We all know that it’s not enough to just publish a web site.
Your web site needs to work hard for you to bring in leads and to convert prospects to customers. But even with the BEST web site, driving qualified traffic is a challenge. Especially if you’re operating on a limited budget. Here are 5 ways to drive traffic to your website that you can implement right now to help drive qualified traffic to your site.
1. Develop a strong keyword strategy
Think about the top 5 – 7 keywords and keyword phrases that your perfect customer might use to find you. Do a search and see what other listings come up for these keywords. These keywords are going to be an important part of your strategy, so develop a list that makes sense for your business.
If you need help generating keywords, there are several online tools that can help you find relevant keywords and see what kind of traffic these keywords are generating. Make your decision based on the relevancy of the keyword to your business, the number of searches the keyword generates and how competitive the keyword might be. And don’t forget to geo-target your keywords as well. If you sell within a local area, or even state or county wide, choose keyword phrases that include your city, state or county. Why choose to compete nationally, when you can be a “big fish in a small pond?”
For help generating keywords, try Google’s Keyword tool for free:
2. On-Page Search Engine Optimization
Now that you have your keyword strategy, you need to use them on your web site pages. The goal is to help the search engines find these keywords and rank your pages for them. Take your top 5-7 keyword phrases and assign each phrase to a specific page on your site. Remember, search engines index pages, not sites, so every page counts. You don’t want to oversaturate your page with too many keywords, so each page should have a primary keyword that you’ll focus on.
Use your keywords:
- In the headers and sub headers of your page
- In the text or copy of your page. The keyword should be used 3-5 times on the page
- In the image file names and alternate text tags for your images
- In the page file name
- In title and meta tags
Remember that you’re writing for people. If the keywords don’t work within your site without sounding awkward, then error on the side of caution and opt for naturally sounding messages.
3. Create an XML Sitemap
XML Sitemaps help the search engines crawl your site so that they index your pages more efficiently. It’s a simple XML file that lists all your pages and when they were updated. Creating an XML sitemap is simple and there are lots of online tools that will create it for you. Once the file is created, you simply upload the file to the root of your site. Update the file monthly for best results.
Some CMS tools have an XML Sitemap generation tool built into it so you don’t have to remember to update it manually. While and XML Sitemap isn’t a huge factor in getting ranked for your keywords, it certainly doesn’t hurt and it’s easy to do.
Try using Google Webmaster Tools to increase your SEO and create your XML Sitemap. It’s free and located here:
4. Develop Geo-Targeted Landing Pages
Say you have a specific service you sell, in specific geographic locations. How can you insert geo-targeted keywords into your single services pages, especially since we only want to target one keyword or keyword phrase per page? Creating Geo-Targeted landing pages is a helpful way to get ranked for those geo keywords without compromising the quality of your pages.
Say for example, we sell web design services in 3 major counties and cities; Westchester, NY, Fairfield, CT and Rockland County, NY. We would create 3 separate landing pages, one for each city or county and use our geo-targeted keywords on these pages. The landing pages are not accessible from the main navigation of our site. But, the search engines find them and index them. A person landing on the page can easily navigate to other pages on our site.
Here’s an example of a geo-targeted landing page:
Note, that the navigation is the same as other pages on our site, but you cannot navigate TO the page from the main menus.
Compare it to this page here:
Driving qualified traffic to your site is a critical step in making your site into a marketing machine. Remember, you can have the best site in the world, but it won’t help you a bit if no one can find it.
5. Claim your Local Directory Listings
The Yellow Pages is quickly disappearing. People today are using online directories to find all sorts of products and businesses. Every local directory you’re listed on, gives you another shot at being found. Add as much pertinent content to each of these directory listings as you can. There are LOTS of them and I’ll include a page with a link of 50 below, but start with these top 10.
Here’s a handy tip! Use your browser’s auto-fill function if you want to do a bunch of these directories. It will save you lots of time.
Here’s the TOP TEN to get you started!
5. Merchant Circle
Check here for a list of 50 Local Directories: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10322/The-Ultimate-List-50-Local-Business-Directories.aspx