Whether you’re new to the block or a veteran marketer, you conceptually know that the first step in any successful inbound strategy is to attract strangers to visit your site. But actually putting it into practice can be hard. You're worried about lots of other things like getting bottom-line results or keeping up with the latest marketing trends, so it's easy to forget about that initial step.
But it shouldn't be the forgotten part of your marketing. The key to making it a priority in your marketing strategy is to stop believing that generating traffic is impossible. Increasing website traffic and visitors isn't like playing roulette -- there are a few tried-and-true ways people do it. To make sure you're in-the-know on these tips, we’ve broken down some of the best ways you can generative traffic to your website in the post below.
1) Optimize your website for "searchers."
When you hear the term “SEO” or “search engine optimization,” who do you think that implies you should be optimizing your site for? Well, I’ll give you a hint: it’s not search engines. In fact, great websites aren’t optimized for search engines -- they’re optimized for the people using search engines.
But here’s the good news: Search engines consider sites optimized for searchers to be fully optimized, as well. So by optimizing your website for the actual people coming to visit it, you’re killing two birds with one stone and simultaneously optimizing it for search engines, as well.
So when you think about creating a website experience that will attract more visitors to your site, be sure you’re first thinking about the searchers themselves. What do they want to see? What are they looking for help with? How can you best serve them? If you create a website optimized for searchers, search engines will follow.
2) Create content using the right keywords.
Your keywords are like bridges. They're the reason anonymous searchers can get to your website. But in order for searchers to make the trek across those bridges and actually visit your site, they have to be interested in the content behind the search listing.
The best way to know what those searchers want is to know your personas -- since it’s your personas who are the searchers you’re trying to attract. Keywords focused on the problems that your personas face or the goals they’re hoping to achieve are what you should be creating content about. Why? Because people are actively looking for solutions to those problems. If you have content that helps solves their problems, searchers will find and visit your site.
3) Ensure your site provides a cognitively fluent experience.
Imagine you’re looking to find a lawyer to help you file a patent for your newest invention. You head over to Google and type “patent lawyers Boston MA” into the search bar.
Before you click "search," stop. What do you imagine those patent lawyers’ websites will look like? The picture in your head probably isn’t one of a cluttered site outfitted in neon colors and fun fonts. Instead, when you imagine what a good, trustworthy patent lawyers’ website might look like, it probably uses more muted tones, a cleaner font, and presents opportunities for you to explore the different services the practice offers probably comes to mind.
Sure enough, after you've done your research, the patent lawyer you end up hiring probably has a website that looks a lot like your initial cognitive concept of what a good lawyer’s website should look like.
This concept is known as cognitive fluency: websites that attract more traffic tend to present an experience that’s similar to visitors’ ideas of what the website should look like.
A simple fix to improve the cognitive fluency of your site is to actually ask your personas (usually your current customers) what they’d expect to see on a site like yours. What style and formatting do they expect? What content should be front-and-center? Then, if your website doesn't match their wishes, it might be time to look into additional website optimization strategies.
4) Write blog posts on topics people need answers to.
It’s not just website pages that can help you attract traffic to your site -- your blog can be one of the most powerful tools you have to get new visitors. Just as you should be optimizing your website pages around the keywords that your buyer personas are searching for, you should be doing the same thing with your blog posts. What are your personas’ most frequently asked questions? What are the problems they’re facing and are searching for help with out on the Internet? These are your blog post topics.
Write blog posts that are relevant to your personas and answer their questions so that when your persona searches these terms, your site appears in front of them. This will not only help to keep your website and business top-of-mind next time that searcher is looking for help, but it also aids in building trust with your potential buyers.
5) Create a separate post for each of your most relevant keywords.
Your keyword footprint is a little bit like your carbon footprint, except on the internet. Your keyword footprint is the catalog of keywords your website ranks for on search engines -- basically how big of a mark you leave on the internet. Unlike a carbon footprint, having a large keyword footprint is actually a very good thing! Why? Because having a large keyword footprint means your website ranks for and is associated with many different keywords -- and each of those keywords is an opportunity for your website to get discovered.
Because each blog post you write is viewed by search engines as its own individual website page, the more quality blog posts you write about the keywords that are most relevant to your persona, the more chances you have to rank for those keywords and show up on search engine result pages. Blog posts help grow your keyword footprint and thus your opportunity to get found and attract visitors to your site.
6) Publish blog content on a regular basis.
It’s not enough to just blog about keywords that are relevant to your personas: If you want to attract visitors to drive sustained traffic to your side, you have to keep blogging consistently.
In the 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, we found that businesses that blog daily are almost 70% more likely to report a positive return-on-investment than businesses that blog only once a month. What means for you is that blogging on a regular basis can produce big benefits -- benefits in the form of more visitors, leads, and even customers.
Blogging on a regular basis gives search engines a reason to crawl your website on a regular basis -- again, giving you more opportunities for those search engines to discover your pages, index them, and serve those pages up on search engine result pages.
7) Answer prospects’ questions on social media using blog content.
Have you ever seen someone asking for advice on Twitter or Facebook? Maybe they tweeted out a request for suggestions for a place to eat in your city, or posted a question about which toothpaste brand to purchase. What about someone asking a question in a LinkedIn group you belong to? Chances are, you have seen them ... but did you answer them?
What would you have done if someone asked you those same questions in person? Would you walk away and pretend you never heard them? No -- you’d answer them! You’d provide that person with the information they were looking for and act as a resource for them.
The same concept can work on social media: If a stranger or prospect is looking for help, don’t just skim over their comment or question -- help them! Seek out opportunities where your industry knowledge can be of assistance. Reply to social media posts and queries, but go one step further and include relevant blog articles or website pages in those responses. That way, those strangers and prospects not only get the help they were looking for, but you also get a new visitor to your website. As long as you're not just spamming people with links to your website -- you're actually helping them -- this can be a great tactic.
8) Monitor relevant keywords on social media and get involved if you can help.
You can’t share helpful content with strangers or prospects on social media if you don’t know they’re looking for it. So, use social media monitoring to keep an eye on those keywords most important to your business -- and see how you can help the people using them. (If you're a HubSpot customer using Social Inbox, you can even get alerts whenever people tweet these keywords.)
Listen on various social media networks for mentions of the biggest problems your persona face. When you see those conversations taking place, look for opportunities to get involved -- just like you would in the previous scenario when people were asking questions. By listening for the keywords that are most important for your business, you can contribute your two cents (and content) in the right place at the right time.
By following these simple strategies, you can attract the right strangers -- your buyer personas -- to visit your website. And once you have those visitors, well, it’s only a matter of time before you convert them to leads, nurture and close them into customers, and delight them into promoters. But remember: it all starts with having the right traffic.
Want to learn more about any of the tactics discussed above or dive deeper into other strategies for attracting the right visitors to your site? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free Inbound Certification program!
Originally published May 8, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017