Like grocery shopping, there is no “done.” New rules, new social media platforms, new search algorithms – the collection of tools and techniques you can and should – and shouldn’t – employ to keep driving traffic your way are constantly evolving. You must keep up with SEO, or hire a trusted expert to perform this important service for you on an ongoing basis. It’s not a one-shot deal.
2. One Captain. No players.
Unless your business is literally a one-man show, you’re losing strength and speed if you leave “SEO” in the hands of just one savvy employee and fail to train the rest of your employees who can and might have an effect on your web presence. The basics of search engine optimization should be taught, and policies put in place to insure not only that best practices are followed consistently by those “in charge” of SEO, but that others know how much it can help if they add to the impetus when they can (such as tweeting and posting to their own FB accounts, if appropriate) and, conversely, how much damage can be done by poorly conceived social media outreach or keyword usage.
3. Speaking of keywords, know thine enemy.
Keywords are often misunderstood, so enthusiastic small business owners often shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to “keyword research,” and “keyword-optimizing” their web pages. It’s not good to imbed the most popular keywords on the planet on your pages, believing that you’ll be drawing more traffic. Most likely, you’ll be drawing no traffic if you use hugely popular and simple keywords such as “skin care” or “nutrition.” And, even if you’ve appropriately researched and selected the best long-tail keywords to use (phrases more specific to your business, your service, your location etc.), loading them heavily onto a page can actually hurt Google ranking – and will most definitely alienate visitors who do find your page. If you don’t have a specialist on staff, read up on keywords yourself, understand how they can help or hurt, and then use them to your advantage.
4. Links are the thing. Really.
Many who try earnestly to do all the right things to drive web traffic feel defeated when it comes to link building. They’ve heard that those websites that offer to deliver “1,000’s of links for just X dollars” are hooey, and they’re right. They’ve also heard that building backlinks is a long and tedious process and will eat your life away. Not true. There are many ways to build links that are effective and reasonably efficient. Make sure that whenever you send out a press release, you’ve tested it first for keyword optimization – and make sure that you or your PR professional posts that release on at least the top 3 or 4 online press release distribution sites. And always include links to specific pages of your site when issuing notices, sending out newsletters, and submitting guest blog posts.
5. Cheaping out.
There are more polite ways to say this, but hey – I call it like I see it. The seduction of social media and the internet in general is that so much stuff is free. Much of it is really good, and valuable, too. But sometimes it just makes better business sense to pay for a service, or a training, or a membership, or a tool. Don’t fall into the habit of always rejecting what might be a far superior and more well-maintained product or service, just because you can get something similar at no charge. That’s not always the best choice.
6. Silence and inconsistency.
The most important thing you can do to attract web traffic? Provide content, in a continuing stream, consistently. It is amazing to see the difference in traffic between a site that feeds a bit of new content onto its pages week after week and one that does so only occasionally. And, it’s better to feed a little content twice a week than a lot of content once a month. For one thing, you will consistently reward visitors who return to your site with something new, and they will come back again. And for another, web crawlers that visit your site will come back a little bit sooner than last time if they detected new content; then sooner again if they find more new content on the next visit, and so on.
Have questions? Want to talk to an expert to review what you’re doing, and see where you need improvement? Click here to send an email to my assistant Phoebe Stout. She’ll set up a consultation phone call so you and I can talk and I can offer some pointers and suggestions specific to your website. There’s no charge or obligation. I’m happy to give you a half hour of my time.