Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's after your website launch?

You've finally got your website up and running...now what?

Mastering natural search ranking has proven to be a fundamental part of the online marketing mix. And it's critical in getting targeted, organic traffic to your website.

Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) - the ability to increase your site's visibility in organic search listings and refine the content structure on the site itself - are critical for market awareness and customer acquisition. According to WebProNews, 66.3 percent of searchers click on organic listings before they click on a sponsored link. Even more important, a recent study by CreativeWebsiteMarketing.com indicates that most people who buy online start with a search engine.

Don't let your site get lost on the World Wide Web. Here are five simple ways to help boost your website's traffic and optimization...for free:

1. Create online buzz about your site, product, or service.
You can do this by generating online press releases. There are services on the Web, such as PRWeb.com or Free-press-release.com, that do this for free or at a nominal cost. Another idea is to post comments to high-traffic blogs, bulletin boards, chat rooms, or forums.

Do a Web search for top blogs or news forums that are related to whatever it is that you're selling. Go to each site, one by one, and post a comment. (Start a new topic or reply to an existing one.) This helps in two ways: One, you create buzz in the marketplace. Depending on your tactics, your message can even go viral. Two, you get a "back-link" to your site that helps when the site is indexed by search engine spiders.

An important note: Your post should be relevant and genuine. Your comment should be relevant to the question you're replying to, have some sort of value to the readers that view it, and be in the proper area/subject matter on the forum you're posting to. Stay away from posts that are blatantly self-serving. These posts are viewed as spam by forum webmasters and could get you banned from the forum, or at least be deleted.

2. Quality inbound link program.
Set up a reciprocal link page or blog roll (a listing of URLs on a blog, as opposed to a website) that can house links from industry sites. Contact these sites to see if they'd be willing to swap links with you - a link to your site for a link to theirs. Again, relevance is key. Search engines shun link harvesting (collecting links from random websites that have no relevance to your site), so these links should be from sites that are similar in nature to your business.

3. Give Web searchers great content and a link back to your site.
Upload relevant, useful content to sites that make such information available to other sites that want to publish it, such as eZinearticles.com, ArticlesBase.com, ArticleDashboard.com or ArticlesFactory.com. These sites should be targeted to your audience. This is a great way to increase market awareness as well as establish an inbound link to your site. There is also a syndication opportunity, as third-party sites may come across your article when doing a Web search and republish your content on their own websites. As long as third-parties give your site editorial attribution and a link, getting them to republish your content is just another distribution channel for you to consider.

4. Website pages should be keyword rich and related to your business.
Make a list of your top keywords and variations of those words, and incorporate them into the copy on your site (avoiding the obvious repetition of words). Your strongest keywords should be heaviest from the top of your webpage to bottom. Make sure your title tags (the descriptions at the top of each page) and meta tags are unique and chock full of keywords.

5. List your site in online directories by related category or region.
This is an effective way to increase exposure and get found by prospects searching specifically for information on your product or service by keyword topic.

With organic online marketing, since it's free, you're trading expediency's for cost. So it could take weeks to months for your site to be indexed by search engines and for it to start gaining traction in the SERPs.
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