Three Ways to Bring Tons of Traffic to Your Site
Everyone wants more site traffic. But unless your site has a huge budget for advertisement or your brand is established enough to get links from authoritative sites, you probably feel like a small fish in an ocean full of whales and sharks.
Don’t give up! You can still find an advantage. It all stands or falls on your creativity and willingness to be persistent, relevant and resourceful. There are two audiences that you have to appeal to search engines and human viewers. Here’s how to win both of them over and increase your traffic… a lot!
1. SEO, SEO and also… SEO
Every few months someone proclaims that SEO is dead. Again and again, the results prove otherwise. Search Engine Optimization has changed dramatically since its early days. However, the fact is that highly optimized sites do better than sites with an equal value that are not optimized. Good SEO combines on-page and off-page SEO. Off-page SEO is mainly link building but it goes much deeper. It’s too big an issue for this article, so I’ll get to it later. On-page SEO is all the aspects of site structure that make your page appeal to search engines. Even though Google guidelines change all the time, there a few great principles that will ensure your site does well.
Avoid keyword cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is one of the most overlooked – and potentially catastrophic – SEO problems. This is when the same term or phrase occurs too many times on multiple pages of one site. Usually, it is done unintentionally. Several pages might have the same keyword targets in the meta tags, title and content. This issue is typical of sites that get most of their traffic from a few specific keywords. For example, locksmith sites get most of the searches from the keywords Locksmith + City (of services). Usually the word “ locksmith Chicago “ will have 20 times more searches than long tail keywords such as “car locksmith Chicago,” “residential locksmith Chicago,” etc. Locksmith site designers might be tempted to target the term “locksmith Chicago” on all the service pages as well as the home page. But that’s a mistake: the search engine won’t understand which page is the main relevant page for that keyword. And so none of your pages will end up on Google’s first page. So how do you avoid keyword cannibalism?
- Make each page of your website focus on one unique keyword. Meta tags, title tags, and heading should be different on every page.
- Never optimize secondary pages using main page keywords.
- If your site has many pages, make a list of pages and keywords to avoid overlap.
Sweat the small stuff
A search engine algorithm checks hundreds and thousands of page elements. Each element is a small factor in your page ranking. For your page to land on top, you have to work systematically. No detail is small enough to be overlooked. Sites such as Moz and Clickminded.com offer SEO checklists that cover dozens of elements. Going through such a list might seem arduous, but I suggest you don’t neglect this process. It’s hard to tell which page element has the power to improve your rating. Google changes the weight of different elements from time to time, so err on the safe site. Make your site SEO perfect. Work out the little details.
Do site audits regularly
Site audit programs search your site for errors such as duplicate meta tags, broken links, lack of XML map and images without alt tags. The most important info comes from Webmaster tools since Google will alert you directly to site issues that affect your ranking. There are many programs that offer site audit. Raven and Semrush are good ones to check out.
Google now gives more and more important to your page’s upload time. There are two different metrics for this. Page speed is the time it takes your page to fully display its content on a specific page or “time to first byte.” Site speed is the average speed of sample pages on your site. Mobile use is increasing all the time, so site speed has become critical. Google offers a tool to test your site speed. It’s very helpful, and it shows just how important speed is to your search engine ranking. I find fast sites both rank better and convert better than slower ones. The most important things for reducing site speed are:
- Minimize redirects: Each time a redirect request occurs, it creates a new HTTP request-response cycle. These take a lot of time.
- Improve server response time: Check if your server can handle the number of visitors you have. Sometimes upgrading your hosting plan can make a dramatic difference to your site speed and ranking. The optimal server response time should be under 200ms
- Use microdata: Microdata is a WHATWG HTML specification. It nests metadata within existing content. Search engines process Microdata from a web page and use it to provide a richer browsing experience for users. In other words, it allows the search engine to better understand your pages. This allows it to both displays your page better in the search result page and understand what is to the most relevant context in which to show it. Check your Microdata with this tool provided by Google.
2. Catch your visitor’s attention
A first-time visitor to your site basically has one eye on your page and the other on the list of search results. If your site’s content and design don’t immediately grab their attention, they’re on to the next option. Google and other search engine give high relevance to the visitor’s interaction with your page. High bounce rates, few returning visitors or short times spent on your page will take a toll on your ranking. Plus, it’s a sign you’ve failed to catch your visitors’ attention and get their interest. Here some tips to make your pages more appealing at first glance.
Headlines are the first textual element your visitors notice. They have a huge impact on conversion and bounce rate. Your headline has to be more than just catchy: it should make the reader want to know more. The writers at Cosmopolitan and Vogue have this down to a science. Many marketers have analyzed how it works. You should definitely spend some time with their top headlines and get a sense for yourself.
Use effective images
Visual data has a much stronger impact than text. Make sure your prospect will see an image as soon as your page loads. The image shouldn’t just be beautiful. We’re exposed to so much visual information that a pretty picture just doesn’t make much of an impression. The image has to create interest in your page and make people want to read more. A good image for your page should:
- Convert attention into interest
- Visualize the value proposition
The most useful images are the ones that make the visitor understand what they are going to get from your site. An image can truly worth 1000 words. Don’t underestimate their power!
3. Become part of the social scene
In order to get natural traffic, your site needs to create ripples on the social water. It is not enough to post brilliant content, you need to master the art of schmoozing – without ever meeting face to face. Your content needs to make a buzz and it needs you to be its public relations team.
Get involved in the community
Simply posting on Facebook is not enough these days – you need to get active. Join in group discussions, reply to comments and show that you care. Nothing is a greater turn-off than using social media solely as a broadcast channel. Answer questions and engage with your readers. Make it a real medium to interact with your fans. Give real value and human warmth to people who show interest.
Comment on other relevant blogs
It might not bring you direct traffic, but clever and helpful comments will establish your reputation and get people looking for you and your site.
Don’t just post the stuff that’s the most interesting to you. Be tuned to your audience and give them what they want. Learn what they care about by using surveys, checking out your competition and reading the most popular questions asked in forums. Content search tools like Buzzsumo and Twitter Search can help do this quickly and easily.
Increasing site traffic is not an overnight process. It takes time, effort and care. You have to appeal to search engine algorithms and human beings alike. So your effort has to combine search engine optimization, attention to site details, site aesthetics and engagement with the online community. Get it right and you’ll be swimming in traffic.