Before launching your new website an important question must be asked: How can we ensure that prospective clients will find it?
You will attract some visitors by announcing your site through print, TV and radio. Search engines, however, are both more powerful and more feasible in cost. After all, if people type in keywords that are specific to what you offer and find your site, you have prospective customers already—they just need to be convinced to use your services!
How to target qualified traffic to your website?
Using a search engine involves typing one or several words into a text field that the engine will then compare with those found in its collection of website pages. The more topic-specific the keywords used, the narrower the search will be. As a result fewer pages are displayed, hopefully including the ones most applicable to your search.
This is why it is critical to evaluate what keywords will be used by your target market audience before writing the content of the site! Contrary to popular belief, simply adding keywords into the coding of your site is not enough to give you a prominent listing among search engine results. There is much more to it than that.
Search engine optimization
A search engine collects its website pages through the help of a “crawler” program that navigates website pages from link to link. The crawler reads the content of each page and is programmed to isolate what it thinks are the most important words that define that page. Unfortunately, the result of this thinking process can be different between search engines, as they are all programmed differently. But in general it is based on repetition (how often a word or phrase is repeated in grammatically correct sentences) and location in the page (a word placed in the window title or a headline will have a higher rank than one that is isolated in a paragraph).
The art of writing and building HTML pages so that crawlers will pick up the right keywords is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Will that guarantee that you’ll always be at the top of the listings? No, but it will increase your chances. There are many other factors that will influence your position. For example, the amount of relevant incoming links to your site, or the uniqueness of your keywords, may make your website prominenly listed on search engines.
Note that the quality of your content and of its writing is critical. A page that is rich with specific keywords is often ridiculous to read and will not encourage readers to share its content with their social networks. Write pages (long or short) that are useful and will attract an audience.
Pay-per-click keyword ads
Want to be the first listing displayed from a keyword search result? Be ready to pay for it! Have you ever noticed those “sponsored listings” that are displayed on top or on the side of search results pages? Your site can be listed among them by investing some money for your keywords or group of keywords (called phrases). The more popular your keywords, the higher your bid to stay on top of a listing will be. But no matter how high or low the cost of your keyword phrase, you are ultimately rewarded only when someone clicks on your listing.
For businesses in very competitive markets, keyword ads are currently the best traffic marketing strategy. Through a combination of selective keyword phrases, well-focused ad writing and adjustment of your campaign based on daily analysis of performance reports, you can ensure that every click you get is a pre-qualified prospect!
Your website URL should be listed in as many relevant websites, blogs, and online directories related to your business as you can. As search engine spiders navigate them, they will find your site and add it to their databases. This will also increase its “popularity” (the amount of relevant incoming links to a website) and as such your keywords’ “relevance” to it. There are several ways to build referral links.
Referrals from specialty niche directories
These will provide more value in terms of link popularity than in actual traffic. However a user who finds a website through a more narrowly focused directory is more likely to be a pre-qualified prospect.
These two resources can help you find the directories you like:
Referrals from clients and associates
Make sure that your clients and associates refer your services through their websites! And, of course, do the same for them.
Referral from your networks
If you belong to industry networks, see if they have online directories of their members. Your listing should, ideally, include a description of your services so that search engine spiders can extract your keywords.
Referrals from content publishers
There are many industry blogs, online newsletters and online magazines that are desperate to publish good content. Find them and check if they would accept articles from you.
Publish good content and wait
Focus on including specialized content on your website that can answer questions and offer advice. Over time, people will find and refer to these on their own websites and blogs, creating more awareness of your own site.
Read this excellent article “Building Referral Links While You Sleep” for strategies and advice.
Website traffic marketing is vital to the success of an online business, but remember: it is not the key to your sales, but a great vehicle for driving qualified prospects to the web home of your business. Ultimately, the appearance, usability and content of your site will be crucial role to transforming a pre-qualified prospect into a customer.