How to Build Traffic To Your Website
Now that you’ve launched your website, your job is done, right? Unfortunately not. The old adage that “if you build it, they will come” does not apply to the web, despite a common misconception among entrepreneurs. We’ve written about this before, but it’s important and it takes concerted effort to get business from the web.
If you’re launching a brand new business and need clients quickly, search engine marketing (or SEM) is a great place to start. With SEM, you pay only when someone clicks on your advertisement and can have it listed alongside regular search results for keywords of your choosing. Your cost per click (or CPC) can vary wildly by industry and keyword, but as long as your costs are inline with your competitors, you can usually establish a profitable campaign in a few short months. This type of pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) can be a great technique for driving quick traffic to your website and generating some early leads.
Then there’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which takes time and effort. SEO is a long term commitment that involves continually analyzing and improving your website, adding high-quality content, and establishing new back links. If you’re up for it, start by understanding these key SEO considerations:
Domain Authority and the Age of your Website
Given that you’ve just launched your website, it’s time to settle in for the long haul. Search engines are not interested in fly-by-night properties that are here today and gone tomorrow. They want to deliver quality results to their users that stand the test of time. The age of your website counts. If you’re lucky and your market has only a few players who have not put effort into SEO—you might find yourself on the first page within a couple of months. If you’re in a highly competitive field with dozens of companies actively vying for top spot—the quest can take months or years of hard work. Of course, getting there is profitable and is an investment in your business.
Creating High-Quality Content
Content is a hot topic these days. Having great content helps in a handful of ways. The first and most important—by far—is that great content will help your website convert. Visitors will get value from great content and are more likely to engage in your website—buying your products or recommending your services to others. Create great content for your target audience first.
Another benefit of having lots of great content is that it provides more information to a search engine to judge the relevance of your page. It’s how you establish your authority in the industry or on a topic. For example: Many flooring store websites have no more than five or six pages, one or two of which cover the products they sell. But imagine what happens when Google sees that your store regularly blogs about installation, maintenance and cleaning products, new products, innovations, differences in wood species, problems, manufacturing, carpet fibers, stain removal, etc. This information makes it very clear to Google that your website is important. Furthermore, these pages all become keyword opportunities to carve out additional traffic which brings in new visitors to your website.
You might think it’s a waste of time. Perhaps your flooring store is not in the business of selling cleaning products and so it might seem unlikely that it could bring the right traffic in to your website. But it also brings other bloggers and webmasters who might take the opportunity to link to your website and that helps build links organically. View this as another opportunity to help others, even if they’re not immediate customers.
Of course, it’s absolutely essential that your content is fresh and original. Ripping off content from other websites is extremely easy for search engines to identify and a quick way to get penalized. They know when it first appeared in their database and they can tell if you’ve harvested the material from elsewhere. Just don’t do it—it’s not just your high-school english teacher reading the paper.
A Search Engine-Friendly Website
Website design firms love to promote that they build search engine optimized websites. It’s one of those topics that everyone wants, but not many people really understand what it is they are asking for. I would go so far as to suggest that it’s the wrong choice of words and that they are better off asking for a “search engine friendly” website. Either way, it means creating the website in a way that can be read and understood by a machine (search engine). Your website should be coded using the right elements in the right places. It should contain the right keywords and phrases and rich content that allows a search engine to “extract” the important topic matter from the page. At the same time, search engines are careful not to promote websites that spam those keywords and lack substance. Being search engine friendly includes semantic and valid markup, rich data, proper tagging (headings, titles, meta tags, and other markup), keyword density, content length, and more.
Establishing Inbound & Outbound Links
Inbound links or “backlinks” are the heart of SEO. There are plenty of companies that specialize in building links for clients alone. In short, search engines consider each link to your website to be a vote that your website is important and has good content. The more votes you have in relation to your competitors, the better you will perform. Of course, link farms and other low-quality sources will not help and can actually hurt your website if the search engine believes you are building these links in an unnatural way. The best way to build links is usually by providing high-quality free content that other, related businesses will choose to link to. The fastest way to build links is to actively search for opportunities to obtain links such as quality directories and engaging with other websites on the regular.