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How to generate good, targeted traffic to any website

March 25, 2005

(Updated from our previous November 2002 article)

One of the biggest challenges in search engine marketing today is getting enough visitors to your website. Attracting good and targeted traffic entails a lot more than what most people initially think. Plus, there isn't one “standard” or perfect way to do it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an art as well as a science. However, in many ways, when all the proper SEO techniques are used as a whole integrated process, they will in fact bring you a nice stream of targeted visitors.

To get you on the right track and in order for you to build yourself a good and regular flow of qualified and targeted visitors to your site, I have compiled in this article some of my favourite techniques and processes that I have been implementing since 1997 and they all work great, all the time. This is the nice part about “generic” SEO: once done correctly, it will usually yield long-term benefits, independently of the search engines regular changes to their algorithms.

Now since you want only targeted visitors that are only interested in the products or services that YOUR company offers, you don't want to spend some of your precious resources or energy in getting just anyone to visit your site. You only want visitors who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Thus, before proceeding, you should answer this simple and very basic question:

"Just who are my site visitors, targeted prospects or future clients?"

Are they businesses and companies in just about any industry, or are they professionals seeking a special product or service that your company offers? Who is your average visitor? Is he or she a regular consumer or a corporate buyer? If they are regular consumers, what is their approximate income level? What approximately is their age group? Which part of the country or of the globe do they come from? Is English their mother tongue? Could they possibly have visited your site before?

Maybe they already are your clients, which would make them repeat visitors, or, better still, repeat buyers. The more information you have at hand on your typical visitors and clients, the better you'll know how and where to find them. Keeping that information in mind will help you in better analyzing the following basic steps in targeted traffic building.

Directories and search engines
In this connected and “real-time” world, you absolutely have to be in the major search engine’s databases and also in the most important directories. That way, you are certain that people actually searching for your products or services will find you fast. You should get your website listed in the top search directories such as DMOZ, Yahoo and Global Business Listing.

In the case of DMOZ (the Open Directory Project), Google’s directory is actually the same directory that was originally created by DMOZ itself, so being listed in the ODP is real important. You can read the DMOZ article I recently wrote on this website by clicking here.

Offer a free newsletter, directly on your site
One of the best and the least complicated ways you can build sufficient traffic to your site is if you publish a regular newsletter that you can offer for free on your website. One nice thing about having your own newsletter is that you will already have a pretty good list of warm prospects that will likely be interested in the products and services that you have to offer. To be successful, a newsletter needs to be of the ‘opt-in’ type, meaning they have accepted and voluntarily subscribed to it.

A newsletter that is published regularly, either weekly or monthly, will effectively give them a reason to visit and re-visit your site, if you constantly update or add new content to it. If you’d like to see an example of how a typical newsletter can be put together, all you need to do is subscribe to my free weekly newsletter by simply dropping your email address in the little box to your right. My weekly newsletter is published every Saturday of every week.

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Discussion groups & online forums
Many times and this is true of many industries, prospective clients and customers “hang out” in specialized online forums and discussion groups where they can share ideas, exchange past experiences, ask questions or just simply lurk around. If you can find which organizations they belong too or what their common goals or needs are, you will be a step ahead of the pack. Try to identify the most popular forums or discussion groups that are directly related to your subject area and where prospects in your target market may be hanging out.

You'll find more than you ever knew existed just by doing a few online searches. If you want your online forum to be successful, try not to be self-promotional in your postings. Just be courteous, helpful and answer questions as they are related to your area of knowledge. Your real expertise will be perceptible to most of them and will help create repeat traffic. For self-promotional reasons, remember to include your site’s URL and your email address underneath your name.

Publish some of your own articles on other websites
I have been personally doing this for several months now since the beginning of 2003. The article you are currently reading is also published simultaneously on many other SEO-related websites and it constantly brings me new traffic to my site and serious new prospects to my SEO business. There are usually many online publishers and informational portals that specialize in a specific industry or in certain specialized fields. Using the power of the Web, make a search on the ones that cater to your field or your industry and offer those portals or websites to post some of your articles for free.

You should ask that your contact information be present at all times, in order to give your readers a chance to ask you a question or help them post a comment. If you can get a link back to your site, it’s even better, as your site and their site will be relevant. Remember that Google always rewards sites with links that are relevant to each other.

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns
Another alternative you might want to consider is PPC search engines. In the pay-per-click business model, you only pay for how many people actually click on your ad to get to your website. Services such as Google’s Ad Words and Overture are among the most popular. They let you actually bid on how much you would like to pay for each click, and sometimes your listings might appear above the regular “organic” listings in the major search engines.

Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2002

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