Before we get into this, let’s get one thing out in the open; getting your website noticed without paying for it is hard work!
And, it’s becoming even more complex and challenging. But then again, what isn’t? Tried gaining organic growth on Instagram lately? Exactly, it’s not easy!
But organic traffic is still the best traffic and the most likely to engage with your content or purchase your products. Plus, organic traffic is FREE!
Take this blog, for example, if I had to pay for the keywords I’ve used here, it would cost me approximately R100, or $7 per click for a top-of-page bid. This can add up rather quickly after a few clicks.
So here are a few tips that you can implement very easily for free so that your website starts gaining some presence on Google.
1. List your business on Google My Business and start getting reviews.
This is a no brainer if you are a business servicing a local area or multiple locations. Not only will you come up for searches that are in your proximity, but you can also use it to communicate with your customers, promote your products and services and get reviews.
If you are unsure whether your business is listed or not, enter your business name into Google Maps. If it doesn’t show up, then it’s not listed.
The importance of Google reviews - how many do you need?
Reviews tell Google that your business is real, reputable, and worth showing to people.
Of course, many SEO ranking factors determine where your website will be ranked, but reviews will certainly increase your local ranking. If your website has over 20 reviews and your competitors have less than 10, then Google will favour your website over theirs.
The easiest way to get Google reviews.
Simply ask your customers directly. Don’t be scared. You don’t have to ask every single person, that’s probably a bit much. But you can ask customers who repeatedly frequent your business, or who have received excellent service from you. Quality service gets reviews easily.
Here are some other methods you can use to get Google reviews for your business.
I know some people are a bit reluctant to ask customers directly for reviews. So here are other ways you can get them.
Get your Google review link
Once you’ve created your listing and it’s been verified by Google, go to your dashboard and you’ll see a section that looks something like this:
Click on the button to get your link.
Then click inside to copy your Google review link.
You can see there are already a few ways to share your Google review link. But I want to show you some other ways that you can use it to get more reviews.
Include your Google review request in your email signature.
Paste your link in your email signature. Every time you send out emails to your clients, it will be there. Make sure it’s worded in a way that encourages your customers to leave you a review.
Leave a Google review request on your website.
Give your customers a way to leave a review on your website. I leave my review link at the end of each article.
However you decide to do it, just make it easy for your customers to leave you a review - get your review link in front of them!
2. List your business on local business directories for citations.
Creating citations for your business is similar to creating backlinks to improve your SEO rankings, but there is a difference.
Citations will boost your local search results.
Citations only provide information about your business name, address, and phone number and do not supply as much SEO “juice” as backlinks do, even though most of them will provide a link back to your site.
But it does tell Google that your business is relevant to a particular area, boosting your position in the local search results.
Keep your name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent.
When you are listing your business on these directories, remember to keep your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) the same as you have it on your Google Business listing.
Google wants to know if your business is real, and one of the things they look for is consistent NAP information across all of these directories.
Finding business directories to list on
Search for “local and national business directories” and list your business on as many of them as possible. Make sure these directories are quality, don’t list for the sake of listing. Also, look for industry-specific directories, and get listed on them too.
Some of these directories will be free, and others you will need to pay for.
For my South African friends, here are 10 business directories to get you started:
Another, more convenient way of finding directories to list on is to go through a citation finder.
BrightLocal is a popular citation finder that will make your job a lot easier by providing you with a list of directories on a dashboard that is easy to manage.
It also includes other handy information like where your competitors are listed and where they aren’t; business directories ranked from highest to lowest by citation authority; as well as directories you may already be listed on that you can claim.
Most citation finders you will need to pay for, so first, make sure they cover your local business area.
3. Write articles that are in your niche.
Write well-written articles that you are interested in. Write with intention and always keep this in mind: information that provides value to people, that is non-commercial, and is written by an expert tends to perform the best and get the most engagement.
In my experience, it usually takes about 20-30 articles before you start to gain any organic traction with search engines like Google. Of course, this depends on your competition, and the number of quality articles they are producing.
4. Write articles for other websites that you like, that are related to your niche.
You may be in a very competitive niche like I am, or maybe you are in finance or information technology where there are so many competitively strong websites. This makes it very challenging to gain some organic presence, especially if you are just starting.
Type this search operator: your keyword/niche: “write for us”, into Google to find websites that are looking for publishers to write for them.
Google will even suggest other related topics you could write for other websites.
As you can see from the search results below that are listed on the first page, we already have a few options.
Go through the search results and see if there are any potential opportunities for you. You will need to go through each website because you want to check the quality of those sites before you start writing for them.
Keep a lookout for:
Their posting guidelines and how many backlinks (links back to your website) you will receive per article. This is important - backlinks are like votes for your website and an important SEO ranking factor when Google considers where to rank your website in their search results;
The number and quality of their articles, and;
The number of people that are visiting their website each month. You don’t want to be writing for other websites that don’t receive a lot of traffic.
You can also mix up the keyword you use in your search operator to find more sites. You can replace “write for us” with “contribute” or “guest post” etc.
5. Find high converting keywords
This method involves finding keywords that have low competition, and even a low monthly search volume, but have a relatively high cost per click.
If advertisers are willing to pay a fair amount for a keyword, it means they are getting some ROI, or why bother spending money on it, right?
To find these keywords, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner. Enter your keyword, or keywords into the planner, and toggle the results by “Top of page bid (high range)”, and filter by low competition.
Once you have found your keywords, go and write some content that will be useful to people. Using the two keywords in the screengrab above, for example, you could write a blog post on “The ultimate guide to the best qualified and certified electricians in your area”.
6. Create infographics
Infographics are a fun way to mix your content up and to keep your audience more engaged so that they spend more time on your site, which is good for your SEO.
Infographics can also be shared across other platforms as well. They are also very easy to create, even if you’re not a graphic designer, like me.
Create your infographic
Go to Canva, create an account if you don’t have one already. You don’t need a paid account, for now, they have a variety of infographic templates you can use for FREE! You can always migrate to their paid service later on if you want to unlock more of their features.
Once you have signed up and logged in, search for infographics and select the template you like.
Customise it to match your brand colours. I created one for this article, here’s what it looks like…
Don’t forget to pin it to Pinterest for the backlink.
7. Direct traffic and brand awareness
There are other ways people can get to a website other than searching on Google. One of them is direct.
Direct visits can come from typing a URL (website address) into the address bar, or by clicking on a link in an email or newsletter, or via bookmarks in the browser.
We know that direct visits are an essential SEO ranking factor because direct traffic to your website is driven by brand awareness and loyalty, i.e, people like your brand, so they will subscribe to your email, or save your article as a bookmark to return to later.
Building your brand image, and getting people to associate with it positively, is just as important as your SEO.
Email is still one of the best channels to promote your brand and sell your products. People subscribe to email because they like you or your brand, and they want to receive your messages.
Building your email lists
This is easier said than done and takes time. But if you are providing something useful and valuable, people will opt-in to receive further information.
Here are a few ways to build your email lists:
Create a signup form on your website;
Embed your signup form on your social media pages;
Offer incentives to new subscribers, and;
Create compelling emails with tons of value that will make your current subscribers want to share them with their friends and colleagues. Make it easy for them to share your emails by including share buttons on all of them.
Building a website is the easy part, getting it noticed, and doing it organically, i.e., without paying for it takes a lot of effort and time. But the quality of traffic and the ROI you will receive for your efforts are well worth it.
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