How Online Traffic Works
If you’ve recently published a website, say within the last six months, and you don’t have much traffic to your site – that’s completely normal.
Unless your company is a recognized brand name (like Apple, Dolce & Gabbana, Whirlpool) that users are likely to search for, new website owners cannot expect to publish their website and expect traffic to come rolling in a week or two later.
The newer the site, the farther down search results it will be. So, you’ve figured out how to build a website from scratch, now you have to figure out how to build website traffic.
Once you have an understanding that it takes patience to increase website traffic, also understand it takes constant effort to become visible in search results.
Search engine visibility is accomplished through SEO.
If you don’t know what SEO is, then you have a lot to learn before you build more website traffic. If you are a busy entrepreneur or business manager/owner, seriously consider hiring a reputable SEO/Online marketing company to provide SEO and online marketing for your website.
SEO Strategies for Better Online Visibility
The key to acquiring more traffic is through online visibility—primarily within search engine results—after a relevent keyword phrase is queried.
For example, if you have recently built and published a website that sells hand–knit apparel and accessories, you probably want to show up in search results for “hand–knit sweaters” or “hand–knit gloves and hats,” and so on.
*Tip: The more specific and closely matched your targeted keywords are to the purpose of your website, the better. Trying to get visible search results rankings for a general keyword phrase like “professional web design” is pointless for a new website, because there are millions of bigger, older websites with established traffic flow that already have competing for the exact same keyword phrase.
Google Webmaster & Google Analytics
The very first thing to do once your website is published is to submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster.
If you don’t know how to create one, don’t worry – Google Webmaster has a step–by–step sitemap creation tool that makes it easy.
If your sitemap is not submitted to Google Webmaster, any other efforts you’re taking will be pointless, because Google won’t even have your site indexed.
Once you have a sitemap submitted, Google your URL. If your website pops up, then you’re good to go. If not, check the Webmaster site for possible mistakes and solutions.
To figure out which keywords to target within your website (words/terms/phrases you want to be found in search results with), is through Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a valuable tool for effective internet marketing for small business. It offers a keyword research tool, which tells you how many users are searching for that term (monthly), and what kind of competition it has.
Ideally, you want to optimize your website content for keywords that have a high number of searches, and low competition. This is simple, but not easy, given the billions of websites on the web.
Compile a list of keywords that are the best possible choices considering competition, number of monthly searches, and relevance to your website – above all, relevance is the most important factor.
The first and most crucial element of on–site SEO is to consistently update your site with fresh, unique content. Consistently updated content is important for several reasons:
- It is a priority in Google’s search results algorithm. Google places websites with useful, consistently updated content above sites that have little content, poor content, and/or repetitive, shallow content. This is why sites like About.com, eHow, Suite101, and other content farms no longer show in the top of search results.
- It establishes trust with new website visitors.
- If the content provides valuable information, eventually other websites will notice, and link to your site, which can drastically increase search result rankings.
- It gives the website more opportunity to insert keyword content and other SEO elements.
*Tip: Do not get caught up in keyword density. Keyword density is not SEO, and does not affect search engine rankings, and certainly not online visibility. As long as you use your keywords naturally throughout the content, that’s enough. Remember, you want to focus on effective internet marketing, not tricking search engines.
Meta–Data, Page Title, URL and Sub–title Tags
Some basic on–site SEO to help your online visibility:
- Meta–descriptions and meta–tags – these are found on the html or CMS set–up side of your content page. Use the same keywords focused on in your content in both of these, but no more than 2 or 3 keyword or keyword phrases.
- Page title – this is what appears at the very top left of the browser, and also signals the search engines about what your web page is about. Keep page titles simple and searchable, relevant to your content, and keyword focused.
- Subheadings – H2 tags are an SEO–friendly way to create content subheadings that help to emphasize your keywords to search engine crawlers.
- URL – Do not let your CMS create your URLs. Unless it was developed to be SEO–friendly, program–created URLs will typically not be SEO–friendly.
- An example of an SEO–friendly URL: www.mywebsite.com/new–web–content.php
- SEO–unfriendly URL: www.mywebsite.com/new.a4#00?web.%00$8h?content.php
There are many, many more aspects to SEO not mentioned here, so the best advice to building traffic is to consult a professional SEO agency.
In addition to practicing SEO, you will probably also need to invest in SEM – search engine marketing – in order to drive traffic to your website and increase conversion rates.