The more eyesball you command, the greater your chances for success. This is a universal truth in business. It does not matter if you are a car dealership, personal trainer, online store, consulting firm or lemonade stand. You have to get more and more people to pay attention to you in order to make money. That's it, period.
In this article, we want to introduce you to a concept, forgive us for the cuteness, of an internet traffic generating octopus. A virtual creation that will go out into the ocean of the web and bring you back some quality traffic. We'll talk about his 8 arms and how to make sure he's working on your behalf.
Arm # 1: SEO
The first arm you need for your octopus is that of SEO or search engine optimization. It is vital that all your internet real estate, be it your website, your blog, your articles, videos, and even your social networking accounts be optimized for search engine indexing.
While not the only thing to consider, it is very important because creating content that is friendly to the search engines like Google, yahoo, and Bing means that they will be friendly to you. We're not going to go into detail on how to optimize content, because that's not the point of this article, but it is the first place to start and to learn.
But so as not to leave you totally in the dark, for SEO, a few brief notes are: titles, keywords, descriptions, content and links. Focus on these five things and you'll be getting a great start.
Arm # 2: Article Marketing
One of the most effective means of drawing in traffic, and quality traffic at that, is writing articles like this one. You see, articles are permanent, and if they are written the right way, to be genially informative, they will not only get noticed by those interested in the topics written on, but will be indexed by search engines and syndicated by other webmasters.
What's even better, is that each article you publish can have a call to action and a link to your website, blog, social site or whatever else you want. This means that not only do readers have the opportunity to continue with you, but that you have a high ranked back link to your site. This is very powerful, as we will go into another of our octopus' arms.
Arm # 3: Blogging
Blogging, like article writing, is a way to publish long form and educational content that can be linked to you online. What's different about blogging, generally, is that it is more casual, and more frequent. It also lends itself to a lot more commenting and ever can grow into a network all on its own.
So long as your blog is relevant and interesting, it can be a great way to drive traffic as well as get attention from search engines. Like articles, you can promote your newest blog posts in other terms to increase the results.
Arm # 4: Link Building
As we mentioned before, it is highly helpful to both sending people to your sites and improving your search engine rankings to have good links pointing back to you. This is one of the core SEO methods.
When your website is at the center of a spider web, to use another 8 legged creature analogy, it captures a lot of attention. Keep in mind, that creating multi-tiered links and cross connecting them into a web does take some time, but it should take time. It is most effective when done by hand, be very careful about those one click does it all services. The search engines do not like them, and they could even penalize your websites for using them.
Arm # 5: Video Marketing
Like publishing articles, videos are great because they are very popular, can be embedded all over the place, contain links and descriptions and titles that are indexed by search engines, and are permanent.
Videos are the most likely form of internet media to go viral, which means others will pick them up and embed them on their sites. This not only creates a great stream of traffic, but increases the chance for the video itself showing up in a search query.
Just remember, that like articles, videos should be relevant to what you do. They should be informative and entertaining. Of course, this can vary, it really all depends on what your business does.
Arm # 6: Social Networking
Using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube and others to promote and drive traffic is a complex and time consuming process. Like every one of these strategies, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. Some learning is required here, and how you proceed will depend on the genre of business you're in.
But a good rule of thumb for SMM is to post information that is for the benefit of those seeing it. Post links to new articles, videos and blogs, link to an interesting ezine article you have read, create connections between yourself and likeminded people and companies and so forth.
Virtually every type of business even b2b, can use the social sites. It can be a complicated process, but there are lots of articles and eBooks out there, as well as marketing professionals to help you.
Arm # 7: Swapping
This can be a very effective way to get some attention. You swap something you have of value for something someone else does and therefore can take advantage of others' existing traffic. For example, you may allow others to publish your articles, videos or blogs on their sites in exchange for a link on your site. This way, you both get a link to the other and can drive traffic back and forth.
Another form of this is affiliate marketing. Placing advertising on your sites that promotes others' businesses. The great thing about this is that not only do you get a link, possibly, on another site to yours, but if a sale is made through your website, you earn a commission.
You may want to swap banners with another website, or write content for them, or provide a service in exchange for a link on a high trafficked page. This is a pretty broad idea and does require some thought and creativity.
Arm # 8: Advertising
We saved this for last because it's pretty obvious. One way to almost guarantee traffic is to pay for it, just like in the real world. The biggest difference and advantage of online advertising in relation to the 'real world' is that it's way easier to track and control.
With almost any advertising, be it pay per click, banners, or affiliate programs, you can control where your ads are shown, to what, when, and for how much. You can add, edit and remove them at any time, thereby carefully controlling how much you spend.
A brief review of the three main types are ppc's, or pay per clicks. This is where you pay the hoster of your ad whenever someone click the link. Google AdWords is a common example of this. The other form is banner or text ads placed on high traffic sites like news sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube video ads, and so forth. These are also targetable to location and demographics as well. We've already explained affiliate programs above, which you can both host and participate in, so you can be on either side of the coin.
There you go, you now have the makings of a fine and friendly sea creature. He will swim out there and bring back all kinds of interesting people. And they will not even mind. But the largest key to training your new friend to do his or her job is to actually take action. Somebody has to sit at the computer and do all this work. While these 8 arms are not the whole list, they're a great place to begin and make up a solid core foundation.
It can be a daunting task for most entrepreneurs who are in a business other than direct marketing. Most people are just busy doing their regular work, never mind taking on tens of hours a month in becoming an octopus. But there are those who can help you. Experts and caring professionals like us who want to give every entrepreneur the opportunity to make it online. After all, if more than 97% of people are searching for things on the web as opposed to any other form of research, it does not make sense to have your little buddy go get em 'for you?