It seems that everyone wants to be #1 in Google, and get the traffic goodness that flows from that. Even if you are not at the top of the search engine rankings, you may find that you get a large percentage of your visitors from Google. That is not necessarily a good thing.
There is nothing wrong with getting a lot of visitors referred to your site by Google. However, if those visitors represent 30%, 40% or more of the traffic you receive, you need a new plan. If the Google algorithm changes, or Google penalizes your site for some reason, you will see a dramatic drop in visitors–and the income they produce.
Start by taking a look at your web site statistics. How do people come to your site? There are three general ways: search engines, links from other sites, and direct entry.
Chances are, most of your search engine traffic comes from Google. Obviously, you do not want to receive fewer referrals from them. Instead, you should diversify so that you receive more visitors from other sources. Let’s say you are getting 1000 visitors a day to your site, and Google sends 40% (400) of them. Other search engines account for 20% (200), links another 20% (200) and direct traffic (type-ins, bookmarks, clicks from email) the final 20% (200).
If you could generate an additional 300 visits a day on average from sources other than Google, you not only have a 30% increase in traffic, you have reduced Google’s percentage of traffic referrals from 40% to 30%, making you less dependent on the traffic from Google. Even if you see an increase in Google referrals and the percentage of traffic they refer to you stays at 40%, the overall increase in the number of visitors will help to insulate you from any changes affecting future Google referrals.
Does increasing your traffic this way sound impossible? It is not. Although it probably will not happen overnight, it can be done with a few simple steps. Here are some ways to do that:
Optimize areas of your site for other major search engines, such as Yahoo! and Windows Live. Although all search engines look for some of the same things when ranking sites, each has their own algorithms and weighting and generates different results. You can learn more about optimizing for all of the search engines at http://www.SEOSmarts.com/
Get lots of links. The search engines all like to see lots of quality links to your site, so getting more links will help your rankings. But the links also bring more people to your site, and that is the more important result in this context. Look for ways to get one-way links from authority sites and quality sites in your topic area.
Get active in social media. My logs show visitors coming to my site through Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook and other social media sites where I have a presence.
Encourage people to bookmark your site. That can mean saving it to their Favorites, or on a social bookmarking site such as delicious.
Ask visitors to sign up for your RSS feed or email updates. If your site generates an RSS feed (as all blogs and many other sites do) use a service such as Feedburner to offer visitors ways to be notified when new articles appear on your site.
Start an email list. Use a service such as Aweber to collect email addresses and send a newsletter from time to time. Include links to recent articles and other resources on your site to encourage readers to click through. I find that sending a newsletter results in a traffic spike at my site every time.
Add new content frequently to encourage visitors to return often. Tools such as bookmarking, RSS and email newsletters are great at reminding visitors to return to your site, but you have to give them a reason to do so. When you update your site regularly, visitors will come back to see what is new.
Implementing some or all of the above ideas will get more visitors to your web site and make you less dependent on Google for traffic. Get started now and you can see results within days or weeks.
Watch for my upcoming series on specific way to get more incoming links and bring more people to your website or blog. Subscribe now, via RSS or email, so you don’t miss a thing!