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June 24, 2009

5 Ways to Get Natural Search Engine Traffic

Filed under: Search Engine Traffic — Jim @ 5:07 pm

While many small businesses own web sites, very few of them are set up to bring in traffic from the search engines. There are several things that need to be done to optimize a site and draw in free traffic. Most small businesses have certain relevant keywords they should consider first. They can be related to your location, a unique niche, or specialty work related to your business. Here’s what to look for on your own site to make sure you’re getting the most traffic for free.

  1. Unique titles on every page – This is done in the code on your page between the two title tags: <title>Place your keywords here in order of importance</title>. To check what you have for title tags, look at the blue section at the very top of your screen while your browser’s open to your site. It will always display the title, a dash, and the name of the browser. Each page should have a different title, preferably 4-8 words that would be very appropriate to search for and end up on that exact page. Say you own a seafood restaurant in Bridgton, Maine, and the restaurant name is “The Boathouse”.  A good title for the homepage would be: <title>The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant – Bridgton, Maine</title>. People looking for your restaurant by name will find it. People searching for a seafood restaurant in Bridgton, Maine will find it. On all your inner pages, use what they’re about, and put the name of your restaurant last. For instance, a page with your entrees would have a title like this: <title>Entree Menu – The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant</title>.
  2. Navigation – The navigation on your site should be in text links that describe the page they link to. In the same restaurant site, you may want to have pages with the following links: Entrees, Appetizers, Daily Specials, Directions.
  3. Meta-descriptions – You should have a meta-decription on each page. This isn’t visible except on your page’s coding. But it is visible when someone searches in a search engine. This should be one or two short sentences that contains a keyword or two, but really is a lure to make people click on your link. Let’s say you’re competing with another seafood restaurant that has the #1 position in Google, while you have the #3 position. Searchers will see your page titles and meta-descriptions in the results. With a sensible title and a tempting meta-description, you can get the searcher to ignore the top result. An example description (using the proper coding) might be: <meta name=”description” content=”Enjoy a lakeside seafood dinner in the most popular restaurant in Bridgton, ME. Specials every night, full service bar.” />.
  4. Links – Make sure you have links to your site from popular local sites such as the local newspaper web site, local guides, town or city web sites that list local businesses, your chamber of commerce, and any state guides and restaurant directories you can find. If possible, use keywords in the text that will link to your web site. Many places will only allow your company name. But some will allow you to change the title of the link. In the case of our restaurant, you would want the title to be “The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant of Bridgton, Maine”. That gives the name of the business, specialty, type of business, and the location – all possible keywords that would be used to find this business in multiple ways. At the same time, this adds value to your site in the view of search engines. And, they will find your web site through links from local directories. There’s no need to submit your site to the search engines if you list it in popular directories.
  5. Site Map – If you have a relatively small site, you should create a web page that shows all the links within your site, and it should be included as one of the links in your navigation. For each link in your navigation (other than the site map), use the exact same text in bold and link it to the appropriate page. Follow each link with a brief summary of what’s on each page, preferrably using keywords that someone might use to find the page. Example: Entrees – Fish, Seafood, Steaks and House Specialties.

For a large, database driven site, you would want to have an xml sitemap generated with special software. New xml sitemaps should be generated and submitted whenever your site has a number of changes. Naturally, there are many other elements that can get you great results in the search engines, but using these basic techniques go a long way.


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