Welcome to TheWhateverFund.com’s Site Traffic Generator Series, where we’re going to talk about both free and paid methods of driving traffic to your website.
You may have the best content in the world on your website, but if it’s not seen by anyone, neither you nor your audience get to benefit.
Part II in the Site Traffic Generator Series takes an in-depth look into Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process of optimizing aspects of your website to help pages or posts in your website rank higher in search engines such as Google.
Organic traffic, or rather, traffic that comes to your website through search engines, should rank high on your list of site traffic generators.
That’s because if you’ve done it right, organic traffic is free. Free, free, free.
Be honest, you like the sound of that, don’t you?
However, because you don’t see instant results, and there are so many factors to optimize, the entire process seems very woolly to most out there. As a result, very few people trust themselves to do SEO on their website, preferring to:
- Pay an expert to do it
- Not bother with it at all
That’s a mistake, because all you need is to know exactly what you’re doing, and have some patience.
Before we get into it, you first need to know…
Why Do SEO Campaigns Fail?
One of the biggest factors that leads to ineffective SEO is keyword selection (or the lack of it).
The 3 major types of mistakes are:
- Not using keywords in your content
- Using keyword phrases that are too short
- Using keyword phrases that have hi-quality competition
If your site is just starting out and doesn’t have a lot of authority (more on this later), using short keyword phrases will not help it rank. That’s because it’s likely there are loads of competing websites in the same niche, and they’ve been around for longer than yours has.
If you know this, and have chosen long-tail keywords (longer keyword phrases), and still find yourself not ranking high enough, then we have to look at the second major mistake. That’s when you’ve chosen keywords that have very few competing sites. But if the few competing websites are monster high quality authority ones, you’re going to find it very hard to rank above them.
We’ve all been there – we want a snazzy looking website with all the bells and whistles with bits flying all over the place…
But all those come at a cost.
The WordPress Theme you’re using plays a big part too. This is a bit of a shameless plug – but the Theme I’m using here, GeneratePress, is the best and cleanest I’ve ever found, so if you’d like to find out more, read my review of it.
Loading speed is a big factor that helps your site rank higher on search engines, so having a simple, easily legible layout with clean coding behind it will go a long way in doing that.
This is mainly to do with the content you have on your site. Google, especially, likes to see people commenting on your posts or pages. They use that as an indicator of how much your work draws people to interact with you. That’s called engagement, and it’s another big aspect of ranking websites.
No there’s really not much you can do except to ask your readership questions or ask for their opinions, but I have another way of getting people to engage and comment on my website.
It’s a little bit of a secret as I don’t like revealing it unnecessarily, but I’ll tell you how you can do that later in this article, so keep your eyes peeled.
How To Optimize Websites For Search Engines?
We’ve discovered that in order to optimize your site for search engines, you need to:
- Look for specific keywords to craft your content around
- Clean up your site so that it loads really fast
- Engage your audience
I’m going to show you exactly how you’re going to do that here.
Like I’ve said, who doesn’t like free stuff? It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, free stuff is always appealing.
These are great free methods of helping you rank higher on search engines and boosting engagement with your audience.
Of course, you’ll still have to pay… not in terms of money, but with a little bit of effort.
Use Keyword Tools
Alright so you need to find keywords to craft your content around. To do that, you need to use a keyword tool. There are quite a few of those around but I like using the one that comes with Wealthy Affiliate. It’s really simple and shows you how much traffic you can expect to get from the keyword phrase, as well as how competitive it is.
The other option is to use the Keyword Tool within Google AdWords, which you can create a fee account for. Like Wealthy Affiliate’s, it’ll show you how much traffic you can expect to get from ranking high for the phrase. This figure is usually an underestimate if you’re on the first page for the search term.
It’ll also show you how much competition you’ll have for the phrase in general (low, medium, or high). However, while the Google Keyword Tool can show you how much competition you have, you don’t know the quality of competing websites.
The smart option is to personally…
Check Out the Competition
Even though you may choose a long-tail keyword with low competition, if the competing websites have really high levels of authority, you’re not going to get anywhere near the first or second page.
To find out whether the competition are considered authority sites, use Open Site Explorer. You can see what levels of Domain Authority and Page Authority competing webpages have.
All you need to do is:
- Key in your search term on Google
- Click on competing webpages
- Copy the URL
- Go to Open Site Explorer
- Insert it and click “Search”
A results page like this will come up:
So if every page on the Google search result is like HubSpot, which has really high ratings for both Domain and Page Authority in general, it’ll be a tough ask to get on that first page.
Check out this video (in HD) to learn more:
Choose Clean WordPress Themes
Ah yes, I’m not going to elaborate too much about this. The only way to find out if the Theme you’ve chosen is fast and has clean coding is to try a few out. Google takes user experience seriously, as I’ve said earlier on, and loading speed is a big aspect of that.
Usually, Premium (read “paid”) Themes are the way to go if you want fast and light, but I’ve done my due diligence, and I’ve settled on GeneratePress because the base layout is completely free to give you a taste of what it’s like and loading speed is lightning fast.
Read why I’m such a fan of it in this review here.
Optimize WordPress Plugins
This is something that contributes to loading speed as well. Similar to Themes, plugins that have bloated coding will cause your pages to lag.
If too many of these are installed on our site, you’ll find that it starts slowing down considerably. I’ve seen viral wannabe websites that take more than 10 seconds to load because of the sheer number of plugins they have in the backend. Sometimes they even fail to load properly.
That’s a pretty big turnoff to search engines (and to us as well of course!) so usually they don’t rank very high. They rely on social media instead to drive traffic to their sites.
Get People to Comment
Google, in particular, likes to see vibrant engagement on websites. It uses that as one of the key indicators of a thriving site. What this means is that it likes to see readers get in on the act and comment or ask questions on your pages.
Now this isn’t a very easy thing to do at all – it means that your content has to really pique the interest of your readers and make them think.
You can do this by asking for their opinions in your content.
You can get them to vote about something.
You can ask them what they want to know.
But more often than not, if your site doesn’t see a great deal of traffic yet, trying to instigate engagement fails spectacularly.
Members who host their sites at Wealthy Affiliate don’t have to worry about this however, because it has a feature called Site Comments for members to use.
See if you can spot it when you pop over and read my Wealthy Affiliate review right here.
After all the free methods I’ve told you about, you still want to pay for SEO? Well, can’t say I blame you, but be warned, services don’t come cheap because ranking high on search engines is very valuable to online-based businesses.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
SEO services typically cost a lot because they often have whole teams of people working on your websites. However, you really do pay for what you get for as some of these businesses really know their stuff. Not all though!
Of course, a good indicator of how effective a company’s services are is where THEIR site is ranking on Google under obvious search terms such as “SEO services”. A short keyword phrase like that is going to be incredibly hard to get high rankings for, so if they’re on the first page of Google, you can be sure that your site will eventually be somewhere there too.
However, some companies will come up with innovative price plans. One of those is RankPay, where you only pay if you get an increase in rankings. That’s how confident they are that their services work – too many SEO service companies charge exorbitant prices while claiming that results are not guaranteed.
SEO software is targeted towards smaller businesses or individual webmasters so on the whole, it’s a far more affordable option, but still not cheap.
Depending on the price plan you go for, these software programs either have all or any combination of the following features:
- Site auditing
- Backlink auditing
- Social campaign analytics
- Marketing campaign analytics
However, despite having all that information in your hands, you need to know what to make of it, and how to develop a strategy around those figures.
For that, you need…
If you’re looking to improve your site rankings on your own, you need to stop mucking around reading overview articles such as this one. You need to really delve into the small details to know what you’re doing.
Secrets that are really useful aren’t given away for nothing. One of the better resources I’ve found is SEO Book. They’ve been around for quite some time now, and there are many testimonials of how the methods their members have applied have worked. They also have some free SEO tools which you can access as a member. Check them out here.
However, my #1 recommendation as always, is Wealthy Affiliate. Being a member myself, I know what you’re getting when you sign up for a Premium membership at $49 a month). They have a free trial period and the training that is available on the platform is simply outrageous for the price. Find out why I think it’s such a steal in my review here.
To sum everything up, SEO is something that you should be applying on your website. If you really know what you’re doing and you’re successful, it’s a great free method of getting traffic on your site. There are great paid options available, but the very first thing you should do is to get a decent education on the topic since there’s so much to learn – far beyond the scope of this article.
If you’ve any questions regarding SEO, feel free to use the comments section below, and I’ll get back to you in the blink of an eye. Alternatively, find me at Wealthy Affiliate – my usual online hangout, and the place I learnt everything I’ve done and written about on this website.
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed reading Part II of our Site Traffic Generator Series. Share it with your friends if you did, and I’ll be eternally grateful to you!