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Website Traffic – The Easy Way Myth

Posted by Steve | Posted in SEO by Request | Posted on 09-05-2011

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When people find out that I am a SEO consultant I am often asked the easiest way to generate website traffic. This question is often posed by an individual who already has a website which is not generating any significant traffic. The same individual would have read numerous articles, listened to many so-called experts and formulated an opinion that website traffic is dependent on some very simple factors and a little trickery.

To a large extent, the formula is quite simple. You either pay for traffic using Google Ad words (or other PPC options)  or you create significant back links to your web page from pages with a high page rank and some relevance to your linked page. Not a difficult formula I’m sure you will agree. Google Adwords rewards you with traffic because you pay them money for this service, back links from relevant and high ranking sites establish your website as an authority on the subject and therefore Google will rewards you with a high organic ranking and therefore more traffic. In both cases however, it is more complex than it would first seem.

If you are in the position of owning a website which gets very little traffic it is highly likely that the very foundation on which it was built is shaky. As an example, more than 90% of the web pages I investigate are missing many of the critical elements required for success. This is because insufficient thought has been given to the product or service that is being marketed, the competition in that niche, the keywords, the structure of the website and the SEO on the web pages themselves.

It is true that well optimized websites, rich in content and value to the target market can still receive little or no traffic. In these rare cases, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising and/or link building strategies can pay dividends very quickly. However, in most cases driving traffic to the website is going to be difficult and ineffective due to poor SEO, strong competition or poor website content.

While many less reputable SEO experts would suggest massive amounts of traffic can be generated through other means this is simply not the case please as far as generating targeted traffic on a sustainable basis.

If I had to sum up the most important factor in generating website traffic I would have to say “relevance”. The search engines are attempting to determine the relevance of your web page to the search query made by the user. This is because that is exactly the experience the  user wants to have. If the end user enters a search phrase “used cars in Pennsylvania under $3000” and your website is called www.pennsylvaniausedcars.com and the user lands on a web page showing use cars under $3000 in Pennsylvania then you are 90% home. From here your website needs to build the confidence of the end user much in the same way as the guy at the used-car lot does when a buyer walks in off the street.

My advice to website owners is always to optimize their website so that the end user’s experience will be one of relevance. In the process they will sometimes need to look at whether there website can deliver this relevance and if not they may have to bite the bullet and start from scratch. While this advice may not what they want to hear it may be the reality of the situation.

Steve Williams