Increasing Traffic to Your Web Site: An Overview
Posted by Bryan McCall
You’ve built a web site. Why aren’t people visiting it?
There is no one, simple method to improve your web site's rank in a search engine or to increase the traffic to your site, but rather an ever-evolving collection of techniques, strategies, and considerations. The easiest way to get traffic is to simply buy a lot of advertising to promote your site, either online, offline or both. If you have the budget for a massive ad campaign, please give me a call. I've never done a Super Bowl commercial.
Fortunately, increasing traffic to your web site is possible with a more modest budget. But it does take some work. Here is a brief overview of some of the more important aspects of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing that can increase "organic" traffic to your site. We will go into several of these topics in more depth in upcoming posts.
The first consideration is the construction of your web site. Is it search engine friendly? A search engine friendly site design:
- Does not rely solely on graphics or Flash to display important content
- Has readable and permanent page URLs
- Uses a reasonably flat, or at least clear, folder structure
- Uses unique and accurate page titles and description meta tags
- Does not use frames for important content
- Has text navigation links
- Uses standards compliant design
These and other technical aspects of a site's design can impede a search engine's robot from adequately scanning a site and can cause page ranking to suffer. Google and other search engines offer Webmaster Tools that allow you to get a better understanding of how the search engines are interacting with your site, or we will be happy to look at your site and offer feedback.
As long as the site's design is not impeding a site being crawled by search engine robots, the most important aspect of good search engine performance is content. A starting point is to make sure your site is useful and valuable to human visitors. Other points:
- Work your search terms into your text (more on search terms below) without making it look like spam
- Work your search terms into heading tags
- Update your site often with fresh content (with a blog, calendar of events, etc. Search engines like a site that changes)
- Keep each page simple and only target one (or a few, at most) search terms per page
- Build separate Landing Pages for different search terms or services
- Content with RSS Feeds seems to help
Don't try to perform well with every Search Term you can think of; rather, pick a few and focus your efforts on them. Pick search terms that people actually are searching for. Use Google's Keyword tracking tool or a similar tool to see comparative popularity of different search strings. It's become common practice to add the name of the area for local search and you need to use that in your text. It would be a challenge to get our site to score at the top in a search for "Advertising Firm" but we are at or near the top in searches for "Pensacola Advertising Firm."
Get Links Back to Your Site
Google and other search engines put considerable weight on how many other sites link back to your site and how that link is labeled when determining how your page should rank for any given search string. An entire discipline, called Back-linking or Link Baiting, has evolved to take advantage of this. Some ideas include:
- Get your site listed in directories, such as The Open Directory and industry specific directories.
- Get people with complimentary sites to link to yours
- Write articles for publication on other websites. The author profile will link to your site. The article will show that you're an expert in your field.
- Write daily or weekly news briefs focusing in on your industry or specialty area
- Become active in blogs and forums focusing on your industry
- Join business organizations, like Chambers of Commerce, that have online listings
- Use public relations to get your site mentioned in online publications
- Explore social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Notice that many of these activities, as well as the ones listed under Content, are an evolution of what Marketing and PR firms have been doing for their clients for years and is definitely a growing area for us.
Analyze What You've Got
Install Google Analytics or a similar stats package and track what works and what does not. It will also help you determine if people are coming to your site but just not buying or calling.
Manage Your Listings
If your business has a physical storefront, you need to sign up at Google's Local Business Center and the equivalent from Yahoo and Microsoft. See one of our earlier articles for more information.
Any of the techniques described here will help improve your site's search engine performance. Obviously, some are more involved than others. The most success will be achieved with a multifaceted approach hitting on most of these areas. Even more important is to integrate your web presence with an overall marketing plan, including online and traditional media. Give us a call and we can work with you to put together a detailed strategy to get more traffic to your site.