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Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

Everyone agrees that SEO is vital for driving traffic to your website. But in the ever-changing world of SEO, what isn’t so clear is which strategies will deliver high visibility on search engines.

Let’s talk…

Mike Andrew, Head of SEO, Localsearch

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“How SEO looked six months compared to now, and especially how it will progress in the next six months, are drastically different. The Core Web Vitals and Page Experience Updates (and MUM in beta testing) are seeing even the most successful websites drop from page one result to page two or three. Even those who could be considered SEO experts are struggling to revive results once they notice the impression share drop.

“Where your focus should lie is improving the page experience and content life cycle for user intent on every single web page — not just your most popular pages. To get through the next six months, focus should be on improving your Core Web Vitals, regularly updating your content lifecycle to improve user intent and ensuring your website is fully accessible especially on mobile, amongst other things.

“There are constant changes every day, so to drive traffic and maintain your current ranking, you should focus on the future and protect your website traffic of now.”

Jeremy Smart, Director, APJ Channels and Alliances, Acoustic

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“Website traffic is driven by two key things: page rank and whether you’re seen by search engines as an obvious answer to user queries, predicting user intent. 

“To achieve SEO success, optimise your web experience so all content is relevant to how a user might search for your product or brand – this should be the first strategy you implement. Including keywords in page titles, meta data, headlines, alternate text for images/graphics, and body copy can help achieve this. 

“You should also ensure there’s no duplicate content on your site as it can confuse the user journey and negatively affect your page rank. Include structured data to help search engines provide more in-depth content in search results. Then, once a user makes it to your site, ensure pages load properly: if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ll see a drop off in pageviews and ultimately, conversions.”

Marybeth Sheppard, Senior Vice President of Marketing, SevenRooms

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“Your restaurant might have the best menu, atmosphere and staff in town, but unless your guests can discover you it doesn’t count for much. Customers today largely discover businesses online, so it’s critical to ensure you’re highly visible on search engines. 

“First claim your online directory listings, like Google My Business, Facebook and TripAdvisor. Keep these listings up-to-date with accurate information about your location, hours of operations, contact details and website link. 

“Next, conduct keyword research. Platforms like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Ahrefs allow you to understand how often local audiences are searching for particular terms, like ‘casual Italian food Bondi’. 

“Use that data to create a list of relevant keywords and use those keywords in the body copy on your website. You’ll also want to make sure you are incorporating them appropriately in your page titles and meta descriptions. Optimising your website to rank well on search is definitely a long-term strategy, so don’t expect overnight results.”

David Fairfull, CEO and co-founder, Metigy

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“No matter what business you’re in, people are always searching for related products and services online. In fact, 93 per cent of all online experiences begin with a search engine like Google or Bing. And time and time again, investing in SEO (search engine optimisation) has proven to be one of the most sustainable ways to grow a business. 

“Knowing what drives impact can be challenging, but some of the best tips are pretty simple – often, it’s about nailing the basics. Make sure you have the best web hosting for your requirements (taking into account speed and performance) and choose an SEO-optimised website theme. Provide a mobile-friendly experience for visitors, as well as updating and repurposing content you already have. 

“While SEO is a great way to meet customers where they’re looking for you, one important thing to note is that it can take time to generate meaningful results. Ultimately, SEO is an ideal long-term growth strategy, but not a short-term fix.”

Joe Romeo, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Airwallex

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“Put simply, search engines help people find answers to problems. As Google rewards quality, informative and well-written advice, the most effective way to drive organic traffic to your website is by helping customers find answers through content.  

“Regardless of your SEO knowledge, introducing blogs or how-to guides on your website are powerful and easy ways to increase traffic. A customer-first approach to topic choice is critical. Consider your target audience’s key pain-points, and how you, or your product can solve them. Business insights can also be helpful; what conversations are your sales reps having? What questions regularly come through your chat function? 

“Now that you’ve gathered this information, tools like answerthepublic.com and keywordtool.io can help validate your chosen topics, or find new ones. Once published, you’ll find that over time your content will start to rank on Google. When it comes to SEO, content still reigns supreme!”

Kat Warboys, Marketing Director APAC, HubSpot

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“When evaluating your SEO strategy, it’s important not to focus on keywords. According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing report, investment into SEO is on the rise with 69 per cent of marketers creating a more tailored experience through content. “However, just like marketing, the search engine landscape is ever-evolving. Influential search engines like Google have changed their algorithm to favour topic-based content. 

“SEO is now shifting to a topic cluster model, where a single “pillar” page acts as the main hub for content for an overarching topic, with multiple pages linking back. This linking action signals to search engines that the pillar page is an authority on the topic, and over time, the page may rank higher and higher for the topic it covers. 

“Blogging can also help boost SEO quality by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers’ questions. After all, every blog post is a new web page and an additional opportunity to rank in SERPs. For example, by using HubSpot to customise its landing pages, Sendle was able to transform the design of its company blog — turning it into a SEO engine which drives thousands of unique visitors each week. Blog posts that specifically use a variety of on-page SEO tactics can give you more opportunities to rank in search engines and get customers to visit your site. If your business does not already have a blog, this could be the time to consider creating one.”

Simon McDonald, Regional Vice President, Optimizely

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“SEO strategies are key in helping customers find your business online and improve their digital platforms’ experience. Companies can accelerate traffic to their website when they engage with relevant SEO strategies, especially with the rise in dependence on online searching. 

“One key factor of SEO is that it shouldn’t be a static process. Experimenting with different strategies will ensure that businesses’ content leads any searches and in front of the right audience. Optimised page structures are critical to SEO. As web pages are written in HTML, the HTML code structure will influence the search engine’s ability to evaluate the page. Beyond this, it is important to consider including relevant keywords in the titles, URLs and headers of pages.

“SEO can help improve relationships between businesses and their audience, create an engaging customer experience, increase their authority, drive more site traffic and customer conversions and increase competitiveness. Ultimately this leads to more sales, loyal customers and business growth.”

Rob Ranoa, Founder Hypop

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“In our experience, nothing can beat high quality content when it comes to driving traffic. Content could include anything from high quality videos, professional-looking images, written blog or article content, or a combination of all three! 

“Having a good mix of mediums helps to create engaging and shareable content – which is the ultimate goal, because when content is shareable, it allows it to be seen by as many people as possible. 

“An example of this would be a written blog post using targeted keywords along with professional, unique images (not stock images) to provide a visual, then perhaps a video that summarises the content overall. 

“Including share buttons is essential, as this makes it easy for readers to share to their socials to get more traffic to your website. Creating a schedule and being consistent with publishing useful and engaging content is key, as it helps you build a reputation and be seen as a thought leader by prospective clients and peers.

“On the technical side, performing keyword research, ensuring your content pages stick within content guidelines such as maximum words for meta titles, meta descriptions, and the correct use of HTML such as <h1> tags, <p> tags, as well as ensuring image alt text all contain the given keyword(s), will give the best chance for showing up in organic search.”

Sean Rooney, Director, Amire

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“Even the best SEO strategy will come undone if you ignore the basics. In our experience, many companies are looking for a silver bullet to accelerate their search results, but what they really need is some tinkering to get the basics right in order to unlock the full potential of their SEO strategy.

“This includes avoiding generic keywords with too much competition and leveraging local rather than global keywords. Regularly auditing your external links to ensure they’re reputable and high quality, including internal links throughout your website and using the correct anchor text for those links. Using the correct page title tags and metadata, ensuring your website isn’t loading too slowly and that your website is optimised for mobile. Creating high-quality long-form content, which isn’t overly stuffed with keywords. And finally, regularly analysing your data to see what is and isn’t working to create a results-oriented SEO strategy.”

Byron Redhead, Director, First Page

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“Businesses should use high-traffic keywords clusters – found using SEO analysis tools such as Ahrefs – to refresh their website content and increase the word count on pages by adding unique, high-quality content that’s of better quality than the top three ranked sites on Google. 

“Additionally, adding an FAQ with Schema Markup – code on your website that helps Google provide more informative results for users – is a very effective tactic to drive higher page rankings. An example is if you search ‘what is digital marketing?’; the featured snippet on Google that appears with the question and answer is an FAQ schema. Naturally, this leads to higher volumes of traffic to your page, as people tend to click on this short response over a website link. 

“As Google’s algorithm tends to favour sites that refresh content regularly and provide comprehensive answers to users’ queries, businesses should follow this process on a regular basis.”

Marco Zande, Marketing & Digital Communications Executive, WLTH

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“SEO is one of the most important marketing channels for any business, and if you aren’t putting in the work to come up with a strategy, then you will be missing out on a huge number of potential clients.

“With all SEO strategies, it is important to have keywords that act as the backbone of your SEO content strategy. Having clear keywords allows you to determine content pillars that will allow you to rank higher for your chosen topics.

“Obviously, there is a lot that goes into building a successful SEO strategy, but in regard to what really drives traffic, content plays a key role in bringing new customers to your site and ranking higher on google. You just have to make sure you are sticking to your strategy and creating consistent and engaging content.”

Vladka Kazda, Marketing Director, Xero Australia

Let’s Talk: SEO strategies – what really drives traffic?

“As small businesses grapple with the current restrictions, their search presence has never been more important. Search engine optimisation can help increase website traffic without a lot of budget. 

“Good SEO that drives traffic starts with great content. When you think about content, think about content that extends beyondyour products and services, but also content related more broadly to the problems your services solve. 

“For example, if your business sells alarm clocks, complementary content could be about improving sleep and time management. Remember that content comes in many shapes and forms, including blog posts, videos and even infographics. 

“Making great content that stands out for SEO should follow these guidelines:

Consistency: Ensure you update your website regularly, so Google knows that it is active. You also want content to be as up to date as possible, so timely updates can help ensure information is accurate. 

Relevancy: Your content should be relevant to your area of expertise and make sense for your audience. Straying away from your specialty may confuse the search engine algorithm, so stay on track.

Uniqueness: Your content should be unique to your business. Avoid duplicating existing text on your website or from other sources as it can cause your site to drop in search rankings.

Trusted: Creating content that is helpful and useful – and that goes beyond what you are selling – builds brand trust, gets people talking about your brand, and sharing your content. This behaviour sends positive signals to search engines.”

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Clare Loewenthal

Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.

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