How to get more Google traffic to your site can be explained a little like this:
Imagine a salesperson with a collection of appliances, standing at the corner of a busy street, stopping passersby – asking them if they want to buy a new espresso machine or a new vacuum cleaner.
What would be the odds of the salesperson getting an “Oh, yes, I want to buy one” every time they stop someone? Pretty slim right?
Now, imagine the same salesperson with all of his appliances on display… standing at the corner of a busy street, checking their phone or just observing people (you can make them as distracted as you’d like, it’s your imagination) and having people stop from time to time next to them to say “Hey, I want to buy one of these!”.
That’s kind of the difference between using advertising to get more Google traffic to your website and using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to get free traffic.
When people reach your website through Google, they’re already interested in what you’re selling.
The big question that prompted the birth of an entire industry around SEO is this:
How do you get your website to rank better in Google’s search results for the keyword the consumer is using to find the product or service you’re selling?
If this question has been on your mind lately, the stars have aligned for you, because you’re going to get the answer. You’ll just have to keep on reading.
To get more Google traffic, you need two main things:
- Make sure you have good content hosted on a technically sound website.
- Show Google that your website is more trustworthy than those of your competitors.
Those two things can be achieved by getting these 25 things right
#1 Spinning Articles Like a Pro
Sure, you can have pages targeting multiple keywords, but you should definitely have pages targeting just one keyword. And yes, mate, that means lots of new content. When they hear this, most people imagine how they’ll have to lock themselves for hours on end in their office to write content or having to hire content writers to research and come up with new content. You know we’re smarter than that. There’s a… loophole you can exploit. Google can’t tell what is the source of an article, so you can just take one of your competitor’s articles and just rewrite it, to spin it as it’s called in search engine optimisation. Spinning an article takes less time than writing one from scratch, but you’d still have to mentally prepare yourself for this type of work as you need to make sure you’re changing enough words to make the articles different but without making it incomprehensible. What most marketers do is to use thesaurus.com to find synonyms and switch the order of the paragraphs, so the new article looks, well, brand new.
#2 Using Unique Content
What this actually means is to only use SEO content that can pass a plagiarism check. Google doesn’t want you to copy someone else’s content. Get a Grammarly or Copyscape Premium paid account and check if both the content you have spinned and any content a contractor has created for you can pass the plagiarism check.
#3 Using Meta Tags
Any new web page you publish, be it a product page or a blog post, should have its own meta description – a short, 160-320 characters long, description of what visitors will find on the page you’re publishing if they click on a link to it. You should integrate the keyword you’re targeting in this description.
#4 Having an XML Sitemap
What’s that? It’s a map of your website that Google (and other search engines) can use to find all of the pages on your website and figure out which ones were recently changed. Google can’t index pages it can’t crawl and it can’t crawl pages it can’t find. So, go to XML-SiteMaps.com and generate a map, then add it to the domain root folder of your website and then add the sitemap URL to the Google Search console. If this last sentence didn’t make much sense to you, don’t worry, you’re just a normal human being, like most of us. You’ll have to ask your developer to help you out with generating the XML sitemap and uploading it.
#5 Know Your Backlinks
How many websites are linking back to your website? What about to a specific page on your website? Well, you should know because the number and the quality (the authority) of the links back to your website impact your ranking. Use a backlink checker (there are many out there, some free and many paid) and find out if there are links leading to pages that are no longer on your website or if you’ve lost some of the backlinks you knew you had. You can also use it to see who is linking back to your competitors website and try to get them to change the link to your website.
#6 Using a Ping Website Tool
Does Google even know that your website exists? A ping is like signal saying “yup, I’m here”. A ping website tool makes your website visible to search engines. It will ping web servers to let them know your website is up and running and ready for new traffic.
#7 Knowing What Links You Have on the Website
If you’re linking to web pages that aren’t online anymore or to websites who changed owners and topic, you can get in trouble. And if you’re linking to internal pages that you moved or deleted, it isn’t great either. That’s why you need a link analyser, so you can have a list of all these external and internal links and make sure every one of them works as intended.
#8 Having Good Keyword Density
Keyword density is important for SEO, as it tells Google what a web page is about. If you’re using “Naruto bandanas” once on your webpage, that’s not a sign that your web page is actually dedicated to the iconic headband in the Japanese manga series. The keyword density is calculated as the keyword to normal word ratio on your web page. The ideal density is anywhere from 1% to 3%, and you can check your content using a keyword density checker. There are many options and some of them are even free.
#9 Fixing Broken Links
Do you know what a website with broken links tells Google? Nobody’s home. A broken link is like a… broken window. If you leave it like that, you just don’t care, and that’s an indication you’re not an ideal host. Google doesn’t want to send people to websites that look deserted, so find and fix your broken links.
Another use for a broken link checker (for this there are also plenty of options online) is to figure out if websites relevant to your niche have broken links for topics your website covers. If they do, you can message them and propose they replace the broken link with a link to your website, since yours is up and running.
#10 Using Great Permalink Structure
The actual URL of your web pages is also important and it should contain the keyword you’re targeting. If you already have a lot of content published and the permalink structure for those pages is just awful, don’t despair, you can use a URL rewriting tool, but if you’re not tech savvy, you might have to do this manually, editing the URL for each page and the redirecting traffic from the old URL.
#11 Keeping Good Uptime
It’s logical that only a website that is online can receive traffic. Knowing if and how often your website goes offline will tell you if you should have a discussion with your hosting provider. If you have doubts that your website is online, you can check ‘Down For Everyone Or Just Me‘ to find out for sure.
#12 Have a Good Looking Website
Sure, Google isn’t a web design critic, but it does want to send people to websites that at least display correctly across all screens, big and small. That is why you must use a screen resolution simulator to check your website, especially if you’re doing a redesign. Your designer might not care enough to test everything out but you should, especially when there are many tools available to help you do it.
#13 Have a Fast-Loading Website
Check how fast your website loads periodically. How fast your website loads on a mobile device or on a desktop can impact its ranking. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see what needs fixing.
#14 Knowing If You’ve Been Penalised
If you’re investing a lot of time and effort in search engine optimisation but you see no results, it would be wise to check if your website or IP has been blacklisted or penalised. That can happen if your emails sent from an address associated with that domain were marked as spam and reported or if you engaged in SEO practices deemed by Google as violating its guidelines (i.e. keyword stuffing).
If you master these things, you’re halfway done. It means you have a website that’s technically sound and that your content is optimised. But search engine optimisation doesn’t stop there.
Now let’s focus on link building and spying on your competition:
#15 Know What Keywords Your Competitors Are Targeting
The easiest way to do this is by analysing the meta descriptions of the web pages of your competitors. You can do this by visiting your competitor’s website, click right, view page source, and search (Ctrl+F) for “description”. This will highlight the meta tag containing what the website/web page is about and you’ll be able to make out the keywords they’re targeting.
#16 Get Backlinks on High Page Rank Pages
One way of doing this is to charm your way in. You should know what are the high page rank websites (the most influential websites in a niche) and web pages you’d like to link back to your website or to a specific web page on your website. Then you’ll have to email their website admins and ask them to link to the page you want to rank higher.
#17 Buy Backlinks on High Page Rank Pages
This is the second way of getting links back to your web pages from influential websites. I have to tell you that Google doesn’t want you to buy links, so don’t overdo this. To make sure webmasters aren’t taking advantage of you, look for a backlink price calculator to get an estimate before your negotiation.
#18 Know in Which Position a Website Ranks
Who is ranking better for keyword X? What about for keyword Z? You should know at any time what’s your position on Google’s search engine results pages and what is the position of your competitors for the same or different keywords. That’s how you’ll know if you’re doing a good job at optimising your website or not.
#19 Know If the Website You Want a Guest Post On Is Popular
One of the easiest ways of getting backlinks to your own website is to write a guest post on another website, but you shouldn’t want to offer your writing or free to any website out there. Use Alexa to check if the website you’re interested in is actually popular, therefore influential.
#20 Know the Page Authority and Domain Authority of Competitors
You always should know where you stand and just how difficult or easy it’s going to be to surpass your competitors, so you can adjust your SEO budget. That’s why you should check the page authority and the domain authority of their websites. This is something you can do using the Moz Open Site Explorer
#21 Know What Your Competitors Are Up To
Another great way of spying on your competitors is by finding other websites they’re hosting on the same server. You can do this by using a tool like DomainEye.
#22 Use the Best Hosting Available
Let’s say you’re just starting out and you don’t know that much about hosting. Well, just find out where your most successful competitor is hosting their website or where a big website you use daily does it. Just go to HostingChecker.com, enter the URL of the website you want to scan and you’ll have the answer.
#23 Keep an Eye On Google
I mean… indirectly. Know how many pages has Google Bot indexed for a website, yours or your competitor’s. Follow Google’s instructions on how to find out.
#24 Use a www Redirect
Some websites use the www as part of their URL and some don’t. And sometimes people don’t know that one can lead to a 404 and the other to the actual website. Check if your www redirect is set so your visitors won’t have any surprises. You can use a tool like Redirect Checker to find out in a second.
#25 Periodically Scan Your Website for Malware
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Google really doesn’t want to send its users to an infected/hacked website, so make sure your website is clean by using a malware checker. You can use Google’s own malware scanner.
Making sure you put your best foot forward in your SEO efforts involves many tools and a lot of time.
That’s why I’m confident you’ll be happy to know that there are other options, better options. Haha. Sorry, I’m being too mysterious. What I want to share with you is that there’s an entire toolkit put together by an SEO guru who just had enough doing all of these things by working with so many individual tools and paying different fees and spending so much time jumping from one account to another. And he’s ready to offer it to marketers like yourself his web-based product covering all of these 25 must-haves is called SEO Toolkit.
You should check it out because it can automate more things that you can image, and offer you a 360-degree picture of what’s going on with your SEO.
Thanks for making it this far down the page.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you struggle most with SEO-wise or ways you’ve been able to get more Google traffic to your sites, maybe we can all benefit from it!