Small business websites can be tricky when it comes to finding ways to generate more organic traffic. After all, we aren’t talking about Hollywood gossip or hyper trendy products here.
We are typically talking about segments like law firms, professional services, carpet cleaners, and taxicab companies that are, for the most part, attempting to reach a hyper local customer base.
One of the primary ways you typically see small businesses take is to leverage paid advertising, both online and offline. For example, you’ll see law firms leverage Google Adwords pay per click marketing, or accounting firms invest in Google Express local paid advertising. In the offline world, you see the roadways lined with billboards and heavy investments in local newspaper advertising.
Unfortunately, none of the paid advertising methods help, in the long term, to build high quality growth in website traffic to your small or local business. After all, once you stop paying for your ad campaigns, your business is removed from the ad inventory and you are nowhere to be found.
The better route is to build traffic to your small business website through more organic methods such as blogging and social media posts. But this opens up a whole new set of problems for small and local businesses such as: who’s going to produce the content? what are we going to talk about? and ultimately who’s responsible for managing these campaigns?
Organic traffic from search and social is, by far, the more profitable route to take for building long term traffic to your website and a stronger brand for your small business. In fact, 84% of inbound marketers cite organic sources (blogging, SEO, social media) as rising in importance – according to HubSpot Statistics. This the result of experiencing huge downsides in paid traffic, and equally strong upsides in investing in organic traffic.
With this in mind, here’s 5 ways to get more organic traffic to your small business website from search engines and social media.
1 – Blogging For Your Business
Any inbound marketer you talk to about profitable, long term growth in traffic to a website, will more than likely mention blogging for your business as a means to growing traffic.
Let’s start with Google, and the value of search engine traffic. Google loves websites that are producing constant, high value research and information. When you look across your competitors, in any market or business category, the websites that are ranking the best and capturing the most traffic are those that are producing the most – and the best – high quality content on a consistent basis.
More high valued content means your website is probably more authoritative than anyone else in your business segment. This keeps Google’s crawlers coming back to your site more often, and associating high value content directly to your website.
This pattern or fresh content that provides value to your visitors, and Google’s association of indicators that point to high value content, will elevate your website in the search results for high value keyword phrases. All of this results in highly targeted and valuable traffic coming to your website.
The problem is, if you look across nearly all small business websites, even in the largest metro areas in the U.S., you will be hard pressed to find any who are producing high value content on their blogs on a consistent basis.
2 – Sharing Your Blog Posts in Social Media
In today’s environment of social media, and the number of hours per day people spend on their favorite social media apps, this is something that small businesses cannot ignore. It is safe to assume that 90% or more of your target audience is actively engaged in at least one of the more popular social networking sites. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, if you want to build traffic to your website and a stronger brand presence for your business, social media cannot be ignored.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to ensure you stay active in these social media platforms and provide ways for people to get to your website.
Each of the blog posts your publish on your blog are, in essence, a new piece of content for you to share on your social media platforms. Each of of your blog posts, once published, will have their own unique URL. This can be shortened using a service like Bit.ly, and then shared a link in a new social media post.
I like to use the title of the blog post as the content to share in the social update, and then use the shortened URL as the link to share along with the update. By including a link to your latest blog post in your latest social media post, you are automatically creating a doorway for new visitors to get back to your website.
One of our law firm clients has experienced a 354% increase in social media traffic to their website as a result of leveraging social media and simply sharing their latest blog post, along with a link, across all of their social media profiles.
This is also a great way to keep you motivated to produce more content on your blog. When you publish a new blog post, you know immediately that you have a new status update that you can publish across your social media profiles.
The more updates you make on your social media profiles that include links back to your website, the doorways you are creating for your connections on social media to click thru and get back to your website. The results can drive exponential increases in traffic to your website when your connections in social media start to comment, like, or share your social posts. The more people on social media share your status updates, the doorways are created to drive people back to your website.
3 – Leverage blog comments to build your audience & connect with visitors
Finally, now that we’ve talked about how a blog can drive traffic to your small business website, and the value of sharing those blog posts across social media with a link back to your posts, let’s continue this thought by talking about the value of the comment section within your blog posts.
Depending on who you talk to, some people don’t think it’s a good idea to include comments on your blog posts. The argument is they open the door to let people leave negative comments, or completely irrelevant comments, on your website. Although I understand the premise of this argument, from my personal experience, the upside value of comments far outweighs any of the downside arguments.
For example, when traffic to your website is growing as a result of high quality, informative blog posts, you are naturally attracting a higher quality audience to your website. As such, this “higher quality visitor base” will be much more likely to actually engage with your content. This can take the form of people adding value to your blog posts, or sharing an argument for or against the thoughts you shared in your post.
Either way, every new comment from a high quality visitor adds value to not only your own website, but also helps to build a more loyal fan base around your brand and more brand recognition for your business.
If comments on your blog posts take a negative, or disgruntled tone, you now have the benefit of getting feedback in the form of a perspective that you may not have considered previously. Not only could this provide value in the form of perspective, but it also opens the door for you to engage with the person who posted the comment, and the audience of visitors who later read through your comments. Visitors to your website and blog posts now have the advantage of not only hearing other people’s views, but they also get to see your response to this views. Collectively, this creates transparency to your audience and helps to build and grow your brand.
Positive comments equally drive value to your business and increased traffic to your website. The ability to leave a comment on your blog posts allows happy customers to say positive things about your business. Again, this opens the door for other visitors to your website to gain an equally valuable perspective about your business and your brand.
Every new comment on your blog posts should be considered an opportunity for your brand to engage with your audience. Regardless of whether the comment was positive or negative, it’s still an opportunity for your business to build your reputation one person at a time. Take this idea to a new level, and you are creating the opportunity to build your brand to all of the future visitors who will come to your blog posts and read all of your comments. In this way, you should look at the comment section of your blog posts as a way to invest in the brand authority of your business.
Finally, more comments creates more supporting content to your original blog post. Let’s say wrote a 500 word blog post on a subject that’s relevant to business, products, or services. If you generate another 250 words in comments from your audience of readers, your blog post just went from 500 words in length to 750 words. The word count can definitely play a role in Google determining the relevance and authority of that particular blog post.
The other benefit to new comments on your blog posts is the increased frequency of content being updated on that particular page within your website. Again, each new blog post is, in essence, a new page within your website, adding to the total inventory of pages that make up your website. By having new comments on your blog posts, you are increasing the rate at which content on your blog posts is updated with new, fresh content. When new content in the form of comments are added to your blog post, Google will come back to crawl, index, and account for this new content, further enhancing the relevance factors associated with your website.
Better yet, if you are using a blogging platform such as WordPress, there’s ways to create social media sharing and distribution of each and every comment. Further expanding the influence of social media to drive new traffic back to your website.
In summary: more website traffic
When it comes to generating more high quality content to your website there are no magic bullets, unless you chose to go the route of paid online advertising such as Google Adwords or Facebook marketing. But again, there are no longer term value attributes with paid methods, so to speak, because once you stop paying, your online presence is gone with nothing to fall back on.
One of the best ways to increase website traffic is through the use of a blog. Producing original, high quality, informative content that your visitors actually find valuable, will pay huge dividends in increased traffic over the long term.
Each new blog post you create not only will drive increased traffic from search engines such as Google, but you can take each of these posts and share them across your social media profiles. Each time you share your blog posts in social media with a link back to your post, you create new doorways for people to enter, and in turn drives more traffic to your website. When people on social media share, like, or comment on your posts, this exponentially increases the number of doorways to your website.
Finally, including comments on your blog posts is a great way to engage your audience and gain valuable feedback on your business, products, and services. Comments also create more content on your blog post page, and the new comments keeps Google coming back to your website (i.e. blog post) to crawl that new content (in the form of a comment). In the long term, this allows your website to become more authoritative in your niche, and has a compounding effect of increased traffic to your website.