Every site needs to attract attention. Since people can only come to your site by typing your URL directly into the browser, come to your site from a link on another site another, or find you via a search engine, the topic of getting traffic from search engines is a very important one. In this article, we'll go over SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies that many new sites would do well to follow to grow traffic to their sites.
1) Lower Your Expectations
New sites have very little trust, no authority, few pages, and very little unique content. There is absolutely no way that new sites can get high levels of traffic from SEO or rank in the top-10 for high-volume and competitive searches. One your site is trusted, you can produce content and see your new pages in the top-10 or top-20 of Google search results withing a few days or less. Unfortunately for new sites, it takes much longer to achieve high rankings in search engines. New and untrusted sites without much authority must take to heart the old "it takes six months for SEO to work" approach.
Instead of hoping for immediate results, new sites must instead focus on making long-terms plans. There must be a plan to build trust and authority in their niche, consistently create optimized content, and a great overall product to which people will find it natural and helpful to link.
If you expect strong SEO traffic in the first 6 months of your site's existence, it is not going to be easy to accomplish. You may want to rethink your initial goals and lower the expectations from SEO until your site is trusted and has built up some authority.
2) Focus on Building Trust
New sites are given a little bit of trust by search engines, but the amount of trust new sites have is not enough to rank for any significant terms. Trust has to be built. There are a number of ways to make a search engine view your site as trustworthy. One such way is to maintain good practices of content creation. You must consistently create new content that is good enough to earn links on its own. We will touch on content creation in more detail a little later in the article.
Another great way to build trust is to get sites that are big and already trusted to link to your site. There are many types of trusted sites. Links from sites that belong to universities (.edu domains), non-profits (.org domains), or large companies can carry quite a bit of trust with them. In a search engine's mind, if a university (usually professor or student page) trusts you enough to link to you, then it is much more likely that your site can be trusted, and will likely rank higher.
3) Aim for Long-Term Authority
Since at the beginning you will not be seeing much SEO traffic, but instead focusing on long-term plans to be an SEO giant, one great strategy is to become an authority in some niche. If you become an authority in a niche, you will earn links when other webmasters will need to link to credible sources and will link to you. When search engines see many consistent new links into a site, the search engines begin to think that this site has authority and authority is one of the biggest single determining factors in the rankings of pages within search results.
Unfortunately, if you are like most sites, you don't and won't have real authority. It is up to you to make this into a non-problem. You can mimic authority. One way to get many links into your site is to provide some widget or an embed tag that lives on other sites. Since every time someone uses your widget that is hosted on your site, it also creates a link to your site, over time this will create an appearance of authority when many sites link to you just by using your widget.
It isn't easy to get a widget or embedded content to become so popular that many sites will use it, but it is good to think about this early because if you do manage to create something that useful, it will pay off incredibly in the long run.
4) Create Content
Content creation is a really important topic for all sites. There are three main considerations when creating an SEO-driven content creation strategy: 1) You must be as prolific as possible in your content creation. 2) You must balance the speed with which you create content with the highest possible quality of that content as possible. 3) You must also have an effective and cheap content promotion strategy beyond SEO, and a link-building strategy for the content you produce.
Since this article focuses on SEO, try to write content that is likely to attract links on its own. Such content is usually written to a high level of literacy, and is over at least 300 words per page (more is often better) of original content. If possible, the content should have a mechanism to keep itself fresh. That is done by letting the users control the content on a part of that page.
That way you have the high quality content you wrote yourself and another part of the page that is kept fresh by users who make your page have increasingly more content.
I probably should not have to say that your content should be original, but it must be repeated many times. Write original, compelling content. If you copy content, search engines will eventually detect that and will penalize you by removing your pages with copied content from the
search engine rankings all together.
5) Build Inbound Links
This is obvious, but you have to focus on continuously building links into your site. There are a few strategies and guidelines that you should follow in order to not look suspicious. In general, your link creation should look as natural as possible to create the appearance though you earned these links without trying.
To make the links that come into your site look natural, aim for moderation in everything. For example, if you have many exchanged links (a situation where you link to a site that also links to you) that looks unnatural. But also, if you have no exchanged links it looks unnatural as well since it is pretty natural for sites in the same niche to link to each other and a little bit unusual if a site has no links to and from other similar sites.
When discussing link building into your site, there is also the dirty work called "link begging." It is one of the least attractive SEO practices, but it is necessary to some degree. What you do is email a few hundred respectable and highly reputable sites in your niche and politely ask if they would link to you. Depending on the quality of your site you will have a 1% to under 10% success rate. If you have a new, recently launched, or a somewhat non-professional looking site, expect to have a link begging success rate of very low single digit percent. But if the sites you email are reputable, the very few links you will get will go a very long way in helping you grow trust in the eyes of search engines. Often, a few great links is better than thousands of low-quality links.
Of course, there are a number of ways to make your link begging success rate rise, but that depends on your creativity, savvy, and resourcefulness. And of course, the biggest determining factor in your link begging efforts is the quality of your site and product. So as your site matures, people will take notice and be more willing to link to you.
6) Build Social Media Presence for SEO
Social media is not traditionally discussed in the same conversations as SEO, but that is changing. Google is now crawling tweets, and search engines are also developing other ways to determine whether a site is strong in social media, and using that as a factor in determining the overall quality of the site.