So you’ve launched a new website and you’re wondering why it doesn’t rank higher in search engines like Google. (We’ll focus on Google, but the principles apply to most search providers.) Unfortunately, the aphorism, “If you build it, he will come,” does not apply to websites. Getting traffic to your site from Google requires a lot of time and work. This article originally appeared on lightningstrikestudios.com. If you’re reading it anywhere else, it’s stolen. Please let me know at email@example.com
Let’s look first at why Google doesn’t just catapult your website to the top of its search results. Then we’ll look at ways to get traffic to your site without Google, which will then get more traffic to your site from Google.
How Search Engines Rank Sites
Imagine you have a brick-and-mortar store that sells fruit. If just giving fruit to people was your passion, your raison d’être, you might start a charity or a non-profit organization. It’s not. Your purpose is to make money. Selling fruit just happens to be how you’ve chosen to do that.
Now imagine that 99% of people want apples and oranges, and that only 1% want kumquats. While you have plenty of shelf space, the area at the front of the store is limited, and since that’s the area most of your customers see, that space is particularly valuable. What fruits will you feature at the front of the store? The fruit most people want to buy, of course: apples and oranges. Oh, you’ll still stock kumquats, but they’ll be at the back of the store, available for those who really want to look for them.
Now, compare this to what Google does.
Many people think that Google’s purpose is to help people find what they’re looking for online. Sorry, no. Google’s purpose is to make money. One way they do that is by selling ads. Providing a search service is just a way of getting people to view those ads.
This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it goes to the heart of understanding how to get your site found by more people.
Google sells ad space by listing at the top of their search results the sites most people want to find. Less popular sites will still be there, but you’ll have to click through several pages to find them. Yes, this means that the more popular a site is, the more traffic Google will send its way, increasing its popularity even further. Less popular sites will appear lower in the results and receive less traffic.
So what can you do to get your site ranked higher on Google and the other search engines? How can you get more traffic to your site so it gets more traffic from Google?
Help The Search Engines Understand Your Site With SEO
When building traffic for their website, the first thing many people think about is SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the process of tweaking your site’s content and design to make it easier for the search engines like Google to find your site and to understand its content.
Effective SEO is a complex process, but several factors can help:
- Judicious use of relevant keywords in your text, both in the body and in headings
- Using meaningful file names for pages and graphics
- Sizing graphics so they load quickly
- Applying ALT and TITLE meta tags to embedded graphics and videos
- Reducing unnecessary code so the site loads quickly
- Fixing broken links and missing pages
All of these items will make your site search engine-friendly, but you still need to give the engines a reason to visit your site in the first place. You do that by giving people a reason to visit your site.
Content Is The Fruit In Your Store
Remember the fruit store we talked about earlier? How long would that store stay in business if the shelves were bare, or if the produce it sold was bruised and rotten? It wouldn’t matter how much money it spent on advertising; it would get a poor reputation and no repeat business.
Likewise, your website needs a healthy stock of quality content. There’s a wide range of possibilities, limited only by your imagination. Some of the more common forms of content include …
- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- White Papers
By quality we mean content that people will actually want to consume and share. This does not mean copying content from Wikipedia or other sources. It does not mean paying a pittance for a hastily-written, poorly-researched article from a content mill.
Producing quality content takes time, but it’s the only way of giving visitors a reason to come to your site.
Promote Your Content On Social Media
Once you have your content, you need to help people find it. Remember, Google isn’t going to promote your content to the world unless people are already looking for it.
No, this does not mean filling your timeline on Twitter, Facebook, or some other platform with just your own content. You need to build a following so people will see your posts, including those linked to your own site. That’s the social in social media. Like producing content, this too takes time and effort.
Like SEO and content, there are multiple factors to consider. A few:
- Use meaningful titles
- Include graphics
- Include hash tags (if the platform supports them)
- Like, share, and comment on other people’s posts
Attracting traffic to your website is a multi-stage, time-consuming process. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. Give the search engines a reason to promote your site – putting your apples and oranges front and center – by producing and sharing quality content. Once visitors start to come, Google will follow.
Do this enough, and you may get to the point where you don’t need Google at all.
Are you busy running your business, too busy to take care of content and social media yourself? Let LightningStrike Studios help by producing quality content for your site, helping search providers like Google understand it with SEO, and promoting it with targeted social media campaigns. To get started today, contact us.