Online Marketing 101: The Complete Guide To Growing Traffic
When I first started the Vandelay Blog, I knew I needed to generate traffic to my site and that ultimately, the majority of that traffic would eventually come from search engine referrals. But since my blog was still in its immature form, it didn’t have the content, link juice, or SEO value to boost it in the search rankings that I needed. So in order to establish authority for my site in Google’s eyes, I needed to optimize my site to allow search engines to crawl my content faster and easier, and I needed to first generate lots of traffic to my site from a different source…. and fast!
But before I could get work on getting more traffic to the site, I needed to make sure my site was optimized for search engines so that when my site started to get more traffic, it would rank long term. So here are a few SEO basics that help my site rank:
- You can’t cut corners with SEO: As I pointed out in this article, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) takes time and work and requires a good solid foundation. Most of the traffic referred to your site from search won’t enter your site through your homepage, so it’s important to carry out best SEO practices with each and every blog post published.
- URL Structure Matters: A page will rank higher in search engines when its URL contains words or phrases that are part of the search, so including keywords in the URL is a must.
- Make the Page Title Relevant on Every Page: Page titles are important to search engines so it’s best to update the page title on every page or blog post to include relevant keywords. If you’re using WordPress, you can update the page title one of two ways: by updating the title tag in the header.php snippet of code, or using an SEO plugin, such as the SEO Ultimate plugin, to update this information quickly and easily.
- Address Duplicate Content Immediately: Search engines do not like duplicate content. Since duplicate content is crucial to your site’s SEO performance, the best way to handle this issue is to specify the duplicate pages you want to be ignored by the search engines in the robots.txt file which will tell the search engine to only index the primary pages. Another option for addressing this issue is to apply 301 redirects to the duplicate pages and redirect them to the primary pages.
- Meta Tags are Still Important Too:
Although they don’t carry as much weight with search engines as they have in the past, it’s still good SEO practice to update them for each page/blog post including keywords in them. Again, the SEO Ultimate plugin allows you to specify all of your SEO data–including meta tags–all in one place.
How to Get Traffic From Social Media Sites
After I optimized my website and my blog posts to adhere to these SEO basics, it was time to work on getting traffic to my site. Social media is an excellent way to get a ton traffic to your site quickly, so here are a few tips for how you can use these free resources for your site:
- Concentrate On a Few Social Sites: There are a ton of social media sites out there these days, so it’s important to test the top ones in your niche to see which work best for your website. When I made my first attempts at social media, I barely saw a list in traffic. What first seemed like a complete waste of time, turned out to be well worth it when my first big article landed on the front page of Delicious, which generated a ton of traffic in just a few hours. So it’s important to stick with it and find what works.
- Maximize Your Effort on Social Media: Some social media sites are able to send a large volume of traffic to your site without requiring much time on your part. StumbleUpon is one such example. To succeed on this site, all you need is attention grabbing content. Then, when your blog post is Stumbled by a high profile user, it can snowball into a post that goes viral and can send thousands of visitors your way overnight. Tip: Including links to your other blog posts at the foot of your blog posts will help keep first time visitors engaged with your content longer. And the longer they’re engaged with your content during their first visit, the more likely they’ll return for a second and third visit.There are also handy tools that allow you to automate or schedule your social media content. Hootsuite is my personal favorite for this. It’s simple, easy to use, and affordable.
- Utilize Second Tier Social Sites: Sites like StumbleUpon and Delicious contain hundreds of thousands of articles, so it’s often difficult to get noticed on these sites. However, if you’re able to find smaller, more targeted social sites, you can use these smaller sites as a springboard to getting noticed on the bigger social media sites.This is the technique I used to land my blog posts on the front page of Delicious. All 3 times, the traffic started from a small social site geared toward developers call Dzone. So my post was noticed on Dzone, which referred traffic to my post on Delicious. Then when Delicious saw that people were engaging with my post, it rewarded my post with even more exposure.
- Add Social Icons To Your Website: Make it easy for your readers to bookmark, tag, pin, share, etc. your post on social sites. This increases engagement, and if a few high profile readers share your post, this can lead to a nice bump in traffic.
To conclude, once you have your website optimized for search engines and can get a good amount of traffic coming through, you can start building your subscriber list and re-engaging these subscribers by emailing them content from your website on a regular basis. And once you start getting a steady flow of traffic, the search engines will recognize you as an authority and will reward you with higher rankings, which will in turn, lead to growth in traffic and the success of your website!
All of these principles take time and hard work to see the payoff. But when your plan comes together and you start seeing results from your effort, it’s magical! So I hope you’ll take these principles, and start formulating your marketing plan today.
The principles we talked about today concentrated on getting traffic and engaged site visitors. But ultimately, the goal of creating a website is most often to generate revenue. So whether you’re already selling a product on your site or simply have a content blog, your site has the potential to generate a substantial amount of revenue, and tomorrow, I’ll show you how…