Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur launching a new business, a small business owner looking to expand your digital footprint, or a seasoned marketer brushing up on the basics, understanding web traffic is crucial. It’s the lifeblood of your online presence, influencing sales, brand visibility, and customer engagement.
Focusing on how people find your website is the starting point to a thriving and sustainable business. One concept that stands out in the crowded online space is organic traffic.
What is organic traffic?
Organic traffic is people coming to your website without you paying for ads. It’s the visitors you get from search engines like Google or Bing when you don’t pay for clicks.
You get more people to visit your site organically by being higher up in search results. This is done through something called search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is just a way of making your site look good to search engines.
For example, crowdspring uses SEO to help people and businesses find affordable custom design and business naming services when they search online.
The opposite of organic traffic is paid traffic. This is when you pay for ads to get people to visit your site. It’s like renting space on Google to show up at the top of the search results.
People can also find your site in other ways, including the following:
- Direct traffic. This is when someone types your website address directly into their browser.
- Referral traffic. This happens when people click on a link to your site from another site.
- Social traffic. This is traffic from social media posts, whether you pay for them or not.
- Email traffic. This is traffic from your email campaigns.
Why should you care about organic traffic?
Understanding these different kinds of traffic helps you know how to get more people to your site. Focusing on getting organic traffic is important for small businesses and those just starting because it doesn’t cost extra money and can bring in people over the long term.
In the last 15+ years, we’ve implemented many strategies to grow organic traffic and have experimented with dozens of different approaches. I’ve also mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs, startups, and business owners to develop strategies and tactics for increasing their online presence. This guide is packed with the real-world lessons and insights we’ve learned along the way.
Organic Traffic: A Comprehensive Guide
The benefits of organic traffic to your website
Organic traffic is like having a shop in a busy area—people just walk in because they’re interested, not because you paid for them to show up. Here are 15 reasons why getting organic traffic is important, plus real-world examples for online and offline businesses to illustrate how your business can benefit.
- Cost-efficiency. Organic traffic is essentially free; there’s no cost per click involved. A local restaurant optimizing its website for search engines can attract more customers without the recurring costs of traditional advertising like billboards or flyers. An online platform, like crowdspring’s custom design and business naming services, can attract potential clients through optimized blog posts without spending on pay-per-click ads.
- Brand awareness. Organic traffic increases visibility to people unfamiliar with your brand. A local gym can write health and fitness blogs, allowing locals unaware of the gym to find it online. A SaaS company can gain exposure through SEO-optimized content and appear in search results for users unfamiliar with their services.
- Intent-driven visitors. Organic traffic attracts visitors with specific, relevant intent, increasing the likelihood of conversions. A hardware store appearing in local searches can attract customers actively looking for tools or home improvement items. An online education platform appearing in searches can bring in learners specifically looking for online courses or learning materials.
- Global reach. Organic traffic extends brand presence internationally. An international real estate agency can attract overseas clients by optimizing for global real estate search terms. A digital platform, such as crowdspring, can target and attract clients from over 100 countries through optimized international SEO strategies.
- Scalability and targeting. A well-planned SEO/content strategy can target specific audiences and scale as the business grows. A furniture store can create content around home decor tips and furniture maintenance, targeting homeowners and scaling content as it introduces new products. An online book store can scale by continually optimizing for new book titles and authors, targeting book enthusiasts.
- Credibility building. High rankings in organic search results build trust and credibility with the audience. A local dentist can gain credibility by featuring in local directory listings and getting positive online reviews. A financial consultancy service can build trust by producing credible, well-researched online content on financial planning.
- Growing market potential. With the increasing reliance on search engines, the potential market reachable through organic traffic is continually expanding. A boutique can capitalize on growing online search trends by maintaining an updated and optimized website or Google My Business listing. Crowdspring can tap into the growing online market by staying abreast of SEO trends and continually optimizing its online presence.
- Sustainability. Unlike paid traffic, organic traffic doesn’t vanish once you stop paying; it has lasting value. A local bakery optimizing for local SEO will continue to receive traffic from local searches even without ongoing ad spend. A software review website will continue to receive visits to its well-optimized reviews long after the publication.
- User trust. People tend to trust organic search results more than paid advertisements. A landscaping business appearing organically in search results will likely be trusted more by potential clients than in ads. An online health and wellness store can build trust with visitors by appearing organically through health and wellness-related searches.
- Improved user experience. SEO involves creating a better, faster, and more user-friendly website. A museum can offer a user-friendly website with easy navigation and mobile optimization to attract more visitors. A streaming service can enhance user experience by optimizing site speed, navigation, and mobile responsiveness, retaining more subscribers.
- Customer insight. Organic traffic analysis provides insights into customer behavior, preferences, and demographics. A car dealership can analyze organic traffic data to understand which car models generate the most interest. Crowdspring can analyze organic traffic to understand which design and naming services are most sought after, adapting its offerings accordingly.
- Competitive advantage. A strong organic presence can help you stand out among competitors in search engine rankings. A local pizzeria can gain a competitive edge by optimizing for local SEO and appearing above competitors in local search results. An online clothing retailer can outrank competitors for specific fashion-related search terms through effective SEO strategies.
- Higher conversion rates. Organic traffic usually has higher conversion rates, bringing in users with specific intent. A spa can experience higher conversions by optimizing for search terms related to spa services in their location. An online electronics retailer can optimize for specific product searches, converting visitors looking to purchase such products.
- Long-term strategy. Organic traffic’s benefits are more enduring than paid traffic’s short-lived advantages. A hotel can reap long-term benefits by regularly updating SEO strategies to meet changing search trends and customer needs. An eBook retailer can maintain a steady flow of organic traffic by continually optimizing content and staying updated on SEO trends.
- Customer engagement. Engaging, valuable SEO content optimized can help build relationships with the audience. A fitness center can engage local communities by creating SEO-optimized health and fitness tips content. A digital news platform can foster reader engagement through SEO-optimized, compelling news content and articles.
What’s your brand’s true essence?
Discover your brand’s unique character in just 3 minutes & unveil 15 key insights to make your brand stronger.
Start the free quiz now!
Understanding the true value: organic vs. paid traffic
When comparing organic and paid traffic, one big thing stands out—the cost.
Paying for traffic through search campaigns can get pricey fast, especially if you’re looking for keywords everyone wants. Think of it like paying a premium for a shop in a high-traffic area—you could be shelling out hundreds, even for a few visitors.
On the flip side, organic traffic doesn’t cost you per click. It’s like having a well-located shop without the hefty rent—people just show up because they’re interested. You can have many visitors without the ongoing costs.
Let’s take this to a real-world example: If you run a local bakery (offline business) and you invest in SEO to rank higher on Google for “fresh bread near me,” you could be drawing in new customers daily without paying extra for every person who found you through search. If you’re crowdspring (online business), focusing on organic traffic means more entrepreneurs and small businesses discovering affordable custom design and company naming services without the company paying for each visitor that lands on the site. It’s more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run.
Strategies to increase organic traffic
Here are eight strategies to help you increase organic traffic to your website:
1. Keyword research
Keywords are the foundation of SEO. By understanding the terms your audience uses to search for information or products related to your business, you can optimize your content for these terms. This helps achieve higher search rankings and drive more relevant traffic to your site.
A local bakery might focus on terms like “organic bread in [city]” and create blog posts or promotional content related to these keywords to attract local customers searching for organic bakery products.
An e-commerce store selling fitness equipment could target specific product-related terms and create detailed product pages or blog posts answering common user queries related to those terms.
2. Content creation and optimization
Creating high-quality, relevant, and valuable content tailored to your audience’s needs and interests can help improve your site’s SEO, increase traffic, and drive conversions. Optimization involves using relevant keywords, creating user-friendly content, and incorporating internal and external links.
A local gym might produce articles or videos on effective workout routines and nutrition advice, catering to the interests and needs of potential local customers.
A digital marketing agency might create comprehensive guides and infographics on SEO best practices and marketing strategies to attract online businesses looking for marketing insights.
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO focuses on enhancing the backend structure of your site to improve its visibility in search engines. It involves optimizing site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, and indexing, ensuring a seamless and user-friendly experience.
A restaurant should ensure its online menu is easily accessible and mobile-friendly and the website has a fast loading time to appeal to potential diners researching online.
An online software company can optimize its website by reducing load time, making navigation intuitive, and ensuring all pages are accessible and indexable by search engines.
4. Link building
Acquiring backlinks from reputable sites in your niche can significantly impact your site’s authority and search rankings. It involves creating valuable, link-worthy content and contacting other sites for link opportunities.
A car repair shop might collaborate with local automotive bloggers to earn backlinks from their blogs, increasing their online visibility to local readers interested in auto repair.
An online travel blog can earn backlinks by guest posting informative and engaging travel content on other reputable travel sites and forums.
5. Local SEO
For businesses serving specific geographic locations, optimizing for local SEO is crucial. This includes optimizing your Google Business Profile, garnering positive reviews, and ensuring your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is consistent across the web.
A local hair salon should keep its Google Business Profile updated with accurate information, encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews and optimize content for local keywords to attract nearby residents.
An online food delivery service should optimize for local SEO by ensuring its service areas are clearly listed and optimized for locally relevant keywords to appear in searches in those areas.
6. User Experience (UX) optimization
A seamless and enjoyable user experience can significantly impact user satisfaction, conversion rates, and SEO. It involves optimizing site navigation, design, and usability to meet user expectations and needs.
A bookstore’s website must offer easy navigation, clear categorization of books, and a straightforward checkout process to attract and retain local readers.
An e-commerce clothing store needs to ensure its website is mobile-responsive, products are easy to find and browse, and checkout is seamless to provide a great brand experience and encourage online shoppers to purchase.
7. Social media integration
Leveraging social media platforms can help drive additional organic traffic, increase brand awareness, and foster community engagement. It involves sharing valuable content, responding to audience queries, and promoting user-generated content.
A local coffee shop could regularly share posts about daily specials, events, and user-generated content on its social media platforms to engage with the local community and attract more customers.
A graphic design platform might share user creations, tips, and tutorials on various social media platforms to engage with design enthusiasts and attract a global audience.
8. SEO analytics and reporting
Regularly analyzing SEO metrics is essential to understand your site’s performance, make data-driven decisions, and adjust strategies for better results. It includes monitoring organic traffic, conversion rates, and keyword rankings.
A local hardware store could use analytics to understand which products and content attract the most visitors and optimize their inventory and content strategy based on these insights.
An online education platform could monitor user engagement, course sign-ups, and content interactions to adjust course offerings and content strategies for better user satisfaction and conversion.
Integrating these strategies holistically and consistently will create a robust online presence, leading to sustainable growth in organic traffic.
Low-cost tactics to increase organic traffic
Leverage online reviews and testimonials
Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on Google My Business or Yelp. Respond to reviews to show engagement and address any negative feedback constructively. We do this on our crowdspring reviews page, among other places.
A local restaurant might display testimonials and reviews prominently within the establishment and encourage satisfied diners to share their experiences online.
Regularly publish internal and external content
A tech company might maintain a regular blog on its website and contribute guest posts to reputable external sites, sharing the published content on social media.
A fitness trainer might write articles for local magazines or newspapers and conduct community workshops, referencing their website for more information.
Develop co-branded content
Collaborate with partners or clients to develop webinars or ebooks, promoting the content through both parties’ digital channels.
Retailers might collaborate on co-branded promotional events or flyers, directing attendees or readers to their respective websites.
One word of caution – we’ve experimented with this strategy over the years and have had mixed success. Finding partners who understand co-branded content or commit to iterating marketing campaigns based on co-branded content is challenging.
Create thought leadership materials
A financial consultancy might share industry insights through blog posts, webinars, and participation in online forums like Quora, Reddit, or LinkedIn.
An expert in sustainable practices might host community talks and distribute informative pamphlets with their website URL included.
Connect with influential podcasts
Reach out to relevant podcasts and offer to share insights, providing listeners with valuable information and a reason to visit your website. We’ve executed this strategy effectively over the years by appearing on many podcasts.
A chef might appear on a local radio show to discuss culinary trends and encourage listeners to visit their restaurant’s website for recipes.
Integrate social media and website content
Use social media to promote blog content, engage with the audience, and direct followers to the website for more in-depth information.
A clothing store might share style tips on social media and encourage followers to visit their website for detailed fashion guides.
Target ‘People Also Ask’ Questions in Google Search
Research ‘People Also Ask’ questions related to your industry and create content that addresses these questions.
A pet store might create informative posters addressing common pet care questions and include their website for more information.
Establish online authority
Share valuable insights, answer industry-related questions, and engage with your audience on various platforms to establish authority.
A gardening expert might conduct workshops and refer participants to their website for more resources and advice.
Craft compelling headlines and titles
Use attention-grabbing headlines for blog posts and social media content to attract more readers. Use catchy headlines in brochures and advertisements to grab attention and encourage people to visit your website.
Consistently update blog content
Regularly update the blog with content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience, using relevant keywords to improve visibility. A bookstore might host author events and update its blog with related content, encouraging attendees to visit the website for more information.
Regardless of the tactic, consistency and genuine value are key to building trust and establishing a strong online presence. Whether online or offline, the strategies should be aimed at solving the audience’s problems and answering their questions, establishing your business as a go-to resource in your field.
Checking organic traffic
There are many ways to check your historical organic traffic and monitor changes. Here are two popular methods:
Google Analytics allows website owners to track and analyze their site’s traffic in detail, providing insights into user behavior, acquisition channels, and more. The benefits of using GA4 include:
- Comprehensive insights into user behavior and preferences.
- Real-time data on website performance.
- Visualization tools for easier data interpretation.
How to use:
- Navigate to your Google Analytics 4 account.
- Click “Reports” and then go to Acquisition -> Traffic Acquisition -> Organic Search.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console helps webmasters monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site’s presence in Google Search results, offering insights into search queries leading to their site. The benefits of using Google Search Console include:
- Detailed data on search queries and rankings.
- Insights into website’s visibility on Google.
- Alerts on issues affecting the website’s presence in search results.
How to use:
- Go to your Google Search Console account.
- Open the “Search results” report under “Performance”.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console only allow you to view data for websites you have verified ownership of, making them essential tools for analyzing your website’s performance. You can use third-party tools from companies like Semrush or Ahrefs to analyze competitors.
Organic traffic case studies
Learning from real-world examples can illuminate the path to success. Here are ten real-world examples:
- Targeting better keywords. Proper keyword targeting can lead to significant increases in organic traffic. A company improved organic traffic by refining its SEO strategy to focus on more suitable keywords. We’ve used this strategy successfully.
- Producing high-quality content. High-quality, relevant content can drastically enhance organic traffic and reduce customer acquisition costs. A company focusing on air transport issues experienced a 588% increase in organic traffic by prioritizing high-quality content creation. We’ve used this strategy successfully over the years.
- SEO plan implementation for new websites. New websites can substantially grow organic revenue by deploying a well-structured SEO plan. An online sports retailer experienced a 124% increase in organic revenue within nine months of launching a new website.
- Leveraging user-generated content & product page optimization. Encouraging user-generated content and optimizing product pages can double organic traffic. A personalized gift retailer successfully utilized this strategy.
- Building quality backlinks. A consistent focus on building quality backlinks can result in exponential growth in organic traffic. A company achieved a 633% increase in organic traffic by emphasizing high-quality backlinks and on-site SEO optimization. We’ve used this strategy successfully over the years.
- Creating comprehensive and well-researched content. Comprehensive, in-depth content can significantly enhance organic traffic. We execute this strategy on the crowdspring blog and have successfully increased organic traffic.
- Improving site speed and content refresh. Regularly updating content and enhancing site speed can triple organic traffic quickly. A company saw notable success by revamping its content strategy and focusing on website load speed. We’ve used this strategy successfully over the years but keep in mind that, according to Google, site speed is less relevant than substantive content refresh.
- Implementing local SEO strategies. Local SEO strategies and optimized Google My Business listings can boost organic traffic substantially. A chain of recreational centers increased its organic traffic by 87% by prioritizing local SEO elements.
- Developing content around specific topic clusters. Implementing topic clusters and enhancing internal linking can lead to a significant uptick in organic traffic. A software products developer implemented this strategy successfully, achieving a 75% increase in organic traffic. We’ve used this strategy successfully over the years. Good examples include our clusters on marketing psychology, cost of design, and DBA state requirements.
- Optimizing existing content and site structure. Regular optimization of existing content, acquiring high-authority backlinks, and maintaining a user-friendly site structure can lead to a 400% increase in organic traffic. A mattress company employed this strategy effectively, optimizing content and improving site structure. We’ve used this strategy successfully over the years.
It’s vital to continually monitor your traffic data, analyze the results, and adapt your strategies accordingly. Use analytics tools to understand user behavior and refine your content and SEO strategies to align with what your audience is seeking.
SEO isn’t static; it’s continually evolving. Search engine algorithms change, and customer expectations and behaviors shift. Staying current on SEO trends and adapting your strategy is crucial to maintaining and improving your organic traffic over time.
Ensuring your website offers an excellent user experience is more crucial than ever. Google’s algorithms now consider user experience as a ranking factor, including mobile-friendliness, core web vitals, and safe browsing. A positive user experience not only helps in ranking but also in retaining users and converting them.
With the increasing use of mobile devices for web browsing, having a mobile-optimized website is essential. A website not optimized for mobile can lead to a poor user experience and negatively impact your site’s rankings in mobile search results.
Regular content updates
Consistently updating and adding new content to your site can maintain and increase organic traffic. It helps address your audience’s current interests and needs and gives search engines fresh content to index. Search engines like Google strongly favor regular content updates.
Organic traffic is crucial for long-term business growth online. It’s all about making your website visible and attractive to your audience without paying for ads.
To boost organic traffic, focus on SEO—use the right keywords, create quality content, fix technical issues, and get other sites to link to yours. Learn from successful examples, apply proven strategies, and watch your online business grow and succeed. Keep at it—it’s worth the effort!