Many business owners understand both the benefits of SEO and the sheer potential for transforming organic visitors into long-term paying customers. But the issue isn't so much realizing that there is a benefit as much as it is finding strategies that work.

Instead of providing you with hypothetical ways that can contribute to the increase in your site's organic traffic, I asked 17 SEO experts for their proven strategies that have led to their own businesses' growth.

1. Connect with influencers

Finding and building relationships with influencers in your niche can have incredible advantages.

Jason Quey, a growth hacker who is known for his ability to connect with influencers and share their growth stories, says: "I build relationships with influential bloggers in my niche and find ways to authentically feature them. When I've done this in the past, I've managed to quickly build over 40 high-quality backlinks in very little time."

But Jason isn't the only one using this technique. Daniel Knowlton, an experienced digital marketer, says: "I create a list of the top influencers on a specific topic and then reach out to them via email and on social. My Content Marketing 2016: Top 100 Influencers post gets more organic traffic than any other page on our website due to influencer shares."

Benjamin Beck uses a similar method as well: "I've found that the best way to increase organic traffic is to get links from the influencers in the niche I am working in. One of my favorite ways to break the ice and build a relationship with these influencers is by creating a badge and post that features them as the experts they are.

"Who doesn't like getting recognition?

"I let each influencer have a badge so they can show it off on their site which builds links back to my site. Even if they don't use the badge I now have a relationship with the influencer and can find several ways to work together. Which will help my organic traffic even more!"

The added benefit of including influencers in your content is that you build an ongoing relationship with them and can continue working together in the future.

2. Use Facebook groups

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of marketing-related groups on Facebook, and a vast majority of these groups are open to anyone interested in joining.

Danavir Sarria of Copy Monk uses Facebook groups to interact with other marketers. He says: "If you become friends with group owners, deliver content, and become part of the community, Facebook groups become an amazing source of organic traffic. Plus, because of the nature of the group, word spreads fast. So you may get a lot of benefits besides traffic, such as general awareness, influence, and you may even be followed by other influencers in your market."

Some Facebook groups you might join are The Content Marketing Lounge, Women in Content Marketing, Digital Marketing Questions, and MarketingProfs.

3. Prioritize keywords

Having a strong keyword strategy is vital, not only to increase your traffic but also to increase traffic that converts. Identifying which keywords to rank for is a strategy in and of itself.

Shanelle Mullin of ConversionXL says: "My 'quick strategy' for boosting organic traffic is to play the long game. It's the only way to win in the long-term.

"Find the most impactful keyword, find the content that's already ranking well for that keyword, write something that's better than everything else out there, promote it far and wide (cold outreach, warm outreach, outreach to those mentioned, etc.), and then reach out to everyone who is linking to those lesser pieces of content to tell them about your extraordinary piece of content.

"Repeat that process for an entire list of prioritized keywords."

That method is a scalable process for increasing your organic traffic long-term.

4. Create noteworthy content

What exactly is "noteworthy content"? Well, Ashley Faulkes of Mad Lemmings says: "To boost my organic traffic I create noteworthy content that gets influencers' and webmasters' or gatekeepers' attention. That means creating the best piece of content on a given topic and then using outreach to get links—in roundups, specific posts, guest post placements, or any other way I can. You can see a recent example of this with a post I did on creating the best SEO content."

Ashley's strategy also has the beneficial side effect of getting a lot of social shares!

5. Track your competitors

If your competitors are already ranking for all of the same keywords you're trying to target, and they are getting tons of organic traffic, clearly they are doing something right.

Ajay Paghdal, the owner of a search engine optimization company, says: "I develop a premium piece of content blueprinted from a previously successful competitor post and target 500+ bloggers who would find it linkable with a compelling offer."

It's important to offer those you are outreaching to, something of value. Otherwise, why would they help you out?

6. Use affiliate marketing

An affiliate marketing strategy includes benefits for both parties. Wilson Hung of Kettle and Fire, a grass-fed-beef bone broth vendor, says: "If you have an affiliate marketing strategy, leverage your existing affiliates' relationships to build links to your pages by contributing high-quality content to them. Aim for just a couple link placements; one will be the affiliate link, and the other will be a link to the page you're aiming to rank for.

"It's a win/win because affiliates get content as well as affiliate commissions, and you become a regular contributor. It's much easier than sending cold guest post pitches."

Finding a mutually advantageous transaction can lead to better results at a much faster pace.

7. Use data and metrics

Sounds straightforward, right? But some marketers fail to remember the advantages of good old data and metrics. Casey Armstrong of Bigcommerce, says: "Stop neglecting Google Search Console and dig into query data for top-performing URLs."

What he means by that is to start tapping into your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to find what content on your site is performing well and converting well. Chances are, if one blog post is already convincing people to buy your product, you should focus on optimizing that post.

8. Mention other businesses

People love hearing that someone mentioned them in a blog post or article. Reaching out to companies to let them know you gave them a shout-out could result in some additional social shares.

James Scherer of Wishpond says: "An element of creating content which generates organic traffic is mentioning your favorite tools and thought-leaders and then informing them of the mention.

"For instance, I could quote Jason Miller (Manager of Content at LinkedIn)...

"'Adding influencers to your content initiatives in the form of quotes, callouts, and short interviews help validate your own good content while helping to promote the influencers in your industry. It's a win-win-win—for you, the influencers, and, ultimately, your audience.'

"And then I email Jason, or Tweet him, or DM if I don't have his email address, and let him know of his inclusion. Best-case scenario, Jason sees the value of the rest of my article, appreciates the mention, and shares my content with his own network. Worst case, I've improved the value of my article and validated this answer with a quote from someone who readers trust and respect."

You're probably already mentioning and linking to plenty of relevant resources in your own content. The only step you're missing is telling those mentioned that they were included in your post.

9. Use visual content

There is immense potential for gaining an increase in revenue with infographic design, video production, and SlideShare presentations.

Ross Simmonds, entrepreneur and speaker, says: "I repurpose visual content such as SlideShare decks and infographics into content assets placed in guest blog posts that include links back to key resources and articles."

You can also use the "guest-o-graphic" approach and create visuals for different influencers. There are plenty of graphic design tools that can make this process not only easier but also faster.

10. Tag people in your tweets

It may seem simple, but it's not often done: tagging people in tweets.

Shayla Price, an experienced digital marketer says: "When tweeting content, I tag relevant people to encourage them to click the link."

Simply find people who have tweeted similar content in the past using a tool like Buzzsumo, and tag them in your tweets.

11. Take advantage of high-DA sites

Guest posting or content collaborations are a great way to build quality links on sites that have high domain authority (DA).

Jonathan Dane of Klient Boost says: "Before having any domain authority, I would piggyback off well established blogs and use my focus keywords that I'd want to rank for, but on their blog. This helps me eventually own multiple articles around the same topic so I can be on the first page of Google."

You can google which sites accept guest contributions and pitch them ideas that you think their audiences will like. Many sites have a contributions form that you need to fill out.

12. Target keywords one at a time

To target just one main word, you can follow the advice of Ty Magnin of App Cues: "We focus on one short-tail keyword at a time that relates to our product. We develop content around that short-tail keyword, backing ourselves into a central 'hub post' that we promote via internal links, promotion, and guest posting to rank on our short-tail keyword."

Short-tail keywords help you rank for one specific word. This can eventually help you rank for longer phrases or concepts that include that keyword, thus staying top of mind for your customers.

13. Update existing content

If you have existing content that was published years ago, chances are there has been new research about the concepts you wrote about.

Adam Connell says: "I update and improve old blog posts that have lost rankings for keywords that used to drive traffic. Then I add a note to the post that it's been updated and re-promote it like I would a new post."

Republishing content is a good way to get new subscribers to see that content. Content relaunches have been known to provide quick bursts of organic traffic.

14. Identify already-ranking content

If you use a tool like Moz to track your keywords, look at which content is ranking within the first three pages but not necessarily in the top search results. Jacob MacMillen says: "The quickest way to boost organic traffic is to identify content on your site that is already ranking within Google's first three pages for relevant keywords, and then further expand and optimize that content around those keywords."

15. Get social shares

Many people believe that social shares are a vanity metric that doesn't impact your organic traffic, but Nadav Dakner of Inbound Junction thinks differently: "While the jury may still be out on the hard-and-fast connection between social engagement and organic ranking, the correlation in my work is clear: The more popular an article is on social, the more organic traffic it receives. This may be an indication that Google does indeed pay attention to 'social signals,' or it may simply be that the more attention an article on social gets the more likely it is to earn backlinks.

"The other connection that social media engagement provides is a lower overall bounce rate. These things have a direct impact on how search engines rank a webpage. Either way, investing in promotion on social media (both through paid avenues as well as through influencer friendships) is a must."

* * *

These 15 strategies are not the only possible methods that work for increasing your organic traffic, but they have been proven time and time again. Increasing your organic traffic should be a long-term plan. If you want strong results that last, it takes consistency and effort. Consider these strategies the first step toward finding those results.

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image of Nadya Khoja

Nadya Khoja is the chief growth officer at Venngage, increasing its revenues from 6 figures to $10M. She hosts a Web series called Drunk Entrepreneurs, featuring interviews with entrepreneurs who are finding success.