by Stephanie Chandler
Developing keywords for your Web site sets the foundation for search engine optimization (SEO) and is the best way to begin to drive more traffic to the site (see “Keyword Strategy for Your Site” in the July issue).
Additional strategies can keep the traffic coming.
Continually Add Content
Content is king. It’s a big mistake to let your Web site stay unchanged for months or even weeks.
Google gives higher priority to sites that frequently update content, so if your content isn’t constantly changing, competing sites that do add new content often will get higher positions in search results. And since Google owns 70 percent of the search market, what follows focuses on its processes and algorithms.
Adding content has another benefit. The more content you have on your site, the more reasons you give Google to find you. For example, if you post an article about alternative diabetes treatment options and your site is optimized based on the guidelines here, there is a good chance Google will serve up your article in the results when someone searches for that sort of information. Now you’ve attracted a reader to your site who can then discover that you have books on the same subject for sale. Yes, this can be a powerful way to introduce new readers to your books.
The best way to start adding content to your site is by incorporating a blog. Identify categories of information that your target customers are interested in and begin offering blog posts several times each week. Though that may sound daunting, studies have shown that companies that blog five times a week average five times more Web site traffic than those that don’t. Even starting with one post per week will begin to make a difference, but the more blog content you add, the more traffic you will likely receive as a result.
Use Inbound Links
When deciding how to rank your site in search results, Google also considers the number of inbound links. In other words, the spiders need to see that other sites have links to yours. Inbound links tell Google that a site is popular, especially when those links come from high-traffic sites.
Better yet, inbound links from related industry sites help Google confirm what your site is about. So if you sell diabetes books and other diabetes-related sites include links to your site as a resource, that can improve your site’s position with Google.
Adding inbound links can be a tricky proposition, because you have to find other sites willing to list yours. I recommend starting with trade associations of which you are a member. Many of them offer online profiles of members, so you can easily post biographical information and include a link to your site.
Also reach out to peers and industry partners and see if they will list your Web site as a resource. You may need to create a resources page on your site so that you can return the favors.
Use Anchored Links
Anchored links are important too because they help Google navigate the site and understand what the content is about, which can have an impact on Web traffic.
An anchored link is simply a Web link embedded in text. For example, we often see sites with a link that says, “Click here to learn more.” To make best use of an anchored link, incorporate a key phrase for the page that you’re linking to—for instance, “Learn more about alternative treatments for diabetes.”
Whenever possible, request that each anchored link lead to a specific page on your site, not just to the home page.
You can also benefit from using anchored links within your own site to direct visitors to previous articles or blog posts, to your books, and to various resources on the site.
Be Careful with Flash
Some Web sites use Flash technology for dynamic elements on pages, such as rotating images or a fancy landing page. While Flash may be visually appealing, it can limit Google’s ability to view Web site content. If you use it, limit the amount and never use it for your home page, because that can block Google’s spiders from crawling your pages.
Mix In Multimedia
Though Google is best able to interpret text on a Web page, it responds favorably to sites that use video and images. For best results, provide them in conjunction with text content. Videos can help attract traffic while adding visual appeal for site visitors. Be sure to take advantage of the “alt tags” feature to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases for the videos and images.
Offer a Sitemap
To help Google read all pages on your site, you should create an XML sitemap. This document shows Google where all your pages are located; without it, Google’s spiders may not be aware of them all.
Your Webmaster should be able to help with this (if not, find a new Webmaster). You can also find instructions for doing this yourself via support.google.com/webmasters.
When you incorporate the tactics listed here, you should start to see a steady increase in traffic to your Web site. Make sure to monitor your traffic statistics with a tool such as Google Analytics (google.com/analytics), which is free and will give you plenty of insights into what pages people are viewing and where your traffic is coming from. It may take a little bit of time to get these elements implemented, but once you do, the rewards should be worth the effort.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books, including Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business. The CEO of AuthorityPublishing.com, which specializes in custom publishing for nonfiction books and social media marketing services, she speaks often at business events and on the radio; she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine, and she is a blogger for Forbes.