We get this question the time: How do I increase traffic to my website?
Our staff here at Appletree MediaWorks studies Google’s newest algorithms all the time, because it is our job to increase web traffic for our clients. We have a developer on staff who spends most of her day doing SEO – search engine optimization for our clients. Whether it’s for a union, an organization, or a business, it takes the same steps to get a website in front of a user. No matter how many times Google has changed its formula for showing websites, overall web presence has always been the key.
What is web presence? Is it paying for ads? Is it paying to be listed on a link site? No, your web presence is something you build over time and continue to build every month. A few hours a month grows your web presence exponentially. We see the results with our clients that invest in their online presence and put their time into the 3 areas we’ll talk about. Your website presence is essentially a scorecard for search engines to rank you: the more places your show up as active and useful, the more points you earn.
Build a Useful Website
It starts with a solid website that accurately portrays your organization or business. Your website should be updated every 2 weeks at a minimum. Those updates can include calendar entries, a news webpage post about your organization, or pictures from a recent outing. Website updates don’t have to be complicated or extremely time consuming, but they need to happen to tell search engines “Hey I’m an active website and I’m a good place to send people“.
Google also gives preference to Mobile friendly websites, so if your website is not mobile friendly, now is the time to fix that.
Be Active on Social Media
Next is your social media. At a minimum, get on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and make sure your organization’s contact information is complete and accurate. Google has started showing your organization’s Google+ posts along with your contact information when someone is using Google. Take advantage of that!! Facebook is now allowing for tabs to let visitors contact you right from Facebook. Again, take advantage of this free feature.
Drive Traffic through Directory Sites
Finally, get your organization into free directory sites. These directory sites are different from the ones who send out emails about link listing websites. Search engines know about “link farm” sites and penalizes you for taking part. Legitimate directory sites include: Merchant Circle, Super Pages, and Yellow Pages. Appletree maintains a top 10 directory sites list and make sure our clients are on these.
Yes, these sites will try to sell you “for-pay” premium services and it’s your call whether to invest in the premium services. Be sure to ask them what kind of results you should expect and monitor the traffic you receive from their premium services. But at the very least take advantage of the free listings.
Want bonus points? Update your directory site entries periodically too, many allow for photos, news and offers.
We know this is overwhelming and trying to keep up with all of these online sites seems impossible. Don’t be afraid to contact an expert. For less than a cell phone bill, many of our clients invest in our maintenance package of 3 hours a month where our staff spends 3 hours a month to keep up with website posts, social media management, and directory entries to create a strong web presence. This puts our clients at the top of the search engine results and leads to more clients for them.
Have you noticed that some companies, small or large, seem to have it together when it comes to their web presence? Their website is set up and interactive, their social media is engaging and popular, their presence seems to permeate every corner of the web. From Yellow Pages to Yelp, you know exactly who they are. How do they build a web presence?
The Web Presence and the Website
A basic website is your first step towards establishing a web presence. Your website should be a home-base for all of your web content. It’s what should pop up first in a search for your business. Your website is where people should be able to find all of your content in one focused location.
A website does not need to be overly complex or cluttered with information – in fact, there are benefits to keeping it clean and easy to navigate. Visitors to your site should be able to find out what your business is and how to contact you with minimal effort.
Don’t think you can just build a website and forget it. Websites only thrive in search engine rankings if you are providing valuable content to people and updating it regularly. If you don’t have any knowledge to share, you can set up a “News” page and let people know what your business is up to. This kind of content keeps people engaged and gives them a reason to come back.
The Web Presence and Social Media
Do you really need all that? Well, it certainly helps. Giving people more possibilities to land on information about your business means they will be more likely to choose your business when the time comes. If you are already making regular updates to your website, consider utilizing a program such as Hootsuite to easily update all of your social media outlets at once with topically similar information.
The Web Presence and Directory Sites
The goal of directory sites is to make your business available on any site someone might happen upon. Anywhere from Superpages to Bing to Yelp, your company should have a page. Sometimes these pages might already be created and you must claim them to correct and update the existing information. At other times, you will get to set everything up from scratch.
Plenty of for-pay services offer to fill in all directory sites in one fell swoop. There are also sites such as Moz which scans everything for you and presents a nice To Do list on what you still need to fill in. This gives you a little more control over which information gets entered on each individual directory.
While you’re at it, if you have a physical location, be sure to check it out on Google Maps to make sure your info is valid. This information may be tied to your G+ account, so if you’ve already set that up, it might already be accurate.
If this all seems a bit much and hard to keep up with, don’t throw your hands up and miss out on potential business. Contact Appletree Mediaworks. We will be more than happy to work with you and help boost your web presence.