Traffic & SEO
Now this could be the best blog post you have ever read – or the most boring!
But love it or hate it, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become so prevalent when related to internet marketing and driving traffic it just isn’t a subject you can choose to ignore. It really does have to become part of your daily routine, your subliminal thinking and integrated into your overall strategy – from #hashtags to ‘long tail’ keywords, backlinks to social networking –honestly, not as confusing as they might sound – and if you adopt some (or all) of the strategies mapped out below, start living and breathing the tactics and simple techniques as part of your ongoing campaigns, then you WILL find your Social posts getting more engagement, your blog receiving more traffic and your entire marketing campaign acting as one slick operation.
So hopefully you will not be over-awed by this post (trust me, it took longer to write it than it will take you to read it), I have kept the ‘language’ and terminology as ‘user-friendly’ as possible because it’s imperative that these invaluable topics are incorporated into your business strategies (and you gain the edge on your competitors) by using them to your advantage at the earliest opportunity, driving free organic traffic to everything that you create.
1. Recognize the importance of web traffic.
So let’s jump right in and be aware that SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most important techniques to utilize in order to achieve more traffic to your site. And that’s what it’s all about, more traffic, higher rankings and more chance of sales. Without a healthy number of people visiting your web page on a regular basis, you won’t be exposing your site to potential customers. Not rocket science I realise, but let’s get real and appreciate the importance of SEO and the rewards over time it will bring you.
2. Choose your domain name carefully.
It is very important that the domain name of your site is related to your chosen topic or niche(you would be surprised at the number of wannapreneurs that actually overlook this key factor). Choose the shortest, most relevant name you can find that people are hopefully going to remember. Take your time with this, you can search as many times as you like for free at Godaddy, my advice at this stage is to buy more than one if you can, especially if you cannot decide at this point (they are cheap to purchase).
Tip.Make sure it’s a dot com (as opposed to .net, .org etc., dot com’s have far more credibility) and avoid the use of hyphens – users just forget to type them!
3.Take advantage of domain name suggestion tools.
There are lots of domain name suggestion tools available on the internet these days that will help you choose a great domain. Try namemesh or domainsbot, enter some keywords aligned with your profitable chosen niche and search repeatedly. Once you have an initial list of possibilities you can even re-search those if desired, resulting in a keyword-rich domain name for your new business. Domainsbot will even find the domain listings from Godaddy along with prices.
Tip. Don’t choose names that are hard to spell or type, “keep it simple stupid” (KISS)
4. Use a keyword tool.
Using a tool like Google Keyword Planner in order to determine relevant keywords related to your niche in the first instance can save a lot of corrections later, and will heavily contribute in gaining that all-important organic website traffic. Start as you mean to go on and make a note of as many keywords and phrases (which is basically all long tail keywords are) as you can. This will boost your SEO from the get-go if you take advantage of this free online resource. Other keyword tools are available, but most have a subscription involved, and when you cut to the chase, Google knows what’s going on.
5. Your website’s content.
To keep the hungry crowd happy, you will have to add blogs, posts and content on a regular basis, once a week as a bare minimum. Write valuable, informative, well researched articles – making sure they are grammatically correct and of a high quality. Avoid plagiarism (i.e. stealing others bloggers material) at all cost, Google hates this practice with a passion and will punish your site rankings if deemed necessary, not to mention ‘tanking’ your organic search engine traffic. Ensure your site is well laid out and easy to navigate.
Tip. The best content will always be “How To’s”, “10 (eg) Reasons Why etc.”, “Cheat sheets” and “Reviews”– give your reader value and answers to problems every time.
6. Then add more content to your site.
Thought you had got away with that did you. It’s just a plain fact that the more content you have, the more Google will like you, the higher your Alexa.com ranking will be (see #12) and the more likelihood of returning internet surfers. So give them a reason to come back! There is a World of choice on the web, and once a prospective customer or loyal fan is lost, it is highly unlikely they will return. Update your site as often and regular as you can to generate the loyal tribe.
7. Don’t forget the keywords in your image file.
When you upload images on your website which are related to your products, services and predominately your website, use your keyword (or words) as a #hashtag, there is no limit to how many you can add so get #tagging. Images can tell a story on their own so make sure you are maximising your social reach simply and easily.
8. Pinpoint your top competitors.
It never hurts to study the competition, and in this case we positively encourage it! Search out your competition, check out their approach, their strategies and what they might be promoting or advocating. Stay one step ahead. Which of their strategies can you learn from or even replicate on your own site. If it’s working for them, no reason why it won’t work for you
9. Determine your best keywords.
Once your website is up and running instigate some detailed research in order to determine which keywords are obtaining the most traffic and which pages are getting the most attention. Grab the html code from Google analytics and embed into your website (and if that sounds way too difficult grab someone on Fiverr.com to do it for you). Alexa.com will also give you some terrific insights and keyword percentage ranking for your site, so make sure you grab your free account with Alexa.
10. Determine if your website is crawlable by various search engines.
A little more technical now, but a subject that needs to be covered. In order for people to find your site when they search for information related to it, your web portal should be crawlable by search engines and its spiders. Web pages that cannot be crawled and indexed will never rank highly and suffer unduly for all organic traffic. Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to be 100% sure you are compliant, but the previously mentioned Google analytics and Alexa.com will certainly help you define any problems. Just to reassure you somewhat, 99% of websites will have no problem being indexed or suffer from the following problems.
So without going into great detail, here are 8 common reasons that can hinder the spiders and bots doing there crawling and hence indexing you’re Web pages.
i) Avoid flash (a little is ok but avoid overuse)
ii) Avoid Ajax(same as above)
iv) Avoid long dynamic URLs (A “dynamic URL” is most simply defined as one that has a “?” in it)
v) Avoid session IDs in URLS (similar to above –if the last part of URL says SESSION=9875e907332atf56 or similar that’s a red flag to search engine spiders).
vi) Avoid code bloat (In most cases, this is not something you’ll need to worry about)
vii) Avoid robots.txt blocking (only applies to rare cases and has to be implemented by website admin)
viii) Avoid incorrect XML sitemaps (obvious – no broken links and all where it should be)
11. Distribute your articles to various article directories.
Each time you write an informative and unique article that you feel is worthy of sharing with your peers, try uploading to articles directories such as ezinearticles.com. It’s best to do this prior to uploading to your blog or website as they require previously unpublished material that is free from plagiarism, but in turn protects you once published. Great source of backlink to your website (which should always be added as a footer to your article) and gains you credit as a serious online blogger.
12. Determine your websites performance.
With the plethora of websites currently accessible along with thousands being added weekly, we fortunately have access to some superb free platforms to check a multitude of data being generated from our online exertions. Ascertaining your sites current performance has never been easier, and should be done so on a regular basis to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Register with Alexa.com to monitor you search engine ranking (plus other insights and useful data)and be sure to utilize webpagetest.org for more analytic reviews and rich diagnostic information. Google analytics should be ‘a given’.
13. Be aware of Keyword Stuffing.
Although the use of keywords is paramount when looking to promote your web pages, you should be aware that overdoing it can have an adverse effect. Keyword stuffing is the term given to the overuse of your chosen words or phrases, and search engines (especially Google) may judge your page or website to be spam site, and avoid you like the plague. Ensure that your keywords are in context, not conveniently placed on every other line, and can be read as a natural part of your text without altering the flow of the article. This way you will benefit from SERP (Search Engines Results Page) if your keyword or actual phrase is entered as a search.
14. Take note of keyword density.
Keyword density refers to the number of times you should make use of your keywords or keyword phrases (long tail keywords) within the content of your web page. As a rule of thumb, the density should be within 3 to 7 percent of a complete text, so don’t overdo it. If you exceed these percentages search engines may penalize you (it might class the page as spam) by limiting your organic search results to online surfers.
15. Construct a site that provides easy navigation.
Establishing a website that is easy to find your way around is not just great for your visitors, but for the search engines that want to index and explore. Just work on the premise that if it’s easy for you (and other humans), then the bots will love it to. Create hyperlinks within your webpages (e.g.to other articles you may have posted) to enhance the viewing experience and entertain your audience for longer.
16. Generate site maps.
Sitemaps are a core piece of a website and critical to search engine optimization – xml sitemaps allows search engines to easily crawl a website and index each page so that it appears in search engine results. HTML sitemaps are also important, and are more geared towards human users – they help your website visitors find the content they’re looking for on your website with ease.
Aside from helping people to conveniently navigating around your site, it will also make it easier for search engines to index it. Generate your site map with the use of an automatic tool such as XML-sitemaps.com, or if your site is utilizing WordPress use this user-friendly plug-in google-sitemap-generator
17. Minimize broken links.
Broken links are totally taboo when it comes to your website and you should check them regularly. Broken links are guaranteed to lose you followers in an instant and search engines will downgrade you in a nano second. Plus they are incredibly annoying, depicting to your reader lack of care and attention.
Tip. Always open your links to a new browser, bad business to lead them away from your website you worked so hard to get them to in the first place!
18. Make use of backlinks.
Backlinks are simply links that are embedded into other niche related sites that will lead people to your site. They are an imperative part of increasing your traffic, search engines rate backlinks highly and go a long way to giving your website credibility and authority. It is best to make use of one way links if possible, since such links would imply that your site is the important one. However, when building backlinks, always keep in mind that it is the quality of links over the quantity of links. One link from an authority site can do more for your site than 1,000 low quality links.
Tip. If you are not sure how to obtain backlinks, here is a superb software with great testimonials that creates hundreds of high-quality backlinks on auto-pilot SEO Link Vine
19. Take advantage of organic traffic.
Organic traffic is not only free but highly sought after, not to mention valuable. Nurture it, treasure it and treat it with the respect it deserves. By using all (or at least some) of the previous SEO techniques your website views will increase and gain organic momentum. Focus on these methods, let them become second nature and apply whenever you can to gain maximum exposure.
20. Guest blog post on comparable marketing websites.
Writing quality articles for similar niche websites can be an invaluable source of free traffic, not to mention increasing your credibility within the internet marketing space. If you can construct a well written informative blog post for other marketers to post (and then return the favour) it’s a win-win all round. Obviously ensure that you are justly credited for the article, because when people read you’re offering the chances are they will also visit your page to find out a little more.
21. Participate in blog discussions.
Finding blog threads or discussions that are related to your site’s content to participate on is a great opportunity to stamp your authority and get noticed, contribute with support and advice whenever you can. Other contributors will notice and become aware of your knowledge and expertise in your chosen field, plus offering help and free assistance is a great way to ‘pay it forward’.
Tip. Be sure to #hashtag your reply and post your website URL
22. Participate in online forums.
Similar strategy to above, find internet forums such as warriorplus.com with topics that revolve around the niche of your website. Sign up for a free account and participate by providing some insights or valuable material regarding the thread. Again, #hashtag and post your website URL where possible.
Tip. DO NOT spam direct links to sales pages or affiliate offers on the forums, this practice will get you barred from the forum site.
23. Create your own mini-course tutorial.
Creating a mini-course is a highly effective way to take advantage of SEO to drive more traffic to your site. This will be a little more labour intensive and will take some time to perfect, but if executed in a professional and polished manner that grabs people’s attention it can be a real winner. A great way to obtain usable information to put together a slick looking give-away is to grab some high quality, pre-done courses from a reputable PLR company like IDplr.com. With over 10,000 products that you can use, copy or even sell, you won’t be stuck for information ever again.
Tip. Make the first one you produce FREE to entice traffic, or use as a Lead Capture Page for email addresses. Also consider the potential customers ‘WIIFM’ philosophy when formulating the content (i.e. “What’s in it for me!”)
24. Write your own testimonials.
Find websites that provide content similar to yours and offer your own testimonials or maybe just write a comment on a blog post. Make your comments count, offer fresh and interesting content and remember to post your #hashtags and website links.
25. Using keywords and #hashtags on all your social media profiles.
When you make use of keywords and #hashtags on your social media posts you will be increasing your chances of gaining more traffic to your site immediately. Optimize your social profiles at every given opportunity with tags and links to lead people to your site.
26. Take advantage of press releases.
If you are feeling confident with your ability and content writing, try releasing your latest offering as a press release, especially if it’s an online course or product release. Do your keyword research diligently and ensure your writing and comprehension is of the highest quality and grammatically correct
27. Your Meta keywords section.
Avoid using single keywords in your Meta keywords section. Instead, make use of phrases, if you want to expect better results from it. Think how you might search for something yourself, think like your potential followers and what they would type so as to lead them to what you are offering.
28. Web hosting.
Using a reputable web hosting service will optimize your sites overall performance, so don’t scrimp and save a couple of bucks to then sacrifice all your hard work with website downtime and slow loading speeds. There are plenty of webhost providers to choose from but three I am happy to recommend are Hostgator (the hatchling plan is all you need to start), 1and1webhosting or dreamhost.com (which benefits with managed WordPress hosting).
29. Add a forum section on your site.
Adding a forum to your site can certainly encourage people to visit more regularly, especially if the discussions are interesting, informative and helpful to your reader. Just be warned that they can be time consuming, and will require constant, qualified answers and input from you. Consider this addition as website traffic increases and your knowledge and experience grows.
30. Create eBooks that you can offer for free.
Creating your own eBook is fantastic for gaining free traffic (and capturing email addresses at the same time if desired), plus giving you credence as “the Author” of some valuable information within your niche. But here is the key, it HAS to be packed with valuable, must-have information. Original, well written and desirable. Use titles with “learn how to” or “10 secrets revealed” etc. to pique interest and grab attention. Ensure there are links within the eBook text linking to your website for maximum exposure.
Tip. Many new authors are tempted to try and sell their first eBook offering – my advice is to give the first one or two away free to gain credibility as an author.
31. Let them know you are an expert.
When readers perceive you as an expert in your chosen field, they will undoubtedly follow your posts and visit your site or social media pages more regularly. And the more they visit, the more Google will increase your organic reach. So position yourself as a leader, offer professional comments and answers to questions, let people know how well versed you are in your chosen topic.
32. Use website analytics tools.
Now I realise that I have mentioned analytics tools several times already, but keeping track of your website hits, successful keywords, popular pages and all other relevant data is KEY when you are competing with a multitude of other websites. It is imperative you know what is working, what isn’t, and adjust accordingly.
Have a keyword phrase that’s getting oodles of attention? Use it to your advantage, imbedding it elsewhere or writing a blog based around that phrase. There are many options on the market for tracking your data, but Google analytics really is the bomb, and free.
33. Do your homework and choose the right niche
Now this may sound obvious, but so many online wannapreneurs do not give this critical stage enough thought, time or due diligence – they just jump right in and rush into the whole process omitting vital research.
Starting a blog, website or sales page because you happen to like the subject just won’t cut the mustard.
If you are not committing your valuable time to a profitable niche that is highly in demand, being searched daily and able to be monetized, you will be wasting your time. Period. So ‘time out’ people, get it right before you hit the first 50 metres, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
34. Make use of PPC (Pay per Click) advertising.
Pay per Click advertising is used by many marketers with great success, but can be a slight learning curve when you first take the plunge. This method of creating traffic to your website, page or offer can reap constant benefits if done correctly, and being able to ‘target’ your traffic to a tailored audience has tangible benefits. But there are many ‘rules and regulations’ to be followed so as not to upset the ‘online watchdogs’. From experience, Google adwords are very stringent on the do’s and don’ts, but if you get your promotion right you have the opportunity of reaching 65% of the worlds online traffic.
A slightly easier route when venturing into the sphere of online advertising is to try Bingads, who are a little more relaxed with their rules and openly welcome online marketers as they compete against the might of Google for your dollar. With the Microsoft Bing search engine now overseeing AOL and YahooSearch, you can still find your way onto 20% of the online population’s laptops with ease.
Tip. Search for online coupons prior to signing up with either, they are readily available (try here free-ppc-ad-coupons)
35. Use hyperlinks.
Using hyperlinks is another SEO technique that you must be using in order to have more people visiting your site. Make your hyperlink ‘keyword rich’ and it’s a double whammy. When posting to any of the Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, include a hyperlink back to your site or designated page to guide people to your page of interest.
36. Embrace the value of social networking.
If you have not started making use of social networking for your SEO efforts, then it is best to start now. It’s never too late and mixing and mingling with the right crowd to increase your online visibility can have a huge positive effect with your SEO and online marketing, just remember to be yourself, open and honest. Nothing worse than a spammy account. Don’t try and become an expert with all of them at once, pick one like Facebook and master it. Remember to mix up your posts with Value, Lifestyle, Motivational Quotes, Humor, Results (or team results) Questions and maybe the odd Music Video.
37. Number of words per website page.
When you are creating content for your site, focus on having at least 200 words per page. This way, search engines and their spiders will have sufficient text to work with and be able to formulate an accurate ranking for the page and ultimately the entire website. Aside from that, it will make your articles more entertaining, relevant and readable for your visitor.
38. Including your brick and mortar establishment’s address.
If you have a brick and mortar business, and you want to establish a better web presence, make sure to include your office or outlets local address on your site, even if you only sell online. Include it in the contact section of the web page, and consider applying it on the landing page of your portal at the same time.
39. Private Label Rights.
Private Label Rights products or PLR products are highly sought after and basically give you the right to legally and ethically give away (or even sell) somebody else’s work, whether that be an eBook, PDF guide or even a complete training course. It will cost you a little to join in the first instance but the usable information contained within these PLR sites can give a real ‘kick-start’ to your online business. Imagine the value and free give-aways you can offer your customers without doing all the hard work yourself – have a look here for a great example of the leading PLR Company IDplr.com offering over 10,000 eBooks, PDF sheets and videos that you can use, copy and even re-sell for 100% profit.
40. Use long tailed keywords.
These are simply relevant and well researched keywords ‘strung together’ to make a rich keyword phrase, but can have greater impact with search engines than single keywords. Do your research and make sure that the keywords within the phrase are significant to your article or site’s topic, make them unique and they should not have much competition, allowing you to benefit from maximum keyword targeting.
41. Add internal hyperlinks to your website.
Internal hyperlinks are links that lead a visitor to another section or blog post within your site (deep linking), by simply clicking on them (these will show as words or phrases highlighted or in color – primarily a Royal blue). Search engines see these links as integral parts of a website, which in turn will be a factor when it comes to the ranking of your site.
Tip. Each time you write a new article or blog post, consider which words or phrases you can hyperlink as you progress, this will save you re-visiting all your previous pages to add retrospectively.
42. Log out of your Google account prior to checking your SERP.
I have always found it beneficial to log out of your Google account before you check your Search Engine Results Page. If you are still logged in to your Google account, it has a tendency to tailor the results to be in line with your previous search preferences, which in turn can elevate your site ranking to appear higher than actual. To obtain more accurate results, log out first or make use of another computer.
43. Modifying the keyword or keyword stemming.
Keyword stemming is a process in which you would be modifying certain keywords before making use of them for your site or articles. This would actually increase your chances of getting more hits on your web portal. For example, if your keyword is “reading”, then you should also make use of read, readable, and so on.
44. Web surfers like questions!
We all do it, so consider how people use the internet. Because when we want the answer to something, we will type a question into the search bar, right? Let’s use this knowledge to our advantage by making the subtitles of our blogs and posts questions–questions you perceive they will type or be looking for the answer to. Check your considered questions with Google Keyword Planner and adjust as necessary. Simple but effective, and by undertaking this strategy you will increase your sites potential of appearing on the first page of search engine results.
45. Pages you must have on your website
To achieve the desired rankings and credibility from the search engine gods, there are certain pages you need to have displayed (or associated) with you website to fulfil current legislation and requirements. An About Me / Us page is not mandatory but most highly recommended, not just to satisfy the search engines but also the ever-sceptical general public. Be transparent, be visible and tell your story – it’s your chance to ‘connect’ in this virtual world.
46. Provide links on your social networking profiles.
Don’t forget to provide clear, visible links on your social networking profiles and website, giving viewers a one-click option to every other platform that you are utilizing for your online marketing. These links create more for the spider bots to find as well as creating confidence and social standing with your prospective customer.
47. Provide some great product reviews.
If you are promoting certain online products (either your own or as an affiliate), write a great review purporting its value, or even better make a video, publish to YouTube and then embed on your website. Honest, genuine, detailed reviews go along way with your audience, especially if you are using the product yourself, report the pro’s and the con’s, embellish the report with images and testimonials if possible in order to help people make informed decisions about the product.
48. Add your Blog to Blog Directories
Gaining exposure for your blog is critical to building a following and revenue. After creating compelling copy, titles, descriptions and link strategies, it can be advantageous to list your blog in one or more directories.
There are many paths to building links, such as link baiting or blogroll-link swapping, but few are as easy to implement and cost effective as submitting to blog directories. And good link juice makes for a budding blog. When you’re at a stage that you feel confident with your content, seek out sites like ‘Best of the Web’ (blogs.botw.org) or ‘OnTopList’ (www.ontoplist.com) for free targeted publicity.
49. Add YouTube Videos to your SEO bag of tricks
One of the largest search engines other than Google remarkably is YouTube, with over 500 hours of content added every minute. Therefore, it is crucial to include YouTube in your arsenal of traffic strategies. Creating your own YouTube channel is straight forward, especially if you already have a Google account. Produce and upload original videos with interesting content to your YouTube channel. Using the “annotation” feature while editing YouTube videos, you can add a call to action for viewers to go your website URL. Another targeting strategy is to interlink your videos with annotations so as to pick up more views and more traffic. Optimize your YouTube channel by including a link back to your website in the profile information on the left panel.
Tip. After producing and uploading interesting video content to YouTube, optimize your videos by tagging with searchable keywords. For phrases, remember to include the quotation punctuation “……”.
50. The Competitor Backlink Analysis Process (or Spy on Your Competitors Links!)
Collecting backlink data is important because it allows you to figure out exactly why you or your competitors are ranking for any given search term. You can use this data to build a golden database of backlinks that you can re-use time and time again to drive traffic to your websites. Why spend time & money trying to figure things out when you can just steal your competitor’s best backlinks! You can register for free accounts with the likes of ahrefs.com, Majestic SEO or Backlink Watch and use the data provided to build a priceless database of backlinks that you can re-use over and again. For a more in-depth overview of the backlink process, check out my associate Matthew Woodward’s blog post here; backlink-competitor-analysis.
* Never make text the same color (or similar) as its background on your website
* Getting traffic now? Don’t back off – keep the momentum driving forward with fresh
ideas and techniques.
* Don’t add backlinks too quickly, search engines may become suspicious of your site’s
activities –take your time and add over weeks, not hours.
* When writing articles either for your website make use of synonyms. It makes the
flow of the article more natural and more interesting to read.
* Add a translation plug in to your site like plugins/google-language-translator/ to gain
maximum reach – after all, it is the World Wide Web.
So if you’re still with me at this stage I am hopeful that the above has been a valuable source of SEO techniques that you can take away and implement into your own online strategies, all have merit and pack a punch when implemented over time, but remember:
Be Persistent. Achieving success through you online efforts and the various SEO methods listed here takes constant action and a little time to have effect, constantly strive to improve the content of your website and master the methods necessary.
Be Patient. Yes, your patience really must be a virtue when relying on some of these methods to increase traffic. Be patient and you will reap the benefits over time. SEO is something that you need to implement continually, make second nature, even if you have already attained your goals. Never take your foot off the proverbial gas pedal and it WILL happen…
Mark Hartfree is an Author, prolific
Blog writer, World Traveller and Online
Entrepreneur who divides his time between
the UK, South America & the Costa Blanca
Coastline in Spain.
His spare time is taken up between his
children and volunteering for local charities.