Every business should aim to get as much traffic as possible without having to make a cash outlay every time a new visitor gets to their site. Every business should learn to create assets that help them achieve natural search engine optimization. But how do you do that? You can do that by applying the following tips:
1. Own Your Traffic
There has never been a time in the history of the world when the average business had so many options when it comes to ways to attract new visitors. Now you can drive oodles of traffic via Facebook. All you need to do is understand how to work on that platform. Many businesses are getting targeted prospects via Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and many other social media sites.

Take a look at video sites. Millions of people watch Youtube videos each and every day. Many businesses have learned to take advantage of this platform to drive massive traffic to their web properties. We can go on and on by including forums, high traffic blogs (for guest posts), article directories, document sharing sites, etc. The truth is: There are so many ways to get new prospects to a business these days.

However, there is a worrying trend that is actually positioning many businesses for hard times: It is treating those platforms or sites as their very own (properties over which they have legal rights).  Some businesses actually spend more on their Facebook pages than they do on their web sites. But guess what? All it takes is just one policy change from Facebook and those assets are gone forever.

Don’t ever forget this: Facebook owns every page on their site — NOT you. Youtube owns the site — NOT you!  What does this mean? It means that investing in those places at the detriment of your site is unwise.  But does that mean you shouldn’t use Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other third-party platforms?  No, you should. You just have to ensure you direct the traffic back to assets that you own legally.

For example, you can use Facebook, Youtube and the rest to drive visitors to your blog. Better still, you can use them to drive people to your name squeeze page. Use them to build your list. You own your blog. You own your list. Even if a web hosting company goes out of business, you still own your blog. All you’ll have to do is move to another host. You can also move to another provider if one email service shuts down its doors. You own your list!

So what does this have to do with search engine optimization? Look at the next tip:

2. Use A Strategy That Leverages Your Current Assets
What are your current assets? Well, a very popular Facebook page is an asset. A large Twitter followership is an asset. A large subscriber base at Youtube is a huge asset. However, a very popular blog and a huge list are even bigger assets. So how can you leverage each one of them to improve your SEO?

Let people on each of those assets know whenever you make a new post. Encourage them to like, tweet, pin, reblog, bookmark and share. If done right, your articles and posts will rise to the top of search engines on the strength of the links you get from your followers, subscribers and fans.

While this will keep working with both assets you own and those on other companies’ properties, the assets you won give you better control. You can do anything within the limits of the law. Here’s an example:

Let us assume you’ve just published a Kindle book. This means you are using Amazon’s platform. You can improve your book’s ranking both at Google and Amazon by encouraging your readers to leave a review. However, you can’t incentivize them if you want to do it within Amazon’s platform — Kindle. But can you do it with, say, your list or your blog readers? Yes, you can. You own those platforms.

3. Overdeliver For Greater Buzz
No matter how huge your list is you won’t get the buzz that will get the web talking about you and your company if you deliver mediocre content. Over-deliver and you’ll have raving fans. If you have raving fans all over the web then you’ve got most of your SEO done for you.

No, you don’t have to be Apple to have fanatics that adore your products and services. You just have to go a few steps farther than your competitors would. You just have to give them a little extra now and then. You just have to make them feel very special and you’ll create a buzz — If NOT immediately; on the long run.

Many businesses focus on the technical aspects of SEO and forget the human angle. While those technical aspects are critical to your overall success in search engine optimization, the rules there are always changing. However, apply the tips outlined above and you’ll NOT have to adjust because of any updates in search algorithm — Your site would have been optimized just the way search engines are striving to enforce: with real human endorsements.

Business marketing online involves a lot of different components. However, it can be condensed into a number of important aspects or components. Getting each of these aspects right is crucial to long term success.

1. Customer Acquisition
You just have to find ways to get new prospects. That is, you have to attract new visitors to your web site or business. Online, this is referred to as traffic generation. In other words, traffic refers to visitors who come to your site.

There are different types of traffic and there are different types of sources. However, let’s categorize traffic broadly into free and paid traffic. This categorization can be misleading, though. There is really nothing like free traffic as you must give something in exchange (money, time, skill, space, asset or a mix of them all).
“Free” here actually refers to traffic types where you take an action or actions once and get traffic residually. Such actions can be completed without spending a dime. However, time is usually spent. Examples of this include: guest blogging on high traffic sites, article marketing, video marketing, giving away reports, guest ezine articles and so on.

There are also paid traffic sources. This refers to those methods of getting visitors that depend on paying either for placement on assets owned by another party or pay visitor sent over to your site. Examples are PPC (like Adwords), solo ads, media buying, etc. The crucial point here is that once you stop paying, traffic from these sources stop. Whichever traffic sources you use, it is important that you employ them in such a way that they will eventually help you build residual traffic. This is where SEO for your business marketing online is very important. We shall get into more details in subsequent articles.

2. The Nurturing Process
What’s the point in getting all those visitors if you can’t get them to deliver your most wanted response? Therefore, it is important that you have a mechanism in place for pre-selling each of your visitors to a point where they happily buy from you. People buy from people they know. They buy from people they trust. We have been trained NOT to deal with strangers. Therefore, make sure you build a relationship with your visitors. Make sure you get them to trust you enough to make commitments. The more expensive your product or service (or the more you expect from them), the more you have to do to pre-sell them.

Take away: The more you want to get from your prospect, the more you have to invest in him/her and the longer you must be prepared to make that investment. The internet has NOT changed one typical human response: People don’t commit heavily to strangers! You can nurture your prospects via email marketing or a blog.

3. The Sales Process
It is very important that you ensure that your sales process is very efficient. Invest in your sales copy. It is the equivalent of the sales department in an offline business. Work hard on improving your conversion rate. If by spending an extra $1000 on it you can improve its conversion by just 1% for a product that has a profit margin of $50, you would be making an additional $5000 by the time your 10,000th visitor comes by.

4. Customer Support
Your marketing must make provision for times when your customers have issues or challenges with your product or service. You can turn the worst customer experience to a great marketing opportunity.

Let us assume a store sends out a defective product to a customer. Angry, this customer returns it. A good marketing plan could actually turn this angry customer into a raving fan. Imagine what would happen if this store replaces this defective product and adds a related product as a way to say “We are sorry”. Now imagine they include an extra one year to the warranty (all on the house). Do you still imagine that this customer would be that angry with them? This might actually turn to a reference point by which he/she now judges other stores. So a negative event has actually been used to good effect by a store that has a good marketing plan.

5. Customer Referrals
Ensuring that your business is set up to over-deliver to your customers is critical if you want to enjoy the power of word-of-mouth marketing. This can secure your business and almost render your advertising department redundant. What is the standard in your industry? Exceed it and then some. You don’t have to give away the farm to get your customers excited, though. Showing you really care can go a long way. Showing them that you are still interested in them after they have made the purchase is very important. The quality and quantity of customer referrals you get will depend on: How great your product/service is, how efficient your delivery is, how well you handle support issues and how much you show them that they are special.

We are privileged to have access to data that marketers of previous decades would consider divine. While most people know the great importance of data analysis in their SEO endeavors, many really do NOT apply it in many critical areas. Here are just four ways you can improve your results with data analysis:

1. Superior Rankings
One thing that many truthful SEO experts will tell you is that Google has done a good job of creating a lot of confusion with the recent updates. However, another thing that they will tell you is that you can still get top rankings if you know how to cut through the confusion. Look at the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for any keyword and you will discover that there are still sites within the top ten. That was the case before and will remain the case until they decide to redesign how their results are displayed.

What does this tell you? Those ranking sites are definitely doing what that particular search engine loves. So all you need to do is get relevant data for such sites and analyze. If you do this right then you can be sure you’ll know what to do to duplicate their results. You don’t need to rely on the falsehood being spread in many forums. You can work your way down to what works by doing detailed analysis of top ranking pages.

2. Better Link Sources
In spite of anything anyone would like to tell you, links still matter if you want top rankings. In fact, they still remain the best known single factor that affects your rankings the most. However, you simply can’t go after every link out there if you want to avoid penalties from Google.

Now, you just can’t rely on the page rank of a page. There are other important metrics that should be factored in. So how do you make sure all the important metrics are right? You need to do data analyses of potential link sources in order to determine whether you should consider guest blogging, article syndication or anything else that would get you a link.

3. Improved User Experience
Everyone now knows that a good user experience is a strong factor that improves your ranking ability. It reduces your bounce rate and could go a long way in getting you those editorial links, likes, tweets and reblogs that we all like. But how do you know what your site visitors like the most? A good analysis would help you find out what elements of your pages engage your visitors the most. You can then test their effects in different combinations and positions. This helps you improve your visitors’ experience on an ongoing basis. When your ideal visitor loves your site more, you are more likely to rank higher. But more importantly, you are in a better position to get higher conversions.

4. Better Positioning
Sometimes webmasters are given the shock of their lives when they analyze the keywords by which people find their sites. But whether shocked or NOT, it is important that you use the insight provided by the data analyzed to position your site better. You can either adjust your voice to suit the search terms that are driving the majority to your site or you can readjust your message to ensure you are NOT getting the wrong visitors. Analysis of referring keywords can help you create content that position you better for your target audience.

If you are just starting out with an online presence, then you will be well advised to start with Google Adwords to gauge the market and quickly decide how good your sales funnel is. Google Adwords is a reliable traffic source if you know how to work it. However, you’ll be doing yourself great harm if you stick with it alone (or any other traffic source for that matter). Here are reasons why diversification is key to your long term growth and success:

1. Sites Change Their Policies
There used to be a time when you could drive traffic straight from Google Adwords to a merchant’s page via your affiliate link. There was a time when you could drive traffic straight from Adwords to a squeeze page (In the original sense of the word — Just a sign up form). Those days now seem like centuries ago. However, Google changed their policies repeatedly and those things are NO longer possible. In fact, Google almost wants to tell you what you can or cannot sell on your site (Even the government isn’t that controlling). But, it’s their site that you want to buy traffic from and so they make the rules. While the rules for your traffic sources might suit you today, it is important that you understand that there’s NO guarantee that they WON’T change it before you wake up tomorrow.

2. Sites Lose Their Followership
How many people still log into their Myspace accounts? It used to be THE social site NOT too long ago. If all your marketing was focused on driving traffic from that site then you definitely went through a very rough patch when it lost followership. Some people are currently swearing by Google. They’ve NOT asked online marketing veterans about Altavista. I guess many people don’t know what that site is about. However, there was a time when it was THE search engine. What happened? Better sites emerged and they lost their audience.

3. Better Options Emerge
Yahoo was the search engine to beat at a time (Actually, a directory). They were so powerful at the time that the insisted that webmasters had to pay to be included in their index. Young, small Google issued a statement that they’ll never introduce the pay-for-inclusion model. Yahoo was NO longer the best option. People started moving over to Google. Now, to “Google” is generally accepted as a word that means to perform a search for something. Smart phones and portable devices are fast becoming the most used platforms for connecting to the internet. With their emergence come new options.

4. Return On Investment Can Become Unreasonable
When last were you able to find a buyer keyword (with reasonable traffic) that had a click price that was less than a dollar? It is becoming more and more difficult for many people to get a good return on their investment via this traffic model. Organic search traffic has turned to a very unpredictable battlefield where many people are growing gray hair wondering why Google keeps changing the rules so frequently. So even if you find yourself ranking highly for choice keywords today, don’t go to sleep. It takes only one update for all your rankings to disappear.
Bearing these in mind, it is important that you build a wide variety of traffic sources into your overall marketing strategy. Yes, you still have to start with one. But, if you are still on just one source after a year then you are NOT shielding your business from challenges that will be far beyond your control.

Here’s a few suggestions to try:

  • Media buying
  • Ad swaps
  • Solo ads
  • Thank You Page adverts
  • Offline promotions

Try as many different traffic sources as possible and incorporate the effective ones into your overall marketing strategy. This will keep you safe and secure in the face of the ever-changing web.

How many times have you heard a guru teach his followers that certain traffic sources are worthless? You probably believe the same. However, we shall take a look at what really brings about conversions from visitor to customer (Which is the bottom line that determines what we call great traffic sources)…

The basic marketing process starts with traffic and ends with a sale. However, between traffic and the sale there is a critical element that determines whether your traffic (or visitor) eventually becomes a buyer (or customer): Your ability to connect with them.

Many webmasters have been spoiled silly by search engines that all they now do when creating or sourcing content for their pages is to look at their target keywords. There’s really nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is correct because it tells them who their visitor is, what he/she is looking for and what would satisfy their search. However, it should NOT be the default approach irrespective of traffic source. So when they upload content based on keyword research, they are able to make that critical connection. This gives them good conversions and so they are enslaved to search engine traffic.

Webmasters or marketers like to go with the same mindset when they do, say, Facebook adverts. However, the very nature of this platform means that they are NOT attracting people who are actively searching for what they want to offer. But that’s NOT the problem. The problem is that the marketer fails to make the right connection. When people go to Google, they are actively searching for information. However, when they go to Facebook, they are trying to socialize. Look at Google more like a business meeting and Facebook like a party. You may have the exact same people in both situations but they are in different moods. To connect with folks in the business mood, you go straight to the business (That’s what most marketers are used to because of their long dependence on Google). However, for you to connect with folks in the party mood, you have to socialize. How would you feel if someone tries selling you a life insurance policy during your birthday party? You’ll be turned off NOT because such a policy is useless, but because the timing and approach is wrong. However, what if such a person says very kind things to you and even gives you a wonderfully worded birthday card? What if you really find them to be very interesting and, in your curiosity, ask them what they do for a living? You might eventually book an appointment to discuss a life policy but that was NOT how you connected with this fellow. Don’t treat traffic like an inanimate thing. Traffic refers to human beings- customers, who see your advert and then decide to click through. If you get that straight and put yourself in their frame of mind considering where they are at that point in time, you’ll be able to communicate to them in a way that will help you make the connection.

What’s the take away here?

Different traffic sources require different approaches for you to make that all important connection. Get it right and you will drive a lot of qualified prospects to your offers. Get it wrong and you’ll join the masses in crying, “It doesn’t work!”

If you are NOT marketing your business then you really have NO business. But while it used to cost a lot to get the word out and do top quality marketing, the internet has changed the game. It is now much easier for the small business owner to compete with firms that have very deep pockets. Enter, SEO — But that’s if it’s done right.

Search engine optimization (SEO) will send vast amounts of traffic to your web property. It doesn’t matter if it is a billion dollar concern or just a one-man show. You just need to get a number of things right:

1. Website Design
What’s the point in getting a million visitors to your site if they are all going to click away in a heartbeat because your site looks bad? So it is very important that you get a good (if NOT great) design for your site. It helps you improve your standing with search engines when people stick around longer on your site. That isn’t going to happen if it looks like the work of a two-year old.

A good site design is critical to having a good bounce rate.

2. On-Page Factors
The rules have changed after the Panda and Penguin struck. However, you still need to get a number of things right on-page. One area you simply can’t afford to trifle with is your content. Make sure you have top quality content on all your pages.

While it is still important to have your keywords blended in, it has to be done with a lot of care. The best way to optimize these days is to keep it low on your target keyword. There are different opinions. You just have to find out which works best for you (or hire experts to handle the entire process for you).

3. Link Profile
Whatever anyone tells you, you’ll rank or tank based on your in-coming links profile. This is NOT the place to tell you what amounts to the perfect link profile. However, it must be pointed out that you just can’t have great content and expect to rank high (unless you are targeting meaningless keywords).

You still need good links. What has changed is what constitutes a good link and how you can go about it.

4. Local Search Listing
You simply can’t ignore the amount of traffic that can be driven to your business via local search listings. It, therefore, behoves you to take every step possible to ensure that you appear for relevant local search phrases. This is particularly true if your business is specifically tied to servicing a location or locations.

5. Social Signals
What’s happening on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites? It is an open secret that search engines now factor in the “noise” on these sites in order to rank other sites. If a site is that popular (and so deserves top ranking) then people have got to be talking about it.

6. Reputation Management
What are people saying about your business online? Well, you can wait until an unscrupulous competitor goes all out to rubbish your good name or you can have a strong reputation management plan in place. Silence isn’t golden online it is disastrous especially if they’re saying negative things about your business.
The flip side of good reputation management is that it would help you improve your link profile and so raise your search engine rankings.