” You see a list of websites relevant to that question. More importantly, you see a large box with instructions and a link.
What’s notable about this box? It’s in a primary position above all of the organic search results, which is great for SEO. It’s like being featured in position #0, above even #1. It’s not sponsored, so it’s not subject to ad blindness. It has a little preview image, though that’s not present in all such results.
The most important thing about this box is the URL. Did you notice? It’s a LinkedIn page. It’s not a Twitter page, even though Twitter certainly has an FAQ that explains that exact process.
This is your goal. Identify common questions and become the best possible resource to answer them. At the very least, you’ll end up high in the search results. At best, you’ll end up in a featured box and your traffic will shoot through the roof.
2. Build relationships with interested bloggers with relevant sites
This is less of an SEO technique and more of a social hack. What you want to do is identify a few of the more influential people in your industry who run blogs and who are liable to actually interact with you. I know in some industries, the top-level influencers are aloof enough that you can’t reach them without being a high-tier influencer yourself.
Once you’ve identified a few likely targets, start to interact with them. Tweet at them, link to them in posts as resources, curate content from their sites, and generally act as though you respect them and like what they do.
Once you’ve been interacting with them in this sort of passive way for a while, you can start to communicate more directly. Ask them questions, talk to them, be their friend. Once you’re part of their circles, they’ll pay more attention to you. That’s when you strike!
By strike, here, I mean continue being their friend and continue producing quality content. Ideally, your new friends will link to your content the same way you link to theirs, and you’ll earn quality links that boost your SEO and give you additional traffic.
3. Pay attention to LSI more than keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, and it’s the way Google has been developing its algorithm in order to parse meaning more than just index words.
What LSI means, primarily, is that specific keywords are on the way out. It’s also a way of combating article spinning. Google understands synonyms and similar phrases, and looks for them in content.
LSI also looks at the context around keywords. When you’re writing about a given topic, you’ll expect to use certain words and phrases relating to that topic. They aren’t your keywords, but they exist, and they give context to the post.
Google wants you to write about topics, and it will use keywords to identify the topic of content, but it doesn’t want you focusing on keywords over the quality if your content. It’s always better, now, to just use keywords to guide your topic and produce as much value as you can.
4. Use competitive topics as tools, not as discouragement
This one is simple. Whenever you’re doing research for a topic and you see a good post already written about that topic, don’t worry about it. A lot of times, bloggers will try to find niche topics that don’t have high competition, just to make sure they can get a chunk of the meager traffic.
Instead, what I say you should do is use that content as inspiration. Use it as the basis for making your own better content. Adopt the attitude that “anything they can do, I can do better.” Do it better, and supplant the current top ranked pages.
5. Create a custom mobile site design
At this point, it’s common knowledge that a huge percentage of Internet users use mobile, and a growing percentage are using exclusively mobile devices for their browsing needs. Since the Mobilegeddon, Google has even taken mobile into account and is trying to push webmasters in the right direction.
I’m not here to argue that you should have a mobile site; you already know that. What I’m arguing is that you need a custom mobile design that reaches above the legions of other sites that just feed text into a “make your website responsive” tool and let it go to work.
A custom design gives you the freedom of creating the perfect user experience, plus it makes your content more available and more sharable. More exposure, plus more tools to get more exposure, means more traffic.
6. Consider translating your content into other languages
Neil Patel did this as an experiment; he took the 30 or so pages he had on his site and translated them into 60 other languages. This resulted in over 1,000 indexed pages, which is pretty good for a site with only 30 English pages.
Here’s the cool part; Google automatically parses the language and provides the content to the appropriate user, based on things like that user’s settings and their location. This means Neil now catches users coming from a variety of different countries, not to mention multilingual Americans. It’s not even segregated to foreign versions of Google; it’s all through Google.com.
If you’re concerned about the effort required to create viable translations, well, you’re right to be concerned. Well-localized content is difficult to create, so you need to put effort into it. Thankfully, there are some very good plugins for WordPress to do exactly that for you. They’re more effective the less content you have, though, so beware trying to slap 60 language translations on to a site with thousands of pages.