93% of web experiences start with someone typing a query into a search engine. SEO can help potential customers find you online, but it can be expensive, depending on the competition.
That's where organic traffic is beneficial, as it's free and helps many new customers find your brand. Here, we present you with a comprehensive SEO checklist that will help you generate more organic traffic to your website and benefit from increased interaction and sales.
There are numerous aspects to developing organic traffic, and this checklist will help you to tackle what's necessary, step by step, and it all starts with your basic setup.
Step 1 - Establishing Your Basic Setup
Building a foundation for organic traffic success is essential. So, let's look at the steps that ensure Google knows what to look for on your website, and you can track your progress.
- Create a sitemap - This step helps search engines find important information on your website, allowing them to crawl and index your pages easily.
- Create a Robots.txt File - Robots.txt files give search engines information about where they can and can't go when crawling your site.
- Setup Google Analytics - Google Analytics 4 provides insightful data on how your visitors interact with your site, covering metrics like time-on-page and bounce rates.
- Setup Google Search Console - Google Search Console is a must-have webmaster tool that lets you track performance and see which keywords you're ranking for.
Step 2 - Doing Your Keyword Research
Keyword research allows you to identify the most profitable search terms to target. Using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, you'll need to find a primary keyword for each page on your website and blog post.
Long-tail keywords like 'laptop stores near me' are great for driving organic traffic, and you can find them using the tools above. Each keyword search will give you valuable data, like:
- Keyword difficulty score (how hard it is to rank for)
- Top 10 ranking pages for the keyword
- Search volume
What you must also focus on when looking for your keywords is search intent. By looking at the types of top-ranking pages for your primary keyword, you'll see what format is most popular, e.g. list posts, blog posts or videos.
It's best to stay consistent with the highest-ranking formats, as these posts are there for a reason, and you will struggle to rank, if you don't cater to the same need.
Step 3 - On-Page SEO
Another critical element of your organic traffic strategy is on-page search engine optimization (SEO). You can start by using a short yet descriptive so the reader can instantly tell what the page is about, such as yourdomain.com/best-laptops/.
You should create short URLs, as they rank better than long ones, and adding your primary target keyword can also help your efforts. The next task is to create a compelling meta description and title.
90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from GoogleAhrefs
It helps to put your primary keyword in the title and description. However, that shouldn't be at the expense of readability, as you're trying to entice the viewer to click. So, if adding the keyword to your title dilutes that message, it's best to leave it out.
Other on-page SEO actions include adding relevant internal and external links. By linking to pages with a high domain rating (DR), Google will rank you higher than sites that don't.
Also, add internal links to relevant pages via anchor texts. To find the most relevant pages on your website, type 'site:exampledomain.com' into Google, plus the keyword related to your post's topic.
Step 4 - Content Creation
Great content can be impactful when trying to drive organic traffic, and choosing a topic with high search potential is key. That said, any on-page SEO you do will be in vain if your content is not up to par. Here are a few essential elements to ensure your posts hit the high notes.
- An Engaging Introduction - Tells readers that they've come to the right place and your post will solve the problem that led them to look for topics like yours
- A Solution - An actionable solution in your content solves the reader's problem and builds trust and credibility - increasing the likelihood they'll return.
- Useful Insight - You need to offer something new they're not likely to have already read on competing posts. As such, include fresh advice above and beyond the obvious, e.g. if the post is about increasing productivity, don't just tell them they should work harder.
- Storytelling - Helping to create an emotional bond between brands and readers, storytelling provides context in a way that's relatable in a person's own life.
- A Call to Action (CTA) - On posts aimed at triggering a specific action (e.g. buying a product, signing up for a newsletter), make it easy to get involved with a clear CTA
As with the title, readability matters, so it should be your primary focus. The solutions you provide should be given in short, easily digestible paragraphs, as a wall of text can be overwhelming. It also helps to break up text with statistics, quotes and images.
Step 5 - Link Building
White-hat link-building is an SEO technique that involves linking to other relevant content on the web. However, it's not about begging. It's about offering links to something that someone will find helpful. A few practical ways to spread your shareworthy content include the following.
With this link-building approach, you evaluate potential sites from which to acquire links. You'll be assessing the site's quality and identifying the correct people to contact. A suitable method is to look at the top-ranking pages for your target keyword with your keyword tool.
Other metrics you can highlight with keyword tools are referring domains and backlinks. Take a look through the list that's generated and see if there are any relevant prospects.
Also known as "guest blogging", guest posting involves creating content for the website of another company within your industry to attract traffic back to your site. Both Google searches and social media are great places to find these opportunities.
As you add pages to your website, new technical SEO issues may slip past your focus, and the best approach is to focus on the domain level. Using site audit tools such as Screaming Frog and Google's PageSpeedInsights, you can search for these problems and fix them methodically.
Slow page speed is another common issue that can ruin your website's user experience. If your pages need optimization, you can take action, like:
- Reducing server response times
- Deferring off-screen images
- Removing unused CSS
Other technical SEO factors that need consideration include whether your website is mobile-friendly. Enter your URL into Google's test tool, and you'll get a rating.
Broken Links Lose You Customers
When a visitor clicks on a broken link and sees the dreaded 404 Error Page, it often leads to a lost customer. You want to utilize this valuable link equity, so use your site audit tools again to highlight links causing problems.
Running a scan will give you information on broken internal and external links that go nowhere. Each site will have different on-page SEO issues, so you should work through yours until you're clear.
Growing Your Business With Sustainable Organic Traffic
According to HubSpot statistics, over half of marketers use organic traffic to gauge the success of their SEO strategies. This checklist covers the fundamentals you must address if you want a good flow of new site visitors to see what you offer.
Organic traffic is more sustainable than paid options because it doesn't rely on marketing spend. It's also the truest measure of how your SEO strategies are performing.
Create great content, address your on-page and technical SEO and leverage the tools available to ensure Google knows everything about you. Then, your business can look forward to improved rankings, increased credibility and a constant stream of new customers.