It’s a given that pretty much everybody on the Web wants traffic. Whether you’re a brand promoting your products or services, an organization trying to draw attention to a good cause, an entrepreneur looking for funding, or an individual trying to generate extra income (or just wanting to draw attention to your message), your efforts are wasted if you don’t have traffic. Traffic doesn’t automatically convert to sales, but without it there won’t be any online sales.
Good content – in the form of engaging text and visuals – is the key to getting vigorous traffic via organic search. This is truer than it was in the days when it was relatively easy get away with sometimes underhanded SEO (search engine optimization) tricks. In those days, people looking for usable information were often foiled by “content spam” tactics such as keyword stuffing, hidden or invisible text, or the creation of entire pages with content totally irrelevant to their title. “Link spam” tactics have also been used to fool people into landing on pages bearing no relevance to the item for which they were searching. In recent years the major search engines, most notably Google, have seriously cracked down on these “spamdexing” tricks, and these days, valid content is crucial for getting traffic through organic search. Here are five reasons good content will boost your traffic.
- The search engines reward good content (and penalize bad content). You can still get search engines to love you in other ways besides paying them to do so, but they’ve gotten too smart for those underhanded tricks mentioned above. One of the best ways to get them to love you and reward you with top results in organic search is to create content that is actually relevant to real-life searches. If the positive point isn’t good enough for you, consider its negative flip side: Bad content has consequences. Irrelevant or insubstantial content will cause search engines to penalize you by ignoring you. If you don’t show up on search results, your traffic will be negligible.
- People looking for real information don’t like to have their time wasted. While search engines are primarily in business to make money, their secondary objective is to give the people what they want by preserving and improving the integrity of organic search. Giving the people what they want should be your primary objective. Granted, most of us spend (or waste) a lot of time on the Internet in nonproductive activities such as looking at cat videos or getting into political squabbles on Facebook. But when we’re actually on a mission – e.g., searching on our boss’s behalf for the best prices on office wall paneling, or looking up specific information for a white paper that was due last week – we resent sites that waste our time. As noted above, search engines have cracked down on underhanded SEO tricks, and if your site doesn’t have quality content, it probably won’t even show up in the search results. But perhaps most important of all, if your content is useless and still manages to show up on search, you will alienate your prospective customer base. Why even have an online presence if that’s what you’re going to do?
- People rely on the Internet more than ever, for many things. Some people seem to live their entire lives online, but even those who still have an active offline existence are increasingly turning to the Internet for news, entertainment, and research, not to mention shopping. That’s why it is not only crucial for your site titles, tags and descriptions to be accurate as to the content, but it is also increasingly important to offer something more than just a listing of your products and services. Be a resource for information about your industry or about the issues that drive your audience to seek out your goods or services. If you sell baby clothes, consider maintaining a blog and/or other content forums that will continually offer useful information and tips for new moms. Becoming a trusted resource or at least a consistent source of information or entertainment is a great way to boost traffic. This brings us to the next point.
- People are curious and are always looking for something interesting. If you have fresh, original, and pertinent content that is interesting to as wide an audience as possible – while still remaining relevant to your core mission – you can attract more traffic than you may have ever imagined. There’s no telling who will land on your site. Suppose you wrote a book about a troubling social issue, and you maintain a blog about topics related to those you wrote about in your book. If your posts are engaging, informative, relevant to current headlines, and perhaps even a little provocative, they may be shared, quoted, and linked to by a wide range of people (including journalists writing about the subject). This will drive more traffic to your site, more attention to your message… and perhaps more book sales. Although not every product or service lends itself to provocative, controversial posts, almost every industry has a connection to some interesting issue or angle that, if properly presented, can show up in the search results and attract large numbers of readers who might otherwise never have heard of you.
- People love to be contributors as well as passive consumers of information. This is actually more of a tip to help you create good content than a reason that good content boosts traffic. If you’re tired of just talking to your audience, let them talk back to you once in a while. Audience contributions ensure that you’ll always have fresh content. You can easily engage your audience via social media, of course, but you can also do it via your blog, web site, or other forums. (Here are some suggestions for boosting your traffic with user-generated content.) Remember: everyone wants to be heard. Giving people a (moderated) platform for letting their voices be heard can reap many rewards, including a big boost in traffic… and perhaps even in sales.
When talking about good content, the word “good” is to a large degree subjective. A blog post presenting an in-depth examination of poverty in the South will be fascinating to some and boring to others. And, of course, if your site sells pet jewelry and accessories, someone shopping for exotic teas or rare comic books will probably not be interested in your content. Your task is to figure out who your audience is and what they want, and then to give it to them – frequently – but never forgetting that your content will have a reach beyond your intended audience. Producing good content takes time and creativity and skill, but if you want traffic, you will invest the necessary time, as well as the money to hire people with the creativity and skills (and time) that you may lack. Remember: Your online business depends upon traffic, and traffic depends upon content that is the best it can be.
For suggestions on types of content besides blog posts that can boost your traffic, see this article on the Business3Community.com site:
This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from best people search. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.
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