Hands up if you don't care about increasing your website traffic. Anyone? No takers? That's what we thought. When you pour your heart and soul into creating the perfect website for your business, from every painstaking design detail to every skillfully crafted word in your content, you want people to revel in your masterpiece.
And yet to your dismay, the droves of visitors you were hoping to see just don't materialise. Clearly you've done your best to create a website that draws the crowds. Or have you?
That's where SEO comes in.
Too many marketers feel a chill of dread at the mention of the word SEO. Visions of tremendously complicated analytics and mystifying keywording tricks leave them paralysed in their inactivity, and prone to missing out on surprisingly simple ways to maximise their website's presence.
If you can relate in some small way, don't worry, we've been there. And we're still learning new things daily. But as those who have passed through the murky waters of SEO and emerged triumphantly, we've got a few SEO tips to take you from terrified of SEO to absolutely terrific!
SEO Tips to Transform Your Traffic Stats
Create Awesome Content
Maybe you've got content on your website already, or maybe you're just starting out. Either way, one of the simplest areas you can focus on to increase your web traffic is your content. Plain and simple. Create fresh, successful content that inspires sharing by asking the following questions about your work:
- Is it unique? Or could I find the same piece regurgitated on about a million other websites?
- Is it offering value? Tying in with the above, ask whether your content is bringing unique information and value to your readers that they couldn't find elsewhere.
- Is it helpful? Are searchers going to be mind-blown by your astoundingly informative content, or left as baffled as when they arrived?
- Is it user-friendly? Is your content conducive to a great user experience? Or will they be left squinting at their smartphones because it's not mobile-friendly?
- Is it relevant? Your work should contain content that search engines can identify as appropriate to the topic behind the searcher's intent and phrasing.
Maximise the Content You Have
The content you create needs to be optimised. In fact, it's crying out to be optimised. So here's a few ways you can make your content SEO-friendly:
- Keep your titles short and sweet. And while you're at it, try include a primary and second keyword in there as well. Remember to keep them clear and easy to read.
- Be sure to include a meta description. It's the information that appears beneath your link in a search result, and it tells a visitor precisely what to expect if they click through to your site. Keep it concise, preferably under 150 characters, and include a primary keyword in it as well.
- Always begin your URL with your most important keywords and use hyphens to separate your words.
- Let your images do the talking. Literally. Make sure you include keywords in the file names of your images, separated with hyphens, and put an alt-text word (to describe the image) in there as well.
Build Solid, Ethical Links
Link building is a challenge for even the best SEO masters. And while traditional link building strategies may be changing, some things stay the same when compiling a strong link building campaign. Besides building internal links between relevant content on your website's pages, here're a few basic tips for building better links:
- Create news. A classic link building tactic achieved by garnering the attention of the news media, bloggers or press by releasing a new product, hosting an event, making a controversial statement or having a giveaway.
- Be an awesome content creator. Again, not a tricky one but certainly very effective. Great content inspires viral sharing and natural linking, by playing off humour, trend-relevancy, usefulness and information dissemination. So create content your users will want to share.
- Boost customer links. Capitalise on your brand loyal fans and partners by getting them to link to you. A great technique to achieve this is offering partnership badges that link back to your site.
Let Keywords Be Your Best Friend
Don't let the opportunity to use keywords to your advantage pass you by. Instead consider doing the following:
- Make use of a keyword analysis tool, like Google's Keywords Tool or MOZ's Keyword Analysis Tool. This will help you pinpoint terms closest to your content topic, which in turn guides you in optimising your content for highly searched (and relevant!) keywords.
- Include one or two keywords right at the beginning of your URL, and also in your meta description.
- Don't forget about long tail keywords. In case you didn't already know, long tail keywords are highly targeted search phrases containing 3 or words. Targeting these keywords offers better quality traffic and higher conversion rates, and there's less competition. Long tail search is also extremely popular, so don't miss the chance to make it work for you.
Encourage Your Users to Stay
Nobody wants a high bounce rate on their website. Bounce rate is calculated by the number of visitors who arrive at your website, only to promptly leave again without bothering to look at any other pages (essentially it's a single page visit), and every site experiences an inevitable amount of bouncing.
- Know who's visiting your site, and what they want. Then give it to them.
- It's all about user experience (UX). Building on the latter, take the time to focus on your visitors' experiences on your site. This means putting premium content above the fold, smarter navigation and excellent design.
- Create encouragements to click through. Take note of areas on the site where visitors tend to hover, and make them clickable, and ensure every page has a clearly defined conversion path.
- Go mobile. We'd shouldn't need to mention this, but mobile is kind of a big deal. So optimise your site for premium mobile usability.
Build a Strong Sense of Community
Nurturing relationships is what great content marketing is all about. Increase traffic to your website by building relationships with your visitors by:
- Engaging through social media. Whether it's sharing your latest content, answering user questions or posting awesome and interesting stuff, engage with other people. It's also a great way to build links!
- Be generous in linking out to other bloggers, retweeting and sharing other people's content.
- Encourage communication by finishing your blog posts with questions or requests for comments.
- Consider incorporating forums on your site, because these are great for building engagement.
Don't be caught in thinking SEO is for other people to worry about, you can do it too and reap the benefits. Already an SEO rockstar? Share a few tips with us below, we'd love to hear from you!