SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most widely-used traffic generation methods. Because the traffic is free, many people prefer it to paid advertising like pay-per-click or banner ads. Let’s look at some of the ways to increase your traffic through SEO.
It should be mentioned that SEO is an element of search engine marketing, also known as SEM. SEM is an umbrella term for lots of specific techniques including:
- Article marketing
- Social bookmarking
- Video marketing
All of these methods (and a number of others) will help to improve your SEO results, and you should be using multiple techniques on your sites.
There are two aspects of marketing websites – onsite and offsite optimization.
Onsite factors include things like using your keywords in appropriate places such as the HTML title tag, the content itself and links to different articles or categories on your site. Basically, all the things that you can do to your own site to help the search engines understand what it’s about, and send visitors to it when they search for related things.
Offsite factors, on the other hand, are things like backlinks, length of visit and so on – the things that you don’t have direct control over.
For the best results, you need to focus on both aspects – on- and off-site.
There are a ton of onsite techniques that people use, with varying degrees of importance. Let’s just look at a couple of the most important ones.
First, the HTML title tag. You want to make sure you use the primary keyword for the page in your title tag, as well as add some related keywords – also known as LSI keywords.
But don’t just stuff it with keywords. Make it clear what the reader will get when they visit the page. Most of the search engines use the page’s title tag as the headline in their search results, so you want it to grab people’s attention and get them to click on it.
The second important onsite SEO factor is using your keywords in your content. This can be a double-edged sword, mind you. If you overuse your keywords on the page (also known as keyword stuffing) it can make it harder to read, and may even affect your ranking negatively.
Instead, sprinkle your main keyword and some different variations of it throughout your content. And make sure you use some related keywords as well, so the search engines can “understand” what the page is really about.
As for offsite optimization, the biggest factor here is backlinks. The more backlinks you have pointing to your site, from a range of different websites – and the more authority those sites have themselves – the higher your site is going to rank in the search engines.
If you set your pages up right in the first place, your onsite SEO really doesn’t need much maintenance. So you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time working on the offsite SEO. Put in some time and effort, and it will pay off in the long term.