When was the last time you clicked on a result beyond the first page of the search results? Chances are, you can’t remember, and that’s exactly why ranking high in the search results is so important.
Getting to the top of the search results is a great way of boosting web traffic and brand awareness, and the process of getting there is called search engine optimisation, or SEO.
The aim of the game is to move your way up the rankings by making your content as valuable as possible to search engines. SEO is a huge topic covering lots of different areas, but is usually divided into two main pillars: technical SEO and content management.
Technical SEO is about making websites easily accessible to bots so that they can be indexed and show up in the search results, whilst content management takes care of the content strategy, keywords, and improving where the site appears in the search engine result page (SERP).
Technical SEO is really important – it can significantly increase the amount of organic traffic to a site, especially if the website wasn’t initially built with SEO in mind.
We’re going to talk about content strategy, though, and the ‘white-hat’ SEO techniques that can help to get your site ranking higher in the search results.
Did you know…
‘White-hat’ SEO is the name given to the strategies that look to follow Google guidelines and uphold best practice SEO techniques!
Let’s get the basics covered first.
Creating a content strategy isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s basically the process of planning out what content you’re publishing on your website, in which order, and the keywords you should target to increase organic traffic.
Creating an effective strategy can help you to create content which is meaningful, engaging and most importantly, relevant to your target customers. A content strategy can help you to:
There are a few things that you’ll need to consider and include when planning out your content strategy.
The basics: No matter which industry you operate in, there are some specific pages that you need to include on your site to keep the organic traffic coming in. These are the pages that will tell your story, won’t lose any relevance over time, and will answer all of your customers’ questions. We’re talking about your homepage, an ‘about’ page, your contact page, and your products or services pages.
Blog articles: Your blog section holds more value than you may think, and does a lot to increase your organic traffic. As well as creating a space for you to talk to your customers, publishing fresh content on a regular basis means that search engines such as Google know that you’re relevant, and therefore crawl and index your site more frequently.
Blog articles are usually written with a set of keywords in mind, and whilst SEO optimising blog posts is beneficial to increase organic traffic, articles which haven’t been optimised, such as news stories, can help to keep your site relevant too.
Website architecture: This is an important one – there’s just no point in creating lots of SEO-optimised pages if search engines can’t understand the structure of your site. Website architecture is about how you link your pages together, so search engines can easily find what they’re looking for. For example, if you have pages on your site that are several clicks away from your home page, a bot will have a hard time finding those pages. The key is to keep things simple, with every page on your site no more than four clicks or so away. This isn’t just great for SEO, but it makes for much nicer user experience!
With an almost unimaginable amount of content on the internet nowadays, how do search engines know what to show? As content creators, it’s your job to give them a helping hand. Not everything that’s written for your website will be SEO friendly straight away. You’ll need to go through a process of SEO optimisation to make sure that what you’re writing is hitting all the right notes for search engines to not only find, but consider it relevant enough to show and start to drive more organic traffic to your site.
Keywords are still very important in your SEO optimisation! You need to know exactly what keywords you want to target, then make sure to use them strategically throughout your content. Here are some important areas that you’ll want to place your keywords:
Make sure you don't overdo on your chosen keywords and while inserting your keywords strategically still maintain the logical flow and high quality of the content. Google algorithm will pick up these and will show the pages for the relevant search queries in SERP.
There are strict “guidelines” about keyword usage, however, so before you go ‘keyword stuffing’ it’s best to brush up on the dos and don’ts.
With the right keyword strategy in place, the content that’s been optimised for SEO will find its way to the top of the search results and even start to appear on the top of the results in so-called answers boxes and ‘knowledge panels’. The more SEO optimisation you do across your site, the higher is the chance that you’ll start to rank better in search and become more competitive in your niche. All of which is crucial in encouraging more organic traffic to your site.
Visitors come to your website from all over the internet, but one of the main sources you want to keep an eye on is your organic traffic. Any visitor that lands on your website from SERP after clicking an unpaid search result makes up the organic traffic to your site. They may have searched for your brand specifically and landed on your homepage, or maybe they were looking for certain information that a page on your site happens to rank high for. Either way, if they find your website after using search engines like Google or Bing, they’ll count towards your organic traffic.
There’s plenty you can do to boost your organic traffic and get your website heading in the right direction up the search rankings. But before we get into it, it’s important to remember that SEO is much more of a long game. There’s no quick fix that will get you to the top of the SERPs overnight. It requires a well thought out content strategy and paying constant attention to the technical aspects of SEO to build momentum.
SEO is a very competitive place to be. Search engines would much rather you relied on your paid traffic, so they’re often moving the goal posts and keeping their cards close to their chest on how best to optimise your site and take advantage of organic traffic. And don’t forget all of your competitors who are also fighting with you for those prized top spots on page one.
That being said, there are more than few techniques that have been tried and tested down the years to get your site moving in the right direction up the rankings and improving your organic traffic.
Let’s take a look at a few of the techniques we’d recommend.
We’ve already talked about the correlation between a good content marketing strategy and an increase in organic traffic, but let’s take a closer look at why exactly it’s such an effective marketing technique.
Once upon a time, ranking high in the search results was all about squeezing as many keywords as possible into your content, but that no longer works. To gain as much organic traffic to your site as possible, you need to make sure that you’re writing content aimed at your buyer personas, and catering to the journey that they’re on. What do they want to hear from you? What will they engage with?
This won’t magically send your organic traffic through the roof, but it means that your content will be more engaging, more valuable, and more shareable – and we all know what that means! A natural lift in visitors to your site.
How does your content check out? Here’s what we suggest you think about before you hit ‘publish’ on your latest piece of content:Is the content findable?
Make sure your content includes everything it needs for Google to find and understand it. That includes relevant keywords, h1 and h2 tags, metadata, and alt tags for any images you’ve used.Is the content readable?
Have you included easy-to-read, bulleted lists and headers?Is the content understandable?
Have you considered the audience’s reading level? Is it in context? Have you considered the personas that you’re writing for?Is the content actionable?
Have you included a call to action? How about a place to comment? Have you linked to any other related content?Is the content shareable?
Have you given the reader a good reason to share your content? Is it saying something new, or informative? Can the content easily be shared to the reader’s social media, and then personalised with their own comments and hashtags?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all of the hard work when it comes to creating content. Your customers can lend a hand by submitting user generated content, or UGC.
UGC is any type of content such as photos, videos, text or even customer reviews that’s created by your customers and uploaded to social channels, review platforms or your own website - and it is a seriously powerful tool!
79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions (Stackla)
Not only is UGC completely free, it’s also more authentic. 90% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they want to support, so the more you can do to humanise your content, the better. Whether you’re asking your customers to share product photos or make videos of their holiday experiences, UGC can be used by brands in any industry to tell more compelling stories and boost organic traffic to their site.
25% of search results for the world’s biggest brands are links to user-generated content (Neonbrand)
Increase on time on page after adding UCG with Feefo
"Feefo has helped us give our web pages a far more engaging, human feel that makes visitors want to stay longer. It's down to the quality of the content Feefo empowers our customers to set their own stamp on the website."Jonny Evans, Digital User Experience & E-Commerce Manager, Vauxhall
Just like your visitors need to move between different pages of your website, so do search engines. Internal linking is the way in which each of your webpages connect to create a navigation menu that both users and search engines can use to get around your site easily and find the content they need.
To put it even simpler, an internal link is any link that takes you from one page on your website to another page on the same site.
There’s plenty of evidence out there to suggest that if you take the time and care to build, or even automate, a well-thought-out internal linking structure it will help improve your rankings and therefore your organic traffic.
The easier you make it for search engines to move around your site, the more likely it is they’ll find the content they’re looking for and rank your pages higher in the SERPs.
The flipside of your internal links are what’s known in SEO as ‘backlinks’. These are just as important, if not more so, in improving your ranking and driving organic traffic to your site. Backlinks are all those links out there on the world wide web that link from external websites back to yours.
Theoretically, quality and relevant backlinks increase your website’s Domain Authority (DA). High DA translates to more trust in the eyes of Google and can have a positive effect on the rankings of your website. But be careful, there’s a right way and more than a few wrong ways to start building backlinks that are frowned upon by the likes of Google.
Did you know?
Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Here are a few “white hat” methods for building trusted backlinks for your website:
There are talks in the SEO community, however, that backlinks are being downplayed as Google is starting to pay closer attention to social mentions or so-called linkless mentions. However, there’s still a lot of data to support that backlinks are playing a big part in where your pages fall in the SERPs.
To get the best results, you should pay close attention to both. Create an SEO strategy that responsibly builds backlinks but also helps develop your brand identity, so you organically create linkless mentions wherever possible.
For more on how you can develop your brand and start improving your linkless mentions, check out our article on ‘Brand development’ here.
Backlink building falls under your off-page SEO marketing efforts and perhaps plays the biggest and most important role in influencing your search rankings and organic traffic. However, there’s so much more to off-page marketing that, if done right, will further you SEO cause even more.
But what is it?
Off-page marketing is any activity that takes place outside of your own website, either on third-party websites or social media, to try and improve its rankings. The aim of the game is to increase your brand recognition around the web to help tell the likes of Google what others really think of the quality of the content on your site. The more backlinks and brand mentions you have elsewhere, the more search engines can trust your content and will view you as ‘subject matter experts’ in your field.
A few off-page marketing tactics that could help you out include:
Schema, or structured data, has been around for a while now, and although Google has changed the rules around where and when to use it a few times, it still plays a big role in your site’s ability to drive organic traffic.
JSON LD is the preferred language for Google right now, which is what we use here at Feefo in our integrations. Its simpler script-based approach means that you can easily insert it as a single block of code within the <head> or <body> of the page.
RDFa and Microdata are your other two options. These are both similar types of code that can be added to any HTML, XHTML and XML-based documents. They take a little more development know-how to implement, so it’s best to stick to JSON LD wherever possible.
There’s so much more to schema than the we’re able to cover here, but if you want more of a practical guide on how to use schema across your website or alongside your reviews, check out our SEO guide, here.
Let’s make one thing clear, Feefo is not an SEO agency. We can’t fix technical issues or create a killer content strategy for you, but the customer reviews you collect through Feefo can certainly give your SEO a nudge in the right direction.
Whether you’re using our on-page integration to display your reviews across your website or using product schema to create more compelling search results for your key products, there’s plenty of ways your customer reviews can help you drive more organic traffic to your site.
Can customer reviews increase your organic traffic and rankings? In a word, yes!
Used properly your customer reviews can have a huge impact on:
Customer reviews play a large role in so many great content strategies because they’re a fantastic source of UGC. A steady flow of fresh, original and relevant content hitting your site is a good way of building up pages without much text on (for free!) and indicating to search engines that they’re worth showing in the SERPs.
Besides organic traffic and rankings, customer reviews can also increase your conversion rates. Displaying customer reviews on your site is proven to increase customer confidence and more than triple product conversions. So, even if you’re struggling to improve organic traffic flow to your site, you can be safe in the knowledge that the people that do pay you a visit are more likely to buy thanks to your customer feedback.
334% increase in conversion on products with 20+ reviews
"We're extremely impressed to see the impact Feefo reviews and insights has had on the business over the past year. Our customers clearly feel more confident about purchasing products that display real opinions of fellow shoppers. At Salon Services, we're now using the insights we gain from every review to inform and drive improvements across the entire business."Nick Dover, eCommerce Performance Marketing Manager
Collecting customer feedback means you can dedicate a whole page on your site to your reviews. This doesn’t just give your customers somewhere to go to do their research and find the trust signals they’re looking for, it also lends a hand to your SEO.
Adding your reviews to your site means that you instantly add all of the keywords associated with your brand too, so the page is more likely to make an appearance in the search results when shoppers are doing their research. Frequent reviews on your site also makes for plenty of fresh content, which as you now know, Google loves.
Adding product schema to your product pages, although not openly admitted by Google, is another great way to help search engines understand the context of your content and start ranking you for related product searches.
Better yet, if you use our on-page integration, we’ll take care of the product schema for you.
The real benefit of using product schema alongside your review content is the enhanced search results. The more information you can give to the likes of Google, the more detailed and informative your search results appear to consumers. With more informative search results, comes more organic traffic.
The right product schema can mean that search results for some of your key product pages contain additional information, such as:
Helping them stand out from the competition, increase click-throughs and drive more organic traffic to your site.
There is so much you can do to increase the organic traffic to your site, and a combination of a solid content marketing strategy with some well chosen and placed technical SEO measures are likely to do the trick.
We've certainly given you a lot of food for thought, and whilst we're not an SEO agency, we can help you to reap the benefits that customer feedback can have on your place in the search results.
To learn about how customer feedback can start playing a big part in your SEO, get in touch with a member of our friendly team who will be happy to talk to you about how Feefo can help.