When you first launch a new site, it’s normal to have great expectations for it to become an authority in its niche right out of the gate. And someday, that may happen for you.
But initially, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and put a little work into this local business marketing strategy to drive and pull traffic into the site as it builds up a reputation with the right target audience.
We’re going to cover eight basic, free starter steps that get the ball rolling with traffic coming to your domain. From there, it’s your job to work on conversions and learn how to profit from those visitors.
Feeding the Searchbots
There are two types of visitors you have to please – human visitors and search engine spiders, also known as “bots.” If you’ve installed a blog on your domain, it will easier to get search bots to your site – and it should happen naturally rather quickly.
Content has to be kept fresh to keep your site in the rotation to be indexed for the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Once Google comes to visit, for example, they will return on a schedule to see how often you keep your site updated.
The more often you post, the better it looks in the eyes of Google – because fresh, new content is something they know their own search engine users will be looking for.
You could begin getting search engine traffic the very first week of posting on your site. It helps to use strategic keywords and phrases, like long-tail keywords that have fewer competitors.
A longtail keyword phrase is one that has more words in it. For example, a broad keyword might be “muscles.” But a longtail keyword phrase would be, “building muscles when you’re thin.”
It would be hard to rank high for the word “muscles” but you might find it easier to rank high for the longtail phrase because fewer sites use that exact phrase in their online content.
Building a Buzz Via Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is some of the very best traffic you’re going to get. Don’t worry that the site is new – people love quality – and they love to be in on the ground floor of things, including websites.
How do you build a buzz? You create genuine, great content that people can’t believe you’re giving away for free. One thing you need to do is make sure people have a way to share that great content.
There are many sharing tools (plugins) that you can download and add to your site. This lets people share your posts on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and via direct email.
Never put frequency of post count ahead of quality. Yes, it’s a good idea to attract Googlebots on a regular basis, but if the quality suffers, you’ll have a high bounce rate on your site, and search engines might take that as a sign that your site provides no value.
Submit the Site
One of the most basic steps you can take is one that’s often overlooked. Google allows you to submit your site to be indexed. Once indexed, you have a greater chance at getting traffic to your pages.
If your entire site isn’t indexed yet, then you can go to Google and submit it here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url. Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and whenever you have a new page or post, you can log in and click on your site.
Choose Crawl and then Fetch as Google. Then enter the path you want for the page and choose Web. Google then goes out and “fetches” the web page for inclusion in their index.
You’ll see the status update when it’s complete. When the fetch works, you then choose Submit to Index. It lets you submit up to 500 pages per week using this tool, but you probably won’t have that many going live at once.
Use a Sig File
A sig file (signature file) in a forum can help drive traffic to your new website. Make sure it’s something that makes people want to click through, like a free offer or teaser line to tempt them.
Not all forums allow sig files, but some do. Some have zero restrictions, while others have a short list of things they do and don’t allow in your sig file. Follow all rules to ensure you don’t get in trouble.
Participation is key with driving traffic via a sig file. You have to get out in the forum and be helpful – answer questions, post helpful threads and be an active member so that people want to follow the link and see what else you have to offer.
It’s just 140 characters total, but a Tweet on Twitter can yield some nice traffic results. The best way to work Twitter is to use it for a mix of business and personal posts.
No one wants to read spammy business comments day after day. They do want some of the mundane observations about life that you encounter. Other Twitter users need to develop a relationship with you so that they’ll want to ReTweet your links for you.
Each time you make a new post, Tweet it and use hash tags if applicable so that others searching the site for the same topics will find your Tweet and follow your links.
Start following people interested in your niche. You can use the search function to find people who have Tweeted about it. Then they will most likely follow you back, allowing you to expose your site links to them over the course of time.
Use Google Plus With Authorship
Google Plus is the social network for Google, so it stands to reason that they’re going to make posts on their social networking site rank nicely. One thing you can do to get more benefits from this tool is to set up Google Authorship.
Google Plus allows you to post longer items on their site, along with images and video if you want. The site is great on its own to post your site pages to, and they get indexed quickly for Google SERPs.
But you can also hook up your blog with Google Plus using Authorship and get an edge over your competition in the SERPs. It places a thumbnail image of your headshot next to your link in Google.
You might not see how significant this is, but it means that on a page where the searcher sees nothing but text, your link stands out with a picture image. It draws the eye in.
First, you have to have a good headshot. It needs to be a profile picture. Your pages on your site need to have a byline that says “By (Your name)” so that Google can recognize you as the contributor.
The names have to match, so if your name is James Doe, you can’t use Jim Doe. The email for your account needs to match that one for your domain, too. If you don’t have one, there’s a workaround listed by Google for this.
Facebook traffic is insane. Just about everybody has a Facebook account, and if you can create a fan page or group, you can get plenty of traffic to your site to get things rolling.
The great thing about Facebook is that you can easily share content, so if someone sees your entry and knows others who may like it, they can share it on their wall, making it go viral for you.
You can also pay to “boost” a post that you create. This exposes your Facebook post to thousands of other people who might be in your target audience. You can pay as little as $5 – and it comes out through your PayPal account or credit card, however you set it up.
Comment on Other Blogs
This is a strategy that you have to be very careful with. If you go about it all wrong, you can gain a sour reputation as a spammer, and you don’t want to have that label.
First, find blogs in your niche by going to Google and searching for your keywords and choosing Blogs. You want blogs that have an active community, so look for fresh content and plenty of comments on the blog posts.
You also want a blog that lets you place a hyperlink when you post a comment. It should ask you for your name and website. If it uses another form of posting, such as forcing you to be connected to Facebook profiles or Disqus, then this won’t benefit you.
You don’t want to post random comments or lackluster comments on other people’s blogs. You truly want to be engaged with the blogger about their content, so make sure you read the blog post and offer some true insight.
This way, people will see your name hyperlinked when they read the comments – and if your comment is of value, they’ll want to follow the link and see what your own site or blog has to offer.
Viral products can help drive traffic to your domain. Many people take the wrong approach to viral creations. They slap together content based on a topic or keywords, compile it into a PDF with links and set it loose.
Keep in mind that a viral creation has the potential to go far within the reaches of your target audience, so just as this creation can help generate traffic for you, it can also set you up for a bad reputation if you skimp on it.
If you create a PDF with the intention of having it go viral, make sure you follow these tips:
- Don’t worry about length or word count. Just focus on creating the best quality of information as you possibly can.
- It’s not important add pictures, but do make sure it’s formatted professionally and polished for decent spelling and grammar.
- Don’t make people jump through hoops to download this file or pass it along to others. Your purpose should be to expose the hyperlinks to your site in it, not to necessarily build a list with it, so forcing an opt in will lessen your chances of having it go viral.
- Encourage people reading the document to share it with others.
- Create the viral freebie just like it’s a $2,000 product. That’s how you impress people and get them to share your creation with others. It should be packed with value.
Generate Press Releases
Some people mistakenly believe that press releases are made for brick and mortar businesses that are having sales or releasing new tangible products. But you can use them in your online efforts too!
There are hundreds of press release sites you can submit your file to, and you can later pay to upgrade for more exposure if they’re working out well for you. Press releases will get ranked in Google and help generate organic traffic for you.
A press release is different from a sales letter. It should be written just like a news story, with important information in the beginning, quotes and contact links later in the story.
Sometimes it takes Google a week or two to pick up a site, but don’t get discouraged if this happens. Just keep creating top quality content and you’ll start getting targeted traffic to your domain and be able to move on to the task of converting visitors at that time!
David Carleton is a Local Business Marketing Consultant who specializes in showing owners how to spend less and get more from their marketing and advertising using low cost strategies in local business marketing, lead generation and conversion, Internet marketing and social media. To learn more go to http://LocalBusinessMarketingSuccess.com or call 858-442-3131