Traffic No-Nos: Black Hat SEO

March 27, 2013 by  
Filed under General Tips

A fair number of people would stop at nothing to make their website popular, up to and including visiting numerous internet cafes and visiting the site from as many different IP addresses as possible. While that is an extreme example – it does happen, though – there are other things that people will do under the impression that it will get their Google hits skyrocketing – only to find out in the fullness of time that this really is not the case. So what are these traffic mistakes – and why should you avoid them?

Among the most common things that the uninitiated try in order to up their traffic, black hat SEO is a fairly new one, but has already come to the attention of the search engines, who have marked it out as a bad idea and something that will get you falling down the list of rankings quicker than you can say “persona non grata”. Black hat SEO – the name comes from the old-style Westerns in which the “good guys” wore white hats and the bad guys wore black – is a style of SEO that tries to trick Google and other search engines.

How do you trick Google? Well, the theory goes that you can place articles which are artificially stuffed with keywords on a site, so that it looks like keyword relevance is high. In some cases, the site will then redirect you to another page which has the actual content on it. This, along with other black hat tricks like “hiding” text by writing it in the same color as the website’s background (and just writing lists of keywords), will not work – Google know every trick in the book, and will downrank people who use them.

Traffic No-Nos: Spamming

March 13, 2013 by  
Filed under General Tips

If you have a website, it stands to reason that you will want people to know about it. There is no way they can visit a site they don’t know about, so it is important to promote your site well. The problem for many people is one of practicality – how do you let people know about your website, and do so without spending too much money?

For many, the obvious answer is to use free sites with user-generated content such as online forums. If you are a member of a forum, you can contribute to discussions on the topic of the board and read what others are contributing, too. It is a reliable and often fun way to exchange opinions and just chat – and it allows you to create a signature as your message to readers. This is an excellent place to put a link to your site.

Additionally, you can place links in the contributions you make to the forum – but this is where you have to be careful. A lot of people make the mistake of simply “spamming” the forum by placing links in every post – often without contributing anything original to the discussion. This is a huge mistake. A forum will allow you to post links in context, as long as the post is not solely an effort to place a link.

If you have a reason to post a link – for example, another poster has asked for help which you can illustrate by pointing them to an article on your site – then you can generate traffic by doing so. What you cannot do is simply put a link in a post without any reason or context aside from promoting yourself. This will get you banned, and your posts removed.

Traffic No-Nos: Comment Stuffing

It is well-known by most people with sites to promote that you can easily get a bit more traffic by being a contributing member of an online community. A forum or a social networking site would be one example – as is the readership of a blog. Most blogs on the internet allow commenting on posts, which allows you to discuss matters raised in the post and – hopefully – receive feedback from the blogger.

It is not rare to see comments on some blogs which contain a link (usually in the commenter’s name) and have no useful contribution to make. It may well be something along the lines of “This is a great post – I like when you talk about this!”. More often than not, this will be spam – the comment has no point to make, it exists solely to be there. The commenter hopes that people will click on his link and read his site. Chances are he hasn’t read the post, and his comment certainly does not show any sign that he has.

Bloggers are increasingly becoming wise to this – they have comments enabled on their site so that their posts can be a source of discussion – and this kind of comment will more often than not be deleted with little fuss. The shame is that if you just take time to read and make a valuable contribution, your comment will stay there, be read, and give you an opening to make further contributions. And if people like those, they will click the link.

Mailing Lists – A Reliable Source Of Traffic

The old saying “leave no stone unturned” is one with a lot of relevance when it comes to website promotion. There are so many things you can do to put your website in the mind of individuals, and it is wise to do as many of them as you reasonably can. For any webmaster, it is common knowledge that giving people a chance to get interested is the first thing you must do. Thus you must provide good content. If you do, people will want to come back and read again. However, if your site is a blog, it will be frequently updated, often at irregular times.

In order to ensure that people come to see the changes when they are still relevant, it is beneficial to have a blog mailing list. Thus, when people read your site and enjoy it they can sign up for the mailing list – which will see them get an email every time you update the site, and carry a link to the update so that they can go there directly. When people receive a welcome email – say, for example, one from a favored blog – they are likely to click the link, and come through to your site.

Setting up a mailing list is not a perfect system. Not everyone who likes your blog will want to join a mailing list – it’s nothing personal, but some mailing list software will mean that their email address is shared with more than just yourself. A lot of people simply have an aversion to giving out their email address. However, enough people will use it to make it worthwhile.

Incentivizing Traffic Every Way You Can

March 1, 2013 by  
Filed under General Tips

Many human instincts hinge on one phrase that we have probably all used and have certainly all heard – “What’s in it for me?”. This question is a powerful convincer. So many people are reluctant to do something unless they know it will be somehow rewarded. Indeed, most business training in this day and age for sales or customer service professionals is built around convincing the customer that there is a reason for them to do something – that they will benefit directly from doing it.

One of the major ways to attract people to a website is something that might be considered a “secondary layer”. That is to say, you are already promoting your site by requesting that people visit it. Conscious of the fact that people might not want to do something just because you say so, you may benefit from adding a reason for them to want to. This can be something as simple as offering a free ebook to everyone who fills in a form.

The importance of working to satisfy people’s instincts is a factor that is often overlooked. Of course you want people to be visiting your site on its merits but there is no harm whatsoever, and a lot of common sense, in backing this up with an appeal to their personal interest. Countless people have taken a decision to cash in a freebie and have stayed on board when they realized that they liked the product on its own merits. Playing the percentages – in this case, giving people more and more reasons to say “yes” – is sound business.