Digging Up the All Important Traffic
One of the four pillars of the monetization formula I showed you earlier is traffic. You won’t make a cent if you don’t get some bodies in front of computers looking at your website. That’s the biggest mistake that many people make. They focus on getting the sites just right, getting as much content as possible, and then forget to actually make sure people read the content. To a certain point, quality content will get some traffic on its own – search engines just like content. But, it will only get you so far.
You still need to go out and learn what it takes to generate traffic above and beyond what little you get through the content you write. And when it comes to traffic, nothing is as important as search engine optimization.
Pay per click is all fine and good, but it’s on-going and it costs money. On the other hand, taking the right steps – getting all green checks in the SEO analysis tool, and making sure your site is user friendly – will help to boost your overall performance in just about every possible way, plus the traffic is free. And there’s nothing better than free traffic.
Forget the Competition
First up, forget the competitors. I’ve been able to rank number 1 in niches where there are millions of other sites. It’s not about breaking your back with link building or writing 100 articles. It’s about doing the little things the other marketers don’t bother with. It’s about writing content that is actually useful. It’s about targeting the right people and the right keywords. Do all those things and the rest will practically take care of itself.
What you really need to focus on is how many good competitors there are. Fifteen million pages don’t mean that there are 15 million good competitors – just 15 million people giving it a shot. Before you do anything else, make sure to use the SEO Analysis tool from the last chapter to get a good idea of just how competitive your niche and keywords are. If you tick off all the green checkmarks and still find yourself working hard to rise in the rankings, it will be time to turn to backlinks. For now, let’s look at the basics though.
On Page Search Engine Optimization
First up are the on-page elements of a good website. These days, the on page elements include keyword optimization, navigation structure and avoidance of any unwanted spam flagging possibilities. Here are a few things to consider in terms of the page elements:
• Title – The title tag for your website should be keyword optimized with no more than 15 total words
• Headlines – Use H1 and H2 tags in your content to mark headlines and have keywords in those headlines. Google gives greater weight to headlines, so take advantage of it.
• First 50 Words of Text – The keyword should appear in the first 50 words of text on the page, preferably only once.
• Keyword Density – The density for your keyword of choice should be 1-4%.
Use an analyzer to make sure you don’t go under or over. Too few keywords and you won’t register. Too many and you’ll be tagged for spamming.
• Navigation – The navigation structure should be keyword rich. If you have multiple articles on your site, use keywords as links for them and place those links on every page of the site to increase the number of internal links. Also avoid any dead ends and make sure that every page is no more than 2-3 clicks away from another. Nested, confusing navigation structures weaken the user experience, which Google frowns upon.
• Avoiding Black Hat – Don’t stuff keywords, hide them at the bottom or change their color. Don’t stuff keywords in the HTML tags or try to hide them as small text. These are all very old, ineffective tricks that only hurt your search rankings.
The elements of a webpage are relatively standardized these days. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting everything you need in there is to run the site through Traffic Travis and compare it to other sites that get good scores in the tool. Don’t copy them, but make sure your site gets all the basics out of the way so that you can focus on backlinks.
Backlinking Gets it Done
Okay, so we have the basics out of the way. Now, let’s take a look at the thing that pretty much makes or breaks sites in hyper competitive niches. This is where the big money is made – in getting quality, trusted site backlinks.
Google has always been a stickler for backlinks. Pretty much all their algorithms are based on getting people to link to your site, using those links as votes of a sort. If someone likes your content, they link to it – simple enough. But, actually getting people to create those links can be tough. Here are some tips to make your job easier.
• Article Marketing – An old and favorite tool of many affiliate marketers (and all super affiliates) is article marketing. This is as basic as it gets. Essentially, you write content articles, submit them to directories like EzineArticles or ArticleDashboard. They publish your articles for free, getting the traffic that comes with them (and the ad revenue) and you get a free resource box with a backlink to your site. If other site owners want to republish your article, they can do so if that link remains in place. It’s a simple, easy way to get links and traffic. The goal to article marketing is to provide content that is useful, search engine friendly and that the article directories are going to want to utilize.
You’d be surprised how many good backlinks you can get from this simple strategy.
• Squidoo or Hub Pages – Very similar to article marketing, you’ll place free content on these hub style sites. Because they are so loaded down with backlinks, interlinking pages, and categories, these sites will often rank very well in Google and are extremely easy to setup. The backlink values will vary, but there is no good reason not to have a Squidoo Lens and Hub Page for every site you create.
• AM Automation – This is a tool that helps you link up with more than 10,000 blogs that let you post directly to them in your niche of choice. In short, you can get easy, topic related backlinks without breaking any terms of service and without having to pay through the nose for them. It’s a simple tool that many top affiliates have been using for quite some time now. The difference here is that you’ll need to work on writing “spinnable” articles. This means that every line you write will have three different versions. These versions can then be alternated so that you can have multiple versions of an article spun out to create new content for hundreds of sites. It also works very well for article directory submissions; though you should be wary and check all spun articles in Copyscape to make sure they don’t pop as duplicate copy when submitted to sites like EzineArticles.
• Commenting on Blogs and Forums – This is a common enough trick that far too few affiliate marketers use to boost their overall performance rates with backlinks. I have always been a chatty person myself, so it came naturally, but some people are less than thrilled about putting themselves out there to hawk a link. For those of you in that boat, sorry folks – this is just too good of a strategy to ignore.
Even if the sites you comment on have “No Follow” tags inserted into them, it’s worth adding your link. In many cases, that link will carry at least some value. I can’t give you exact numbers, and because of how closed Google is about their algorithms, I would only be speculating on what works and what doesn’t, but in my experience, having links from any site is a good thing.
And if you’re on a forum, always have a link in your signature. Most forums have rules about posting links in the actual post, but you’re free to put whatever you want in your signature, as long as you contribute valuable feedback and comments in the rest of the post. We’ll go into forum posting more later when we discuss how to boost conversion rates and snag ready buyers.
• Trusted Link Building – No links are more valuable than the trusted sites that Google tends to lift above the rest. In this case, I’m talking about .edu and .gov sites – government run sites that are extremely hard to get back links from. Luckily for you, there are tools out there that will help you find such trusted sites that allow commenting or will post your link in a directory of sorts.
These sites will translate to massive traffic later down the line, even if they are no follow sites.
Link building is pretty much a must-do activity for any site owner. You cannot get anywhere on the Internet without a few good backlinks to your content. When it comes to generating traffic, this will be one of those methods that you pretty much have to use.
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