To increase Web traffic via organic search—without breaking the bank—you'll need to follow three key steps:
1. Research what's in demand
There should be no guesswork in your content-creation process. Creating content is pointless if you have no idea whether people are searching for it. The good news is that researching what content is in demand has never been easier thanks to a proliferation of online keyword research tools.
The rule of "garbage in, garbage out" applies here, though. How good is the data you're looking at? One tool will give you radically different results from another.
We're seeking to increase organic search traffic, and to my mind that means pleasing Google. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool will give us a great idea whether your keyword is worth pursuing, and it will also suggest synonyms and other close matches.
According to the following figure, "how to increase Web traffic" received 6,600 global searches in the previous 30 days. The green bar indicates a high amount of competition, so we'd better be sure to create excellent content, including images, and if possible, video.
2. Create great content to meet that demand
Simply writing content based on the keyword you have researched is not enough. Basic on-page search-engine optimizing means helping search engines identify what your page is about without confusing or misleading human visitors of your site. (That is old news to more seasoned readers, but there are still some Web marketers who don't do that.)
Be sure to include your keyword in the following:
- Your blog page or Web page filename
- The META (head) elements
- The elements (in the body) of your content page
Let's look at those one at a time.
"Extension" is simply html, php, or whatever your blog or site uses. Blogs usually create the filename for you, but if you're using DreamWeaver or similar HTML editing software, you'll need to add that yourself when you first save the file. Figure 2 shows an example.
META: <title>, <keywords>, <description>
Your title and description are crucial. The keywords tag is seldom used, and Google ignores it, but it never hurts to have it anyway. It takes a moment to fill in.
META tags serve a dual purpose: They tell the search engines what your page is about, and they tell visitors who find your link in the search results what to expect from your page.
That means writing them is a careful balance between educating the search engine spiders about your page and enticing potential visitors to click through to your page from search results.
For this article, as an example, typical META head tags might look like the following:
<title>How to Increase Web Traffic via Organic Search</title>
<meta name="keywords" content="how to increase web traffic" />
<meta name="description" content="How to Increase Web Traffic via Organic Search. The top three must-read tips for more website traffic!" />
- <h1> or <h2> headline
- Text link
- Keyword density
- Image names and ALT tags
- Media names and descriptions
Those items are basic must-haves, although everything on your page of content should support your chosen keyword.
Your headline should be <h1>Headline</h1> or <h2>Headline</h2>. I usually use the same text as the title tag, so people clicking through will have immediate confirmation that they are in the right place and that the content will deliver what they want.
Headline: <h1>How to Increase Web Traffic via Organic Search</h1>
A text link (internal or external) containing the exact text of the keyword: <a href="URL_of_target_page">How to Increase Web Traffic</a>
Though the debate about keyword density (how often to use a keyword in copy) is still raging, I'd rather spend that time writing rather than arguing! Stick to one use of the keyword every 150-200 words, and you'll be OK.
Ensure that every element on your page conforms to the keyword you're targeting, including image names and ALT tags. So, instead of leaving your image names DNSC12345.jpg or picture1.png, change them to, for example, how-to-increase-web-traffic-google-analytics-keyword-tool.jpg.
Each image needs at ALT tag, which should also include your keyword. You can reuse your title and add a suffix: alt="How to Increase Web Traffic via Organic Search: the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a great way to find useful keywords."
When adding video or audio elements, give their names and descriptions the same treatment so they, too, can help you rank for that keyword.
Another good strategy is to include a link from your article to your homepage containing the keyword your article is targeting and the keyword your site is targeting. For example: <a href="URL_of_target_page">Return from How to Increase Web Traffic to the YOURDOMAIN homepage</a>. See the following figure for an example:
And on the subject of linking...
3. Build links to promote that content
Although this topic is too vast to do true justice to in a brief article, I'll do my best to give you a leg-up. We have two kinds of links: links you build within your site, and links you build to your site from other sites (backlinks).
You are in total control of the first kind. Your "big picture" pages and menus typically appear on your navigation bar, either as text links or buttons. Those menu pages are always linked to from your homepage, and usually from every other page of the site.
So if your content is a menu page (a bridge between your homepage and more articles), linking to it is relatively simple. Always use the perfect anchor text in the link, never random text.
Correct: <a href="URL_of_target_page">How to Increase Web Traffic</a>
Incorrect: <a href="URL_of_target_page">Read More</a>
If your keyword is too long for the nav bar, either research a related, shorter synonym or condense your keyword so it makes sense to human visitors. Ideally, the shorter keyword will be a "real" keyword with its own demand. We might use "Increase Web Traffic" in this case. That phrase has 27,100 searches according to Google. Not too shabby.
If your site has an RSS feed, update the feed every time you add content. That will refresh a link to the new article both on your site and anywhere that your RSS feed has been submitted. RSS feeds are just one way to get backlinks from other websites.
The rule of scarcity and value applies to linking: The harder a link is to get, the more valuable it usually is to your site. Getting high-value links from successful competitors is extremely difficult. The more relevant the content is on the site that links to your site, the better. A link from a blog about women's shoes is not worth much to an article about website traffic rankings.
Reach out to the bloggers in your niche. Forming relationships with successful writers is a strong way to build links to your site. Guest blog posts can also be a way to create a win-win situation for you and the blog you want the link from. Creating great, original content for the blog and receiving a backlink to your project is mutually beneficial.
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I hope this article has opened your eyes to the power, control, and simplicity of a research- and content-focused approach to winning more website traffic.