It used to be that you could actually get more website traffic by simply throwing a bunch of good keyword search phrases on your pages and in the HTML “tags.” Of course search engines got better, and so the “experts” began to tell us that we just needed high-quality content. “Build it and they will come,” became the operating theory of many.
Of course, it just wasn’t true. You still needed to optimize the pages. After all, if your page was about ultralight backpacking, how would the search engines know that if you didn’t use the phrase a few times on the page? And if you preferred to call it “fastpacking,” there was never a way for all those searchers of “ultralight backpacking” to find your page – even if it was exactly the content they wanted.
So optimization still matters. But when the search engine algorithms changed again they began to place less emphasis on “on site” optimization. You still need those keywords on the page, but this is no longer enough. You also need to have other sites linking to yours, to show that you are important. Links have become very important if you want more website traffic from search engines.
The type of link matters though. Reciprocal links – where you trade with another site – are no longer of much value. Search engine algorithms have been adjusted for the fact that sites started trading irrelevant links just to boost rankings. Only one-way unpaid links are considered a true “vote of confidence” by the search engines, and so these are what you need.
Now, some experts still claim that you get links by having great content. People read your page, like it and so link to it. That would be nice, but it isn’t common at all. In fact, there are several things wrong with this theory.
First, how do the readers find your page to begin with, so they can then decide they like it enough to link to it? If you have no incoming links, the search engines ignore you, so how does anyone find the page? Secondly, if some visitors do make their way to your pages, will they have websites to link to you from? Most internet users either don’t have a website or they barely know how to create a link.
Finally, serious webmasters are hesitant to link to other sites too often now. Why? They don’t want to link to possible competition for starters. But the bigger reason is that a given page can only has just so much “voting power” according to search engine algorithms, so owners of sites like to divide it up in beneficial ways – like by linking to their own pages and sites.
So getting incoming links is the way to get more website traffic, but they are hard to get. What can you do? You can pay for traffic, but with many sites this is impractical. If your site makes ten cents per visitor and you pay fifty cents to get one, you are just throwing your money away.
Now, before I answer the question of how to get more traffic, let me add an encouraging note. Contrary to what some are saying, good content is not irrelevant now. Don’t listen to the skeptics. I recently read an opinion piece by a webmaster who said the old idea of “building a great website with great content” in order to get traffic was “foolish nonsense.” It isn’t.
What do we want when we search for things online? We want great websites with great content, right? That is exactly what the search engines are trying to point us too. The fact that they don’t do it perfectly doesn’t mean they aren’t getting better at it. So as they get continue to improve, you want to have the kind of site that they are looking for. If you’re thinking long term, have good content.
Finally, one of the best ways I have found to generate more website traffic is with simple articles like this one. Submit it to a few article directories, and you’ll get some readers. If they like it, some will even take it and use it on their websites, creating valuable one-way links. That helps with your search engine rankings. Meanwhile, some readers will like it enough to want more, and they’ll click that link in your resource or “about the author” box at the end of the article.