If you’ve been following along with the SEO Brain Freeze series and using your own website as a guinea pig, by now you should have researched your keyword phrases, created a keyword phrase map, tested out terrific Title tags, managed to make marvelous Meta description tags and have written awesome keyword rich copy for the most important pages of your website.
Phew! Are you tired yet? You may very well be, but I bet you don’t have SEO brain freeze!
If you have done all of the above on-page work correctly and have uploaded everything to your server, after a month or two you should most likely be seeing a substantial increase in targeted search engine traffic. The good news is that if you’ve done everything right, this targeted traffic will continue to increase for quite awhile -- good SEO work only gets better over time. (It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.)
That said, on-page SEO as I’ve been teaching you so far in this series, is only half the battle. The search engines also place a ton of emphasis on the popularity of your website as a whole. The way they measure this popularity is via links, i.e., which websites link to yours and how prominent they are. The more links from popular websites pointing to yours, the more popular your own website becomes in terms of its traffic and its importance in the eyes of the search engines.
If you’ve been working on a website that’s been around for a few years, chances are that it already has a number of links pointing to it from other websites. Depending on what you are offering on your site and how competitive those offerings are, you may or may not already have enough links to gain a leg up in the search engines. If there aren’t tons of other sites already offering the same or similar products, services and/or information, it may not take more than a handful of good quality links to do the trick. On the other hand, if you are in a more competitive space (and those are growing every day), you will probably need to put some effort into making sure that your website goes beyond what everyone else is offering. You just can’t do the same thing as everyone else online and expect to get very far.
The other necessary step to popularize your website is to get the word out about it. In order to do this, you need to find out where your target market is hanging out online and become part of those communities. I’m not talking about going in and dropping links to your website at relevant forums and blogs here. I’m talking about becoming an actual part of the conversation. You must become a recognized participant. It is only then, that what is now known as “social media marketing,” can work for you.
One of the reasons this form of marketing works is that people like to do business with those that they know. If you are part of the same online community as someone, and you have daily or weekly contact with them there, you really do become friends of a sort. When they’re looking for products or services such as yours, it makes sense that they would think of you first. It also makes sense that if they have the opportunity to tell others about you, your business and your website, that they will do so because they like you. They may do that through word of mouth referrals, but they may also do that by linking to your website from their own.
There are other opportunities to become part of the online conversation such as starting a blog or an email newsletter. But be forewarned, if you go these routes, there will be a whole lot of work involved. Reaching a critical mass of readers doesn’t happen overnight. Yet, if you work hard at it by keeping a schedule and writing unique and compelling content, eventually you will find it will pay off for you in the same way as participating in other communities does. Only in this case, it can pay off even more because you have the ability to really showcase yourself and even position yourself as an expert if you so choose.
Blogs are more fashionable than email newsletters these days, but I’ve personally found huge success out of my email newsletter in terms of bringing targeted visitors to my website who convert into customers. (The newsletter the High Rankings Advisor if you’re interested in subscribing!)
However you choose to do it, just know that you can’t simply stick up your website and then sit back and wait for people to notice it. You will have to work a lot of long hours making it great and getting the word out about it. Websites are no different than any other business – they all need marketing to survive.