We Build Websites That Mean Business
Tel01202 237121

7 Secrets Used to Increase Search Engine Traffic

Let’s examine the 7 main reasons that cause websites to fail to produce the traffic they need to be successful on the Internet:

1. CONTENT: After the considerations of planning and selecting the appropriate domain name and webhost, websites fail because of lack of content. The Internet is an information source, the more valuable, unique information your website adds to the Internet community, the better your website ranking will be. Many websites are designed with the idea that the search engines consider graphic images as content. WRONG.

Increase Search Engine TrafficWebsites fail when the visitor is greeted by too many graphic images, banner ads or external links. From the visitor’s perspective, this type of website is nothing more than an over-the-top sales pitch which rarely works and in most cases can negatively affect your search engine ranking as well. Why? Because people are exposed to advertising EVERYWHERE; on the radio in their car, in the newspaper, on the television, while riding on the bus or train, there is someone trying to sell them something.

They have come to your site for information; if you focus on the purpose of your website and give them what they want, they will return to your site again and may even refer their friends to your site. If your website is not focused on providing them with usable content, then visitors will click away.

To put the use of graphic images into perspective, ask yourself this question: What would you do if you went to a restaurant to order a pizza but instead of taking your order, the server started singing and dancing? Website visitors do not come to see flashy, animated graphics, they come for information. The ONLY way search engines consider graphic images is when they add information to your website through the use of captioning with the HTML “alt” tag.

Increase Search Engine TrafficSecondly, content is TEXT, the words used to define information about the product or service featured on your site. And 100 words of text is not enough. On the average search engine spiders look for a minimum of 500 to 1,000 words of text to include it in the index. Content text begins with the user benefits, the value they will receive in exchange for their purchase and can be extended to testimonials from other users of the product and information to help the user get the maximum use from it. There is a difference between the way content is written for informational purposes and a sales pitch. Informational content answers the questions of the people who for example use the search term “toys for toddlers” are not interested in becoming a distributor of the product.

Third, content is important to increase search engine traffic and determins whether or not your website is included in the indices of the major search engines. Surprise! Not every website qualifies and the major reason for their exclusion is lack of informative content that adds value to the Internet community. The search engine spiders analyze websites and compare them to the number and frequency of the searches made through their service. When your site provides offers answers to a high ratio of these requests, your website achieves a certain ranking which drives visitor traffic to you.

Fourth, the title of your website like your domain name is a key marketing tool and the first content text that search engines consider when they visit your website to index it. The type and number of Meta tags that is best to use remains an issue is under debate; but at the minimum most search engine companies still recommend and consider the “keyword” and “description” Meta tags as part of the indexing process.

Increase Search Engine Traffic2. LAYOUT: The importance on what is going on behind the browser window that your visitor is viewing goes beyond having content. The most notorious culprit that can sabotage your website’s ability to gain visibility on the search engines is the use of “frames”, the layout technique that splits your webpage into two (or more) sections that can be scrolled independently.

The coding language of your website is what guides the search engine spiders and helps them in the indexing process. Errors in coding along with using certain coding techniques that are not accepted by the search engines can cause the spiders to be unable to read your site or to drop it from the indexing process altogether.

Not every coding language or technique works in every browser and people use different types of browsers. When you are in the designing process for your website, whether you are doing the work yourself or hire a website designer, make sure you use the techniques that will allow your website to be viewed by as many Internet users as possible. Your website should be tested to be sure it works in all browsers, looks good on different sized monitors/resolutions and works on both a MAC and on a PC.

The coding process is what determines the mechanics and architecture of your website and there are many different ways that these affect your ranking on the search engines as well as your visitor traffic and determines whether or not you increase search engine traffic. Your layout should be function driven, in other words if your website is for e-commerce, all of the layout techniques used should be geared for this function. What is the point of having a website that advertises newsletters without a subscription method for visitors to use?

The layout of your website should be built on the established visitor preferences; easy to read typefaces on a neutral coloured background that provides contrast without eyestrain. The aesthetic design of a site should communicate effectively with your visitors, supporting the image of the product or service you are offering. Using a “gothic” styled theme for a website offering toys for toddlers might appeal to a few visitors but do you think that the majority of parents would feel comfortable?

3. NAVIGATION: Within 5 seconds of a visitor landing on your website they should know exactly what you have to offer them and how they can find it. You must provide a clear and consistent way for your visitors to find the information that they want as quickly as they want to find it. Your website can be full of great information but if formatted in a way the search engines can’t figure out, you won’t get the number of visitors you want. Search engine optimization experts agree that if your visitors can’t find what they need, your site has failed in its purpose.

Navigation is at the top of the list in functionality. Websites that make their visitors work hard with fancy menus do not respond properly, and are located in different positions on different pages is a fast way to make visitors exit your site. Menus created in JavaScript should also have text labels for the search engines otherwise they may drop your website from the indexing process. Each of your web pages should give the visitor the ability to easily navigate to the homepage of the website.

The menu is only one of the ways visitors can navigate through your website. The site map and search box are two other ways that have become preferences with visitors. Not only will incorporating these two features please your visitors, they will also please the search engine spiders, making it easier for them to index all of the pages in your website.

Increase Search Engine Traffic4. INTERACTIVITY: The purpose of your website will determine the type of interaction methods you use. The first level of interaction required regardless of whether you are offering a newsletter subscription or selling toys for toddlers is establishing a level of trust between your website visitors and the people behind the website: you must provide complete contact information along with the details of how your visitor information is used.

Creating content pages of company history, privacy statements and terms of use policy are viewed very favourable by the search engine companies and are required when you collect information on your visitors through e-mail forms, credit card or other financial transactions.

In addition, when you are selling products and services, it is important to provide visitors with information on your policies for returns, customer service, support and refunds. The websites that cater to making their visitor feel secure in doing business with them are the ones that are making a high level of sales.

Interactivity can be incorporated into your website through static forms or interactive chat applications and user forums. The Internet is a worldwide community composed of millions of groups based on interests, locales, and product or service usage. Creating a membership-based forum gives you another avenue to attract visitors to your site.

Many websites fail to gain a high ranking in the search engines simply because they do not use all of the tools that would provide the information that Internet users are looking for in the form that they want.

5. CUSTOMER SERVICE: With all of the work required to drive traffic to a website and make a sale online, there is an amazing number of websites that do not respond to information or support requests from their visitors in a timely manner. Failing to respond to a visitor’s request for information can cost you a sale. Also when you fail to respond to an existing customer that has a question about his order you can lose the potential for future sales from him PLUS any possibility of referral sales.

Unresponsive customer service is the Number One complaint of online and offline buyers. Many websites fail in this regard due to poor planning in terms of what it takes to provide excellent customer service. The focus of many website businesses is primarily on GETTING the sale without regard to how they treat the customer BEFORE and AFTER the sale is made.

On the other hand, some websites use an automate response system to handle their customer inquiries to acknowledge receipt. This is a good start, but if you promise them that you will respond to their question within 24 hours, make sure you keep your promise or you will lose credibility and their confidence. When you respond to the customer, include their question to assure them that you have read and understood their e-mail. Your answer should be as specific as possible along with your direct contact information. Use spell check to make sure there are no grammatical errors before you send your reply.

Increase Search Engine Traffic6. RELEVANCE: The value of having sufficient content on your website is clear to most website owners, but the fact that websites need regular maintenance escapes them. New websites are being added to the search engine indices every day, which means new content. The search engine will look at the relevance of your content from the point of what type of information it provides as well as the timeliness of that information. Google gives several different tools to help you to analyze the needs of your visitors and optimize your content accordingly in order for you to increase search engine traffic.

If you launched your website two years ago and have not changed the content since then, the search engines may decide that your content is no longer relevant because another website is presenting new information on the subject. Stagnation is another major reason why websites fail, without adding new, relevant content to your site frequently, your website ranking will drop rapidly in the search engine listings. When search engine spiders visit your site the first thing they check is the last time your site was updated. The more frequently you update your content, the higher your website ranking will be and the more traffic your site will enjoy.

Your content should be proofread carefully for mistakes in the use of language, grammar, style and vocabulary. Internal and external hyperlinks should be checked regularly to make sure they are still functional; when visitors click on a broken link, it can discourage them from returning to your site. It is essential for you to review everything on your website in terms of relevancy, from your design, layout and content to your keywords, customer service methods and product or service offerings.

There are a lot of people who do not have the time to optimize their pages to the guidelines of the search engines and choose to hire an SEO professional to do the job. There are many “Search Engine Optimizers” (SEOs) claiming that they can get your website to the top 10 listings on Google or Yahoo but Webmasters beware: some of the methods that they use can get your website banned from the search engines in short order.

Even paid advertising cannot take the place of writing good content that provides the visitor with the information they are seeking or a site that is constructed so poorly that the visitor cannot find what they want on the site. Search engine optimization professionals are aware of the guidelines of the search engines and without meeting those requirements they will not be able to get your website into the top ten for the words and searches that you want.

If this were possible the top ten would be different every day. In addition, it is impossible for a website business with an advertising budget of $1,000 to compete with a corporation advertising budget of $1 million. For each keyword search there are only 10 that will qualify and those are the websites that have built their pages according to the search engine guidelines with the content that puts them there. When you make it to the top ten this way, the traffic that results from it can keep you there.

Increase Search Engine Traffic7. MARKETING: Websites fail because they are not marketed appropriately. If you want your website business to succeed, you must promote it so it will have traffic. The major reason why people do not promote their websites is because of a lack of knowledge of the best methods to use to attract the visitor traffic they need.

There are web site designers who know nothing about marketing and there are marketers who know nothing about web design. The Internet is a unique medium; you need to know about the techniques of marketing, conversion, and usability issues and how they affect your bottom line. Then you must evaluate and use the methods that are best suited to work on the Internet, not for television or radio.

In conclusion, many website promotions are built around an advertising model that doesn’t work on the Internet. In this electronic environment, response is what counts on the Internet because you are not face to face with your buyer. Without developing effective methods to communicate your message and generate that response, the marketing efforts for your website will fail.

You can use advertising tools such as local search engine listings, article marketing, E-zine advertising, blogs, pay-per-click advertising and forums to promote your site and increase search engine traffic. No matter which methods you use, the common goal is that you must motivate people to take action and drive them to the monetizing areas of your website.