Targeted traffic is the lifeblood of your website.
Unless your website is designed purely for vanity, quality beats quantity – it’s far better to have people who want what you’re offering than it is to have thousands of disinterested people using your bandwidth and “just looking”.
But how do you attract more targeted traffic to your site?
I remember reading a marketing book a long time ago where they said that they’d asked an expert for a method they could use to get 100 more sales and the reply was along the lines that the expert didn’t know one particular way to do that but they did know 100 different ways to get one additional sale.
So the combined effect was the same but there was more effort involved.
Getting targeteed traffic to your website works in much the same way.
And it’s safer to use lots of different methods than it is to rely on one single method.
Individual methods fall into and out of favour.
Sites move up and down the search ranks with monotonous regularity – and for some reason it often seems to be the wrong way for whatever it was you were relying on most,
Technologies change – few of us write letters any more, fax machines are almost obsolete, emails still work but texts work better, banner ads can work but most of us have trained ourselves to ignore them. The list goes on.
The following methods work nicely.
Incorporate several of them into your routine, whether you’re working on your website for an hour a day or less or more.
1. Written content on your own site
Written words are still what the search engines index best.
Sure, they can retrieve pictures and videos.
But words are far and away the things they cope with and understand best.
There’s the added benefit that since the content is on your own site it’s completely under your control.
Which isn’t something that can be said for any other thing you do to drive traffic to your site.
Over the years that the internet has been around, the number of words that are “needed” on a page has increased.
I put the word “needed” in quote marks because there are always exceptions to any rule. So from time to time you’ll find exceptions to this and will spot a page ranking in Google that has little, if any, content.
But that doesn’t engage the reader.
If there are only a dozen words on a page, even the slowest reader won’t spend time on it.
You may also be thinking that some markets can get away with less words.
For instance, if you want to know what the temperature is outside then you could get away with just a figure. But even weather sites have more words – they go into detail about sunrise and sunset times, the chance of rain, whether it will be blustery, all kinds of things.
For most of us – and in most markets – more words are helpful.
They help your readers.
They help the search engines make more sense of your pages – generally speaking, if there are more words, they can figure out context better.
They also help you get shown for longer tail searches – the more detailed searches everyone makes when Google stubbornly refuses to read your mind and delivers results that even a kindergarden age child knows are just plain wrong.
It’s difficult to get a figure for the proportion of long tailed keyword searches but you can get a good idea from the fact that the suggestions Google makes as you type are comprised of a number of words rather than just one or two.
And it’s these long tail searches that work nicely in getting your pages shown in the results.
Sure, there won’t be thousands of searches for most of them but the more words you write, the more of these searches you’ll show up for.
A good (if scary) aim is upwards of 2,000 words per new page you create.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Quicksprout checked the data and found the average length of the top 10 results in Google were at least 2,000 words. Often nearer 2,500 words.
And, yes, that’s a lot of writing.
You won’t write out 2,000 words in 5 or 10 minutes unless you’re using speech to text and talking super fast.
But, with practice, you’ll get better.
And your efforts will be rewarded with more visitors once Google has a chance to index your words.
In turn, those visitors will be thankful that they’ve found something more in depth than the usual “written for SEO” bunch of words that have been strung together in the hope of getting traffic.
If you don’t want to write the words yourself, you can hire someone on a site like iWriter but you’ll still need to be the editor.
More words also makes you more of an authority and will help your other methods of getting traffic.
I’ve spent a lot of time doing my best to convince you that this is worth doing.
If you’re not totally convinced, prove me wrong!
Write several 2,000+ word pages on your site over the next month and see whether they start to attract more readers.
2. Written content elsewhere on the web
A few years ago, I’d have suggested using EzineArticles for this.
But their popularity has waned and that’s not the place I suggest any more.
Personally, I haven’t submitted an article to them for months and have no intention of changing that.
Instead, I’m using other sites.
Again, a couple of years ago that would have included Squidoo but since Seth Godin sold it to HubPages it’s no longer an option and I personally don’t like the “holier than thou” attitude that HubPages use.
That means my written content is put onto different sites instead.
You can upload a PDF or a Powerpoint or even a Word document to these sites.
The search engines index the content in much the same way as they index regular web pages and they appear in the search results and you get clicks to your sites from the links in the documents you upload.
This is a great way of getting extra backlinks that you control.
It’s also a great way of becoming more of an authority in your niche.
The more places you can get your content, the more people are likely to find that content when they’re searching for information related to your niche.
Which, in turn, makes you appear as more of an expert.
To an extent, this is a numbers game (but so are most things on the web).
One document isn’t likely to make much of an impact.
Ten might start to make a difference.
A hundred or more will build up nicely.
Like content on your own sites, these documents should err on the side of being long.
Not padded out waffle.
Real, useable information!
Lists work nicely – they give you a structure to work to and keep you on track.
In reality, this page is what would have been several 500 word articles but all on one page.
And if your writing is relatively slow, that could be the way you do this.
So instead of the maybe daunting prospect of writing a 2,000 word post or document, you create 4 or 5 smaller articles and put them on one page.
You can always use the “save draft” option in WordPress to keep your work safe.
Or you could write it in a Word document and post it once you’re happy if you prefer that method.
Once you’ve got several of these documents written, you could take things a step further, compile them into a longer document and publish them as a book on Kindle.
Published authors have a lot more authority because the general perception is that writing a book is difficult.
You could then link back to your Kindle book from your website and link to your website from your Kindle book.
If you choose the latter option, it can be worth offering a bonus item and you can be slightly sneaky by making sure that bonus offer is shown in the “look inside” area so that even non-buyers can get the bonus and get added to your list.
3. Videos to promote your website
Without doubt, videos are popular and growing in popularity even more.
They can rank relatively easily, which is always a plus. Although – as with everything else in the search world – there’s a lot less consistency with that than most of us would care to admit.
With videos, you need to tip the odds in your favour and not get hung up about forever checking the views or where they rank.
Before you even create a video, remember that the title counts for a lot.
Some people claim that the file name of the video you upload affects the SEO side of it but I’m not convinced about that. Mainly because YouTube don’t ever refer to the original file name once it’s been uploaded. They convert it to their weird mix of letters and numbers.
But they do use the file name to suggest the title for the video and you can then amend it as necessary.
Video length is a matter of personal preference.
Some people suggest that around a minute is a good length of time – they use people’s short online attention spans as the reasoning behind this.
Other people suggest 3 to 5 minutes.
Yet others suggest longer videos.
And the thing is they’re probably all correct!
Your videos should be as long as they need to be to get your topic across.
Personally, I like my videos to be around 5 minutes in length but I have quite a few that don’t fit into that duration.
So don’t get hung up on making your video a specific length – just make it long enough to discuss whatever it is you’re discussing without waffling or boring your viewer.
Much the same advice as articles if you think about it.
Your screen capture software or video software may dictate the maximum length of your video. For instance, the free version of Screencast-o-matic is limited to 15 minutes.
The style of video is up to you.
Personally, I like slide show style presentations which I then read out and occasionally ad-lib over.
If it’s appropriate, I’ll include a web page in the video so that I can talk about it but that very much depends on what I’m discussing in the video and whether it’s appropriate or a distraction.
One major negative that’s rarely mentioned about including a web page is that styles and layouts change regularly. Which means your video can become dated or confusing when that happens.
And since there’s no way to re-upload a video with the same URL in YouTube that means you’re stuck with it if it’s sending you any traffic.
Sure, you could put a link to a newer version but that’s about it unless you delete the video completely.
Other people like to record themselves on camera – whether that’s an inset via their webcam, a video on their phone or using more professional equipment.
The style of the video is down to you.
Most of your viewers will care more about the content than the specific way it’s recorded.
Sites like YouTube are designed to keep people on them as long as possible.
Which means you have to use as many means as possible to drive targeted traffic from your videos to your website.
The description below the video helps and you can include clickable links in it to point back to your site.
But the description loses focus as soon as the video has finished, so you’ll need to use other ways to encourage interested people to click through to your website.
Annotations can help and are easy to add.
You need to have verified your site as being linked to your YouTube channel – check their help for the ever-changing way to do this – and then you can easily add links with a call to action on your video itself.
For at least the first few times you add annotations, check them!
It’s very easy to set them at just one or two seconds rather than running longer than that.
It’s also quite easy for them to obscure parts of the screen, especially if you’re doing a slide show style presentation. So if you plan to add annotations, make sure that your planning starts at the recording stage.
The video thumbnail normally shows in the search results. I find that it’s worth changing it from the default one offered by YouTube to one I’ve specifically created.
It’s worth taking the time to do this as it helps attract people to click on your video in the first place, which is obviously a pre-requisite to driving them to your website.
The description itself is worth spending some time on.
Don’t repeat what you’ve said in the main video – take the time to re-write it so that it’s worded differently.
Use the words from your video to add captions to it – this helps drive a bit more traffic to the video as it’s rather more reliable than the automated guessing that passes for speech to text with current technology.
This article has just scratched the surface of getting targeted traffic…
But if you start with these three basic methods, you’ll be well ahead of the majority of your competition and will slowly but surely start getting more people to your website.
Feel free to share your thoughts on these techniques using the comments section below.