Traffic is the lifeblood of any successful web venture. Without people looking at your website, it effectively doesn’t exist. If nobody is interested, how can they pay you for what you have to offer? There are many different ways to increase web traffic to your site.
Search Engine Optimisation
Your main web traffic portal will be a major search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves configuring your website so search engines will put it at the top of the rankings, which will increase website traffic exponentially. SEO is about using the proper key phrases that people are searching for as well as using a variety of other methods to “game” the search engine system. Additionally, you have to register your website with the search directories, exchange links with other relevant websites in your field, and ensure that it contains no red flags.
Search engine optimisation is vital for any web entrepreneur to use. It is also important to ensure that the right techniques are used depending on the type of site you have. For example, if you have a WordPress site, it’s important to understand how to do WordPress SEO to give your site the best possible chance at Google. SEO for WordPress, just like for other sites, does vary so make sure you always optimise in the best way.
Increasing web traffic may be as simple as posting a link to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites. You could ask friends or acquaintances to post a link to their feeds, which may get website traffic in droves. Social media or “viral” advertising is based on one person starting a campaign, leading to massive word-of-mouth-fueled results.
Of course, the simplest way to increase web traffic is simply to buy it from one of many organizations offering thousands of hits at incredibly reasonable prices. The hope when you get web traffic is that some of it will stick. While purchased traffic isn’t as reliable as search-based traffic, you can buy targeted traffic in order to have a larger percentage of people visit who are actually interested in what you’re selling.
Google Adwords offers a unique form of advertising and web traffic increase known as PPC. You purchase a given keyword to which Google links your site. If anyone searches for that keyword, your website pops up in a “featured sites” box. If anyone clicks on that box, you pay Google a certain amount of money for the click. The hope is that you can use your website to monetize that visitor and make the payment worth it.
It is important to note that for PPC and for all the web traffic you buy directly, you need to make sure that the amount of money you spend getting people to your site directly translates into profits. You do this by creating worthwhile, actionable content that convinces viewers to buy your product, service or subscription when they find your site.
Choosing a domain name
Older domains are better, newer ones can be seen as potential spam sites by the search engines, therefore although it is ideal to have a keyword in your domain name do not feel tempted to buy a new domain and redirect your old website to it. You are better off optimising your original site.
Research your keyword phrases by asking others what they would put into Google to get your website to appear in the list. When words or phrases are very common, eg photography, travel etc, use short 2 or 3-word phrases instead. Discard any key phrases relating to the name of your business unless they are descriptive of your type of business, then make a list in order of priority. Select 6 to 8 different keywords for each page. Then optimise your site for your visitors, not for the search engines. Make sure your content, URLs, Headings, alt tags and meta tags include the phrases and words your potential customers would put into a search box.
Meta tag page titles
These are very important for search engines and you should make sure your keywords for that page are in the Title meta tag, with the most important words earlier in the title.
Design your site structure and navigation based on your keyword research. Have pages for specific themes that your potential customers would search for. When researching your key phrases, it should have become clear how people unconnected with your business see it so choose your categories or pages based on what you have found out. Do people look for your services by brand or type eg Designer Name or Skirt/Trousers etc.
Search Engine Spiders
Make sure the page content is interesting, informative and constantly updated. Changing content keeps the visitors and the search engines coming back. Use your keyword phrases within the page text but do not overdo it as visitors will not want to read stilted and artificial paragraphs.
Old-fashioned link exchange no longer works, what you need to do is create interesting, wonderful content that everyone will WANT to link to. Join forums where you can give useful help to others and if they like what you say they may well link to you. Use social networking like Twitter to draw attention to articles or information on your webpage and drive visitors to your site. Add a blog to your site and write interesting articles about your industry, make useful comments on other people’s blogs within your industry. Soon everyone will want to keep in touch with your current thoughts and will bookmark, Digg and Delicious your site. When people naturally link to your webpage they are, in effect, giving you public internet votes and these have far more value than link exchange.
Online tools and analytics
Once you have carried out these suggestions monitor how your website performs either in your site stats, Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools. Changes can sometimes take a few weeks to have an effect so do not rush to tweak your webpage until you have seen the effect of the last changes. Keep records of what you have changed so that you can see what has had the most impact.
If you are an online business owner, then you know that there are countless other businesses that are just like yours and that it is your responsibility, above all else, to persuade people to use your products, your services. But how do you do that online, when you are faced with the task of getting people to even come to your site in the first place? Below, we’re going to discuss how you can use keywords to your advantage to bring more traffic to your website.
Choosing a variety of keywords
When people search the Web, they do so by typing in one or more important keywords. For example, a person searching for platinum earrings might do a search that contains one or both of those words, with or without quotes (which yields an exact result). Search engine optimisation — also known by the abbreviated form SEO — is a method of improving the “visibility” of a website in a list of search results by including certain keywords with a certain frequency. Keyword analysis takes into account what types of things people search for on the Web and what words they use, thus forming an algorithm that can be used for SEO purposes. It is thus important to choose what words to include in the text of your website, as that can affect how likely your site is likely to turn up.
Different types of keywords
They can be grouped into several categories from strong and weak, global and local, singular and plural and so on. But the most important way of grouping them is into short- and long-tail keywords.
Long-tail is defined as a combination of highly searched key phrases that generate relevant phrases. They are among the most valuable kinds in terms of the amount of traffic that they can draw to your website. They can be used for the titles of articles and the headings of press releases, and to help with conversion.
Short-tail keywords, on the other hand, are generic phrases that search engine marketing experts use to generate interest in a website.
Tools you can use
Tools of various kinds can be used to compile lists of keywords that you can refer to for search engine optimisation purposes. Some of the best can be found at WordStream, it’s a free tool that contains an aggregation of over a billion keyphrases collected from more than a trillion search queries! Plus hundreds of related terms were gathered from various sources. You enter your long-tail phrases to find out just how people search for the topic in question. Other tools available from WordStream includes the Keyword Niche Finder and Keyword Grouper.
What to look out for
When you are looking for the right ones to use in your website, you should take into account that very often, niche keywords are used most often when discussing a particular field. It’s also the most used. If your website is a company that markets computer products, some of the niche wording that you will wish to use might include a motherboard, hard drive, USB port, antivirus program, software, word processor, mobile apps and so forth. The use of these can often be more effective than the use of high volume ones.
When you’re new to SEO it can sometimes feel as if you have a lot of information to learn. However, simply staying focused on the general things of SEO, will really help you to create a steadfast foundation that will essentially turn you into a professional SEO expert. Below, you will find several tips on how to learn the basics of SEO for beginners.
Targeting Keywords For Proper Search Engine Optimization
By carefully targeting short-tail Keywords versus those of long-tail Keywords, you will better be able to learn the essentials of SEO better. To help people find your official website and the content you have to offer, you should search for related keywords, find out the search intent of all your users looking for those keywords, and try to add them into your website content. Remember, try to review all of the differences there are between short-tail and long-tail Keywords before actually researching keywords.
Complete Your My Google Business Profile
A completely free public profile that tends to manifest in related search results or directly on Google itself is Google My Business. By claiming your Google My Business listing, you can provide Google and users with quick information about your business or company. The good thing about Google My Business is, it is quite fast and really easy to claim your account, so make sure to make this one of your first thing to do in SEO.
Research Related Keywords Using SEO Tools
As a new SEO learner, you will have many options to look at. So, don’t be afraid to see which ones you actually like the best. Eventually, as your professional SEO skills grow more, you may want to invest in better SEO tools to help you even further. Generally,, paid SEO tools provide you with more useful tools for other elements of SEO such as backlink analysis and much more.
Understanding the basics of SEO is crucial for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in SEO. Once you have the a greater understanding, you can expand your kmowledge and skills and even further.
Keywords and key phrases cause a great deal of confusion. If you search on the internet you will find many many different views. Many people will say that they are no longer relevant in search optimising (SEO) and that causes even more confusion, however when making these statements they are invariably referring to the meta tag “keywords”; they are not referring to the use of words that are important ie key, to your trade or business.
We will be concentrating on how to SEO your site by constructing and wording your website so that you use the words that are relevant to your business, ie the key phrases for your business. Proper use will mean that when Google is looking for sites to list in a particular search result it will pick your webpage if it is relevant to the search made.
What Keywords & Keyphrases Do Searchers Put Into Google to Find Your Website?
Relevance is extremely important. You do not want your site appearing in searches that are nothing to do with your business however you DO want it to show up in search engine results (SERPS) for searches that ARE to do with your business. If you make sure that your site contains plenty of references to the keywords that properly describe your business your website is much more likely to appear in search results. Here is a simple example to illustrate what we mean. Say you are a photographer in Norwich, you will want to appear in searches for “photographer in Norwich”, however if on your webpage you repeatedly refer to “taking pictures” instead of photography you will find that you appear higher in search engine results for “taking pictures” and not for “photography”. In addition, if the only mention of being in Norwich is on, say, your contact page, then you will not appear for “Norwich” either.
For your website to appear in search engine results the search engines need to have indexed your web pages, i.e. they have read and recorded all of the words on that page. They count the number of occurrences of each key phrase. Do note that search engines cannot “see” pictures, all they can see is the alt text, which is the text that is put on the page if for some reason the picture does not load, and the title text which is what shows up when you hover your mouse over an image. You need to make sure that the alt and title tags for your images include the keywords for that page. Once an internet user searches for one into Google, Google looks through the indexed pages to see whether there is a match for that exact word or phrase or similar and then lists the results.
It is worth remembering that for very common terms eg “SEO” or “search engine optimisation” there is so much competition that more established websites are going to appear much higher in results than you are able, therefore it is worth giving some serious thought to longer key phrases that people may put into Google for your type of business e.g “SEO services in Birmingham”.
Choosing the Best Ones For Your Homepage
1. Research Your Keywords
Ask others what they would put into Google to get your website to come up excluding of course the actual name of your business! Collect all of these words and phrases together and work out what the most frequently occurring words are – choose 6 to 8 keywords but do not include any common words like “the” “at” etc and even the word “great”. Then look at the common phrases and choose one or two key phrases. Additionally look at your main competitors’ sites and see what they have used for the title tag of their homepage. To do this go onto their website and look at what is written in the browser title bar ie the solid bar right at the top of your browser window.
Although there is little point in trying to compete for the most popular keywords with major national companies because of the long history they will have had on the internet – it is better for you to make your own niche by choosing some of your own which are more particular to your business and specialisation.
2. Use Your Key Phrases
Now that you have worked out which ones you want to focus on, you need to use them. Ideally, your domain name would include one or two of your main key phrases however by the time you read this you probably will have had your domain for some time; you could consider buying a new domain name which includes your main keyword, however, many SEO experts see this as a step in the wrong direction.
You now have 6 to 8 phrases for your home page – list these in order of priority and then use them in the meta tag TITLE, putting the most important first. Many people put the name of their business first in the TITLE meta tag however unless your business name includes important keywords for your website then the name should be last in the title. Your meta tag title should include no more than 60 to 70 characters and they should be separated using commas or the vertical line or pipe “|”.
Now use the same ones to complete the meta DESCRIPTION, this is the text that appears below your website listing in the search engine results. You want to make your description compelling so that people will click through to your webpage. If you do not fill in the META DESCRIPTION then the search engines will just select text from the page and this may not convey the correct message to your potential visitors and so they may not click through to your site. Your META DESCRIPTION should be no more than 150 characters.
Now we come to HEADERS, ie h1, h2… tags. These act as visual markers on your web page to show users the various sections of the page but in addition they also show search engines just what the important sections of your page are. Generally, your first heading (h1) should include your most important keywords and indicate the general theme of the page. The subsidiary headings h2, h3 etc indicate sub-sections of your page and these headings should include those which are less important.
Wherever you have an image you have an opportunity to assist your visitors and maximise the benefits of search engines indexing your website. For each image, you should have an “alt” tag and a “title” tag. The alt tag is what is written on the page if the picture does not load, the title tag is what the user sees if they hover their mouse over the image.
Using Keywords & Phrases in the Body Text
Images can make your website more appealing to users and aid their understanding of what you can offer, they are however of no help when it comes to search engines as search engines cannot interpret images without some words to help them. This is why you should ensure that the alt and title tags are completed with a phrase that describes the image and most importantly uses some of your keywords or phrases.
Now the most important aspect to focus on is the content of your homepage. You need to consider including your couple of keyphrases a few times and they need to each be present in a proportion of between 2-3% of the content. You should make sure that the text on your page still reads well and naturally. Remember it is most important to write for your users, they do not want to read stilted paragraphs. Do not feel tempted to just include lists of your keywords repeatedly as the search engines are wise to this and will penalise you. In addition, it can be tempting to see a well-written paragraph on another site and copy it onto yours – again do not do this. The search engines will soon see that you have duplicated someone else’s content and again you will be penalised.
If you have completed the above then you are on your way to optimising your home page. Now all you have to do is the same process all over again for each of the pages on your website! Ideally, every page has its own theme and therefore its own key phrases.
Once you have worked out the keyphrases for each page make sure that any internal links from one page of your site to another use the keywords for the destination page as the text for the link.
Now monitor how your webpage performs by checking your search engine result position for the key phrases you chose. Any changes can take anything from days to weeks to show up in the search engine results depending on how often your website is indexed. Monitor your site’s performance for several weeks and then if you feel your keywords are not quite right to tweak them and monitor again for a few weeks.
Content writing is a specific skill, and not everyone can do it. Even less great writers can also turn their abilities to search engine optimisation. If you have the formula for writing great, engaging content that’s also optimised to get your site found online, you’re quids in.
But how can you get to the point where you can comfortably balance these objectives and produce something great? Here are a few important tips which could help you reach that stage.
Keep people on your page
This is the number one thing you have to be doing.
However you do it, keeping people on your site for longer and maintaining their interest is crucial for writing like an SEO professional. This is because bounce rates have an impact on positions, and keeping people on your site for several minutes on average could get your ranking significantly higher than if people tend to leave after only a few seconds.
You might do this by creating a clear, simple structure for your writing. Huge paragraphs or vague, meandering articles will cause people to click away quickly. Very short sentences and paragraphs can help to keep things moving.
A search engine needs to be able to understand what your page is about in order for it to rank for desirable keywords and queries.
This might not be that clear from just one or two words, so rather than repeating your main phrases over and over with generic fluff in between, you need to be clear on what context you’re talking about your subject in. This might mean including many more related search terms, questions and answers, so that Google can see a clear link.
Use unique search queries
If you want to get to the top of a search engine results page, there is one great way to do this: come up with a target query that hasn’t already been taken.
Think outside the box with this one, starting with your own brand or business name. This should be unique so that you can rank at the top for your own name. If you can achieve that, you know people will find you when they hear about you, and all your advertising efforts will eventually help generate natural organic traffic.
Beyond this, start coming up with unique names for any content you want people to find. Give unique and snappy names to your products, services and even ideas that you share. Come up with article titles which answer questions that haven’t been answered, even though people may be searching for help on the matter.
Take a specific online course
Still struggling to balance all your requirements when writing?
The best way to learn a new skill is usually to be taught by an expert. You can do this online, often for free, by enrolling in a course where lessons are delivered in video format and supported by downloadable resources. A writing course could be exactly what you need to polish up your skills.
This month has seen temporary mass hysteria spread throughout the SEO community, as the beginning of March brought with it a new mystery update from Google. Within 24 hours, rankings started to fluctuate significantly enough for most experts to agree that a major algorithm update was upon us.
However, the distinctive thing about this new update was that Google was even more vague than usual when commenting on the subject. Not only did Google employees refuse to confirm an update, there is no official word on what it concerns, and it wasn’t even given a nickname. A sarcastic tweet from one of their technicians, calling all future updates “Fred”, is all anyone has to work with.
The general consensus on Fred, however, is that it concerns the quality of written content on websites. In the last few weeks since the algorithm started to incorporate the new patch, many different sites have seen their rankings plummet (or increase, in a small number of cases). There are few correlations between the affected sites, although most of those sites that saw their rankings drop were also found to contain content with could be described as advert-heavy or sales-driven.
In other words, Fred seems to be an effort on Google’s part to fight against spam and push it further down the rankings. Although it’s not yet clear exactly what parameters Google is using to decide what content counts as low value, we know that some indicators could include the following:
- Keyword-heavy content purely written for SEO purposes
- High numbers of obvious external links or affiliate advertisements
- Text-heavy articles without additional media such as videos
- Content not focused on answering search queries
Some have suggested that Google may be starting to understand what pages look like to real users, instead of simply interpreting them in code form. This would theoretically allow for layouts without much visual appeal and a heavy focus on adverts to be picked up by Google and ranked lower. Although there is no evidence of this being the case, and it’s not known how it would be possible, this is a logical next step if the search engine is not already factoring this in.
Overall, whether things are happening now or in the near future which could compromise your site’s rankings, it’s important to take action fast. The main point to take away from the Fred roll-out is that high quality content is more important than ever, and the details really do matter when you want to entice users as well as search engines.
You might have had great positions for some of your target keywords up until now, but suddenly things may take a turn for the worse at any moment. Most professional SEO specialists have been there before at some point. It can be very frustrating not knowing why you were suddenly considered less worthy of ranking after you followed all the best advice perfectly. To help you diagnose sudden drops in positions, here is a checklist to run through. Hopefully you can identify one of these potential problem areas as something that applies to your site, and work on it quickly for a swift recovery.
1) New linkage – Even links from good quality websites can temporarily interfere with rankings if the number of them popping up at once appears suspicious. Unnatural links are a dangerous sign as far as Google is concerned, and it will sometimes act fast to penalise a site if your links are sending the wrong message. If you didn’t deliberately get any new links, use a backlink analysis tool to check if there is something you missed.
2) Lost links – Old links disappearing can have even more of an impact on what’s going on with your new links. A handful of top quality links can be enough to support great positions on Google, so sometimes it’s a case of putting too many eggs in one basket. Keep an eye out for disappearing links, and if anything major is gone, work fast to try and replace it.
3) Algorithm updates – There are usually new developments on the horizon when it comes to Google’s automatic ranking system. The algorithms that power it are gradually changed to accommodate new ranking factors, and this will logically affect rankings. Check if you missed a major update which means your website is now considered outdated in some way, or if it’s just a temporary glitch.
4) Manual penalties – If your website has been classed as a problem by Google in terms of suspicious linkage or other misuse of the ranking system, you could be subject to manual penalties that stop you ranking. Any breach of policy can result in this, so ensure this is not the reason before spending time working on SEO factors.
5) Technical problems – Sometimes Google may be getting inaccurate or incomplete information about your site due to some obscure issue with your website’s technical aspects. For example, a server problem could be responsible for problems with caching or crawling. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of these kinds of issues so you will need to communicate with your tech support team.
SEO in general is not exactly encouraged by Google, because in essence it’s a way of playing the system and presenting your website in a certain way to exploit the ranking algorithm for profit. On the other hand, so-called “white hat” SEO is not really an issue because it’s mostly focused on delivering a better user experience. Whether this is done with the best intentions or not, it will usually have the same results. Google is happy as long as your website is becoming more user-friendly and providing better answers, because this continues to support its own traffic and revenue streams.
However, “black hat” SEO is the flipside. This is what some people immediately think of when it comes to search engine optimisation, and it has been blamed for giving the whole industry a bad name. SEO was originally much easier than it is today, since Google was much simpler, and this was especially true if you were happy to use underhand techniques. In fact, many companies offering SEO to clients still employ some truly bad strategies based on “black hat” advice, and a lot of it doesn’t even work on Google at this point.
Some outdated strategies may be honest mistakes, but in a lot of cases they appear to have been done deliberately to mislead Google. Many of these were once technically acceptable, at least until Google figured out how to detect and punish these crimes against search.
For example, keyword stuffing was once a sure way of getting your webpage noticed for given terms, but it pretty quickly became a sure way of getting penalised and marked as spam. Unfortunately, many website owners still seem to think it’s a brilliant idea, and cram their content with as many instances of the same keyword as they can, before wondering why their positions may be lower than a site with actual quality content.
Hiding keywords on a webpage is an even worse variation on this. By formatting text in such a way that it isn’t visible to users, but it still appears as content in the code of the page, the idea is that search engines will pick up on the keywords being used without having to go to the trouble of weaving them seamlessly into the writing. Since this is inherently misleading, Google started picking it up and penalising it long ago, but for many black hat SEO specialists this is still one of their main strategies, which puts their clients at risk.
Unnatural link building is also a major black hat technique still very much at work today, despite the increasing sophistication of Google’s algorithm and its ability to detect it. Some SEO companies will put very little care and attention into their link construction, basically using their own network of spam sites to link out to their clients, or even placing links on the clients’ own sites to each other. This all gets messy quickly and rarely yields good results.
There are many more issues with SEO techniques that are far from up to date, and in fact we can think of too many to go into! Suffice to say that underhanded techniques are still being sold to clients and used on many websites inappropriately, but we can expect to see Google continue to tighten up on these offenders.