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by John Eberhard

Recently I was talking to a business owner who was asking me what he should do to improve his website marketing.

I started talking about various promotional actions he could do with his site, and he kept saying “Oh yes, I already know about that,” “Oh yes, I already know about that,” “Oh yes, I already know about that.”

Finally I concluded that this guy wanted me to tell him about a silver bullet, some magical new Internet marketing action that would dramatically improve the activity of his websites. I occasionally see such things promised in emails or websites, and invariably it boils down to one of the actions I am already doing for clients.

Unfortunately for this business owner, there is no silver bullet, or at least not in the way he was thinking or hoping.

Actually it might surprise you to know that there is a silver bullet in website marketing. But it is not some newfangled action that all by itself will bring magic to your website. It is a series of actions, a whole program, done very consistently and over a period of time. Each single action by itself adds a little bit of traffic or visibility, but together they add up to more than the sum of their parts.

The Silver Bullet Program

1. Pay Per Click Advertising: In most cases pay per click advertising is indicated, to drive traffic to a site on an immediate basis, since all the other techniques take time. A pay per click program can be set up fairly quickly and start driving traffic to your website. Be aware that over the past few months I have observed that in many cases it takes longer to get a successful campaign going, due to the economy and all the scare tactics of the news media. It can be done but you have to be more patient these days.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This includes doing research on keywords to find ones that are popular but don’t have tons of competition, then putting keywords appropriately into each page of the site in various places, so that the site is able to rank well for those keywords.

3. Link Building: Google says that the number of links to your site from other sites is the main criteria in deciding how well your site ranks for certain keywords, and thus how high your site will appear for any given keyword search. So most of the rest of the actions I will describe here are geared towards creating lots of links to your site.

4. Blogs: Put up a blog, making sure it has multiple links in the sidebars coming back to various pages on your main site. Then post something to it regularly, weekly or even more often is best. Create 1-3 links back to your main website from within each blog post as well. Then send a notification to all the blog search engines after each post. This will drive traffic to the blog and through the links, to your main web site.

5. Optimized Press Releases: Write a press release, utilizing keywords from your list derived in #2, then put these up on a separate blog just for press releases, then submit it to online PR sites such as www.pr.com.

6. Content Hubs: These are sites where you can submit articles, which then link back to your website. This is where you build quantity links.

7. Social Media: Put up a Facebook corporate page, get going on Twitter, and then start creating pages on Squidoo and HubPages. Then bookmark your site and blogs and other pages on Digg, Delicious, and StumbleUpon.

8. Set Up the Site to Take Advantage of Traffic: You have to make sure your site is well set up in order to take advantage of the traffic that comes. If you sell something directly online, make sure your BUY button is prominent and easily accessible from any page of the site. If you’re doing lead generation, you have your “more information” form, but you should also develop several free offers, things like free reports or white papers, and make the visitor fill out a form giving you his name and email before he gets them. In this way you capture the identity of a higher percentage of your web visitors, and build up your email list.

9. Track and Adjust: Put up a web statistics program or service so you can track what’s happening. I recommend Google Analytics because it is free (see my recent article on this). Then track how many people are coming week to week, what pages they are going to, what websites are referring traffic to you, and what keywords they are entering in on search engines to come to your site. Then adjust your campaign according to what you find.

Yes it’s a lot to do. But that program, done consistently and in high volume, IS the silver bullet.

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