3 Easy Ways To Boost Organic Traffic
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work on hundreds of websites over the years. Now, I spend a significant portion of my time sharing my learnings and data with the world through this blog, my social media, this popular podcast, and monthly web events. Because of this, I’m constantly asked by friends and listeners for help. Everyone hopes that I will be able to take a little time to help them boost organic traffic or market their website.
To even my OWN FAMILY, my answer is always the same. You don’t need me. You can do this all yourself, it’s not that hard if you take the time to collect the right data and learn more about quality site marketing practices.
I understand the sentiment that many would rather just outsource this stuff, but the truth is that — as a site owner or employee of a digital publishing property — you have unique intellectual capital about your site(s) that is rare. This is a huge advantage if you’re able to do some of these things yourself.
That’s why I’ve listed 3 really easy ways to boost organic traffic in just 3 weeks below. These are some of the things I tell my friends to start with when they ask for help…
1.) Move your site to HTTPS by adding an SSL
This is really basic and really inexpensive, but often scares people off, because it seems too technical. I promise that it’s not and that there is enough free direction all over the internet that can help just about anyone make it through the process.
We recently had a publisher share his step by step experience moving his site to HTTPS right here on the blog. You may have also heard this referred to as adding an SSL to your site.
Why? HTTPS ranks better in search engines like Google; as those sites are more secure. Google has talked about this at length. In my experience, most sites see a small uptick in search performance about a week after implementing HTTPS on their sites that builds over the course of a month (check out how one of my sites did after implementation in the screenshot above).
If you are worried about “redirects”, don’t be. It is actually a really easy, spreadsheet-free process. You can use WordPress, your host, or even your htaaccess file to force the HTTPS redirect on all pages and you won’t have a single problem. You can also do a find and replace on all http links you may have embedded on your site.
You may already have this implemented. If so, move on to the next tip.
2.) Speed up your site across the world with a CDN
Several years ago I worked for a global company that had a website with 7 different translations on it. They marketed their site all over the world, yet still generated the majority of their traffic in the U.S. They really struggled to understand why they didn’t rank well globally for many of their terms they had invested so much in.
Unfortunately, the site was not particularly fast already, and by not having a CDN (content distribution network) their site was even slower in many of the countries they were trying to reach.
A CDN helps cache your content all over the world so that people accessing it remotely from the other side of the globe can access it as fast as someone accessing it near your central server. It is a cheap addition to any site and is a must-have for all large publishers (or anyone hoping that people outside your country of origin will read your content). There are a ton of providers out there but we like CloudFlare a lot.
Pagespeed is a direct ranking signal for many search engines, and if your site is kind of slow in your country of origin, you better believe it is much slower in places thousands of miles away. Additionally, as mobile traffic makes up a larger and larger percentage of your overall traffic, this is becoming more and more important.
The caveat to this is that many think that because they run their site through a Page Speed Tools app and get a good score that their site must be fine everywhere. Unfortunately, this isn’t how site speeds really work. You can read more about pagespeed and rankings here.
To wrap up my story about that global site that struggles with international traffic, I implemented a CDN on that site and was able to boost organic traffic on translated pages by approximately 125% in just 3 weeks.
3.) Optimize your images instead of using a plugin
This is another easy pagespeed hack. In many cases, sites and content creators are relying on WordPress plugin’s or other CMS tools to compress images in content. The problem with this is that these tools can only do so much.
If an image is 800kb and is compressed 50% it is still 400kb (way too big for the web). This is the reason why many of the Google page speed suggestions always include “optimize images” as a recommendation. People often assume they simply can’t get their images any smaller without damagin quality, but the truth is, you almost always can.
The best way to do this is by using Photoshop and “saving the images for web”. If you don’t have Photoshop, I really like this free tool that provides a lot of the same options.
I’ve seen pages move from page 2 to page 1 in search results in a matter of days simply from making this change. It is a nice easy fix. I encourage large publishers to do this starting on some of their highest trafficked pages to start with. There’s a chance it could move you further up results, and on page one, every spot is a pretty good boost in monthly traffic.
Those are 3 easy ways to boost organic traffic
Hopefully, at least one of those can work for your site. If you’re already doing all of these things, I’m sorry.