How to Use SEO to Bring Traffic to Your Website

April 14, 2014

No matter what stage your company is in – large or small, long-standing or newly emerging – a strong online presence is key to your continued success. You know that, so you built a user-friendly website that will establish your place in the market, collect leads, and drive sales. Then, you sit back and wait for the traffic to stream in … 

And nobody comes.

So, how do you bring people to your website? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO), or optimizing your website to appear in top search results for relevant searches. In the past, there were ways to do this quickly and effortlessly. No longer.

The SEO space is changing, and Google is leading the change. These days, Jayson DeMers of Entrepreneur points out, “shady link-building tactics, poor quality content and bad design are just a few of the factors causing websites to get penalized.” Not sure if your website’s being penalized? You may want to add Google Webmaster Tools to your website, and check out the Google Webmaster guidelines.

Don’t worry, you can still use SEO to drive traffic to your website and strengthen your position in today’s competitive landscape. Incorporate these four key elements into your SEO strategy, and you’ve got a recipe for success:

1. Brand Building

Everyone has a story. Find out what parts of your story make your company unique and resonate with your target audience. Tell your story in a way that invites your audience to engage with you in a positive way. Demonstrate your expertise by establishing your place as a thought leader.

2. Mobile Optimization

Websites that work well on mobile devices rank better. In addition, your customers are going mobile – half of Americans own smartphones and more than a third own tablets according to Pew Internet. Make the most of this trend with responsive design and a mobile content strategy.

3. Content Marketing

Create content that is tailored to your customers’ needs and behaviors. Focus on driving results. As content marketing matures, there are more and more tools to measure the effectiveness of your content and identify opportunities to improve results. To start, implement Google Analytics on your site to see how your customers are interacting with your site and where they spend the most time.

4. Social Media

Strong social media engagement amplifies your reach by indicating to search engines that users find your content valuable. Shares and mentions, particularly via Google Plus, help drive real SEO results. Develop a social media marketing strategy and implement it in a way that makes it easy for people to share your content.

As you develop your web and SEO strategy, remember that each piece relies on the others. Combine brand building, mobile optimization, content marketing, and social media, and tailor your plan to your company’s needs by identifying gaps and opportunities. Focus on channels that bring you closer to your audience, and good search engines rankings will follow.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.