What is website traffic? Why is it so important? How do you drive traffic to your website? Specifically, what techniques do you employ to drive traffic to your website; how can you improve traffic to your website?
These are all good questions. Indeed, they are very important questions to ask and answer if you are serious about building an online business. So let’s start with the 2 easiest questions:
What is website traffic?
The short answer is it’s the amount or number of visitors to your website. That’s pretty darn clear and unequivocal.
Why is it so important?
The answer to this should be just as obvious. Traffic is the lifeblood of any business, be it an online business or a brick and mortar business. No traffic = No sales = No business.
But just any traffic isn’t the answer. You need targeted traffic to your website in order to grow your business. For example, people looking for information about ways to improve their overall fitness probably wouldn’t be interested in your site if you sell baby monitors. However, they will probably be very interested in your website if you sell fitness monitors.
See the difference? You need people specifically looking for your product or more information about your product. You need to match your audience to what your website is actually all about.
This brings us to the last question and the most challenging to accomplish.
How do you drive traffic to your website?
Driving traffic to your website comes in many shapes and sizes. There is no one method that works perfectly and you shouldn’t jeopardize your website by relying on only one method.
So we are going to start with the basics. For now we are going to talk about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. I know… what a bore! It’s a real snooze-fest and I don’t blame you for moaning and groaning. What’s even worse, it’s often times confusing and the rules keep changing. But it’s a fact of life and we need to have a basic understanding of what it is and how it works to drive targeted traffic to your website.
On-Page SEO to Improve Traffic to Your Website
Search engine optimization is divided into two categories: on-site SEO and off-site SEO. With on-site SEO, emphasis is mostly placed on optimizing web pages, known as on-page SEO. On-page factors determine what you rank for.
Off-site SEO is anything you do externally to improve your site’s authority, be it with backlinks or more commonly, through social signals. You can think of it as a popularity contest and you wouldn’t be wrong.
These factors determine how high you rank in the search results. The more time you spend properly optimizing your website, the more relevant traffic you get from the search engines.
While many marketers think of SEO solely as doing what pleases the search engines, they should also be thinking of it as doing what it takes to please their visitors. They are ultimately the ones who have the final say.
You can dot every “i” and cross every “t” and please the Great Google mightily, but the fact remains that it’s your visitors who appreciate your site and subsequently become customers, not Google.
Google bots don’t see your website; your visitors do. So keep in mind that appearances do matter. Additionally, your content needs to be top notch. Spammy, spun crap doesn’t cut it anymore.
Yes, there is a list of items you should run down in order to improve your on-page SEO. The good news is you don’t actually have to memorize these. A simple checklist to follow would suffice. And, if you build your website on WordPress, there are some really good WordPress plugins that will take you step-by-step through the process. You just need to follow the recommended course of action.
In this article, we are going to focus on techniques to beef up your on-page SEO in order to improve traffic to your website.
Proper URL Structure
If you have a static website, this is easy to as you have complete control over how you name the page. For example, your Contact page would be:
That’s simple and straightforward. The search engines know that is your contact page.
If you use WordPress this is easy to do, you just have to set it up correctly. Choose the structure that makes your URL shorter rather than longer.
In WordPress, the title automatically becomes a part of the URL. It is up to you to adjust accordingly; make sure to use your keyword or words that describe the page’s topic.
For example, this link structure serves no purpose, in my humble opinion, as it doesn’t tell the search engines anything useful about the content:
This example, on the other hand, tells the search engines exactly what the blog post or article is all about:
Optimize Headings & Sub-Headings
First of all, you actually need to use them before you can optimize them. There’s nothing more boring than reading through an 800 word article without anything to break it up.
The title of your page will utilize the H1 title tag. That’s pretty standard. Your additional headings will utilize the other tags; H2, H3, H4, etc. The advantage to using headings and sub-headings is twofold:
They break up large articles so they are easier to read
They are excellent opportunities to utilize your keyword or the long tail keywords you’ve chosen.
So, not only are you improving the appearance and readability of your article, you are further optimizing your page. You are making it more enjoyable for your audience and letting the search engines know what keywords you are using and, therefore, telling them what your content is about.
It’s a win-win.
Take Care with Your Keywords
When you use keywords, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. Back in the day this was called “keyword stuffing.” When you’re creating your written content, whether it’s a page or a blog post, you do not want to have more than a two percent keyword density. That means for every 100 words, you do not want more than two instances of any one keyword for which you’re trying to rank.
Using your keyword in conjunction with some long tail keywords will be more beneficial in terms of your SEO efforts and will make your content more appealing to your audience.
Use Images Properly
In recent years using images in your articles or posts has become the norm. Just make sure the images you use are relevant to the subject matter and adds some life to your content.
Images can also be used to break up long text as do headings. Images should be optimized, as well.
Which brings us to…
ALT/Title Text and Tags Still Matter
In case you weren’t aware, “alt” (alt=” “) text serves a purpose. In fact, search engines use the “alt” information in their algorithm as a ranking factor. Use your keyword or be a tad descriptive. It will take just a little effort on your part so don’t ignore it.
And while you’re at it, fill in the “title” (title=” ”) text. That’s what shows up when, for whatever the reason, your image doesn’t. At least your audience will know what they should be viewing.
Use Internal Links
When you’re adding a blog post to your website, link to other related posts you previously published. For one thing, you are giving your readers more information on the topic and they won’t have to go hunting for it. You handed it to them on a silver platter.
It’s also a great way to keep your readers on your site longer. In addition, you are helping search engines understand your site. Both of these outcomes aid in boosting your site rank.
Now that you’ve optimized your web pages, you need to complete other on-site optimization tasks.
You want to make sure your visitors can easily navigate around your website. You don’t want them to struggle to find the information they came to your site for. Your website should be user-friendly and site navigation plays a big part in the overall user experience. And just so you know, website navigation is a ranking factor in the world of search engines.
Do You Have a Sitemap?
What is a sitemap? A sitemap is essentially a blueprint of your website. It helps the search engine bots easily navigate your website, which in turn helps the little critters index your content. So don’t underestimate the importance and need for a sitemap.
There are free and paid sitemap generators you can check out; just do a search and get on it. It’s probably one of the easiest tasks to complete. Once the sitemap is generated you do need to submit it to Google.
Make Your Website Responsive
This one is huge! In April of 2015 Google decided they would rank responsive websites higher than those that are not. A responsive website is a site that adjusts to any type of device used by your audience to access your website such as a smart phone or tablet. If you use WordPress, you can easily use a responsive theme or plugin to accomplish this.
I can’t stress this enough. This isn’t one of the “take it or leave it” tasks you may want to blow off. If the major search engines place a lot of emphasis on the user experience, so should you.
Improve Your Website’s Speed
As a consumer, you know how important website speed is to you… how long you have to wait for a page to load. And you’re not alone. It’s just as important to visitors to your website.
Because it’s such an important part of the user experience, Google has made website speed a ranking factor. Again, take this seriously. You can check your website speed and, if it’s good, you can move on. If not, take steps to correct any issues.
There are any number of online tools you can use to check your website’s speed. Here are a few of them:
For a more comprehensive rundown of what you should do to improve your website’s speed, pay close attention to this article, “22 Tips to Speed Up WordPress Site Performance.” It’s really good; in fact, it’s a keeper. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but you do need to do as much as you can as soon as you can.
And last but by no means, least…
Add Content Routinely to Improve Website Traffic
It’s not only about the quality of your content. It’s not only that your content needs to be targeted to your audience and focused on the topic. You also need to add content to your website on a regular, consistent basis.
You need a solid content marketing strategy that includes posting to your website routinely, in addition to your social media and other sites. You should seriously consider developing a publishing schedule to ensure you stay on track.
Updating your website on a consistent basis will cause the search engines to crawl your website more often. Also, the more relevant content you post, the more likely you will be perceived as an authority. This will keep your audience interested and coming back for more.
And, of course, the search engines will send more traffic your way. Isn’t that what you want?
One thing you can do today to immediately improve traffic to your website is to improve your on page SEO. When embarking on any SEO strategy remember that what works today may not work tomorrow. Therefore, it’s imperative that you keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of SEO according to Google. You want to keep your websites updated and attracting as much free traffic from search engines as possible.