Traffic Generation: It's Not All About SEO

by Deborah Ager on August 2, 2010

These days, optimizing a website for search engines involves adjusting your website’s content to get the most out of your links from social media, offline marketing efforts, public relations, or other promotional techniques.

When I managed SEO for a media company,

people would ask, “What do the search engines want?”

I encouraged them to think about people over robots.

Image: Adam Crowe, Creative Commons

After all, we want people to:

read the articles

find the materials useful

and to buy the products.

Search engines are not human, and they don’t take the actions marketers want.

“Stop aiming for the engines and aim for real, live human beings. Aim for obtaining traffic and not backlinks. Aim for obtaining attention and not page rank… Aim for commendations from breathing individuals,” says Rae Hoffman.

In business, relationships help marketing. That hasn’t changed over time, even if the tools have changed.

We still get attention from relationships. The people we develop relationships with—online or in person—have the power to provide links, hire us, write about us, refer us, and so on.

What’s easy to forget—especially in larger organizations—is that social media helps with SEO and SEO helps with social media. If you integrate these channels, you may just find you’ve made each channel perform better.

Parts of a whole

When I optimized a client’s website recently, I explained that the on-page SEO was only one part of the process and would not bring new clients on its own.

Responding to the client’s budget constraints, I suggested phasing in other aspects—such as social media and acquiring links back to the website—at a later point.

When I reviewed the analytics, it was no surprise to see that on-page SEO did not bring in traffic by itself.

To achieve increased traffic, you have to tell people and search engines that your site exists. An excellent way to communicate this is via social media.

Mashable points out: “Implementing SEO programs without leveraging the content distribution and linking benefits of social web participation makes link building for SEO an uphill battle. The nature of the social web encourages participation: sharing, voting, commenting and linking. Popular social content gets exposure, traffic and can result in a substantial number of relevant inbound links.”

By developing relationships, you can get links back to your site that will help to build your traffic.

This article is a good example: following Rae Hoffman’s posts, I’ve found her content valuable, and so I am including links to articles she’s written. When enough people link to your web content, they help you increase your exposure and website traffic.

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Regular contributor Deborah Ager is principal at ClickWisdom, LLC, which helps organizations attract and keep their ideal customers using paid search, social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing. She’s a Google AdWords Certified Professional and has managed $1.5 million spends in paid search while achieving target opt-in rates. Read a Maryland search engine optimization success story and sign up for free internet marketing tips; you can also connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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