Your website took time to design, develop and implement. But the next challenge is getting quality traffic to your site. It’s the challenge every online entity struggles with. You shouldn’t have to pay for every set of eyeballs, either. You need people who are actively seeking what you have to offer.
There are a number of ways to maximize your online visibility, but here’s a list of the best and most effective tools you’ll want to include in your efforts.
1. Keyword Analysis
Start with a thorough Keyword Analysis to identify the most effective phrases and keywords that searchers are using to find your service or product. Google Analytics is a free service that will help you kick off the process. If you want to do a more in-depth investigation, you may want to invest in one of the premium services or applications, like SEO Moz or Web CEO.You should also revisit your keyword analysis every 3-6 months in case you are missing any opportunities with trending keywords.
2. Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools
Be sure you have Google Analytics tracking enabled, or some other robust traffic analysis tool like SmarterStats Analytics Engine, which is included with all Applied Innovations hosting plans. This will let you review vital statistics for your site, including unique page views, referral sites and peak traffic times. Another free utility is Google Webmaster Toolswhich will allows you to submit an XML sitemap for your site, as well as identify any fundamental problems, such as crawl errors and malware.
3. Other Free Analysis Tools
Check out a previous newsletter article from Applied Innovations listing some of the best Free Online Analytic Tools. You can really improve the performance and visibility of your site by digging into the intelligence provided by these tools.
4. Onsite Search Engine Optimization
In order to optimize your site for visibility by the search engines, run down this checklist for each page:
- Minimum of 250 words of keyword-rich content on every page.
- Unique H1 headers for each page.
- Write keyword-rich 60-character Title Tags for every page.
- Each page needs unique Meta Descriptions (200 characters maximum) and may also include a list of Meta Keywords. To see how these are formatted, view the source code for any optimized website and search for “meta.” Example:
<meta name="description" content="Description." />
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword 1, keyword 2,..., keyword 5" />
- ALT tags for every image.
- Anchor text links from page to page.
- Keywords and keyword phrases are bolded.
If you want a more detailed explanation and discussion on these items, check out the Meta element article on Wikipedia. Or check out Google’s Webmaster Tools Help for all the best practices for Meta content.
5. Pay Per Click Advertising
For as little as pennies per click, you can actively target users interested in your product or service using PPC ads on Google, Facebook, Bing or other search engines and social media networks. The trick is dialing into a “sweet spot” where you are paying as little as possible for the best targeted traffic. You don’t need a huge budget to test this approach, but it will take some care and feeding to learn the system and experiment with different strategies.
6. Directories and Listings
There are literally hundreds of directories that provide local businesses and website owners the opportunity to claim their listings. Start by going to Get Listed. This site allows you to claim your listings on the top 6 sites:
- Google Places: www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter
- Bing Local: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx
- Yahoo Local: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
- Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/signup
- Best of the Web Local: http://local.botw.org/helpcenter/jumpstartproduct.aspx
- Hotfrog: http://www.hotfrog.com/AddYourBusiness.aspx
Next, see if it makes sense for your business to claim your presence on these other directories. Sign up for as many as your time allows for.
- Superpages: http://www.supermedia.com/spportal/quickbpflow.do
- Citysearch: https://selfenroll.citysearch.com
- InsiderPages: http://www.insiderpages.com/advertiser/find_business
- Localeze: http://webapp.localeze.com/extranet/createaccount.aspx
- Local.com: https://advertise.local.com/
- Yellowpages: http://listing.yellowpages.com
- infoUSA: http://dbupdate.infousa.com/dbupdate/startupdate
Start a blog and post articles consistently, averaging 250-500 words in length. Use keywords, link back to relevant pages on your website, and invite comments. If you don’t like to write, pay someone to blog for you.
8. Social Media
Develop a basic social media strategy that you can realistically maintain. First and foremost, set up a business page on Facebook and create a business Twitter account. If you use LinkedIn, set up a company profile there. You may also want to create a YouTube channel. Just be sure you are clear about your objectives and maintain an active presence on each of these primary networks.
Here are some basic guidelines for your Primary Social Media Networks:
- Establish a voice and be consistent across all channels.
- Actively seek to engage customers.
- Create unique, compelling content. Don’t be purely self-promotional or solicitous. Establish a personality for your brand.
- Identify your goals. Do you want to reach new customers? Increase sales? Capture leads? Recruit new employees?
- Find your audience on each platform. Invite your customers and contacts to connect. And then reach out beyond your own circle to begin increasing your sphere of influence.
- Set guidelines for regular tasks. Create an interconnecting web of posts that refer to your Blog and any other regular activity occurring on your website.
9. Secondary Social Network Profiles
Take a look at the Wikipedia article listing the major active Social Networks. Depending on your business, your target audience and your industry, identify the sites that would be appropriate to target. Some may be very highly targeted and you should add them to your Primary Network efforts. Others may be less targeted, but at the very least, you want to claim your brand name on as many of them as you have the time and patience for. Set up basic profiles for your company with the keyword-rich descriptions, contact information and a link to your website. Be careful to document your username, password and associated email for each account so you can update them in the future.
10. Press Releases
Promote and distribute news and announcements at every opportunity. Product launches, staff changes, new service offerings, signing new customers, community outreach efforts, awards, milestones and anniversaries… everything that is important to you or your customers can be spun into a Press Release. PRWeb offers several distribution packages at prices starting at $80. They also offer detailed guidelines on how to write and optimize your release. We also wrote an article in a previous newsletter titled Press Releases: Dos and Don’ts.
11. QR Codes/Microsoft Tags
QR codes and Microsoft Tags are beginning to gain popularity and provide an easy conduit to your website from a smart phone. The novelty factor alone may be appealing to some target audiences. You can use QR codes or Microsoft Tags in print materials, on building signage, even business cards. For a thorough explanation of QR codes, check out the Wikipedia article. Search for QR Code Generator on any engine and you’ll find a plethora of free options to create your own. For information on Microsoft Tags and to create your own, please visit: http://tag.microsoft.com/home.aspx