How to increase traffic to a website?

Every day millions of people run millions of queries on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and many others, hoping to find information on a certain subject, or a specific product, making the search engines the main entry point to the internet.

Say you want to buy an SUV. Run a browser (we prefer Firefox, but it can be Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, etc..) Type the URL http://www.google.com. Then introduce the term "suv+ car + dealers". The number of results can be astonishing.

Getting on top of search results on major engines is a task that can consume a lot of time and effort, and we donít even know if weíll be able to accomplish that goal: your site can simply get buried among millions of others available today. But one thing is sure: better search engine rankings mean more visits to your website; which is why anything you invest in the positioning, will never be in vain.

Now, what is necessary to achieve good search engine rankings? Three basic things: knowledge, discipline in content publishing, and dedication.

Many companies offer a search engine positioning service and charge quite a lot of money; but be careful: some of them use tricks to fool search engines and get great results in the short term, but as soon as their tricks are discovered, the website is severely penalized and it is very hard to succeed in securing a good position in the future.

Our advice is that to achieve a good position, one must start with the internal work on a website, optimize it for search engines and publish the information correctly. For this we offer a series of tips to help you have an optimized website and allow you to climb the ranks within the search results.

Even if many internet users nowadays are under the impression that keyword metatags is what counts for search engines, nothing could be farther away from the truth. Keyword metatags don't have much weight for search engines, which focus mostly on your content, the amount of links made by other websites, (and what websites!), as well as the speed with which the website can be loaded and processed.

The content

The words or phrases that are involved in the URL to a web page, the marking of phrases or words for which we wish to achieve a good positioning, freshness of content and the ease of site access are essential to efficient positioning.

  • Use underlining, italics and bolding for words or phrases that you want to stress within the content (but donít exaggerate, consider carefully which are the terms for which you want to have a good positioning).
  • All your content should be as fresh as possible: make sure it is new, not copied from other websites, or you will end up penalized. The fresher your content, the easier to achieve a good natural placement in search engines.
  • Do not try tricks like inserting links and text with color equal to the background of the webpage to fraudulently increase the references to a particular website. Google is able to detect these things and penalize the website.
  • Avoid using the underscore in URLs, it is preferable to use the hyphen, since it makes it easier to determine that you have a sentence.
  • Avoid displaying flash content. Although Google has improved indexing of flash, itís still advisable to provide alternative content on HTML pages.
  • Design your website to use friendly URLs, if possible avoid the use of symbols such as ? and & in the URLs.
  • Rank the pages of your site with labels and categories, these will help better positioning. Use tags <h1> <h2> <h3> ... to highlight the most relevant and important phrases and categories.
  • Whenever possible, use the keywords for which you wish to achieve a better position, in the categories of the webpage.
  • Do not use too many images on your web pages, but when you do, name it appropriately (in a website about pets, itís okay to show an image of a dog, but donít name it 1.jpg if you can name it dog-doberman.jpg), do not forget to put the alt attribute to the image tag with description.
  • Insert descriptive text in your internal links and in relation with the content, this will help search engines to index your content globally and correctly, both the source page, and the page where the link is pointing.
  • The density of occurrence of a keyword in your content is important for search engines when they position your website based on that word. Experts consider advisable for that density to be between 2% and 5%.
  • Check all the links you have posted on the pages of your website and see that there are no broken links, this leads to penalties.

Titles and descriptions

  • Each page must have a defined title and description; both must be unique and identify the page content. It is recommended for the word or phrase that you want to position, to appear in the title of the website. The title <title> ... </ title>, as well as the description: <meta name="description"content="..." /> are used by search egines as starting point for identifying relevant terms.

Scripts

The term unobtrusive is not well known by ordinary users, so letís use a practical example that allows to understand it better. Today it is common to find dynamic websites, where only some sections are refreshed when you run an action. For example, we have a list of staff photos; a click on one photo will show the bio and contact information of the person selected, but only that particular part of the page will change, the rest of the page will not have to load again. This is not entirely negative if, in case scripts are disabled in the browser, the website is still functional and the bio can be accessed through a normal link.

Using a sitemap

  • A sitemap is an XML file that contains the list of pages of your website with additional information on them: how often the page changes its content, the date of last update, its relevance to other pages on the website. This allows search engines to index sections of the website in a clear and orderly manner.

Third-party links

Search engines give considerable importance (I'd say it is the most important thing) to the amount and quality of third party web sites that link to your website.

  • Make every effort to ensure that third party websites have a content that is related to yours, and that valid links are used. Remember that the more websites are linking to you, the better. Write articles on third party blogs on related topics and add links to pages on your site. These links should be naturally flowing within the text, not forced in it. Participate in discussion forums providing answers or solutions based on the content of your website.
  • Register in search engines automatically; also register in web directories.

The WordPress developers can use the CP Related Posts plugin to displays related articles on your website, manually, or by the terms in the content, title or abstract, including the tags assigned to the articles. With CP Related Post is possible design a well structured website.

Social Networks

Social networks have now become a mechanism to achieve a prominent web position in short periods of time, but it requires dedication, because you have to invest time in reputation building, and constantly be publishing a variety of content. Letís say that social networks are an unexpensive way to achieve a good position because it does not require a large investment in advertising campaigns.

Positioning through social networks is a more user-oriented work, focusing on responding to other members, continued contact, letting them know that we are able to provide valuable material on the subject. No repeated platitudes that can earn us a spammer label! Through social networks we can get a high conversion of visitors into regular customers.

Social networks work for their members; same as with the search engines, users are looking on these networks for references on a particular topic or product as an entry point to public content on the Internet. Today search engines award great importance to content published on social networks and negotiate with their owners in order to index the content published on them.

Invest in pay per click campaigns

In this type of campaign, monetary investment is required, but that investment will provide a number of clients interested in what we offer. Even if visitors do not always end up buying our products, pay-per-click campaigns allow us to analyze user experience and continually improve our websites. It also allows us to direct our users to the webpages that we want, depending on the searches, and to segment our campaign to achieve best results. Whenever you start a pay per click campaign, make sure you take consistent action based on user experience, analysis of competition, monitoring of users to spot trends and identify next steps, and to find out how people access your website.

All the advice that we have offered in this article may, at first sight, seem rather complex, but once you put them into practice you will see that in the medium and long term you will be reaching increasingly important positions in the search results and in consequence, the number of visitors to your website will increase.