Let us look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and especially some white hat SEO tactics you can try for yourself, without having to spend money on an expert.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to its users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with sponsored or paid search adverts.
White Hat SEO Tactics vs Black Hat SEO Tactics
White hat SEO tactics is the opposite of Black Hat SEO tactics.
Generally, white hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engines’ terms of service.
Black hat SEO is typically used by those who are looking for a quick return on their site, rather than a long-term investment on their site. Tactics used here are to get quick rankings, but they normally are done so through shady means and they don’t get ranked for long, once the Search Engines catch them out.
Black hat techniques include techniques such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, and buying links.
Not all of these methods are strictly white hat SEO tactics, but they are all great ways to get traffic to your website long term.
Tactic No. 1 – Keywords
The most common, and somewhat sneaky way to get more traffic to your website is to incorporate keywords both on your website and into the back area of your website.
Always write an article with SEO in mind and use your chosen keyword within the text at least 3 times per 1000 words. You need to aim to get your website pages onto the first pages of the search engines if possible, because research indicates that internet users will only click on the top ten to twenty results that they see in the search engines.
After this they tend to type in another set of keywords in order to find what they want. However, if you do your keyword research and use the right keywords for your article, you can almost guarantee that someone searching for those keywords will find your site.
In order for this to happen, you should come up with a comprehensive list of words that should drive people to your site. Then, incorporate them into the site by publishing articles containing the keywords on your site, or by embedding these articles with keywords into the code of the website. Very important, make sure that the keywords and the content match. In other words the keywords that you use must be relevant to the content that you are typing.
Keywords are an amazing tool to use, because most people might not even be looking for your site specifically, but they may stumble upon it by typing in the search term that matches your keywords.
Keep this in mind, and look for some of the most current and popular search terms in Google.
Then, come up with ways to get those terms into your site somehow. This process does take some diligence and definitely requires website upkeep, but you will definitely be pleased with the results in the long run.
Focus on your website’s content and not just the products or the services you are offering.
Come up with in-depth articles, product updates, and other interesting topics that will intrigue visitors and make them want to return.
Knowing what the current web trends are is absolutely crucial to ensuring e-commerce and marketing success. Having a great keyword research tool like this one will also make your life a lot easier.
Tactic No. 2 – Advertise as Much as Possible
No one wants to appear as if they are a “spammy” website or that they send out relentless emails to their email subscribers. At the same time, competition on the web is fierce, so you have to continually advertise in order to get your site across to the masses.
Social networking has done wonders for online businesses. Use Facebook, Digg, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking websites to create a true online presence. Make profiles for your business on each website, then try to get as many friends as possible. Post often, constantly updating your new contacts with sales, new products, and promotions so that they stay interested. Creating and then posting fun contests on social networking sites is another excellent way to get more traffic.
Advertise in e-zines (online magazines) if you can. This is a good way to reach out to Internet savvy demographics who are already looking at articles and online related topics and who have a knack for using the Internet.
Simply contribute some online content, and then include your website’s link at the end, encouraging readers to click it and check out your website. Banner ads are also helpful and can leave a ton of room for creativity.
A flash file or colorful, creative graphic can really grab someone’s attention and entice them to click the ad and move onto your site. Do not just buy ad space on any old website, however. Be sure you actually strategically purchase ad space on websites where people who are likely to make a purchase on your own website will visit.
For example, if you sell running shoes, you would want to place a banner ad on a sport related or even a running specific related website, so that people interested in the same thing or something similar will be interested.
Advertising on the web is not the only way you can make your presence known on the Internet in order to get more traffic. In fact, message boards and chat rooms are still a very popular way to get attention. People enjoy connecting with others through chat and messages online.
Find websites that relate to both your current and most profitable demographic, as well as your products themselves.
Next, register as a member of those websites’ message boards. Become an active presence there, and be cordial and willing to help answer the questions of other members.
In fact you might be able to partner with the other website to become a moderator in exchange for some “press” for your own website. Then at the end of your posts, use your website link in your signature line. Or, you can recommend visitors who have questions visit your website. Be sure that you follow the website’s message board rules and regulations so you do not get banned.
If you decide to use chat rooms and message boards as a place to get attention to your website, be sure you do not sound like a snake oil salesman or sound too pushy. Try to be accommodating, honest, and friendly. Talk to other members as if they were a personal friend, and then only at the end recommend they seek out more information by visiting your site. You can even start your very own online discussion board on your home website if you desire.
Tactic No. 4 – Yahoo Answers For Traffic
As far as white hat SEO tactics go, this one is similar to the previous method. You as the expert can answer questions that people ask on http://answers.yahoo.com. What better way to help someone and at the same time generate more visitors to your website?
Yahoo Answers is a great place to be and this is where people have burning questions they’d like answered.
The process is simple. Simply go to Yahoo Answers, search for your keyword, and find any questions that most relate to your keywords. You can provide your website as a resource for more information to support your answer. Just be careful not to blatantly post your website address too much. It must relate to the question.
For greater exposure to your website, it’s best to be the first to answer the question. The idea is to often post and become an expert in your field so people go to you for answers.
If you haven’t heard of Fiverr (www.fiverr.com), you better take a look at it. Fiverr is a website where members can post what they call “gigs”. Gigs are generally services you offer for five dollars. It can range from video recording to sharing advice, for five dollars.
The sneaky white hat SEO tactic you can use with this strategy is to create a gig and post your samples/portfolio on your own website for people to see. This doesn’t violate Fiverr terms and conditions. If you’re a logo designer, you can post the URL of your website where your samples are located. This generates traffic to your website and additionally attracts more clients.
The first step is to find out what services you’d like to offer. You can then create your first gig and simply wait for people to view your gig.
You don’t necessarily have to offer your actual service/product; you can offer a “taste” of your full service or product.
Tactic No. 5 – Link Building
Link building is an excellent way to get the search engines to notice your website and bump it closer to the top. Obviously it is best if you can get other links naturally i.e. people linking to your content from their websites as they find it helpful.
You could speed up the process by writing to a website owner and asking for a link from his site to yours or offer to do a link swap.
You could also get back links by guest posting on other sites with a link back to your own.
Another method is to leave comments of value on websites similar to your own and if the comment is published you get a link back to your site.
Try to be selective about the sites that you get links from. Spammy sites could actually affect your website’s ranking negatively.
Tactic No. 6 – Think Outside The Web
Of course, online methods to get more traffic is the most obvious way to increase traffic, but what about outside, real world contact?
Even something as simple as business cards can make a big difference in your overall traffic and increases interest. Place business cards around town at local dining places. Try to attend some conferences that feature small businesses, and remember to network.
Making contacts and getting to know other people in business is a great way to establish relationships and get others to call attention to your website by word of mouth.
Many studies done have shown that simple word of mouth is often the most effective way to increase business and awareness. You can even decorate your car with your URL link to get the attention of people on the street! Just about any type of marketing you can think of is positive, and brings more hits to your website.
Do not forget about the traditional way of advertising, as it is still effective. Buy a small ad in your local newspaper and small magazines. You will be amazed at how much traffic a simple ad in a newspaper or magazine in a larger market can generate.
Try to really think outside of the box when it comes to advertising. You can even organize a “street team” of people to pass out your business cards or other promotional items at local events, bars, night clubs, gyms, and more.
These street teams make your presence known by spreading the word to others in person. Don’t forget the stickers! People love stickers and even if they do not keep the stickers, they will most likely stick them somewhere else where another person will see it.
Tactic No. 7 – Tweet And Answer Questions
Twitter has taken the Internet by storm, so there’s no excuse why your business cannot have a Twitter account of its own. Come up with a very creative Twitter handle that people will remember. Then, post regularly so that people who have subscribed to your feed will keep your website or business name in the forefront of their minds.
You can also participate in live Twitter chats if you so choose, and people tend to really enjoy these. It’s a great way to get to know your customers, answer any live questions they may have, and discover new ways to improve your business and your website, all at the same time.
Twitter has shown remarkable improvement in many websites’ volume, so it is no doubt something to consider utilizing to its full potential.
Gone are the days when people refer to an actual encyclopedia or dictionary when they have a question. Instead, they turn to the Internet for advice and answers.
Use websites such as Ask.com, Yahoo.com, and PeerPong to help others out when they have a question. In return, you can link to your website at the bottom of the answer, and try to find the questions that best fit your business’ profile.
These websites are very popular, and you can usually find the questions people have by doing a quick terms search. Many of these websites allow you to become an “expert” in your chosen topic, which not only earns you brownie points, but also encourages more people to ask you questions, in turn leading them to your website.
Use these sites to their fullest potential by being a consistent presence and answering questions thoroughly, with a friendly tone.
Tactic No. 8 – Support A Cause You Care About
Perhaps someone you love has been a breast cancer survivor or has dealt with breast cancer. Maybe it is animals or the arts that you love?
Decide what you are truly passionate about, and then find a good, reputable charity that helps out your chosen cause. Next, see if you can become a sponsor or host a charity event.
By doing this, you will be doing something twofold: you’ll be helping your own business out by showing others you care about your community or chosen charity, and you will actually be doing something good with a real impact that can help others.
Find out if your business or website can become a sponsor, and see if you meet the charity’s requirements. Usually this kind of sponsorship will get your logo posted on all of their banners and t-shirts and will most definitely bring attention and traffic to your website.
People want to help others, and when they see your company has contributed, they will probably want to check you out.
It is also another great opportunity to network with others. You will be amazed at how much business charitable contributions and sponsoring a charity can bring you.
It’s also a nice way to show you care and to make a difference for the charity of your choosing.
Using a backdoor approach is a stealthy and easy way to direct traffic to your website.
It gets people to visit your website by means that don’t appear obvious, but still get them to click on that link and take a look. But being sneaky is not the only way to get new hits and new customers. In fact, straightforward methods like promoting your website locally using business cards and street teams or participating in a charity event are also effective.
Using a few simple marketing techniques and some tried and true advertising tools, you will find that a larger customer base awaits you, and more site traffic is just around the corner.
Remember to be patient, and understand that it takes time to establish yourself as a business online.
By using as many avenues as possible such as social networking and media, online bulletin board contributions, and good old-fashioned business cards, not to mention your white hat SEO tactics, you can ensure that you’re making a presence both in person and online.
Please feel free to comment below if you have any other white hat SEO tactics you would like to add to this list.