How to increase site traffic

Several ways to attract visitors to a web project

  1. What are the links and what the heck are they for?
  2. Everything that people do – they do for people, eventually. This fully applies to web projects. If you have ordered (made, bought) a site, and no one ever visits it, it means that your efforts and your money were wasted. Where do visitors come from on any site? Let's try to make a complete list of the traffic sources. Speaking the language of specialists, we are going to specify the generalized process of visiting the site. So, the visitors come to the site for the following reasons:

    using the links from other sites and directories;
    using the links from the bookmarks of the visitor's browser;
    the visitor types the address manually;
    the site is open “by itself”;
    using the search engines (SE).

    Now let us dwell on each case in detail.

    The use of links in bookmarks does not require special explanation. While surfing the Internet, the user records the pages of the sites he is interested in the browser's bookmarks, and, if necessary, can open any page whose address and name appears in the “Bookmarks” menu of Firefox or Google Chrome.

    As they say, one doesn't need to be clever for typing the address of the desired page manually in the address bar of the browser. Also, there is no need to particularly discuss the source of such addresses. Today, when the Internet has permeated to all the spheres of our existence, the person can see the address of the page in television advertising, learn from friends, receive by mail either from a friend in the form of advice or from an enemy in the form of spam, etc.

    If the certain site is opened in the browser “by itself”, there are two reasons, at least. Perhaps there is a malware on your computer. But more often this behavior of your browser is simply programmed in the code of the page that you open, or which is already open. The web developers ready to perpetrate every type of stratagem, just to force you to visit the page they need. But you do not need this page! Unfortunately, these tricks are not so easy to resist at the present stage of development of IT-technologies, and it's very sad. The process is very similar to tug-of-war. For example, before the site developers get a taste and come up with ways to open additional pages, pop-up windows, start audio and video clips, they immediately got a “worthy rebuff” from browser developers. Fortunately, modern browsers are able to control the opening of so-called pop-up windows, allow you to quickly turn off the sound in a tab if necessary, and many other things. Anyway, let's get back to the sources of traffic.

    When you open a certain site from links from other sites, it is important to answer the question: Where do these links come from on these or other sites? Let's try to explain this by a simple example. Let's say you open a page of a certain site, let it be some project about culinary arts, let's call it “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes”. Dozens and hundreds of outbound links to other sites, projects, portals, services, blogs, counters, online stores are placed on the website “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes”, it is very difficult to even imagine all the options, but we will try to systematize them. So, from the point of view of “primary” Internet technologies, the cross reference links can be systematized as follows:

    an anchor tags to jump to a specific location on a page (so that you can easily switch the current page position to other text paragraphs, for example);
    the links to the different page URL of the same website;
    the implementation of various service functions of the site (for example, “Login to the site” or “Download file”);
    links to other sites, so-called “outbound links”.

    In turn, the “outbound links” should also be distinguished, first of all, by the criterion of their origin. In other words, it is necessary to clarify the purpose of various links. It is necessary to answer the question, what is the mechanism, what is the reason of the appearance of these links. Let's try to make one more systematization, let's answer the question: What kind of links can be found on the pages of your site?

    There might be the outbound links, firmly fixed by the webmaster on their positions for the convenience of the site visitor. For example, the page may contain addresses of sites of a similar or concomitant theme. The word “fixed” means that addresses and anchors, i.e. the content of links, do not change from time to time when different people visit “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website.
    There can be dynamic outbound links that the script on the site gives out for the visitor's convenience. For example, Mrs. Dusya have programmed the script of the recipe site, after which the soulless script in real time dutifully selects suitable sites with similar cookie recipes.
    There might be the dynamic outbound SEO-links (SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, the site optimization for search engines) – they are placed to influence search engines. These links are needed to influence the algorithm of the search engines. It is easy to guess that the search engines (or rather, their developers) do not like this very much.
    There can be dynamic outbound links within the contextual banner ads when the script of “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website requests the “third party” of the process – the script of the contextual advertising company. This script makes so-called targeting depending on the context of the current page, for example. The script chooses and then displays the ads corresponding to this moment and places it on the “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website in the form of banners, links and/or pictures.

    Now we have figured out some basic things. Now we know what the process of visiting a site is. Now we know, where and for what reasons on sites there are those or other links. And only now we can try to get closer to the overarching goal of this article – to try to understand what needs to be done so that real live people, not just robots, come to our site. However, before continuing we dwell in more detail on several basic concepts and technologies of the IT sphere, both those that have already been mentioned above, and those that have not been discussed yet.

  1. Search engine
  2. In fact, we have already described the idea of the work of any search engine. The “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website deals with articles for the culinary enthusiast who visit this site. In fact, the script on this site does a job similar to that done by the huge and super-expensive search engine scripts, such as Yahoo and Google. These two cases differ not only in cost and “intelligence” of scripts. The fundamental difference is the ability of Yahoo and Google to respond to any requests, while the “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website deals only with cooking matters.

    The idea of a search engine is best understood through a simple analogy to the library topics. Of course, in the digital age, few people visit the temples of the book kingdom. However, let's hope that many have seen what the librarian's job is, how he helps the reader choose the literature that suits him. Recall that in the prehistoric era, library readers could use both the alphabetical catalog and the thematic.

    So, the search engines operate on a complex algorithm, whose task is still the same – to help the reader find the information he needs. In the “prehistoric” library the reader used to fill out a form – a piece of paper with the name and codes of books. Nowadays, those who want to learn something they need also fill in the corresponding form fields and receive from the search engine a page with several links to target sites being sought. Moreover, search engine returns such links, which, from its point of view, relevant to the request of its “client”.

  3. Search Engine Optimization
  4. Let's express one more thought in book and library terms. If the author wants his book to be read, he must observe many rules and canons when he writes this book. He must write a high-quality and interesting book. In this case, any self-respecting library gladly put such the book in a prominent place. The library staff recommends this book to their readers among many others. This book with a big advantage wins the “competition” among other similar publications on this particular topic.

    Coming back to SEO, we can say that the web developer just has to completely adhere to the rules, norms and recommendations for creating high-quality sites. Only under this condition his site can be “respectful” for the search engine scripts. Only then “the happiness comes” to the webmaster. Only then great crowds come to his site. Only with this condition, his ideas would be quickly propagated throughout the Internet audience. Only then he'll come into great money. This decision allows him to make real money from selling goods or services of any type.

    For example, a quality website about the rabbit growing could help you to increase the sales of special feed for these animals. Or, for another instance, an interesting site about construction could attract customers for the repair of residential buildings and office space.

  1. The SEO tricks for website promotion
  2. Neither Yahoo, nor Google, nor the staff of the good old library are not the nonprofit do-gooder. All services in the world are worth something and all services are being done to earn something. As they say, strictly business, no strings attached. The staff of the library earns, certainly, salaries and bonuses. But the Yahoo and Google search engine companies don't run the contextual banner ads services for free. Since there are not so many search engines in the world, hence there are not too many the market players that can affect the “weather” on the Internet. On the contrary, there are many people (hundreds of millions may be?) whose work is closely related to the search engine operation results. Certainly, all of them would like to make some money, at least.

    As a result, the history of the existence and development of the Internet is in many ways (most likely, mostly) this is the story of the struggle of two clans. The first clan is the search engines, the second clan is the so-called SEO specialists. These are such special people who can influence the work of the Internet inner sanctum. They are able to influence the work of search engine scripts.

    Sometimes it is difficult to draw a distinction between an SEO specialist and a webmaster. The main strategic task for the SEO specialist is to improve the site's position in the search engine delivery. The main strategic task for the webmaster is to make a high-quality site. In other words, the webmaster comes up, composes, decorates and develops the site, and the SEO specialist makes Yahoo and Google happy with the work of the webmaster.

    Certainly, it's another topic about what methods an SEO specialist does his job. Generally speaking, SEO can be talked about indefinitely. While we talk about it, developers of search engines come up with many more things, which have to be talked about again and again, over and over. So, let us briefly note that there are two kinds of SEO practice. The former of them is called “Black hat SEO” and the latter is called “White hat SEO” respectively. Remember that search engines don't like any of them. Yahoo and Google ban any site, suspected of being served by magic “Black hat SEO”. Links to these sites never again appear in the search engine results. Of course, the links appear in those results when the ban is lifted.

    However, the life of a webmaster who uses “White hat SEO” is not much better. But nevertheless such sites continue to exist. Maybe if they are lucky, some of them get top ranking in the search results. In case of luck, a site can get a lot of visitors, and the site owner can earn a lot of money! But be aware of the harsh reality. Abandon all your vain hopes. Don't dream about wealthy future, read the following subtitle carefully instead.

  1. It is a one-sided battle
  2. Let's consider an abstract example. It is necessary to understand the fundamental difference between the substance of SEO specialist's activity and the substance of the ornithologist's job, let it be so. Of course, climate changes are constantly taking place in nature, this can have a huge impact on the living conditions of birds. However, for many centuries the basic laws and postulates of biological science remains unshakable.

    It is quite another matter when it comes to the mysteries of SEO. What does this scientific discipline study? This this scientific discipline is studying the behavior of robots. This this scientific discipline is studying man-made robots. It turns out that this process is in full dependence on living people who can, if desired, change any “rules of the game” almost every day.

    It is clear that the essence of the problem lies not only in the desire or unwillingness of the search engine developers to make those or other changes in the ranking algorithms. Of course, we all obey not only our whims, but also the market laws. Not surprisingly, the programmers of Yahoo and Google are also subject to these laws. But the laws of the market establish a strict dependence of prices on goods and services on demand and supply in this market. This simple wisdom is called “the law of supply and demand.”

    Let's remember now that the lion's share of the search engine market is divided between two monsters. Whatever it is, Yahoo and Google are keeping their eyes on the ball! So, dear SEO specialists, while there is such a tough monopoly on the market, your situation doesn't sound great. The income of webmasters completely depends on a search engines' whimsical whim until there isn't a fierce competition among search engines.

    Let's put emphasis on this important conclusion once again. The forces are not equal in the battle between a crowd of boys named David and two Goliaths. More precisely, there is a struggle between millions of webmasters, on the one hand, and Yahoo and Google, on the other. The search engines always have “a home-court advantage” because they have a great opportunity to change the ranking algorithm almost every day. As soon as this happens, the webmasters are forced to change all their “tricks”. Which ones? The answer could not be given immediately, but for now, let's try to understand the ranking principle based on “the donor site link weight”.

  3. Who is stronger in the competition of two women?
  4. The story of how SEO professionals were finding happiness can already be published as a series of multivolume books. Within the framework of this general article, we only note the most vivid battle scene. The most remarkable episode of the long struggle between the SEO specialists and the search engine companies was the story about external links.

    Scientifically, this process can be called the influence of external links to the operation of the reference ranking algorithm. This algorithm is that sites are assigned certain ratings. Such rating we call a “trust” in the terminology concerning the SEO. The outbound links “transfer” some “trust” to the site on which he refers.

    The site on which the link is placed is called a reference donor, and the other site to which this link indicates is called, as is not hard to guess, an acceptor. When ratings are installed for all Internet sites, you can calculate the “momentary” “significance” of each particular site, which can be taken into account when making a decision about which site to show first in the list, and which, second, and what not to show at all.

    Let's call the site on which the outbound link is placed as a reference donor. Similarly, let's call another site, to which this link points, as acceptor. In other words, the acceptor is a site with inbound links. It is very easy to calculate the “momentary” “rating” of each particular site, when the ratings for all Internet sites are clearly defined. This "rating” can be taken into account when the search engine decides on which site to show first in the list, and which, second, and which should not be shown at all.

    Let's look at the information presented in the previous terrible paragraph, on the example of our fictitious site "The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes". Suppose the user has submitted the "culinary recipes" keyword phrase to search engine. And, let's say that the Internet was invented just yesterday, and there are only four sites: two of them deal with a culinary subjects, and two others deal with an abstract subject. Let this list includes two web news sites, and two web culinary sites. One of the web news site is named “The news from journalist Kolya”, and the second is named “The news from the Mr Petya.” It turns out that Mr Kolya made a good and useful website, at a high professional journalistic level. But Mr Petya is an amateur, so his website is of poor quality. As for culinary sites, Mrs. Dusya also has a competitor site. Except for Mrs. Dusya, Mrs. Klava also published her recipes on her own site.

    And now, finally, comes the solemn moment. Recall that in our imaginary, small Internet there are only four sites, not counting one search engine. Let's suppose that at a certain point some user of such Internet has decided to submit to the search engine the query “recipes from Mrs”. Of course, the search engine provides a list of two sites, because it doesn't have much choice in this situation. But... which site will be on the first place, and which one on the second?

    The answer to this question in real life is very, very complicated. This answer is so complicated that a regular person could not imagine the scale of the ranking task. Why do we need to solve this problem? This task must be accomplished in order to obtain the list of two sites made by our imaginary women.

    Fortunately, we could be satisfied with simple answers in this case. Therefore, significantly simplifying the situation, let's say that at the top of the list (other things being equal) would be that site, to which a more weighty donor refers. In other words, the outbound link to the “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” website is on the “The news from journalist Kolya” website, so the “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” is ranked first in the list. Accordingly, the site “The of Mrs. Klava's Recipes” is ranked second in the list, since there is an incoming link only from the poor-quality site of the amateur Petya.

    If the foregoing paragraph seems difficult for someone, then we can imagine a very simple analogy with real life. Suppose, the elections of the Student Council are held in some university. Accordingly, the candidates for the Council members collect recommendations from their peers. If the student Dusya enlisted the support of the dean of the faculty, and the student Klava enjoys the support of only the cleaner of the out-of-town secondary building of the University, then, of course, the chance to be elected (again, all other things being equal) is greater for Dusya.

    Let's hope that we have chosen an adequate analogy. Be that as it may, there are big doubts that there is a more understandable way of explaining the algorithm of referential ranking...

    So, let's hope that something became clear after considering dizzy analogies. Now we have a little idea of how the search engine scripts could work. Let's try to explain now how the SEO specialists are trying to confront those scripts.

  1. The SEO specialists tricks and manoeuvres
  2. What to do to affect the work of search engines? What tricks and maneuvers are needed to achieve top-ranking? What do SEO specialists do for this? In fact, they do not do anything special. They just empirically determine the reasons why search scripts prefer those or other publications. Then on the advice of SEO experts the webmasters try to satisfy these preferences. For example, at one time the search engines highly rated all sorts of slangy words. The outbound link with an anchor “an interesting article about that and that and that” was estimated lower than the anchor of the form “here” or “here on this cool site.” Naturally, after the specialists began to abuse these techniques, the developers of search engine scripts have immediately corrected the corresponding algorithms.

    To date, thousands of articles on the theory and practice of website promotion by placing inbound links on third-party sites have already been written. Tens and hundreds of link exchanges were created, where enterprising webmasters could buy inbound links to their sites. As we remember, the link itself is placed on the donor site, where it is an outbound link. This link points to the acceptor site for which it is an inbound link. Of course, buyers have excellent opportunities to acquire the necessary links with the right anchors, on the right pages and in the necessary context, etc.

    SEO professionals bought and sold links, and envious search engine developers cracked their teeth in rage. Look, how it is! Owners of sites earn huge amounts of money on selling links! They say: It's not going anywhere! They say: That's not good! They say: This is outrageous! You would think the developers of search robots do their work for charity as a volunteer. As if the search engines were not created for earnings, but for providing the free education of Internet users. Eventually programmers of search companies declared war on this method of website promotion. This war was won. Search engines were able to deprive webmasters of the lion's share of their earnings. The market of link exchanges has died, or almost died. And what do the site owners do next?

    How we could benefit from the placement of the inbound link on a donor site? In fact, such operation does not create any use value. (To be precise, a small use value is created by placing the link, but it can be neglected in our context.) Placing an incoming link only give the signal of the acceptor site content significance, not more. Hence we have a direct consequence: sooner or later, search engine programmers would come up with algorithms that exclude the influence of external links to the ranking of the donor site in the search results. Of course, site owners can try to invest money and time in the link building. However, it should be remembered that this is, most likely, either a nonsensical occupation, or a business that has a temporary and limited effect.

    Thus, we found out that investing money and time in promotion through link building is not a reliable way to attract visitors to the site. What to do? Good answers can be found in the next two paragraphs of this article.

  1. The first sure-fire way to attract visitors
  2. So, we found out that search engines try to exclude the influence of external factors on the site ranking. First of all, this concerns the link building. It's quite another matter when it comes to the content of our site, which we want to promote in the search ranking. In this case, the search engine can not completely ignore our efforts, since the search engine companies are obliged to take care of their customers under market conditions. By and large, their customers are all users who are looking through the listing of the search engine. Therefore, the position of the site in the search engine listing would be good if good content appears on our website. Our site would be the first in the ranking, if it is high-quality site. Generally speaking, the quality of the site is a separate and complex issue, because there are many quality criteria. But it does not fundamentally change the situation.

    Nowadays, when programmers have developed very clever ranking algorithms, the art of website promotion is to make a quality website that we are going to promote. The quality criteria of the site are publicly available and nothing prevents webmasters from entering into fair (or almost fair) competition for good positions in the search engine results. In this case, the actions of the webmaster cannot be called tricks, it is quite worthy work. And sometimes, many years of hard work to improve the quality of the site can be considered a feat.

    The work over increasing of the quantity and quality of content is very important for the site owner. Unlike the SEO “tricks” on referential ranking, it increases the use value of the website. After the site is better, it necessarily takes a higher position in search results. Even the greed of the search engine developers would not prevent this! After all, scripts of search robots would be forced to give preference to those sites that have more content and on which this content is more useful and interesting. Otherwise, they would lose out in the competition with commercial rivals. In other words, a priori, investments in content as well as investments in other advantages of the site are more safe and profitable than investments in the SEO “tricks”.

    Let's give one more example from real life, this time it will be an example from the film industry. Obviously, the movie producer always has two fundamentally different ways of promoting his film to the cinema screens. You can seek self-serving and disinterested “friendship” with directors of film networks. And you can spend all your energy and money on creating quality products. However, in the first case, the reliability of investment is very weak. After all, at any time, either the director of the cinema network can be dismissed, his conscience would wake up, or he would simply stop violating the law, despite the fact that you have already given him a bribe. As a result, the film will be removed from the rental.

    It's quite another thing when you made a quality film. Even better, when the quality of the movie is supported by investment in advertising. Here, and without any gifts, directors of all film networks would be happy to release such a picture in the rental.

    That's why neither Yahoo nor Google will not ignore our site, if it really represents value for visitors. From this perspective, placing a large number of high-quality, unique materials ensure the huge traffic to the site. However, it is very important that you do this gradually, from month to month, adding good and necessary articles to the site, developing useful features on it.

    If the webmaster managed to create a huge traffic site, he will use it to earn money for the rest of his life. That's why the site owners are ready to invest big money in the search promotion of their Internet resources. They invest a lot, and gradually become richer. This is a very slow process. There are no fast ways of website promotion, it's not like the old days. And what if the traffic to the site is needed immediately and in large numbers? Where can we get visitors to the site? For this there is a second trouble-free way.

  1. The second sure-fire way to attract visitors
  2. In the Internet business everything is arranged, as in ordinary life. If you are not lucky, you can try to buy something that you lacked a bit of perfect happiness. In this case, the tactic of buying the traffic to the site will be very reasonable. The main advantage of this method is that we get traffic right away and as much as you can afford.

    Of course, in this case, the cost of one customer may be significantly higher. It should be reminded that if your site is of high quality, you just pay for the domain, hosting and content. The rest will be done for you by the search engine scripts and people who liked your site. Nevertheless, if we buy traffic, then we can make a profit immediately. It is only necessary to ensure the appropriate quality and, most importantly, the appropriate price of goods or services. We do not need to wait months and years, when Yahoo and Google will appreciate your promotion efforts. But after all, they could never appreciate our services!

    It is important to understand that high ranking of the website can be guaranteed only by the heads of search companies. As a maximum, an SEO specialist can just guarantee the presence of positive dynamics. If your neighbor in the student hostel for a “modest” reward “guarantees” you specific positions in the search results... Well, we hope you can take care of this, whatever it takes. This case is very similar to an anecdote in which a subtle rogue has predicted the sex of a child for future parents, and in case of failure he returned the money to those parents. Obviously, a fraudster has been lucky in half the time...

    Let's return to site traffic trade. How to do it? Very simple! It is necessary to pay money for visits of visitors in the “shop”, that is, on the exchange of contextual advertising. There always have been many of such exchanges. In the early days of the Internet, site owners did not buy visitors, but attracted by posting banners. Nobody paid for posting banners, because online payment systems were not developed. Banners were posted on barter. Site owners changed the posting of banners on their resources to place banners on other sites, so that was life.

    However, times have changed. Today, real professionals are working on the market. The main share of the market belongs to Google, which is the intermediary between webmasters and advertisers. A service from an advertiser is called Google AdWords. Accordingly, the service in which a webmaster can sell his advertising services is called Google AdSense. Google has competitors in this business, for example, Media.net and Xaxis.

    Setting up an advertising campaign in Google AdSense is a rather complicated task, because there are great opportunities for fine-tuning in this service. For example, you can set the demo of the ad depending on the time of day or day of the week. But the most important thing is that there is a possibility of geographical targeting, advertising is broadcast depending on which country and in what city the visitor of the site is in. If, for example, your online store does not deliver goods to foreign buyers, then there is no point in showing ads to those who open the site while abroad.

    The price limitation table, which the advertiser works out depending on the profitability of his business, takes a special place in setting up an advertising campaign. The advertiser should take into account his own financial capabilities, as well as understand how urgent the task of attracting visitors to the site. Generally speaking, several conditions are necessary in order for advertising to appear on the page of a search engine or any other site of the advertising network. In fact, the algorithm of the advertising service is based on the principle of the auction.

    Let's consider this principle on a simple example. Of course, our good old culinary sites from Mrs. Klava and Mrs. Dusya are completely comfortable to us in this case. For simplicity, suppose their businesses are in the same city, then this business competition is not affected by geographical targeting. Mrs. Dusia is distinguished cookery expert, her dishes are more delicious. Naturally, these dishes are more expensive than the dishes prepared by Mrs. Klava.

    Let's admit, the advertising exchange is going to place some contextual advertising on particular pages of the advertising medium. To this end, the exchange script must solve the task of “auction”, determine which particular advertisement should be placed there. We also assume that only two sites take part in the auction: the already familiar to us “The Mrs. Dusya's Recipes” and “The Mrs. Klava's Recipes”. Which ad will be hosted? There will be posted an advertisement on the site, the owner of which put a higher bid on the auction. The more generous one will win, the one who pointed out a higher rate for placing his advertisement. It is clear that most likely this generous business lady will be Mrs. Dusya. It is Mrs. Dusya who has more opportunities. It is Mrs. Dusya who cooks more expensive meals, which allows her to recoup the high costs of advertising.

    The above does not mean that Mrs. Klava would never see his ad on this advertising medium. However, it is clear that Mrs. Klava do not have the luck of her site promotion. Simply because our poor Mrs. Klava put an auction at a lower rate.

  1. Instead of summarizing
  2. Of course, our story was very simplified. But, as already noted, the main difficulty for an SEO specialist is not this. The main difficulty is that, as long as we read this article, Yahoo and Google make up new ranking algorithms. While we are trying to delve into the nuances of website promotion, the search engine programmers are writing new scripts. That's why this topic is endless, and people will have to write dozens and hundreds of other articles about SEO promotion.

    However, at this stage we would like to give important advice to webmasters once again. Leave a blind faith in the “power” of SEO professionals. Work on your sites, improve and develop them. The same laws are applicable to the Internet business, as in the real life. Therefore, we give a simple advice: do not try to break into the Valley of Eden through the back door. The laws of the economy are unshakable, as are the laws of the Universe. If you would like to make great money through a site running, you have to create a good site. Success would be guaranteed in this case.

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