108 Actions To Increase Website Traffic and Search Rankings
Quick Summary of Contents
- 1 Website Domains
- 2 Website Architecture & Management
- 3 Make use of a .htaccess or web.config file
- 4 Content Marketing Strategy
- 5 Content Marketing Do’s
- 6 Content Marketing Don’t’s
- 7 Ideas for Types of Content
- 8 Internal & External Linking
- 9 Social Media
- 10 Research, Reporting & Analytics
- 11 Marketing Automation
- 12 Conclusion
How can I increase my website’s traffic and search rankings?
This is the most common question I hear from potential and existing customers looking to gain an edge in search rankings and generate more qualified traffic.
And of course, no matter how I try, there is never enough time to sum up all of the SEO actions one can take to increase website traffic and search rankings.
For those who use WordPress, I simply recommend a few general settings changes and the installation of Yoast or All-In-One Webmaster plugins for starters.
Then there are those who have a static website I recommend content marketing via blogs and articles.
And let us not be quick to forget or diminish the value of social media networks.
Out of all the thoughts previously mentioned, we are barely scratching the surface in addressing the 200+ search ranking factors.
In addition to fielding potential and existing customer SEO questions, I’ve personally had a chance to document the process for creating, developing, and sustaining a few niche websites I’ve started in recent weeks.
I tried my very best to document the 108 actions I’ve used and followed, per my SEO guideline.
Using this exhaustive list of proven SEO actions, every small business owner (that’s you!) can execute these actions on an ongoing basis to increase website traffic and search rankings in hopes of capturing qualified customers.
So if you’re ready, let’s get started!
1. Secure and develop keyword domains into value-add microsites that are specific to your line of business.
3. Establish and commit to a 2-year plan to use microsites to generate more customers and revenue.
Website Architecture & Management
5. Launch or migrate your website to use SSL now that it’s a ranking factor or search engines.
7. Launch or migrate your website to a responsive theme to ensure customers have an optimal user experience when viewing your website from mobile, tablet, or desktop.
8. Implement and leverage 3rd-party authentication provided by social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to replace your website’s native or out-of-the-box authentication.
9. Plan your website architecture to be a tent pole or parent-child relationship when structuring pages and keyword links.
11. If you use a commenting system, be sure that you use one that allows for comments to be threaded and searchable, unlike Facebook comments.
12. Disable and remove trackbacks from blog commenting when using a CMS.
13. Optimize your website to use Schema.org rich snippets.
15. Create a human-readable HTML sitemap file for visitors and a machine-readable XML sitemap file for search engines.
18. When and where possible use server-side over client-side coding to increase performance.
19. Use sprites instead of images to save on bandwidth.
20. No-index, Follow pages that are irrelevant or have sparse content (i.e., contact us, terms and conditions, privacy, etc).
Make use of a .htaccess or web.config file
22. To speed up the website’s load time by optimizing, caching, or compressing files (i.e., png, jpg, zip, pdf, ppt, etc.).
23. To rewrite non-search-friendly URLs (i.e., products.php?id=123) to be search friendly (i.e., /blue-suede-shoes-123.php).
24. To redirect all www traffic to non-www web URLs to eliminate canonicalization or the other way around, or use the canonical meta tag.
25. To block unwanted visitors, search bots, or user agents that eat up your web hosting bandwidth.
26. To secure directories and disable people’s browser directories as well as unwanted people snooping around certain web directories.
27. To prohibit hackers from hacking your website with spam or taking down your website.
28. To stop people from stealing or hotlinking to photos and using your website bandwidth.
29. To 301 redirect or to pass the SEO juice from an old page to a new page or from an old domain to a new domain.
30. To create a 404 redirect to a customizable error page for broken or mistype URLs.
Content Marketing Strategy
31. Before you decide to make one post or page of content, develop an engaging and consistent content strategy and schedule that you can grow into and sustain over time.
32. Write content for your customers first, and search engines last.
33. Create content that educates, informs, assists, and helps, and keeps far away from self-promotion and selling a visitor.
34. When writing EPIC content, build arguments based on telling a clear and concise story.
35. Focus on creating evergreen content as opposed to chasing the news cycle of current events SEO.
36. Once content is written, keep it up to date by content refreshing from time to time.
Content Marketing Do’s
37. Do A/B test all aspects of your website and email content (i.e., subject lines, headings, images, linking, etc.).
38. Do use numbers, percentages, emotion, questions, and negative words as visitors are more likely to click to read how to solve pain over pleasure.
39. Optimize your on-page content ensuring that you use the keyword once in the page title, page URL, page description, page subheadings, and image alt text.
40. Do include a couple or a few external links to reputable websites like Wikipedia, News sites, etc.
41. Keep your title less than 65 characters long and descriptions less than 160 characters.
42. Aim to write page descriptions that are cliffhangers and force the user to click to ”find how or why…”.
43. Use only one H1 header tag per page.
44. Chunk or organize your content using header tags (i.e., H2, H3, H4, etc.) to make your content more easily read by visitors.
45. Do include an opening and closing paragraph that is no longer than 5 sentences, and written in a clear manner to express what the overall content or post will/has discussed.
46. Optimize images for search engines while using images to engage and entice visitors to read your content in its entirety.
47. Optimize your pages with keyword variations and not the same keywords.
Content Marketing Don’t’s
48. Stop hiring SEO writers who do nothing more than spin articles.
49. Stop stuffing and gorging content with the SAME EXACT keyword and keyword phrases.
50. Stop creating and writing low-quality content and pages, and linking to/from low-quality websites to avoid search engine penalties.
51. Stop believing that longer content or a specific number (i.e., 600, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000+, etc.) is value-added content.
52. Stop posting less-than-stellar content with gaping spelling and grammar errors.
53. Don’t forget to include a simple call-to-action for the customer to act on for each content page and post on your website.
54. Don’t pull the ole bait-and-switch move with headlines stating one thing and content is another.
55. Don’t use content more than once, and remove or no-index content that is duplicated throughout your website to avoid search engine penalties.
56. Stop using the keyword meta tag.
Ideas for Types of Content
57. Take the 24-hour challenge to create an ebook to sell from your website.
58. Create and post an EPIC list of to-do items to help your customers earn more business (Hmm, sounds familiar…).
59. Create whitepapers and case studies of your customers or line of business.
60. Create paid digital products that are targeted for affiliate marketing use.
61. Create a how-to guide or ebook to give away on your website when visitors submit their name and valid email address.
62. Create and host a glossary of terms for your line of business.
63. Create EPIC tutorial content and videos to host from your website for your line of business.
64. Conduct interviews, posting content or podcasts of interviews online for your line of business.
65. Create content that is a rebuttal to higher trafficked and visible content.
66. Create weekly or monthly content round-ups for your line of business.
67. Create product and service review round-ups for your line of business.
68. Create a fully-detailed infographic that your customers can use as a how-to guide to take action on.
69. Repurpose textual content into webinars, videos, or infographics to name a few.
70. Offer limited guest posting and blogging for colleagues in related business interests.
71. Offer a bundled solution with partners of products and services that complement your offering.
Internal & External Linking
72. Participate in forums and blog commenting on websites with high page and domain authority WITHOUT SPAMMING.
73. Include links to your website via your email, forum, blog, and other digital signatures to boost traffic and search rankings where applicable.
74. Optimize your internal link building to be semantic search friendly.
75. Stop using site-wide footer links for city, zip, and keyword phrase links.
76. Create search-safe widgets, badges, and banners to promote external linking to the website.
77. Create a customized and searchable 404 error page.
78. Be wise using internal and external blogroll linking – use at your own risk and discretion.
79. Submit your website to industry-specific directories and use general directories sparingly.
80. Run far from link purchasing and exchanges of DO FOLLOW promising high PR or page rank values and/or those not related to your industry.
81. Do buy NO FOLLOW links as they will not hurt your website’s search rankings and link-building profile when not from low-quality sources.
82. Stop buying links and content from network farms promising to boost search rankings.
84. Try organizing and hosting online and offline events that lend themselves to online registration as a way to build and increase your website’s link profile.
85. Target linking to and from .edu websites by hosting or sponsoring events.
90. Do cross-promote between the various social media networks that you build and develop your profile upon.
91. Use social media interaction sparsely throughout your website for pay-to-view-content or gating-content.
94. Link build by posting images and links to your content when posting on Social Media networks.
96. When using YouTube or Vimeo, be sure to add links to your website in the description of each video.
98. Host a contest or quiz on your website and use social media interaction to drive traffic and greater exposure to both your social media profiles and website.
Research, Reporting & Analytics
101. Use and check webmaster tools for 404 errors, Malware or hacked website errors, and search penalties.
102. Use keyword tools (i.e., Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro, HitTail, WordStream, Google Trends, or WordTracker to name a few) to develop and identify keyword strategies for your content marketing plan.
103. Implement an RSS to email plugin or service that will email a newsletter mailing list when you post new content.
105. Implement self-hosted search functionality, tracking keywords and the number of times each is entered, to guide your content marketing and SEO effort.
107. If your website has a sidebar or announcement bar in the header or footer, implement and promote an opt-in form to build a newsletter mailing list.
108. Promote the Refer-A-Friend or Tell-A-Friend feature, and social media networks via your newsletter.
Whew! I’ve typed until I just can’t type anymore.
At least we all have a starting point to reference from time to time for sending those of us who dare to venture into do-it-yourself SEO, or those of us who simply want specific and new ideas to execute.
I’m sure there are many more thoughts and ideas to be shared, so please don’t be shy or hesitant to comment below.
And by all means, please do take time to share with others you know who are struggling with their own SEO effort, or business owners or other internet marketers venturing into SEO.
Until my next post, I’m going to ice my fingers and hands down and pop an Aleve. I’m signing off…
Enjoy reading and referencing, and best of luck in increasing your website’s traffic and search rankings on your way to more customers and revenue.