People are searching for your business online as you read this article. Just because you have a website does not mean that you will be found online. SEO has become an important tool that needs to be included in any online marketing plan. Both online and off-line techniques are used to drive traffic to your website and it is this traffic that will move you up the search engine ranks and in turn help you increase sales. It does not happen overnight, so don't get discouraged if at first you don't see much movement. SEO will take at least 3 months to really get you going places; of course if you have big budgets then you can jump up that search list even more quickly.
Below are some tips you may not be familiar with that can help get the traffic flowing:
Let's have a look!
1. We have all heard that 'Content is King'
This technique looks at keeping your content fresh on your website, which is why many people have blogs now. Think of how you can provide great information about your business, product or service in a fresh and interesting way. Ensure you have keywords within the content to help with searching as well. As you should already be aware of this technique, we are going to talk about a method called "digg-like", which can also help you generate traffic. The idea behind websites like Digg is relatively easy to understand. On the Internet, there are a number of websites where you can post your blog article with the intention for users to read and like your information. The more likes your article gets, the higher it will be on the website's main page, which will then introduce their visitors to your brand. So check out Digg, BuzzFeed, Upworthy and Reddit to help spread the word about your business.
2. Get cozy online with 'Influencers'
It is great when people share your content and brand with the people around them, but even better if you can get the people known as 'influencers' to spread your message as well. "Real influencers", are people running blogs, online magazines, and social media pages that have thousands of followers. These people could be celebrities, as well as everyday people who have become Internet sensations. Try and connect with influencers that focus on topics within your particular industry. These people have created loyal followers who are interested in what they have to say, the products they use and the trends they are on top of. They help create wider visibility of your brand and by using influencers who are well known within your target market will help increase the flow of traffic to your site. Most influencers make their money by promoting these brands and products, so unless they are an advocate of your brand and promote you for free then you will most likely need to pay for the 'shout out'.
3. Become the Guest Blogger
By becoming a guest blogger you are creating opportunities to grow your blog readership and platform, increase awareness of your brand and build your personal reputation within the industry you do business in. When guest blogging you must negotiate with the host blogger to include a link to your blog in the post somewhere, usually at the beginning or end. After all, you want to increase your online visibility and over time, these backlinks will raise the value of your blog (aka brand) on search engines, making your content easier to find via Google, Yahoo, and Bing. One of the best things about becoming a guest blogger is that it allows you to enter an already-established community, and share your message with new people. If you are adding value to the blog or discussion, you will see that convert over time to more readers, fans, and followers of your own brand. On the flip side, if all you ever do is sell your brand or product, you may end up well-known, but with a reputation you may not want. No matter the platform you use, whether it is social media or blogs it is always best to post more information that is informative, fun and helpful for your audience than a full on sales pitch. By all means you are there to increase your brand online and to make more sales, but you have to have a balance and by adding value over time you will see the results you are looking for.
When guest blogging make sure you do the following:
1. Link to the post from your blog
2. Promote it on your social media platforms (several times). Tweet it, Share it, Post it
3. Thank the person
4. Stick around and respond to any comments there may be on the blog
Guest blogging also works the other way as well. So think about who could guest blog on your site. Some bloggers will blog about their guest post and link it to their own blog giving you some great link opportunities that will increase your traffic, which is what we are looking for right! Allowing guest bloggers will also help you build a professional blogger network.
4. Using Forums
Forum posts are becoming a more and more popular way for businesses and people to increase their website page ranking. It is a great opportunity for you to express your knowledge, build credibility and connect with people you already know are interested in what your brand, product or service is all about.
However, a huge mistake would be to register on a forum only to promote your website, although this is your end goal – to increase traffic to your site, like posting on social media you need to be providing useful and interesting information that your audience wants to read. People who blatantly promote themselves and their business will usually turn people off their brand, as the people using these forums usually don't like that type of behaviour and in turn would be bad for your online reputation. You could lose these potential customers.
To avoid this type of situation, we advise you first help these forum users who may need to solve a problem or are in need to talk with others who are more knowledgeable than themselves. This doesn't mean that you can't still put your website URL, we just suggest you put it with a short description in your signature (the little text area that appears automatically) if the forum permits you to. Be active and be nice, do not act with only your website's promotion in mind.
If you have proved your expertize several times, and your posts reflect the quality of the work you are offering, people will be interested in visiting your website and be more likely to go one step further and want to purchase what you have to offer. So do a search online for good forums talking about your industry and get on board.
Have you ever heard of Quora? It is actually a website where Q&A (Questions & Answers) are organized on just about every topic known to man. This type of Q&A service is soaring in popularity with a lot of questions being asked online, and you are free to offer your answer to these.
Some things to keep in mind when thinking of using Quora within your marketing mix:
i) You can find new ideas to talk about
ii) Create and build content
iii) You are opening the lines of communication with your target audience
iv) Build on your own communication skills when dealing with your audience
v) Ask good, interesting questions or provide great relevant answers
vi) Work on building your presence within the community of Quora
vii) You must monitor and engage, if you don't do this then there is no point in you being there
By using Quota you are giving yourself the opportunity to gain exposure to Quora's 700,000+ monthly visitors; however in marketing it is always a good idea to break that number down and find out the questions people are asking about your product or industry, and build your expertise and authority on your chosen topic as you will be judged by the quality of your questions and answers. If all goes well, your audience is more likely to trust you and will more often than not take that next step to contact you one-on-one or visit your website to learn more about you, your product or service. So don't forget to put a link to your site, but again, you are not there to be a self-promoter first and foremost, you are there to offer your expertise.
I think it is also important that no matter your industry that you continue to learn and Quora has become a great place for you and me to learn from other users, customers, industry experts and of course from even our competitors. Besides posting questions and answering questions, you can build a Quora page for your business, use the site for market research, and start a Quora blog and publish stories.
6. Social Media
Our social media accounts have become such an integral part of our daily life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on have also become embedded in our business marketing strategy. All accounts are free but because so many businesses use them as well, these days there are also options to create paid advertisements within each account to boost your reach.
Your accounts are an extension of your website and you probably interact with them more than your actual site, unless you are blogging of course. They allow you to get in touch with your clients and vice versa, with many large company's having social media 'call centres' or people within small businesses dedicated to be on the social media accounts to handle any enquires, questions or complainants. You can use them to promote your new products or services, to build your online reputation and to reach possible new clients. The idea of using social media to promote your business is great, but achieving great results is not as easy as it seems.
Like all the other techniques we have mentioned social media as a marketing tool also has a number of rules and a so called code of conduct that you need to follow to have any chance of success. One of the biggest issues is finding time to post and what to post and where to post that many business owners face. It can be very daunting especially if you are a small business and do not have a dedicated social media manager; after all you are dedicating your time to growing your business and servicing clients, not sitting on social media all day.
However fi you are blogging you should be linking your blog to all social media accounts, but each account will have its own rules so you do need to adjust each post to each account you use, but always link it back to your blog, after all we are looking at increase traffic here. Don't just post once – post many times from the one blog piece. Each post should also have its own image to represent each point of view from your blog.
You want to encourage your audience to comment, to like and most importantly to share. Make sure your notifications are set up so that when people are commenting, liking or sharing that you are thanking them or responding to any questions they may have. It is here where you will build customer loyalty and show other members of your audience who have not engaged with you the type of business you are and it will help them to trust you easier by seeing your interaction with others.
One of the most common ways to increase customers from Facebook is to organize events on your page such as discounts, competitions and sales. For example, you can offer discounts on your products to customers that have shared your Facebook page or if you want to increase shares and likes you can run a competition.
7. Yahoo and Bing: are you neglecting these search engines?
When it comes to SEO and search engines most businesses will concentrate on Google, as it seems to rule the roost. If you are ranking well on Google that does not mean you will rank well on Yahoo and Bing. Each search engine needs its own strategy. If you don't optimise for the three you may be missing out on some great business opportunities.
With SEO it is important to have high quality backlinks and these hold weight on both Google and Bing. One of the things SEO experts are always aware of is the search engine algorithms, as these can affect your rankings and the work they do to help your website rank higher. With Google it recognises synonyms and context around a keyword that is being used, however with Bing it is better to be more exact with your keywords. A number of years ago Google announced that it does not care all that much about meta keywords and descriptions as ranking factors, Bing and Yahoo however still consider these factors , so add those meta keywords and descriptions in your website, after all what have you got too loose except increases across the SERPs.
We have talked about Flash content and SEO before in previous blogs and for Google this has not changed. Google does not like Flash and has trouble crawling Flash sites or Flash content within sites. Bing on the other hand understands and crawls Flash sites quite well. No one really likes to tell you their age, but when it comes to Domain age and page authority in SEO, Bing finds this to be important when assigning rank. Google is more interested in quality backlinks pointing towards a domain and doesn't put as much importance on domain age as Bing. However, the both have the same favourite's .edu, .edu.au and .gov and .gov.au websites.
As we mentioned in the title all of these techniques that you can use are FREE and it doesn't hurt you to play around and be aware of how you can increase traffic to your website. Your site has become one of the major marketing tools you will have online so it is important to spend time working on increasing visitation. If like many other small to medium sized businesses and you simply don't have the time then you can always talk to us about getting a FREE SEO report on your website to see where you actually sit and look at how we can help you.