So you want to start a website. You’ve got a vision and content. Great! Now how do you draw people in? You may have heard something about SEO, and you know it’s a good thing for your website, but you’re not sure exactly how to use it. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
SEO is improving how often your website shows up on search engine results. The idea is that you want your site to show up on page one when users search for content that is relevant to you. There are hundreds of thousands of websites out there, many just like yours, so SEO will make it so more people visit your website instead of the other guys. You have to be careful, however, as some methods of SEO – called black hat techniques – will get you taken off the list for certain search engines.
Google, being the number one search engine, holds the most important set of rules for Search Engine Optimization, called SEO Best Practices (white hat techniques). These are especially important to pay attention to if you want to use your site to make money through Adsense, Google’s pay-per-click advertising service.
First, it should be said that there is no quick and easy way to get hits on your website. Whether it is a blog, a marketplace, or any other type of site, you’re going to have to put in the work to make your site worthy of high search rankings on Google.
1) Post unique, valuable content
Don’t fill your site with junk and keywords in the hopes that your site will get past the Google filter. The folks over at Google don’t have a high tolerance for spam, and your website could get banned from search results if the content is unoriginal or lacks value.
For instance, don’t fill your site to the brim with ads so that visitors can do nothing else but click on them. Don’t copy and paste the same content over and over again either. Sites that contain nothing but “keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword” are going to get banned pretty quick.
Instead, show users what you have to bring to the table. Why should they be visiting your blog? What makes you different than the thousands of other blogs out there? Are you funny? Knowledgeable? A great teacher? Show it through your text and don’t rely on cheap tricks to make your site interesting.
Of course, word-of-mouth referrals are always a factor on the internet, and other people may link to your site if they deem the content interesting enough.
2) Create a site with many pages that have varied content
This is useful to increase your click-through-rate, the rate at which visitors stay on your site and visit different pages within it. Like the last entry, you don’t want to fall into black hat techniques by copying and pasting the same content onto multiple pages of your site.
If your site is filled with unique, interesting content that visitors want to read, you’ll get more hits, as each page counts as one hit on the site. Viewers will also see more ads, maximizing your payout with Google Adsense.
You should also link to other pages on your site within your, but only if the topic is relevant. Don’t force links to other sites, or your articles will just end up looking like a blue, hyperlinked mess.
3) Short and effective titles and descriptions
Google and most other search engines allow 70 characters for titles, and 160 characters for article descriptions, so this is all that users will see when they search relevant terms. WordPress and other content management tools will allow you to set the title and description of your pages to whatever you want, so make it count. Include keywords, but don’t stuff them so full that the content doesn’t makes sense or sounds boring.
Don’t forget to make them unique for each page on your site. Titles and descriptions are valuable ways to add content to your site, and they are important to take advantage of. The more content you have, the more hits you’ll get.
4) Create inbound links
Inbound links are links that lead users to your site. They can be posted on Facebook, Twitter, other blogs, or anywhere else you can get them posted. Once again, it’s important not to spam other sites with links to your own, or it could become white noise.
Be present on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Vine, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest are other valuable sites to take advantage of. Not only can you use them to establish your brand, but you can increase traffic with the inbound links you post there.
Guest blogs are another classic way to create inbound links. Other bloggers are often looking for ways to create content and keep their own sites interesting, so writing articles for them is a win-win. You will be able to market to the other bloggers’ viewers, and they will get free content for their site. Don’t forget to return the favor.
5) Update often, stay relevant
A website is a full-time job. You can’t just create the site and let it sit there and make money. If you offer a marketplace, you’ll have to bring in new and interesting products that will be able to keep up with trends. If you’re solely a writer, you must keep up with news and popular culture to create content that people are likely to search for.
“Trending” topics on Twitter and other social media sites can give you an idea of the types of things that people are reading about in fairly real time. On that note, if you do decide to create your own social media pages, don’t forget to update them in addition to your main site.
Link to the stories that you find on major news sites and create a commentary on them. This will create outbound links on your site and create content that users will actually want to read.