Some people don’t have the time to work on improving their sites search engine rankings and attracting more customers, so they hire me.
Some people don’t have the money to hire me but have the time and want to do it themselves.
Assuming your website code is already optimized for search engines, I’ve got a few steps you can take to help draw traffic to your site. A lot of this information is Google-specific, since that is what I am most asked about. However, much of this can apply to other search engines too. Here are 10 things you can do to drive traffic to your site.
To get into the Google Local Business Results, just go here and walk through the process of the signup.
NOTE: Make use of the coupon section when signing up! It’s at the tab at the top of the page.
I’ve had a number of clients wonder why they aren’t on that listing, or why they aren’t #1. There are a few reasons for that. Every time, the main reason is because they didn’t have a listing in the Google Local Business Directory.
BUT….before getting too excited about the Google Local Business Results, bear in mind that there are some things you can do to make this work for you, but you are limited as to how much you can do it improve your ranking there. Google doesn’t share their information as to how you are ranked there. In a nutshell, this explanation comes down to “we have our way of doing things and we’re not going to tell you how its done”.
#2 Get Reviewed!
I have noticed that a number of businesses, especially those at the top of Google’s Local Business Listings have been reviewed on at least 1 website. Have your customers give you a review. I spent time reviewing one of my clients (since I had used Dr. Lorenzen’s services) and this was a nice help for him. However, the number of reviews doesn’t appear to impact your ranking on that list, as you can see here:
Where to get reviewed? The more popular sites are Yelp, CitySearch, YellowPages, SuperPages, InsiderPages, Epinions, Local.com, and RateItAll. There are more out there than this so just run a search. Also, you may also find review sites specific to your industry.
Bear in mind that some of these sites are only for businesses with a brick and mortar store. If you don’t want to list your address, you can’t get in there. This isn’t true for all of them so take a look and see what works for you.
#3. Find Out Where Your Competitors Are Listed
Want to know what websites are linking to your competition? Easy. Just go to Google and type in their address: www.theirwebsiteaddress.com (please insert THEIR website address and not this example).
Now you can join the same business directories they are in.
The better content on your website, the better your search engine ranking. This is due in part to the written words on your site indexed by the search engines. The other part is due to you giving people a reason to link to your site. The more linking to your site, the higher your search engine ranking.
Make sure you read my post To Blog, or Not to Blog? before diving into blogging.
#5 Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
You can sign up for Google Webmaster Tools here. Use these features to get a better feel for what is driving people to your site. Also you can submit a sitemap to Google from this tool. So that brings me to…
#6 Make a SiteMap
I’ve been using the sitemap from XML-Sitemaps.com. They have a free submission option but it only produces a limited number of links to your pages. If you have a lot of pages, like I do, you can purchase their product. If you use WordPress for a blog, there is a nice plugin that will do the job nicely. If this is a bit too techy for you, have your web designer/webmaster/whoever do this for you. If you have a WordPress site, there are many plugins that make sitemaps. Although my favorite is the WordPress SEO by Yoast that comes with a sitemap builder as part of the plugin.
#7 Sign Up For Google Analytics
Google Analytics will also give you good information about your site and visitors. There will be some code that you need inserted in your site, so make sure you contact your web designer.
#8 Use Google Adwords
If you want to advertise on Google, you sign up with them for Adwords. Admittedly, this is more about SEM than SEO and doesn’t really impact ranking. But if you want to appear at the top of the page now and then, paying for it is one way to go. Once you’ve signed up, Google has a lot of information in their help section on how to use it and how to make the most of it. This also brings me to…
#9 Use Landing Pages
When advertising with Google (or running any other online ad campaign) you typically want something called Landing Pages. You and your web designer can work on creating these. Basically, it is a page designed around each ad campaign you create. So let’s say you are in Google Adwords and want to run a campaign targeting people in your local area. You will create a page on your site that you link in that ad that has text written specifically for that target base. You’ll use the keywords you’ve got in your Adwords campaign in that landing page.
#10 Use Social Networking
This is a big deal these days, but often over-hyped and misunderstood. Like the early days of the web, people think this is a magic pill that will bring you riches the moment you start. Expect to take time building an audience. Meanwhile, these pages can also show up in Google and other search engines. So learn how to use the more popular sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn. You can also try sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Del.icio.us. These are only a few. Got too many to manage? Try bundling them together using sites like HootSuite or Sendible, to name a couple.
These steps together can drive traffic to your site. After seeing the amount of work here, you may say, “heck with this! I don’t have time!” and just hire someone else to do your SEO. If you do decide to attempt this, pick one thing at a time and work your way down the list here. Don’t try to do it all at once unless you are fairly web savvy, or you may end up feeling overwhelmed. There is a fair bit to learn. Hang in there. You’ll get it!