Generating Organic Web traffic isn’t rocket science, but for some reason people still don’t ‘get it’. Thus, I’m assuming that organic traffic generation is a secret – perhaps the worst kept one. You want to know how to generate constant, ongoing, traffic without purchasing cost per click ads or engaging in elaborate link-building schemes? Here’s the ‘secret’…

Content, Content, Content

Yep, the best way to get organic traffic to your web site is to create and publish content. Here’s some of the things your content should be:

  • Original
  • Unique
  • Long lasting
  • Relevant
  • SEO Optimised
  • Keyword researched
  • Optimal Length
  • Linkable
  • Planned

Let’s break down the important ones…

Original and Unique

Consumers are overwhelmed with choices of content to consume. Everywhere you look, there are a million options being pushed in your face. You need to stand out from this, and produce content that is original and unique. By doing this, you aren’t directly competing with anyone else. You have your own unique perspective and take on things, so make sure that shines through the content.

Long Lasting / Evergreen Content

Evergreen is a term used in the publishing business used to describe content that is everlasting, or perpetually relevant. These can be published all year long, because they have no expiration date. As tempting as it is to ride the wave of timely content to get an influx of hits, you really should be focusing a lot of time and energy on content that will still reap results years down the track.

The thing about Evergreeen Content SEO is that it may not take off immediately. I see this all the time. However, a few months down the track it starts to get traction and just keeps building momentum as it goes up the rankings in Google.

Keyword Research and Content Optimisation

Every article you write should start off with a bit of simple keyword research. For me, that is typically done in two parts:

The first bit of research I do is scrolling through the Google Webmaster Tools list of keywords. This shows me the pages I am already ranking for in Google, and their Click Through Rates (CTR). If there are pages in there with a high number of impressions but a low CTR, I go and search for that term and see how my site appears. Often, I find that the content appearing there isn’t quite targeted perfectly for the search query. The process is now simple: write an article that is better targeted to that search query and wait for it to rank.

The second part of research I do is using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This allows me to enter a list of search terms and view their search volume and competition. Entering a lot of variants of the same keyword allows me to see which keywords are more sought after. I can use this information to determine the perfect heading and main keywords to use in an article.

Yes, this is a bit of a manual process but it pays to do your research before investing the time into actually creating the content. This allows the writing to be more focused and thus more likely to bear fruit.

Optimal Article Length

There is no formula to determine the length of your content. Some people can write thousand word essays, and others struggle for a few hundred words. I say go with your gut. Make sure what you are communicating is clear, concise and to the point. But also make sure that the readers aren’t left disappointed by too much withheld information.

It’s also a lot about the style of content you are producing. If it’s a daily thought, such as those from Phil Cooke and Seth Godin, then you can expect to write a lot less. If it’s content designed to provide detailed information on a topic, then of course you’ll need to write more.

I say as a minimum aim for 300 words, purely to show the search engines you are serious. After that, it’s up to you.

Linkable Content (a.k.a Link Bait)

These days when someone says Linkbait, I think BuzzFeed, and all those other “listicle” sites padded out by irrelevant animated GIFs. That’s not necessarily what you want to aim for with your content, but there is a lesson or two to learn from these giants. Ensure you have a catchy title – something that is just screaming out to be clicked and shared. Wikipedia has a really good list of attributes of Linkable Content:

  • Informational hooks – Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience from which readers can benefit.
  • News hooks – Provide fresh information and obtain citations and links as the news spreads.
  • Humor hooks – Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be effective link bait.
  • Evil hooks – Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
  • Tool hooks – Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.
  • Widgets hooks – A badge or tool that can be placed or embedded on other websites, with a link included.
  • Unique content hooks – This hook is intended for people that are in need of unique content or articles for traffic or AdSense revenue. This became popular after Google implemented Duplicate Contents Filter and sites with duplicate contents saw fall in traffic. To use this hook, you have to create unique content and give it out to bloggers and webmasters with an obligation to link back to your site.
  • Curated hooks – A content that links out to other websites by citing them as resources naturally attracts linkers and have high chances of going viral as the mentioned sites in the link bait are most likely to link to the site and share it through their own networks.
  • Infographics – A visual to show aggregated information people will find interesting enough to link to.

Source: Wikipedia article on Link Bait

Content Planning

Lastly, ensure your publishing schedule isn’t “when I remember” or “whenever I feel like it”. For new sites aiming to get 10,000+ uniques a month I suggest publishing a main article once a week and a smaller additional article every few weeks. This should be adhered to for at least several months, preferably six, before you start to see any real traction. The good news is that traffic tends to snowball after this period. If you’re in more niche markets, then you’ll need to publish more content more frequently.

I’ve used this schedule myself for several websites, all with reasonable results. The good news is that with each site you start it generally gets easier to find inspiration for content. Using this website as an example, I’ve been going at it for almost 12 months now. I didn’t get over 100 unique visitors in a day for the first five months. In that time I published about 40 articles. In the next six months I’ve only done about 20 more, but I’ve seen the traffic grow 250% over that first period.

Getting started is always the hardest, so once you break past that 12 month period you should start seeing huge results.