Your website’s visibility and the number of visitors it attracts is largely determined by where it ranks on search engines. Here are some strategies to get website traffic.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of optimising and promoting your website to achieve higher rankings on search engine results. Successful SEM might involve a good content strategy and paid advertising, among other tactics.
Step 1: Make sure your site is indexed
Search engines add thousands of new websites every day. They use online directories as a way to verify and track new information.
For Google, an online tool is available that allows websites to submit an XML sitemap file that will ensure all pages are found.
Step 2: Optimise your website content
The content on your site must clearly convey what your business does and why your product or service meets the needs of the target audience. This helps the search engine crawlers that will index your site and you are also targeting your audience effectively.
Keep the following tips in mind when creating website content:
What deserves its own page? More webpages can help you drive traffic, but only if these pages are necessary and useful. Take time to decide whether to devote a webpage to a particular product, service or topic, and whether the page is unique and valuable enough to stand on its own.
Be searchable When writing content, you must ensure that search engines can read the text, images, documents and other digital assets on your webpage. Remember to provide metadata, focus keywords, tags and photo captions.
Increase relevance While information should be posted in its own distinct page section, you can help crawlers find relevant content by cross-linking to related topics within your website.
Be mobile-friendly Design and write content for multiple devices. Having a mobile version of your site or responsive website design that adapts to whatever device is used to access your content will enhance the experience for mobile and tablet users.
Leverage social media Engaging customers and prospective users through social media can help increase your inbound traffic and, consequently, your search ranking. Social sharing is also a proof point for search engines, because it demonstrates that your website content is relevant and useful.
Step 3: Check your links
Search engines look at the number of links available for users when scanning a website’s data.
Link management, or how links are structured across websites, is developed in two different ways: reciprocal links and non-reciprocal links.
Reciprocal links are formed when you place a link to a website on your site and they place a link to your site on theirs. In general, search engines view reciprocal linking favourably, as it implies a level of trust between the two websites.
Non-reciprocal links, or inbound links, are links that appear on one website, but with no link back. In general, search engines view these links less favourably.
Step 4: Monitor and manage your business reputation online
What are people saying about you and your brand? What type of feedback is readily available for others to find and is it favourable?
For example, your company has a profile on Yelp and among the dozen or so positive reviews, there is a lone, very negative review from a dissatisfied customer. Responding to this review via Yelp and correcting or addressing the information in the review is one aspect of reputation management.
Ensuring that outdated or incorrect information isn’t available elsewhere online is another way to manage your online reputation.
Step 5: Consider online advertising
The tactics in steps 14 can help get organic website traffic. However, the internet is a big place, so you may also want to increase brand awareness and drive website traffic through paid search too.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) ads work precisely as their name implies: advertisers only pay for an ad if it generates a click from a user.
Depending on what service you use (for example, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and so on), PPC ads are targeted based on keywords or audience. Ads appear for online users that search for a particular product or service, or for people who fit a specific demographic profile.
These parameters are determined by the advertiser, which gives you more control over your ad campaign and spending than other traditional forms of online advertising.