Learn to increase web site traffic! Join us for an hour filled with interesting conversations about online business. Each week we discuss 7 new ways to increase web site traffic. With over 81% of consumers making purchase decisions online, web sites are no longer optional. If you have a good product or service, then driving traffic to your site is a matter of SEO. Taylor Reaume, The Search Engine Pros Founder, will discuss SEO and Web marketing and spark conversations amongst the attendees.
7 NEW WAYS TO INCREASE WEB SITE TRAFFIC
1) Local SEO and local search engines
The Local search engines often crawl each other to find what are called “citations” that will validate or correct the information in their own indexes. After all, the search engines are supposed to serve up relevant, up to date information. As an example, you’ll frequently see a company’s Yahoo Local profile show up in the ‘Web Pages’ tab of its Google Local Business Listing. There are other second-tier search engines that show up frequently as well, such as Superpages.com, Yelp.com, and Marchex’s OpenList network.
2) Local blogs
Local blogs are a smart place to get your company listed. These will obviously vary by particular geography, but if you simply perform a search on your favorite search engine for “[your city] blog” or “[your neighborhood] blog,” you’ll find some good locations. Consider using our Link Robot tool to help you save time finding local blogs. https://www.thesearchenginepros.com/link-robot.html
The web sites that top rank for these kinds of searches are very well-indexed by the search engines, and highly associated with a particular neighborhood, city, or region. Companies that are mentioned or linked on these blogs are viewed as trusted, relevant results in the Local search engines. Utilizing local blogs is an excellent way to increase web site traffic.
3) Local web directories
Similar to Local blogs, getting your web site listed in Local directories can have a tremendous impact on your local search engine rankings. Local directories are well-indexed by the search engines and are highly associated with a particular city or region. Localized directories are typically edited by a human and are much better than those which are “free for all.” You may have heard the term “FFA Link Directory” – this stands for free for all link farms. Steer clear of those. Human-edited directories are less susceptible to spam and are therefore more trusted by the Local search engines. An example of a terrific Locally-focused directory is Best of the Web’s Regional Directory and Yahoo’s Regional Directory. You can perform searches for things like “[your city] directory” or “[your state] directory” to find good prospects for these kinds of citations.
4) Industry-focused directories or blogs
Should you only go after the local directories or blogs? No. Go after industry focused directories or even if a website or directory is not focused on a particular region. If that website is focused on topics and keywords related to what you sell, it may be included among the sites that the Local search engines count as citation sources. The mantra is of course, Relevance! Search engines love relevance — relevant content is truly the most effective way to increase web site traffic. So what is an example of a industry focused blog or directory? Well, for instance, the membership directory of your trade organization, or a blog that is popular among readers in your industry will probably be crawled by the Local search engines for citations. Searches like “[your industry] directory” or even “[your keyword] directory” will give you some ideas of the kinds of sites on which to get listed. Many say Content is King. But that is actually untrue. It’s Quality, Keyword Rich Content that is KING. Ask yourself, how much quality, keyword rich content do you have on the net?
5) Citation Sources
Here is a good list of major sources of citations for the Local search engines:
- Acxiom – unfortunately, you cannot submit your company to Acxiom online
6) Local Search Increasing In Popularity
Average weekday circulation at 379 daily U.S. newspapers was down 10.6% in the first half of 2009, compared to the first half of 2008. Ouch. 24 of the top 25 US newspapers suffered circulation losses in the first half of 2009. Double ouch. Some of those declines were more than 20%. Triple ouch. The Nieman Lab post puts this into perspective:
“The 10.6-percent decline means that since last year, about 4.5 percent of U.S. households have given up reading a printed newspaper, and that printed newspapers now reach less than 40 percent of U.S. households.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for newspapers to fail. In fact I enjoy reading my local newspaper The Independent and seeing the latest events coming to town.
But let’s face facts: For local bloggers, this is a golden Opportunity. The reality is that the decline of the traditional media is imminent If you’re thinking about starting a hyperlocal blog, there’s no better time than now to do it.
Here’s a few reasons why:
- Your neighbors are starting to shift their news-reading sources. The web will soon replace traditional media as the primary source of news.
- Traditional media is struggling, newspapers especially. The numbers above offer plenty of evidence.
- Not only are papers struggling, but many of them haven’t yet figured out how to gracefully transition to the web. There’s a high likelihood of a deep void in your area where online news is concerned.
- Starting a loyal customer following, whether online or offline, typically takes time. The difference with the online strategy, such as with a local blog, it that cost wise it is much more affordable, and it is also quite easier than traditional media to maintain the customer base (email). Granted, your local blog probably won’t be an instant success. Start now, get those beginner’s mistakes out of the way, and get into a routine. Learn what works and what doesn’t in your hometown, and keep repeating the mantra, Content is King. Remember to include those target keywords in your posts.
This shift from traditional media to online media is still in progress. Over time, more and more of your neighbors will turn to the Internet for local news and information. If you start now, you’ll be better prepared to give them what they want when they find you. Don’t wait. Get started today! Local search is becoming the key component of an internet marketing strategy designed to increase web site traffic.
This shift from traditional media to online media is still in progress. Over time, more and more of your neighbors will turn to the Internet for local news and information. If you start now, you’ll be better prepared to give them what they want when they find you. Don’t wait. Get started today!
7) A number of other sites can also help you increase the traffic to your website via Local Search:
infoUSA is a major business directory whose data is used as a starting point by many local search engines. If you have a new company, or have moved addresses or changed phone numbers, it is essential to update your information with infoUSA.
Superpages.com is a top online resource for finding information and insights on businesses and retailers. Google and Yahoo often “double-check” Superpages.com to make sure they’re showing correct company information. Here’s where to claim your listing.
Yelp is a very popular Local information portal on the U.S. West Coast, and in certain industries across the rest of the country. If you are in the hospitality industry, especially bars and restaurants, it is essential to claim your profile on Yelp.
Citysearch is a major competitor of Yelp that charges you to claim your business listing. It can be expensive but again, if you’re in the hospitality industry, it’s probably worth the investment to claim your listing on Citysearch.
Brownbook.net is a free local business directory that anyone can edit. You can add business listings, update them, and review businesses free and instantly.
Insiderpages.com is a Local search site that is regularly crawled by Google–many times reviews that are left for your company on Insiderpages will show up on Google. Unlike its parent company, Citysearch, Insiderpages lets you claim your listings for free.
Rank Higher in the Local Search Engines With A Universal Business Listing
For only $30/year, Universal Business Listing will ensure that your company is included on all major and secondary search engines.
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UniversalBusinessListing.org provides a single entry point where you can create an enhanced business profile that is distributed to all major U.S. search engines, online yellow pages, 411 Directory Assistance, mapping and GPS navigation sites. UBL is the fastest way to get your company included on the primary databases, such as infoUSA, that are the backbone of all Local search engines. You can update your listing for free at any time using UBL’s online interface.
Here are some best practices to follow when setting up your local profiles:
Your Business Title
It is commonly agreed by most local seo professionals that your business title is one of the most important factors for ranking well in the Local search engines. Having a title that remains consistent across all the major search engine and directory data sources is important, because it establishes a high level of trust in the existence and location of a particular company. Choosing a great business title is probably the first step any business owner should take to increase web site traffic.
If your business calls itself “Bob’s Pilates Studio” in one directory and “Bob’s Pilates Yoga Fitness Studio” in another directory, chances are that Google and other search engines might see that as two separate businesses when it comes to indexing Bob. Bob should pick ONE title for his business and make certain that he stays consistent when adding to other directories. Including high searched keyword phrases in your business title will greatly enhance ranks (Shh! The search engines probably don’t want us to tell you this!). But remember: use common sense people, if you try to cram TOO many keywords into your business title, the search engines might see this as manipulation and send you to the back of the line. Overtly obvious attempts to increase web site traffic are almost always unproductive.
We recommend describing exactly what you do. In the case above, “Bob’s Pilates Yoga Fitness Studio” is preferable to plain old “Bob’s Pilates Studio” It is a more descriptive business title and this may pull in additional searchers (and clients).
In September 2008, Google unveiled the guidelines for local listings which state that you should list your business using its actual business name, regardless of whether that name contains keywords related to your products or services.
If you are a new business, you might want to take this guideline into account in determining what to call your business, and depending on your area, and what you sell, it may be worth a great deal for established businesses to change their DBA’s to incorporate keywords. Getting your domain name with a keyword inside in the actual domain can be another helpful strategy for top ranks.
Links and Citations
The major search engines, Google, Yahoo, MSN, Best of the Web, and others typically discover your business in two primary ways:
1) Visiting links that point to your website, and tracking on what sites those links appear.
2) Tracking citations of your business, and on what sites these citations appear.
The search engines use these factors when determining where to rank a particular business (i.e. which keyword phrases). All other things being equal, (key consideration) the business with the most links from high-quality websites in your area (like a chamber of commerce or a city government) and most “citations” from high-quality websites in your area, will usually rank the highest. So you will want to make sure to get your name, contact information, and website on as
many places as you possibly can. Consider using our Link Robot to help you save time with those efforts. https://www.thesearchenginepros.com/link-robot.html
Currently, the ‘Web Pages’ tab of your Google Local Business Listing is the most complete list of your citations, though Google probably doesn’t show every single one it knows about.
Think of citations as “mentions” of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an article online in a blog where you are mentioned, but not linked. It can also be a local chamber of commerce, or a local business association where your business information can be found. The difference between a backlink and a citation is primarlity that a citation may not necessarily be linking at all to your site. “Web references” is a synonym used on other websites for “citations”.
Many Local search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Best of the Web, and Bing, allow you to place your business into a number of categories (typically between 3 and 6) that help describe what your business primary function is.
The search engines use this data when deciding which businesses to show for particular search queries. The search engines will not display a business which is not categorized, or even worse, mis-categorized, for particular sets of keywords. This usually happens among keywords and phrases that are most competitive—where there are already a number of businesses who are associated with a particular category, and that will satisfy what the searcher is looking for. Pay close
attention to this. It could be a showstopper if you don’t get it right.
Reviews and Ratings
After all of the work we have done with local search engine optimization, it’s still unclear to us how many reviews and ratings of a business actually impact its ranking position. But one thing is certain, reviews and ratings are very persuasive to prospective customers. A negative review can encourage someone to hit their “Back” button and perform another search, and a good review can encourage someone to pick up the phone and call you!
Engage your customers after each sale, and ask them to make a positive comment on your local profile. Also, it’s important to do damage control when someone posts a negative review of your business. Use twitter and web alert monitors to stay on top of bad reviews. Reach out to that customer and find out why they had a bad experience with your company, and see if there is anything you can do to change their opinion of you. Often times it is not worth it to suffer a bad review online compared to the cost to make the customer happy.
Photos / Videos
Photos and videos don’t seem to matter much for rankings, but they are helpful for conversion reasons. A Google Local Business Listing with no photos probably has just as much potential to rank well as a listing with 6 photos and 3 videos.
That said, we’ve found that attractive photos and videos increase the number of clicks that a particular listing gets. They generally offer a great way to show off your business. Consider showcasing projects that your company has worked on, some of the people in your office, perhaps the office itself, etc. A human feel can increase trust levels and help you stand out in an otherwise flat playing field.
So what are you waiting for? Get started building your local profiles today. If you are too busy for all this fun work, we are at your service, simply call 800-605-4988to get help today. email: [email protected]
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About the Search Engine Pros:
Increase web site traffic with the help of the Search Engine Pros, a Santa Barbara-based internet marketing firm specializing in search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, SEM, and email advertising.