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Internet Marketing

“Getting the Word Out”, Using the Web

How do you get visitors to your website? How do you stimulate traffic? 42 important administrative actions to increase your website traffic.

1. Write a Keyword-Rich Page Title. Write a descriptive title for each page. You need a title that is concise and full of keywords that potential customers would use to find you. Use 5 to 10 words. Remove all of the filler words from the title (such as "the," "and," etc.), remember it is a title that web-crawlers are searching for content. This page title will appear hyperlinked on the search engines when your page is found. Entice searchers to click on the title by making it a bit provocative. Place this at the top of the webpage between the tags, in this format: . (It also shows on the blue bar at the top of your web browser.) a. Plan to use some descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page. If you specialize in Red Hats and that's what people will be searching for, don't just use your company name "Joe Hat Company," use "Specialty Red Hats | Joe Hat Company." The words people are most likely to search on should appear first in the title (called "keyword prominence"). Remember, this title is your identity on the search engines. The more people see that interests them in the blue hyperlinked words on the search engine, the more likely they are to click on the link.

2. Write a Description META Tag. Some search engines include this description below your hyperlinked title in the search results. The description should be a sentence or two describing the content of the webpage, using the main keywords and key-phrases on this page. Don't include keywords that don't appear on the webpage. Place the Description META Tag at the top of the webpage, between the tags, in this format: . The maximum number of characters should be about 255; just be aware that only the first 60 or so are visible on Google, though more may be indexed.

• To create a practical webpage write the article first, create a keyword-rich title (#1 above). Then write a description of the content in that article in a sentence or two, using each of the important keywords and key-phrases included in the article. This goes into the description META tag.• Next, take out the common words, leaving just the common keywords and phrases that would be used to search your company out with a search-engine. Take these keywords and place them into the keywords META tag. It's no longer used much for ranking, but do this for the smaller crawler search engines.

3. Include Your Keywords in Headers (H1, H2, H3). Search engines consider keywords that appear in the page headline and sub heads to be important to the page, so make sure your desired keywords and phrases appear in one or two header tags. Don't expect the search engine to parse your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to figure out which are the headlines -- it won't. Instead, use keywords in the H1, H2, and H3 tags to provide clues to the search engine. (Note: Some designers no longer use the H1, H2 tags. That's a big mistake. Make sure your designer defines these tags in the CSS rather than creating headline tags with other names.)

4. Write your company specific keywords in the first paragraph of your website’s body text. Search engines expect that your first paragraph will contain the important keywords for the document. This is usually where most people write the introduction to the content of the page. Do Not overload the keywords here, less is more here. Google might expect a keyword density in the entire body text area of maybe 1.5% to 2% for a word that should rank high, so don't overdo it. This will flag your page and lower the ranking. We have a client that originally built an HTML site, very simple, and received a great deal of traffic to it. The owner thought it smart to rebuild the site and update it’s capabilities. In doing so he used the limited knowledge of the way that GOOGLE handles keywords and mentioned his company, its location and state in almost every line of text. Excessive? Of course! GOOGLE HAS SEEN IT ALL. Their algorithms to find intelligent content is more than smart…it’s Einstein from the other side.

5. Include descriptive Keywords in the ALT Attribute of Image Tags. This helps your site be more accessible to site-impaired visitors (www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/) and gives additional clues to the search engines. The ALT attributes do help get your images ranked higher for image search.

6. Use Keywords in Hyperlinks. Search engines are looking for clues to the focus of your webpage. When they see words hyperlinked in your body text, they consider these potentially important, so hyperlink your important keywords and keyphrases. To emphasize it even more, the webpage you are linking to could have a page name with the keyword or keyphrase, another clue for the search engine.

7. Make Your Navigation System Search Engine Friendly. You want search engine robots to find all the pages in your site. JavaScript and Flash navigation menus that appear when you hover are great for humans, but search engines don't read JavaScript and Flash very well. Therefore, supplement JavaScript and Flash menus with regular HTML links at the bottom of the page, ensuring that a chain of hyperlinks exists that take a search engine spider from your home page to every page in your site. Don't set up your navigation system using HTML frames (an old, out-dated approach); they can cause severe indexing problems.

8. CMS Content. Some content management systems and e-commerce catalogs produce dynamic, made-on-the-fly webpages, often recognizable by question marks in the URLs followed by long strings of numbers or letters. Overworked search engines sometimes have trouble parsing long URLs and may stop at the question mark, refusing to go farther. If you find the search engines aren't indexing your interior pages, you might consider URL rewriting, a site map, or commercial solutions.

9. Create a Site Map. A site map page with links to all your pages can help search engines (and visitors) find all your pages, particularly if you have a larger site. You can use a free tools, XML-Sitemaps.com to create XML sitemaps that are used by the major search engines to index your webpages accurately. Upload your sitemap to your website. Then submit your XML sitemap to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly MSN), following instructions on their sites. By the way, Google Webmaster Central (www.google.com/webmasters/) has lots of tools to help you get ranked higher. Be sure to set up a free account and explore what they have to offer.

10. Develop Webpages Focused on Each Your Target Keywords. SEO specialists no longer recommend using external doorway or gateway pages, since nearly duplicate webpages might get you penalized. Rather, develop several webpages on your site, each of which is focused on a target keyword or keyphrase for which you would like a high ranking. Let's say you sell teddy bears. Use Google Insights for Search (www.google.com/insights/search/) or the free keyword suggestion tool on Wordtracker.com to find the related keywords people search on. In this case: write a separate webpage featuring the keyword "teddy bear," "teddy bears," "vermont teddy bears," "vermont bears," "the teddy bears," teddy bears picnic," "teddy bears pictures," etc. You'll write a completely different article on each topic. You can't fully optimize all the webpages in your site, but for each of these focused-content webpages, spend lots of time tweaking to improve its ranking.

11. Fine-tune with Careful Search Engine Optimization. Now fine-tune your focused-content pages and perhaps your home page, by making a series of minor adjustments to help them rank higher. Software such as WebPosition allows you to check your current ranking and compare your webpages against your top keyword competitors. I use it regularly. WebPosition's Page Critic tool provides analysis of a search engine's preferred statistics for each part of your webpage, with specific recommendations of what minor changes to make.

12. Promote Your Local Business on the Internet. These days many people search for local businesses on the Internet. To make sure they find you, include on every page of your website the street address, zip code, phone number, and the five or 10 other local community place names your business serves. If you can, include place names in the title tag, too. When you seek links to your site (see #15 below), you should request links from local businesses with place names in the communities you serve and complementary businesses in your industry nationwide.

13. Also create a free listing for your local business on Google Maps Local Business Center and Yahoo! Local . That way your business can show up on a map when people do a local search.

14. Promote Your Video, Images, and Audio Content. Google's "universal search" displays not only webpage content, but also often displays near the top of the page relevant listings for images, videos, local businesses , and audio clips. Therefore, consider creating such content appropriate to your business and then optimizing it so it can be ranked high enough to help you. For example, if you were to get a top-ranking, informative video on YouTube that mentions your site, it could drive a lot of traffic to your site. For more information, search on "optimizing images" or "optimizing videos.

Linking Strategies

Links to your site from other sites drive additional traffic. But since Google and other major search engines consider the number of incoming links to your website ("link popularity") as an important indicator of relevance, more links will help you rank higher in the search engines. Google has a measure called PageRank that reflects the quantity and quality of incoming links. All links aren't all equal. Links from trusted, popular sites help your site rank higher than links from lower traffic sites.

1. Submit Your Site to Key Directories, since a link from a directory will help your ranking -- and get you traffic. A directory is not a search engine. Rather, it is a hierarchical listing of sites sorted according to category and subcategory.  A link in this directory will help you a lot.a. Yahoo! Directory is another important directory. Real humans read submission, so be careful to follow the instruction given. Hint: Use somewhat less than the maximum number of characters allowable, so you don't have wordy text that will tempt the Yahoo! editor to begin chopping. Yahoo! Directory Submit requires a $299 annual recurring fee to have your site considered for inclusion within seven business days. Other paid business directories that might help are About.com and Business.com.2. Submit Your Site to Trade Organization Sites and Specialized Directories. Some directories focused on particular industries, such as education or finance. You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member directories. Ask for a link. Even if you have to pay something for a link from the organization, it may help boost your PageRank.

a. Marginal directories, however, come and go very quickly, making it hard to keep up, so don't try to be exhaustive here. Beware of directories that solicit you for "upgraded listings." Unless a directory is widely used in your field, a premium ad is a waste of money -- but the (free) link itself will help boost your PageRank and hence your search engine ranking.

b. Submit Wolf is a directory submission tool I've used with good success . You complete a listing form in the software interface. Then they submit your listing to all the appropriate directories they know of, plus links to sites that require manual submission. It's a timesaver and works well. Just be careful to submit only to actual directories, not "linking sites."

3. Request Reciprocal Links. Find websites in your general niche and request a reciprocal link to your site. Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites -- so you don't send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door. Your best results will be from sites that generate a similar amount of traffic as your own site. High-traffic site webmasters are too busy to answer your requests for a link and don't have anything to gain. Look for smaller sites that may have linking pages.

a. Check out Ken Evoy's free SiteSell Value Exchange. It registers your site as willing to exchange links with other sites that have a similar theme/topic content and searches for sites with similar topical content.

b. When you locate sites, send a personal e-mail using the contact e-mail on the site or to the administrative contact listed in a Whois Directory. If e-mail doesn't get a response, try a phone call. Warning: Only link to complementary sites, no matter how often you are bombarded with requests to exchange links with a mortgage site that has nothing to do with your teddy bear store. One way Google determines what your site is about is who you link to and who links to you. It's not just links, but quality links you seek. Reciprocal linking as hard, tedious work, but it doesn't cost you a dime out of pocket! Keep working at this continuously, a little bit at a time. Patience and persistence will get you some good links, so keep at it.

4. Write Articles for Others to Use in Websites and Newsletters. You can dramatically increase your visibility when you write articles in your area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their e-mail newsletters or their websites. Just ask that a link to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article. This is an effective "viral" approach that can produce hundreds of links to your site over time. You'll find lots of information on how to do this from the most popular article marketing site, EzineArticles.com. When you create a free membership account, they begin sending you instructions and ideas each week.

5. Issue News Releases. Find newsworthy events and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. The links to your site in online news databases may remain for several months and will temporarily improve traffic to your site and increase link popularity. Use a online news release service such as PR Web. Placing your website URL in online copies of your press release may increase link popularity temporarily.

a. Two additional linking strategies, discussed below, are to ask visitors to bookmark your webpage (#20) and to develop a free service (#23), which will greatly stimulate links to your site.