A short guide on how to increase your website traffic
A short guide on how to increase your website traffic
You just launched your website and you need help to bring visitors and get a good position in search engines? One of the golden rules say the first thing you must do is to get backlinks, so one solution is to register your site to web directories.
Alexa rank: 478 Page rank: 8
Alexa rank: 5.307 Page Rank: 6
Alexa rank: 699 Page Rank: 6
Alexa rank: 341 Page Rank: 6
Alexa rank: 1.263 Page Rank: 6
Alexa rank: 4.076 Page Rank: 5
Suppose your website is online, is present in several web directories, search engines start indexing it. What remains to be done? Well, to acquire and maintain a good position in Google (for example) you need to know some SEO principles.
Following these 10 steps will not only improve your ranking in Google, they also work well for Yahoo!, Bing and most other search engines.
1. XML Sitemap Submission
Properly creating and submitting an XML Sitemap is the best, fastest and only guaranteed method of informing Google and the other top search engines about every page of your site. It’s the “foundation” of good SEO. Google invented the XML Sitemap process and says this about them: “Whether your site is old or new, large or small, we highly recommend submitting an XML Sitemap.”
2. Building Links
One of the most important elements (of the more than 200) that Google considers when ranking your site is the number and quality of links pointing to it. The general idea is that the more sites indicating that your content is valuable by linking to it, the better. As long as these links come from sites deemed to be of quality or authority (high search rank), the better your own search rank will be.
Never buy links. Period. You can be penalized for buying links, participating in paid “link building” programs, or having links form sites that Google has blocked, such sites involved in link selling or any sort of criminal activity, or sites containing viruses. A common legitimate link building activity is directory submission. Submission can range from just your name and homepage URL to an extensive business profile. Always make sure any content you post to directories is unique, readable and human friendly. Never submit strings of comma-separated keywords that will be seen as spam content.
3. Eliminating Broken Links and Error pages
Broken links that produce “Page Not Found” error messages are harmful to your site. They reduce search engine crawling efficiency and accuracy, meaning that some of your content may not be listed (or indexed) in search engine databases. They also “dilute” your site’s overall page rank. Plus, they are also one of the easiest ways to lose potential customers. Broken links and error messages create a highly negative and unprofessional impression to visitors, frequently causing them to leave and not return.
Create a Custom 404 Error Page
A good 404 error page advises visitors that they’ve hit an invalid URL, and then provides other links to direct help them to their intended destination.
Use 301 Redirects
If you move or rename pages, use 301 redirects to automatically transfer them from the old page location to its new permanent home. This redirect is anonymous to your site visitor.
4. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate
Add a HTML navigation site map and site search box to you site to improve “user experience.” This not only helps convert visitors into customers, and helps keep them coming back, it results in higher search rankings. Google rewards sites with good navigation because they want their users to have a good experience when they click on a search result. It’s in Google’s best interest to promote sites with good navigation to their users, and it’s in your own best interest to be one of those sites.
5. Choose the Right Keywords or Key-Phrases to Target
Choose two or three highly targeted keywords or key phrases for each page of your site, including your Home Page. (In the next step you will learn how to produce the content of your site based on them). Choose very carefully because keywords you think might be perfect may not be what people actually search for. For example, never use general keywords such as “travel” or “vacation.” Very large, well-known sites usually rank the highest for general words such as these, and are extremely difficult, if not, impossible, to dislodge in search listings.
You will enjoy much better results by targeting less competitive, more specific and narrowly targeted keywords or phrases. Google’s two free keyword tools below are a great way to discover keywords that may be worth targeting in your content. Simply enter the URL of one of your pages, or a competitor’s page. Google will analyze the contents of that page and give you a list of potential keywords along with traffic and competitive information.
6. Learn a Little Simple Basic HTML
HTML is a language used by web browsers to dynamically format web pages. Many important SEO techniques require only very simple edits to your site’s HTML code. Knowing what to change and how to adjust your HTML code has a huge effect on your SEO and search listings.
Don’t worry; learning the basics of simple HTML is not difficult. (However, if you are using a web designer or outside web developer to implement these simple changes to your site, keep in mind that they are just that: simple. They should not take too long to complete once you know how to tell them exactly what to do.) W3School’s free tutorials are all you need.
7. Create Fresh and Unique Content Using Your Keywords
Publishing keyword-rich original content is absolutely crucial to ranking highly. All you need to do is transform your list of carefully selected keywords into pages of unique web content. Write pages of at least 200 words of unique text, incorporating one, two, or at the most three of your chosen keywords into the copy of each page. Your home page may have less content, but should target your most important two or three keywords. What does unique text mean? It means that you produce original content. It means you haven’t simply copied verbatim from other websites or blogs. If you don’t have enough of your own ideas about content look at what other have written, then re-write it making it better. You can make it shorter and more concise, or longer and more detailed. Just don’t copy it.
Nine good places to use your keywords:
- In your page title. This is what appears at the top of the browser window when someone visits your website. (See step 8 below)
- In your page description. Visitors don’t see this, but the search engines do. This is the two lines of text that appear below the main title in search engine results. (See step 9 below)
- In your page URL. Use keywords, not strings of alphanumeric characters, in the URLs of each page of your site. Search engines will index them much better and display them higher in search results.
- In the headings and subheadings. Make it easy for your readers to very quickly see what your page is about by using lots of headings and subheadings.
In the first sentence and your first paragraph. Make sure your important keywords appear first — the earlier, the better.
In the last paragraph. Also use your keywords at the end of your content.
Elsewhere in the page copy. When keywords fall naturally throughout your article, consider bolding them. But don’t go overboard with it or it will become a distraction. However, if it makes the article easier to skim, bold your keywords.
In your text links. Instead of linking to words like “click here,” use your keywords in your link anchor text.
In the ALT tags on images. The search engines can’t understand images. With every image, include a bit of text called the ALT tag and use your keywords in that text. (See step 10 below)
8. Title Tag Optimization
This is what the title tag on Dell.com looks like:
<META NAME=”TITLE” CONTENT=”Dell – Official Website – Learn about Dell’s laptops, desktops, monitors, printers plus computer electronics & accessories. “>
HTML title tags are critical because search engines use them when deciding what a web page is about. Using descriptive words and phrases in your Title tags helps both people and search engines better understand the focus of the page. Include your most important keywords in this tag. Space is limited (use a maximum of 69 total characters) so don’t include your company name unless you really think it needs to be there (as in our example from Dell).
Do not use the Title tag to display irrelevant information such as “Home Page.” Think of it more as a “Title Keyword Tag” and include words that users would likely search for to find the product or service or other information on that page.
9. Description Tag Optimization
The Meta Description Tag is the next most important tag, since search engines frequently use it as the description for your page’s listing. The content in your description tags often appears as the “snippets” of text underneath the blue Title tag headline in search results pages. A well written description tag increases the chance that your search listing will be clicked on.
Here is an example: a keyword search for “big mac” produces the following result as the third organic listings:
10. Take Advantage of Other Simple HTML Opportunities
Don’t overlook other HTML code elements to extract a little more love from the search engines. You can boost your rankings and nudge visitors along your “buy path” by providing more information in your HTML code. Here are some of the ways you can easily boost your search engine rankings:
- Use text headings (using heading tags <H1><H2><H3>)
Text placed within a heading tag is used to briefly describe the topic of the section of a page it introduces. The use of text “heading” tags is important to the user as visual clues, but they are also used to indicate the importance of the words or phrases to the search engines.
- Use Inter-site “anchor text” links
Creating keyword-rich internal text links within your site will also help. Use this tactic in moderation as too many links between your pages can actually harm you.
- Use Image Alt Tags
Alt tags (Alternative Text Tags) were developed so that if an image is unavailable, you can still see an alternative text description of it.
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Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.
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