Free Search Ranking Report

How To Increase Traffic To Your Website And Convert Visitors to Customers

The following is a written summary of the key points covered in the 90 minute live seminar. It is comprehensive overview, but has been substantially condensed into magazine/blog article length.

Content Is King

That has been, and continues to be, the phrase most often used to define site popularity on the World Wide Web. And, it's common sense: most people don't go to business websites to be entertained by animation, streaming media, or flashy graphics. They make the first visit, along with return visits, because they expect to find information that they want and need.

What does that tell the owners of business sites? It says that pages of self-aggrandizing verbiage will not increase traffic to your website, or convert visitors to customers. You need to go through a logical step-by-step process to determine the profile of the visitors you hope to attract, determine what information they are probably looking for, and then provide some good, hard hitting, free useful information that will impress your potential visitor/customer. That means giving away some potentially valuable advice, but what you will get in return is invaluable: credibility. When you are able to get in front of a potential customer and leave them with the impression that you are a credible source of information that can help them solve their problems or meet their needs, you've accomplished a great deal.

Some sites use a "What's New" page that is updated at least monthly. Others offer a series of "white paper" type links containing useful information on potential customer problems, while some sites offer blogs that address issues of concern to their customer base. There are many techniques, but content is king. You must give away some good advice on a regular basis to draw potential customers to your site and to keep them coming back for more.

Where Are You?

That's an issue, isn't it? How are your potential customers going to find you? It is estimated that over 85% of first visits to websites are the result of search engine referrals. So, search engine rankings (site visibility) is extremely important. If your organization isn't in the top 10 listings for important keyword phrases on the major search engines, you're just not going to be able to substantially increase website traffic or convert more customers to visitors.

And, who are the "major search engines"? Hitwise Online recently published findings indicating that Google was #1 with 66% market share, Bing was a distant second with 11%, followed by Yahoo at 10%, and Ask with just under 3%. Bing and Yahoo have partnered with Bing providing the primary search engine and Yahoo managing the results. The joint venture is increasing in popularity.

Keyword Selection

After profiling your target market, and understanding who the major search engines are, the next step in increasing your search engine ranking is to explore the search trends and user tendencies within your industry or profession. This is sometimes referred to as keyword science or research-based keyword selection. You need to develop a relevant and targeted universe of keywords and phrases that your prospective customers are using to find the information that they're seeking.

Page Construction & Meta Tag Structuring

Once identified, these keyword phrases must then be strategically integrated throughout each optimized page to increase the rankings when your site is visited by the search engines' computerized "spiders" "robots" or "crawlers." This exercise is the heart and soul of effective search engine optimization.

A critically important aspect of optimized page construction is the insertion of "behind the scenes" meta tag code that address the current alogrithm criteria of the major search engines so that the robots will rank your pages high based on the keyword phrases that are important to you.

Page Submission

After the target market has been profiled, the keywords identified, and the site reconstructed to maximize the utilization of key word occurrence, the pages you want visitors to access need to be formally submitted to the search engines so that your site is indexed regularly. It's sort of a hail call to the search engines so that your pages can be considered and then included in the various databases that the search engines consider when ranking pages. Depending on your products/services, there are various shopping, newsgroup, and information resource websites that you should register with. In short, you need to execute a variety of strategies to build your online reputation.

Directories: The Human Touch

Directory submission involves submitting the pages (URLs) of your website to human-edited search directories for inclusion in their database of Web pages. Submissions to search directories are useful in obtaining superior visibility for your website because the more popular search engines use these directories to influence the activities of their spider-based engines. Some websites use tricks to artificially enhance their rankings, and thereby increase their website visibility. The tricks are obvious to the human editors, who substantially reduce the ranking of the "trickster" website, and sometimes excise them from the directory database altogether.

The two major search directories are Yahoo!, and the Open Directory. Your site's listing must first be carefully and thoughtfully prepared and submitted for review by these search properties editors in order to achieve a favorable ranking by them. In other words, these directories use "real people" to ensure that sites are legitimate and thereby help the spider-based engines identify fakes.

Page Placement Listings: Take Me To The Top

Paid inclusion can buy you faster inclusion in a search engine's database. Paid inclusion programs provide the opportunity for results much faster than organic optimization. Search engines also have pay-per-click (PPC) programs that allow you to choose keywords to target, select a URL (website address) to direct visitors to, and submit customized titles and descriptions for each keyword to appear as advertisements displayed in the search results. The optimum formula to increase website traffic and convert visitors to customers is usually a mix between PPC and natural search engine optimization.

Reciprocal Linking

Google originated the concept of ranking sites based on their link popularity with other websites that offered similar content. Google's PageRank is a complicated algorithm based on the amount of inbound/outbound links to a web page, along with the "importance" of those links as determined by Google. Because of Google's dominance, the establishment of a reciprocal linking network is a critical part of any successful SEO campaign.

How Are We Doing, Doc?

Campaign results reporting is the final step of your search engine marketing effort. It should provide a regular snapshot of the progress your campaign is making toward the online marketing goals you set for the campaign. These reports compare baseline data established at the beginning of your campaign -- on rankings (visibility), traffic and referral, and competitor comparisons so that you can identify gains and progress toward your marketing goals. This reporting also helps identify the logical next steps and areas for needed improvement based on the progress to date. Google Analytics is by far the most popular visitor activity reporting tool, but its accuracy is questionable (particularly when reporting the results of its primary competitor Bing/Yahoo) and other reporting tools should be used to verify results.

In Summary

If you are to increase website traffic through search engine optimization, and convert visitors to customers, remember that SEO is both an art and a science. It's also an open-ended mission. The Web is dynamic, and therefore your "target" is constantly moving and the search engine algorithims are being modified regularly. Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of SEO is a full time endeavor, and you should consider hiring a full-time Internet marketing specialist or hire a consultant. However, by following the general guidelines we've outlined here, you will improve the traffic to your site, and potentally grow your business.

Dynamic Media Solutions harnesses the power of dynamic media to help organizations grow and prosper by communicating more effectively. Please contact us by phone, email (info@dynamicmediasolutions.us), or snail mail for a free evaluation of your website -- which includes a report of your current search engine rankings -- or to discuss other communications challenges that you are facing.