seo strategies more google traffic

Image credit: Bruce Clay

SEO Strategies For More Traffic & Rankings in Google

One thing I’m passionate about is talking with business owners and digital media managers about ways they can increase their traffic exponentially in Google.  I’m not talking about paid traffic from sources like Google Adwords or Facebook ads.  Those are like sink faucets that you can turn on an offer at will, with the downside of having to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the traffic… and in most cases, paid traffic doesn’t stick, which means there’s virtually no long term residual value other than building your brand.

In most cases, I prefer to talk about organic search

That is, traffic that’s pouring into your website from people who are searching in places like Google for your business name, or the products and services you offer.

Organic search traffic represents the absolute highest quality traffic because:

  1. These are people who are making a conscious decision to type something into Google.
  2. Because of their conscious act to search, they are (for one reason or another) interested in you or what you have to offer.

The other reason I favor focusing on organic search traffic is because for most websites, large and small, the majority of the traffic is coming from organic search engines, and mostly from Google.

Looking back over the last 10 years or so of having these conversations, both with clients and non-clients alike, I’m able to see a pattern in the tips and tactics I share.

And in this post, I’d like to share 5 of the most common SEO tactics I tell other people when advising them on how to increase traffic exponentially from the Google organic search results.

1)  Focus on building your brand

When it comes to growing traffic to your website, you have to think in terms of building your brand vs. building your business.  This may sound strange at first, but let me explain what I mean.

When you focus on building your business, you’re focused almost exclusively on generating revenue right here and right now.  This mindset will blind you to the long term benefits of brand building.

If I could show you the Google Analytics reports for some of our enterprise level (corporate) clients, you’d be amazed to see that the majority of the organic search coming to their website is coming from people who are typing their brand name into the search bar, not necessarily the products or services.

This is especially true when (again, typically larger, enterprise level clients) you are allocating a large budget on pay per click marketing.  Most SEM (search engine marketing) campaigns are focused on brand building, even though the campaigns are targeting at the keyword level.

And the more you spend on pay per click, the more you end up building your brand recognition.  And this always translates into people turning back to Google and clicking through to your website from the organic search results.

2)  Site Segmentation

Your website is made of up more than just your homepage and a ‘contact us’ page.  You probably have a website with pages that feature your products and services, testimonials, about us, etc… as well.  If you are an enterprise level business, you could easily have a website with 100,000 pages or more.

Regardless of the size and scope of your website, you need to think in terms of site segmentation and hierarchy structure.

Let’s say your business sells 5 major products or services, with perhaps many different sub-categories underneath.

Effective site segmentation means you need to identify what we call “top tier pages” and “low tier pages”.

Top tier pages:  

Top tier pages would be the pages that are, in essence, the homepage for one of your specific products or services.  In other words, what would be the first page you want someone to visit if they were interested in one of your products and services (besides your homepage)?  This main page representing that individual product or service is the top tier page.

Low tier pages:  

Underneath your top tier page comes your low tier pages.  The low tier pages are all of the other pages that either talk about your top tier product or service, or are sub-products or services that fall under your top tier page.

Proper site segmentation means you organize your website in a way that clearly defines what your most important, or most profitable, products and services are first, and then all other sub-pages fall under that.

The most common way to handle site segmentation is through the use of site navigation by either placing drop down menus for your low tier pages that fall under your top level navigation for your top tier pages.

3)  Silo Structures

Silos represent one of the most powerful strategies in SEO, and not surprisingly, the most underutilized.

The simplest way to describe a silo structure is to have a target page, with many supporting pages linking up to the target page.

** Bruce Clay has some great content on silos and website structuring.

For example, let’s say I sell Kobe Bryant basketball sneakers, and I want this page to rank in Google for the most relevant keyword phrases for this product.

I would obviously have my landing page where I sold the sneakers, and this would represent my target page.

But now I need to figure out how to get this page to start competing in Google for my targeted keyword phrases.

And this is where the silo structure comes into play.

I would start by building out 5 pages of content, each talking about a different element of the Kobe Bryant basketball sneakers.  I might have one page that talks about Kobe himself and his history.  And then another that talks about the styles of sneakers he’s worn over the years, etc…

Each of the sub-topical pages of content would make up the body of the “Kobe Bryant basketball sneaker” silo, and within each of these pages, I would link up to the target page.

What’s interesting with the silo structure is how you do not link down to do the silo / supporting pages from your top level page – you are only linking up from the silo / supporting pages to the target page.

This creates a one-directional linking relationship between the supporting pages and the dominant top level page.

When Google crawls and indexes these sets of pages, the crawlers will see the 5 pages of related content that are all linking up to the top level page, but not from the top level page down to the 5 supporting pages.

This creates buoyancy in the top level page because Google sees the “many to one” relationship in the structure.  Meaning, there are many pages that are all linking up to this one page.

To reinforce the silo structure further, I then would link all 5 of the supporting pages together through the use of hyper links with the content.

In the end, you have a top level page that acts as your main landing page for a particular product or service, with many pages linking up to the top level page, and then also linking across to each other.

This internal / cross linking creates a strong association at the topical level, and then by linking up to the top level page, creates buoyancy in your main landing page.

And when I say “buoyancy”, what I mean is strength in the search results in Google.

The stronger your silo structure, and the more definitive your hierarchy, the better you’ll position your top level pages to compete in the search results.

This strategy is critically important for hyper competitive keyword phrase markets.  The more competitive your keyword phrases, the more reinforcement you’ll need with silo structures and strength in brand.

4)  Blogging for business

I know, you almost cringe when you hear the word ‘blogging’, but we cannot talk about driving increased traffic from organic search results without mentioning the relevance of blogging.

Look at any major brand on the web today, and you’ll see a strategic implementation of content production.

Google favors websites that produce fresh content on a consistent basis.  This is indicative of a website that’s active and vibrant, and strong contributor to their specific business category.

The most effective way to integrate a blog into your overall business strategy is to make the blog a part of your main business website.  You can do this by either creating a sub-domain ‘blog.yourwebsite.com’ or a sub-directory ‘yourwebsite.com/blog’.

By making the blog a part of your overall website hierarchy, you are helping to reinforce your brand from the frequent publishing of new pages (or blog posts).

And remember, the most effective blogs are those that provide valuable information to your readers where the content is all about “them”, not “you”.

Additional reading:  21 Reasons To Start A Blog For Your Business

5)  Link building

Here’s the part that really throws people off when I talk to them about link building strategies.  For some reason, everyone is so fixated on building links back to their websites.  But in reality, the most effective link building strategy is not thinking about building links, but rather focus on building a high quality website and blog that visitors find valuable and informative.

The more valuable and informative your website or blog becomes, the more you’ll naturally attract backlinks to your website.  And it’s these “naturally acquired” links that provide the most fuel to drive increased traffic from the organic search results.

In fact, by going out and manually building links back to your website, you will more than likely hurt your rankings in the long term because Google’s algorithm has become so refined, they are able to detect even the most sophisticated link building schemes.

In conclusion

There are a lot more strategies of course, but these are the 5 SEO tactics I find myself talking about most when it comes to increasing traffic and rankings in Google organic search.

Heck, I even had someone ask me the other day, what’s a backlink?

And even though there are many other important factors you’ll need to focus on, especially if you want to compete with the big brands like Nike, these 5 strategies are great place to start.

And if you master these 5 strategies and implement them effectively into your website, you’ll more than likely outrank 97% of your competitors in Google.

Outranking the other top 3% will come down to execution and the strength of your brand.

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