SEO, or Seach Engine Optimization is simply optimizing your webpages so they can be indexed higher on search engines (most notably Google) for specific search terms. In layman’s terms all this means is when someone searches for any particular topic that your website or blog covers, your site would appear as high as possible on search for that topic because you optimized it using good SEO practices. What are good SEO practices? Using key words in your posts as frequently as possible but not overdoing it. Using Meta Tags, Headings, Appealing Post Subjects, alt tags, and designing pages using CSS and Div’s rather than tables.
There are “black hat” SEO experts out there that will try to convince you that you can beat the search engines using “black hat” tactics. These practices may work in the short run, but nothing lasts longer than basic good SEO practices and properly coding your pages. The reason why I am discussing SEO before traffic is because it’s like laying the foundation before you build the structure. If you are adhering to these best practices then when the traffic comes it will be indexed higher on the search engines!
I’ll now go into the main concerns and topics you should be monitoring and tracking:
I consider Unique visitors to be the most important metric to track. Unique visitors are simply the total amount of individual “unique” people that visit your site. A lot of beginners and novices confuse “page views” with unique visitors. You can get a ton of page views and few unique visitors. This metric is important because the more people that visit you the more people you can connect with, advertise to and interact with. You should set a realistic goal for the amount of unique visitors that you want to eventually reach and work daily, weekly and monthly to grow this metric. It should always be growing!
The second most important metric, in my humble opinion. If you can get people to your site, good for you, but you also need to be able to keep them coming back! The only things that keep people coming back is fresh, frequently updated content, sticky content and/or a thriving community. Regardless of your content, you can always find a way to work in one of these components. Whether you post new articles daily, add new special offers and newsletters for your e-store, or have host a message board on your site there are thing you can do to get your visitors coming back. This is what will make your site a traffic MONSTER. You can start small, but you need to have a plan in place to make your visitors keep coming back!
Although i rank it third in importance, page views are an important traffic metric that shouldn’t be downplayed or ignored. You want your visitors to visit as many pages on your site as possible, which will keep them on your site longer and probably make them want to keep coming back for more. Although not a definitive facts, it can be inferred that more page views mean more interesting content.
Whatever the cause, you want to maximize on your traffic by creating interesting content that makes your visitors want to read as much of it as possible! Your page views need to keep growing, which show that your producing healthy content. If they aren’t you might need to look at how your laying out your content and make the necessary changes. If you content is not “sticky” enough to keep your page views growing you might have to look at editing your content or writing style.
This is a self explanatory metric. You need to be constantly growing your traffic sources in order to grow your traffic. The more incoming sources of traffic the more opportunity you’ll have to succeed. The primary sources of traffic are direct traffic, search engine traffic, paid traffic, social network traffic, and links from other sites and blogs. You can control search engine traffic somewhat, mostly through good SEO. You can have as much paid traffic as your wallet can afford! Social Network and incoming link traffic are the most controllable sources of traffic. You need to grow and develop relationships with people in order to grow your traffic from these sources. like all the other metrics I discussed in this article, you need to be tracking and growing your traffic sources.
Bounce rates can kill you! A “bounce” is when someone enters your page and immediately leaves it. It might be a sign of a boring landing page, or a poor incoming traffic source. If you are using paid traffic and have high bounce rates, you are probably advertising to the wrong audience. Just like page views, you need to review your content if your bounce rates ae too high.
Like return visitors, you need to make your that you are continually attracting new visitors to your site or blog. By growing your traffic sources and creating targeted content within your niches you can ensure you have something for everyone. You need to track new visitors and create introductory content every once in a while to keep them up to speed and to keep them coming back.
If something is working, you need to milk it and expand on it. You should be constantly tracking popular content and pages and growing “spin-off” content to leverage their success. You should be growing your traffic bases around “what’s hot” and avoiding creating content thats not. So if you see that a particular subject within your niche is not getting hits it might be time to change gears and write about the thing’s that keep people coming!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for part Six in this Series!
Mike Wayne (me!) is a Serial Entrepreneur residing in New York City. I created this blog to provide tools, advice and tips to help Entrepreneurs understand the world of Online Business. I’m also the Founder & Lead Developer at MediaCraft Marketing, a New York Based Internet Marketing Firm that reeks of Awesomeness =)
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