SEO and Analytics

5 Reasons Why Organic Traffic Matters (and How to Get It)

March 22, 2018
By Pam Berg

Acquiring organic traffic is hard, we get it. With all those PPC peeps appearing above even the top organic result, putting effort into an organic search strategy can feel like a colossal waste of time.

We’re here to tell you that it’s not. Organic search traffic is still a vital part of your digital strategy! Your website needs organic visitors. Your business needs them, too.

Let’s talk about all the reasons organic traffic is awesome — and how to get it.

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic consists of visitors finding your website by typing words into a search box, and choosing your site or page from among the non-paid results on the search engine results page (SERP).

In Google Analytics, this traffic can be segmented from other types of traffic, including referral, direct, social, paid search, and email. Looking at your organic search traffic gives you a clear overview of how well your website is performing without advertising or other campaigns.

screenshot of organic traffic data in Google Analytics

Analyzing your organic traffic can help you identify and correct weaknesses in your website and your digital strategy. For example, if your organic search traffic coming from mobile devices has a high bounce rate, it’s time to look at your website’s responsiveness and user experience, and consider a mobile redesign.

If your Canadian organic traffic is constantly lower than non-North American traffic but your target audience region is Vancouver, you might need to invest time and energy into local SEO to appear in those local search results.

5 reasons organic search traffic matters

  1. It’s free. Okay, you’re likely investing in an SEO expert, copywriting whiz, and possibly even a video maestro to generate content that builds your organic search ranking and traffic. But at the end of the day, that new optimized content is a necessity — and the resulting organic traffic doesn’t require an additional advertising budget or efforts.
  2. It sends positive signals to search algorithms. Organic traffic often has a lower bounce rate, longer time on site, and more pages per session than traffic from social media or paid search. These are among the hundreds of signals that tell Google and other search engines whether your website is hot — or not.
  3. It drives new business. Unless you have a massive Rolodex, chances are your business can’t survive on referrals alone. Appearing high in search results, especially local ones, is how you can attract potential clients researching your product or service.
  4. It’s accessible. For small businesses and startups, budgets can be tight. If you don’t have a lot to invest in paid campaigns, you can still immediately start to build domain trust and climb the rankings through organic SEO.
  5. It’s a solid foundation. If your website can establish authority for the lower-competition keywords in your strategy, you can focus your current or future advertising budget on paid search campaigns around those tough-to-reach terms.

When you’re approaching your organic search strategy, don’t forget to consider both regular and voice search SEO. Local brick-and-mortar businesses, dining and entertainment establishments, CPG brands, and many others are implementing voice optimization strategies to nab those “Hey, Siri” searches.

Learn how to optimize your website for voice search right now!

How to increase your organic traffic

highway street sign pointing down over lanes with directions that read traffic and more traffic

Now you’re probably wondering how to increase organic sessions. Who doesn’t want more free traffic?

There are a lot of factors that can impact how you rank, and search signals are a constantly shifting landscape. Here is a starting list of key quality and optimization tweaks you can make that should help you climb higher in the search engine results, and get more organic traffic:

  1. Keyword strategy. Invest in keyword research, and perform proper search engine optimization on your current and new content. Regardless of how the algorithm is using them — currently it’s latent semantic indexing — they do help search engines categorize and rank your site and its content.
  2. New content. Search engines like Google use factors like recency or freshness, quality, and relevance to gauge how your page and your overall site rates compared to competitors for the same search terms. Generate new content around those keywords — remember, quality, not quantity — and analyze the data to ensure it’s finding traction.
  3. User experience. Speaking of quality, your website itself is packed with quality signals. Usability factors include load times, site structure, and navigation, assessed from data found in places like bounce rate, pages per session, exit rates, and time on site. Use these numbers and customer data, like heatmaps or pop-up surveys, to improve UX.
  4. Mobile accessibility. Google uses mobile-first prioritization, so your site needs to be responsive and user-friendly on mobile devices. A strong mobile UX is a necessity with current search behaviour, especially for brands targeting Millennials and Gen Z.
  5. Website updates. Hidden ranking signals you may not have thought about come from site security (SSL certificate, updated site and plugins), a current sitemap, Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages, and contact and footer details. Keep your digital home tidy with regular housekeeping!
  6. Backlinks. Although backlinks themselves drive referral traffic, a linking strategy with backlinks to and from authoritative sites seriously bolsters your site’s quality signals. Tap into their SEO juice: the more high-quality sites linked to you, the more trustworthy you are, and the higher you rank.
  7. Social signals. Even though social media traffic is its own segment, your ranking does take signals from social media. These include shares and engagement (get those share buttons on your content!), reviews, and even the presence of linked, active social accounts.
  8. Competitor analysis. We can’t say enough about the power of analyzing your competitors’ organic traffic and keyword strategies, and using them to elevate your own efforts.

Looking for more insights into your dashboard? Here are 10 Quick Lessons on How to Use Google Analytics!

Go forth, and get that free traffic! If your organic traffic is dropping, or if you just need a hand improving the numbers, we’re always happy to talk data.

Pam Berg

Pam has backgrounds in journalism, computer forensics, and public libraries, which add up to the perfect mindset for digital strategy. She's been a professional content writer for over 20 years, and working with clients in SEO and analytics for 8 years. Her Instagram feed is equal parts horses, waffles, and drag performers.

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