Increasing Your Web Traffic
There are three important components to increasing your Web traffic. The first, and most important, takes the most work. However, you don't need any computer expertise to do it.
1) A site should have meaningful and relevant content.
More people, more often, will visit and link to your site if the content is strong. Search engines like to see that your site is receiving traffic and that there are lots of links to your site. Also, search engines--Goggle, in particular--will use sophisticated logarithms to evaluate the content of your site. If the content does not appear to be strong, the site will appear lower in search results.
Your site will be most effective when . . .
- Everything has a reason for being there. The content was written because it serves the user's needs.
- It's easy to read. Language is clear. Layout is simple. Navigation is clear. When your site is easy to read, people will like you better and so will search engines.
- Content is timely. You update the information on your site regularly. Both search engines and real people will start to ignore your site if there's nothing new to read or index. Give people a reason to come back; you will increase your traffic and create a buzz.
- Users receive something valuable for visiting. They may be rewarded with clear information, or they may gain access to documents, samples, software, guides or other free tools. This will encourage incoming links.
- In short, you have meaningful and relevant content.
2) A site should be accessible.
Accessibility--also called usability or functionality--has a direct bearing on your Web traffic. A site that is accessible is clean and easy to read. There should be lots of space for the user to think in. The branding and static layout elements are a frame for the content, not the content itself. Don't worry about decorating your site with images. Graphics are very useful, but every time a visitor clicks on a new page, the graphics should be directly related to the product or message on that page.
The pages should load very fast. This means that simpler, smaller graphics and multimedia are better than high-resolution ones that demand the visitor should wait.
The names of links should tell the user exactly what they are getting when they click on them. For example, do a Google search for "click here" and you will get over a billion arbitrary hits. Whether menu items or hyperlinks within text, navigation should be meaningful and relevant, just like the content.
You can check the usability of your Web site using the free Website Grader.
Try to avoid creating barriers. If you demand that a visitor create an account, there is a good chance he or she will leave the site immediately. Many sites allow visitors to experience all the content as guests until they are ready to enjoy the additional benefits of creating an account.
Accessibility sometimes means Web standards. Standards include three main intentions, all framed around accessibility: 1) Standards define consistent ways to make Web sites accessible to people with special needs. For example, sight-impaired people may use hardware that reads your web pages to them. They may choose to reset their default fonts, or magnify your site content, and your site should accommodate that. 2) Standards ensure that all browsers and all search engines interpret your site content equally. We wouldn't want to create separate codes to comply with idiosyncrasies of each particular browser that might be used to view your site. 3) Standards allow for choice in how users read your content, using hand-held computers or phones, for example, or resetting their preferences for how the site displays.
Web standards are a work in progress. None of the major Web browsers adhere to the same standards as the others. Some standards cannot be met without sacrificing layout and interface elements we are used to. And no one can predict a buggy release from a browser company. However, as part of our SEO product, Silver Dolphin Solutions can take an extra step to ensure that your site complies with as many standards as possible, as the standards develop. The name of the game is simplicity. The more complex the site design, the harder it is to make the pages compliant with standards across browsers. Also, it is easiest to comply with Web standards if we update your site for you.
You can check the standards compliancy of your Web site using the World Wide Web Consortium's Markup Validation Service.
When your goals for strong content and accessibility have been met, we have a battery of code enhancements that will increase the odds that search engines will find you. This optimization is done through invisible changes to your site code. That brings us to the last component.
3) A site should be designed so that search engines understand it and index it.
Even though search engines are designed to predict the experience of a real person surfing the Internet, they still need help. That's where meta tags come in. This is information that can't be seen on the Web site, but shows up in search engine results. We will add some of the following meta information to every page in your site:
- Web page keywords. Indicates the most important words on that page that people would search for.
- Web page description. This shows up in the search engine results under the link to your page.
- Site owner. That's you. Your name, or company name, will be directly associated with the site.
- Page title. Every page will be labeled with your site name plus the name of that page.
- File names of pages (URL). We will give each Web page a file name that relates directly to the content and includes a keyword.
- File names. The names of graphics and downloadable documents, sound files, and videos will be renamed with words people search for. Sound files and videos can include Web site link, and key info in the ID3 data.
- Image alternate tags. Every picture will have a text description or title identifying the content of the picture for search engines as well as for sight-impaired users.
As you can see, every aspect of SEO is directly related to the content on your pages. Ideally, you and we will work together to generate search-engine friendly code and content for your site. A quick scan of the examples below will give you an instant idea of how this works:
My Recipes | Peanut Butter and Jelly
Your Source for Peanut Butter and Jelly Recipes
If you’ve been looking for peanut butter and jelly recipes, look no farther . . .
Find out more about peanut butter.
Alt Tags on Images
alt="Picture of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich"
title="Information about Peanut Butter"
<meta name="owner" content="Ma Mary's Recipes, Inc." />
<meta name="author" content="Mary Smith" />
<meta name="description" content="Ma Mary has been sharing her expert peanut butter and jelly recipes online since 1997 on her award winning Web site." />
<meta name="keywords" content="peanut, nut, butter, jelly, sandwich, sandwiches, recipe" />
<h1>Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Variations</h1>
• One more thing--Search engine submission.
After all the hard work of creating good content and forging connections between your site and others, you can always reach out directly to search engines. Both Google and Yahoo allow you to submit your site to them directly by following the preceding links. Silver Dolphin Solutions can perform a more advanced site submission that includes many more search engines.
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