Advertising is the awareness you pay for. And PR is the awareness you pray for.
Today, “PR” includes social media and “content marketing” — and that means “the visual stuff with words on it.” But to make people aware of your content, they need to be able to find it in Google. And this is why “organic” reach or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important.
Great traffic means a lower Alexa rank. The lower your Alexa score, the more people are visiting your site, and the more “relevance” it has in the search engines like Google. (Alexa.com is the site that ranks other websites according to their popularity.) My Alexa rank continues to soar, and has surged from the top 12 million sites in the world, to the top 4 million. (I started the blog about two years ago.)
This is pretty amazing considering the fact that I am not specifically trying to drive traffic to this site, which is primarily a personal blog to promote my consulting practice.
My traffic is 100% “organic” reach — that means I get these visitors without paying for for advertising, Google Ad Words, Facebook ads, banners or link exchanges.
Here’s what I do to boost my SEO — and how you can use these techniques to boost traffic on your own site.
1. Content, content, content.
That is, just write interesting stuff. Write well. Be opinionated. Be a little controversial. Controversial, emotional, engaging content will get read and spread.
2. Teach and inform. Don’t just talk about yourself.
Create “how to” articles that teach others how to do what you do. Share information and don’t just promote yourself all the time. In fact, don’t promote yourself, ever, except in your bio and “about” section. Tell, don’t sell.
3. Use WordPress.
Build your website on WordPress — not a static website. If you already invested in a static website, add a WordPress blog tab to your site. Why? Because WordPress is very well optimized for search engines. WordPress also automatically syndicates your stories to other WordPress sites, and it also makes it very easy to tag your stories, videos and photos with juicy keywords.
4. Use lots of words on WordPress.
I know the current fad is towards “visual” websites and not a lot of words — but the fact is, Google and other search engines search for words, so use lots of them, and use the right ones.
Also make sure to write captions and search-worthy tags for every photo you use, so these photos can be found in search engines.
5. Think like a search engine.
What phrases do people search for? What questions do they ask that apply to your field or product? Answer those questions with your content.
7. Syndicate to all of your social media pages.
You can set this up in WordPress to syndicate your posts automatically when they are published so your posts go to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Services like Networked Blogs also help amplify your reach. A new service, Thunderclap can dramatically amp up posts for cause-related content and non profits.
8. Feed your social media pages into your site.
Syndicate the content into your page — and out of it. The more it flows, the more traffic you might get. There are free widgets that make this simple to add a fan page, Instagram or Pinterest
feed to your blog.
9. Add easy to find “share this” buttons to make it simple for others to share your content.
Sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many businesses bury these icons on the bottom of their website. Bring them to the top and make them big, easy to see and find if people are reading on a small screen mobile device.
10. Comment on other people’s blogs, especially major news sites.
Once a week or so, while reading the news, make relevant comments as an authority in your field on other blogs and news sites — particularly if they are comments on topical news of the day. This brings curious people to your page and builds links to your site. Share these stories with #hashtags that refer to the Trending Topics and news of the day.
11. Discipline yourself to post at least once a week.
The more you write, the more you post, the more you share — the higher your Google rank and relevance and the more traffic you get.
12. Send out press releases
Press releases are the most amazing traffic generator, period. Ever. You can use free press release sites if you can’t afford a professional news wire, but I recommend paying for PR Web which is highly SEO optimized.
13. Get mentioned in “real” media. (That is, do PR.)
One fantastic article in a major newspaper like the New York Times can permanently shift your business to a new level, boost page rank — and generate traffic to your website forever. Yes you will need to hire a professional PR agency (like me) to get this kind of coverage. Be patient as it can take many months, and be prepared to pay through the nose. It’s worth it.
Or try this yourself — some people naturally have a gift for PR and can do it themselves.
14. Use Pinterest to generate permanent links back to your site.
Publish your WordPress photos from your WordPress articles as Pinterest posts — and then go back in and “tag” the posts with keyword-rich phrases and URLs so the pins show up in Google. Tremendous traffic builder.
15. Make your website worth coming back to.
I know this sounds obvious, but why are you wasting your time driving traffic to a website unless it’s going to close the deal and make the sale once people arrive? Make sure you have a way to sign up subscribers to your newsletter, capture visitors’ emails and lead them to follow your Social Media pages so you can bring them back again and again.