Clients new and old regularly ask us how we can increase their organic exposure, and keep users engaged in their site longer. What keywords can we add, what SEO tricks do we know, how can we get them the greatest return for the time we invest?
Again and again I find myself explaining that there are no shortcuts; No keywords we can add, no 'hacks' we can do, that will get them their desired result.
I think that most are approaching the problem the wrong way; Your user's are not a robot searching for a specific input, and these days the search engine's aren't either. We believe attracting, keeping (and if needed, converting to customers), users starts with creating content they would be invested in, something they can really sink their teeth into; a narrative - with details.
Simplicity is key: While you may find everything about your product or service obvious or self-explanatory, many users do not. One of the easiest things to do to gain organic traffic is simply explain your differentiating factor in text on your website. Yes - pictures and hero text sell; but search engines can't detect that information when crawling through your site for SEO data. Put a few short paragraphs on your about page or blog explaining just how amazing your product or service is; linking to sites that verify that claim will only help your site rank better, and your users feel like you a more legitimate source.
Original content works: Most new website owners find themselves using stock photography, or rewriting their competitor's website copy in a 'new and better way', as this is both very inexpensive and easy to do. While it may fool some, or even most of your customers, if you are trying to gain new followers via search engine optimization or social interaction, these shortcuts will hurt you. Search engines can detect the similar content and reused images, and will prefer sites that are updated more often with original content, in their results list. Users also will not interact with your site's content the same - original content is shared more often than other forms of content (40x more often in fact - https://blog.bufferapp.com/infographics-visual-content-marketing)
Example of an infographic from blog.bufferapp.com
Example of Jet.com Clearly Explaining their benefits
If selling a product: Explain why they (the user) should be purchasing from you (and no - I don't mean by putting 'Free Shipping' into the header). Give some background on your company; what sets you apart from the others? Customers are not only attracted to your impeccable product, they are attracted to the idea of you as a company, what you stand for. They fall in love with your story, your brand, and share it with others.
Give people opportunities: We always recommend giving your customers a place to submit feedback (that may or may not been seen by the public) or let you know how their experience was. Furthermore, allow them to socially share your product/image/services as easily as possible. According to Pew Research, "1/3 of millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses" - which is a win-win for most online business; you can meet your customer at their preferred point-of-contact, and obtain free advertising on their friends social feeds at the same time.
All in all - we like to relate the struggle of driving traffic and keeping your site relevant to telling a good story, or writing a good book. Your customer should want to know more about you based off of your image, your cover, your brand. Once they open a few pages, they should have something good to read, that makes them want to read, or buy, more; and like every good book, if your product or service is great to the last page, your customers will tell their friends to read - or buy.