Growing your organic traffic can be a challenge, especially if you’re just starting to do content marketing for your website.
On average, it takes about three months from the time of a single post’s publication before it starts ranking toward the top of page one and generating any traffic.
And if you’re not targeting the right keywords or generating low-quality content that only scratches the surface of certain topics in your industry, it could take even longer before you start seeing any impact with your site traffic growth.
So, what’s the best way to improve your website’s organic traffic in one year?
We decided to dig into some of the data around this question (including some compiled from our clients) and show you some potential forecasts for first-year increases across these three primary routes:
- If you go it alone (the DIY route)
- If you use software (like HubSpot)
- If you use an agency (like Nectafy)
Forecasts For Your First-year Increase In Organic Traffic
If You Go It Alone (the DIY route)
If you are working on your own to produce content for your company, the biggest factor in organic traffic growth will be your skill level.
If you understand keyword research, link building, and SEO; have experience with content marketing; and can write well (or have access to good writers), then your results could be impressive.
One example: A couple of members from our own team have started side projects outside of Nectafy and worked to grow their traffic using similar tools and processes that we utilize for our clients.
One managed to increase the monthly traffic for their side project website from just 50 in the first month to 8,800 one year later.
That’s a 17,600% increase coming from a one-person website!
But keep in mind there were certain factors associated with this traffic growth, like:
- They used a proven content marketing strategy based on existing results with Nectafy clients.
- Their website revolved around a trending topic.
- They utilized existing connections for link-building.
So while it’s completely possible to grow your traffic solo like this, you just need to make sure you have a solid game plan for approaching your overall content strategy.
General Guidelines On How Much Growth To Expect
There are too many factors to give you a clear guideline on how much you could grow using a solo strategy. But we can give some idea of what to expect:
- HubSpot found that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors than those who don’t. Since blogging is a core strategy for growing organic traffic, this can be used as a general proxy.
- The number of visitors you could gain depends a lot on how many you already have. We’ve found that growing from 0 to 1,000 monthly organic visits takes a similar amount of time and effort as it does to grow from 1,000 to 25,000.
- If your traffic is under 1K organic visits per month, I’d expect to see close to nothing happen for six to 12 months. In this phase, you are trying like heck to get Google to notice you. It takes a while (and you’re stuck close to zero the whole time). During this time, you’re doing what we like to refer to as “authority building.”
- You’ll likely see one blog post drive most of your traffic in the first year — that’s your first winner. Try to do more posts like that one, both in terms of post type and topic to double down on your organic traffic gains. This is what we like to call “keyword cultivation.”
- Once you get above 1,000 monthly organic visits, growth gains tend to be exponential for a period after that. Around that point, all the work you did previously and all the work you’re doing currently start to rank together. That’s the exponential move. Make sure you invest enough time to see the exponential growth play out.
In summary, there isn’t a great way to forecast a solo operator starting growth content marketing in year one. A more sweeping study wouldn’t even be too helpful because of all the unique factors involved: skill, industry, amount of content, and starting point.
If you want a growth estimate as a solo content marketer, use 55% growth with the understanding that there is a wide range of potential outcomes.
If You Use A Software Tool To Help (Like HubSpot)
One of our writers used this analogy recently to describe HubSpot and I think it’s a good one:
Think about HubSpot as a high-powered race car with all the bells and whistles. It’s an amazing machine to get you from Point A to Point B. But this car is a Formula One race car, not an auto-piloted vehicle—it needs an experienced driver to operate it, gas and motor oil to keep it running, and maintenance when issues arise (and even before).
HubSpot and similar software products are amazing tools to help you grow your organic visits, leads, and customers. But they will sit in the garage collecting dust without an operator.
HubSpot states, “Customers see an average of 113% increase in website traffic one year after purchasing HubSpot” (based on 36,913 customers who owned a HubSpot product for at least 12 months between January 2019 and August 2022).
Therefore, if you had HubSpot and you started off with 1,000 organic monthly visits, you could expect 2,130 monthly visits at the end of 12 months as an average HubSpot operator.
You could adjust up or down based on your skill level, the rate at which your industry or topic is growing, your country, your company size, and more.
Check out HubSpot’s 2022 ROI Report to see growth rates segmented by all of those factors.
As a solo content marketer using HubSpot, there is also a massive range of outcomes, but you could grow by as much as 196% in your first year.
If You Use A Content Team Or Agency (Like Nectafy)
In the first scenario, it was just you out there—the solo marketer.
In the next scenario, we added a tool like HubSpot to help (which still requires operator skill and a steady output of content).
In this scenario, you get all the help you need. What would happen if you could purchase your way to phenomenal growth, getting the skill and output needed from a content marketing agency like Nectafy?
Based on the data for all of our existing clients and most of our previous clients, we built a calculator to predict average organic traffic growth in one year using our services.
Enter your existing monthly organic visits into the calculator and we’ll generate the average returns you could see.
How much could your company grow with growth content?
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Our data shows that:
If you currently have 100 monthly organic visits, you could expect to grow 1,152% in 12 months (a 12.5x increase).
Here are the outliers who had fewer than 1,000 visits per month when they started with Nectafy:
- Highest growth: One company grew from 330 visits per month to 22,413 in one year (+6,790% increase).
- Lowest growth: One company grew from 320 visits per month to 518 in one year (+62% increase).
If you have 10,000 monthly organic visits, you could expect to grow 341% in 12 months.
Here are the outliers who had between 1,000 and 25,000 visits per month when they started with Nectafy:
- Highest growth: One company grew from 1,616 visits per month to 17,357 in one year (+974% increase).
- Lowest growth: One company grew from 1,401 visits per month to 2,543 in one year (+82% increase).
What’s The Best Way To Improve Your Website's Organic Traffic?
If you go it alone, your organic growth potential could be about 55% in the first year. Keep in mind that without an agency, team, or software tool, your results could vary wildly depending on your skill level (0% with no skill and no luck, 1,000%+ with high skill, luck, and output).
If you use a software tool, your organic growth potential could reach 113% in the first year. If you have the skills and the time and add in a tool like HubSpot to make it all run more smoothly, this improves your chances of higher traffic growth.
If you use an agency like Nectafy, your organic growth potential could average 1,152% Starting off with fewer than 1,000 visits per month, this is the average increase for Nectafy clients in one year. As your starting point increases (10,000 visits, then 100,000 visits), your percent returns decrease, but raw returns of new visits increase.
No matter which scenario you’re talking about, keep this in mind:
There are so many outcomes and factors to consider in your success, including your industry, skill level, team, amount of content you produce, starting point, keyword competitiveness, luck, and more.
If I want to maximize my organic traffic growth, how should I do it?
If your strategy includes randomly sourcing blog ideas, going after the most competitive keywords in your industry, or posting low-quality written content, I can guarantee your returns will end up closer to 0%.
The best thing you can do is position yourself for success by implementing the right strategies. Depending on your current level of site traffic, here are some places to start:
- Authority Building - Fewer than 1,000 visits per month and a Domain Authority of less than 20.
- Keyword Cultivation - From 1,000–25,000 visits per month and a Domain Authority from 20 to 50.
- Sales Growth - Greater than 25,000 visits per month and a Domain Authority from 50 to 100.
Those are the exact strategies we use to drive the returns outlined above. Best of luck!
P.S. If you’d like to talk more about how Nectafy can help improve your website’s organic traffic, have a conversation with Lance.