by John Eberhard

When a website owner wants to increase traffic to his website, he doesn’t particularly care how it is done – he just wants more traffic.

Pay per click advertising (PPC), through Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and MSN Ad Center, is a great source of traffic for many companies. For companies where pay per click advertising is a good fit, I recommend a two-pronged approach, namely:

  1. Get a pay per click campaign going on Google and/or the other providers. This will provide immediate leads coming in the door.
  2. While the PPC campaign is getting in leads right away, start a longer range campaign to increase organic (non-paid) traffic.

Organic traffic is defined as traffic that comes through any non-paid means, i.e. not from the pay per click providers. So how do you increase organic traffic?

There are two primary means of increasing organic traffic: 1) raising your rankings in the search engines for the keywords that you are targeting, and 2) putting up a strong and continuing presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Raising Your Search Engine Rankings

I have stated in the past that you don’t just generally rank well or poorly on a search engine. You rank well or poorly for specific keywords. So it is important to do keyword research and figure out the best keywords to target. You have to find keywords that have good traffic, i.e. lots of people searching for them, but that do not have a ton of sites competing for them. If there are too many sites competing, you will not be very likely to be able to rank well for those keywords. So you have to find the gold nuggets: high traffic, low competition.

OK. Once you have figured out your list of target keywords, the next step in raising your rankings in the search engines is to do link building. The best ways to do link building are:

  1. Article Directories: Writing articles and submitting these to article directories, also known as content hubs. I’ve been doing this type of link building for about four years and it is extremely effective in increasing the volume of links to a website. For reasons I don’t understand, link building with article directories is virtually ignored by the plethora of Internet marketing and search engine optimization websites, blogs and experts out there. One friend of mine thinks this is because the public at large can use article directories effectively, thus leaving the “experts” out of the loop. Whatever the reason that the so-called “experts” never mention it, I know that it works in building hundreds or thousands of links, because I’ve done it and seen the results.
  2. Optimized press releases: These are press releases that you write, including 2-3 targeted keywords per release. We then put these up on the client’s blog, on our Client News blog, and submit them to several online PR sites. These online PR sites tend to rank very well on search engines, so these press releases create high quality links. The article directories create quantity of links, and the press releases create quality links.
  3. Blogs: Both articles and press releases can be put on a blog or series of blogs (I create 6 blogs for a client and then post each item on all 6), with links within the post back to the client’s main web site. And what text do we use to link? Our targeted keywords of course (Did you guess that one? 10 RealWebMarketing.net points). Each article then counts as more links to your website. Don’t forget to send a notification called a “ping” to all the blog search engines after each post.
  4. Social Media Business Directories: You can create listings on social media business directories such as Hotfrog.com, Aboutus.org, Plaxo.com, Plurk.com, etc. These all create good quality links.

Once you start a link building campaign, I recommend checking your rankings in the top three search engines each month for your entire list of targeted keywords. Use software such as Market Samurai or Internet Business Promoter. Then count up how many #1 keywords you have, how many top tens, top twenty, top one hundred, etc. By doing this you can really see your progress month to month. Be prepared to stick with a link building program for at least 6-12 months.

Social Media

Another way to increase organic traffic to a website is to set up accounts on the big social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace. Then you have to spend some time on there and add lots of friends (Facebook, MySpace), followers (Twitter) or connections (LinkedIn).

Once you have a decent number of friends/followers/connections, you have to post updates on what you are doing. I do this regularly using a site called Ping.fm, so that it posts my updates to all of the sites above. So I only have to post from one place.

So what do you say in your updates? Well of course you have to make it individual for you. But I have found good success in just posting a quick note about what I’m doing. Such as “Working on a new web site for a dentist client,” or “Working on pay per click advertising campaigns for clients,” or “Posting client press releases on blogs.” What this does is that it creates an awareness out there that I am an Internet marketing consultant. People know I am that guy who does that Internet marketing stuff. So when they need that stuff, guess who they call? You can do the same.