We’ve been conditioned to think that something free won’t be the same quality as something we pay for, but when it comes to generating leads, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lead generation is an essential part of growing a business, especially when your business lives online. Leads are prospective customers who have shown a genuine interest in what products and/or services you have to offer. You can’t generate leads without website visitors, and you can’t get website visitors without visibility. Luckily for us, visibility can be free. I want to offer you some ways to increase organic lead generation that will only cost you time and effort.
Understand Your Personas
The first step you should take before building out a strategy for increasing organic lead generation is to identify and deeply understand your buyer personas. These are the people you want to ultimately sell your product or service to. Understanding their demographics, psychographics, challenges and motivations, is essential to ensuring that all activities involved in acquiring and serving your customers are tailored to their needs. If you aren’t sure where to start, I love to use this awesome buyer person tool from HubSpot. From there, I suggest adding a section for listing out your persona’s values and motivations, as well as one to list your own company’s value propositions. This will help you align all of your buyer persona information with what you can offer them.
After understanding your buyer personas, you should focus on optimizing your site so it can be easily be found. To understand search engine optimization (SEO), think of the internet as a library, search engines as librarians, and yourself as an author. In this instance, the science of SEO is writing your book in a way that the librarian can easily interpret, allowing them to place your book in the correct section of the library so people looking for your book or genre can easily find it. Your goal is to be a national bestseller, right? Appealing to the librarian and the people who read your book is your number one priority.
For marketers, I’m not sure that there is anything more momentous than ranking on the first page of Google or Bing. If you want to be visible, ranking on page 1 will certainly help with that, but there is a lot that goes into getting there. I could go on forever about specific SEO strategies, but I want to focus on four major element groups that you should focus on for SEO: content, site architecture, HTML, and links. Focusing on these elements will boost your ranking on search engines, thus bringing in more website visitors and eventually qualified organic leads.
Google’s Panda algorithm is Google’s way of rewarding high quality, in-depth content. The more effort you put into publishing this type of content to your site, the more Google will like it. This includes building content around keywords that your buyer personas are searching for. Two of my favorite keyword research tools are Keywords Everywhere and Answer the Public. These tools will help you discover what people are searching for and how often they are searching for it. While keeping in mind the importance of keywords and buyer personas, you should be publishing content consistently and often. This way, you can continue to build out your library of great content for Google to rank.
Architecture is how your website is built, just like the architecture of a house. If your website has an unstable foundation and no logical reasoning behind it, search engines won’t prioritize it. A site’s architecture is all about URLs, page load speed, security, mobile responsiveness, and crawlability. Eliminating duplicate pages, titles, and meta descriptions through canonical tags will help your site’s architecture remain clean and load quickly. URLs should provide a secure connection with HTTPS and be built around keywords and the content on the page. The mobile experience of your website should be optimized as well, to ensure UX/UI responsiveness and quick page load speed.
HTML is how each page is structured. Do your web pages include titles, descriptions, Schema, headings, and AMP? All of these elements are essential to keeping your HTML concise and optimized. Make sure your page titles and meta descriptions describe the content on the page and include your targeted keywords. Schema enhances the way your content shows on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as structured data. Properly assigning headings will help Google read your pages and AMP is Google’s mobile page speed format. Ensuring your web pages are optimized in each of these categories will help optimize your HTML for ranking.
Building internal and external links will help improve your page authority and content value. The first kind of linking to begin with is internal linking. Look at your current library of content and identify opportunities within them to link to other pages on your website. This could be finding a blog about a topic and linking it to a related services page. External linking is a bit more difficult. You need to identify high-quality websites that offer similar content to yours and may be willing to link to your content. When you do that, you have to identify specific opportunities and reach out to someone on their end, such as a content strategist or marketing manager. Reach out and offer something insightful along with a piece of your content that you think would be useful on their website. Ask what they think and if they are willing to post it to their own web page.
As I mentioned before, content is extremely important if you want your business website to be visible. Creating high-quality content that is keyword rich and relevant to your ideal buyer persona will improve your chances of a high ranking on search engines. You can also use this content to get your brand on social media and prove your expertise. If you aren’t blogging or publishing long-form social posts about your expertise, you are missing out on an opportunity to establish yourself as a reputable thought leader. I highly suggest taking the time to create content such as eBooks and white papers, as well. You can gate this content to capture emails when someone wants to access it, so you not only establish credibility and expertise, but you are directly generating leads on that piece of content. If you want to learn more about how to optimize your content marketing strategy, check out Content Marketing Strategies to Keep in Mind.
If your goal is to increase organic lead generation, I suggest focusing on understanding your buyer personas, diving into SEO, and optimizing your content marketing strategy. While each of these tactics can work on their own to generate organic leads, they operate the best when grouped together. Understanding your personas will help you find the right keywords to integrate into your site architecture, HTML markup, and content. Content will help optimize your SEO by establishing page authority and trust with search engines and your readers. Understand buyer personas will align all efforts, SEO will increase visibility, and content marketing can help improve SEO as well as offer thought leadership, credibility, and direct lead generation opportunities.