How Do I Get More Website Traffic?
Yes! My very first topic I get to talk about is the very topic every website owner wants to know (and SHOULD want to know), but first let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there was an internet. Now this internet was probably just about middle aged when it got popular and when it did, there were different web pages. In its early days, there weren’t as many web pages nor website traffic on this internet as there are today. However, the amount of pages was steadily growing.
So with all these new pages appearing, piling on and on, the internet started to look like a teenager’s bedroom. However, thanks to search engines like Yahoo, AltaVista & AskJeeves, users like you and me could always search for what exactly we wanted.
How did the webpages get discovered by those search engines and get traffic?
Website owners or webmasters, like me, would simply submit the web addresses of all my pages on my website to the search engines. The search engines would then index my site into their database. If my page was about “bicycles”, I would include keywords like “bicycles, mountain bikes, bicycle pedals, bicycle prices, bicycle wheels” in my website’s metadata, the information search engines need to determine what my site is about. If I didn’t do this, not only would I not get website traffic, my website traffic would not be found!
So that’s all website owners had to do?
Yep, pretty much, and boy did they ever take advantage of the simplicity behind it. By that I mean, you had website owners submitting hundreds and hundreds of keywords for their pages, even if it had nothing to do with the page. For example, my page about “bicycles” may have all those relevant keywords I mentioned earlier, but nothing would stop me from putting in keywords like “dinosaurs, cheesecake, and Monica Lewinsky”. If someone searched for ‘monica lewinsky’, my site about bicycles would show up. Needless, to say, this made that teenager bedroom of the internet even more of a confusing place, but for website owners, it was a goldmine for generating website traffic.
And that’s when Google showed up
The expertise and experience of Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, put together a complex algorithm that took into account many different factors that decided which search results showed up first. Today Google is at the top when it comes to search engine usage, thanks to how reliable their results are. Gone are the days of taking advantage of search engines, because not only are the algorithms more complex, they are constantly being updated yet not available for the public to study.
Thanks for the story, but how do I get website traffic?
First and foremost, you have to be searchable. Since things are different and not as simple as before, Google was nice enough to let us know what we SHOULD do. Now even though, Google isn’t the only search engine out there, Google is still the #1 search engine and indexed and improving ranking on search engines is one good way to generate website traffic. Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo are still active and they have their own unique algorithms to determine what shows up on their results. What you do for your page to show up on Google is not much different from what you do for your page to show up on the other search engines, but it’s safe to say that putting keywords like Monica Lewinsky on your website that has absolutely nothing to do with her is frowned upon across the board.
Here are a few suggestions to improving website traffic and being searchable
- Index your website
- You can go to resources like Google Webmaster Tools and Open Directory Project and submit your site to be indexed. If your website is about your business, you can index it on sites like Yelp or Manta among others. A list can be found on Getlisted.org
- Provide fresh new content
- I personally cannot speak on the other search engines, but Google’s a sucker for new content on your website. Whether it be a blog on a relevant topic to the website, or just updated event information about your business, it shows that there is actual activity on your website. People commenting on your blog content also helps. Now while simply blogging or publishing new info doesn’t actually bring traffic, it ranks you higher in searches which in turn, increases your visibility, and brings traffic to your website!
- Make your content relevant to your keywords
- Make sure your keywords actually appear in your site content. Bold or make the most important segments of your article stand out. If you have a page about bicycle seats, make a headline that says “Bicycle Seats”. This is really a nice redundant way of me saying, “put SEO on your website”. SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of priming your website up to be properly read by search engines. I won’t get into the other plenty different ways you do optimization for a page, but a couple of helpful links for you to refer to can be found below:
- Publish content externally
- Sometimes in order to get web traffic, you need to do things outside your website as well. We’re in a social media age and social networks play a very important role in generating traffic. Social networking also extends past the Facebooks, Twitters, Googles and Pinterests. It also includes discussion boards and forums across the web. Making references and links to your website on other websites or social networks is not always considered spamming when it’s actually relevant to the discussion.
There are other practices one can do that I haven’t mentioned, and probably new practices will be required with time, however, if one does what has been mentioned so far in this article, don’t get surprised when you start showing up on the first page of search engines with much improved website traffic!