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Diversify Your Traffic Ė Web Directories & Niche Sites
Donít put all your eggs in one basket. Itís the age old saying that encourages you to mitigate your risk by spreading yourself out instead of relying on one thing only. Ask any stock broker and theyíll tell you putting all your money in one company is very risky and is rarely the right move. When you only rely on one source, if something bad should happen you have nothing else to fall back on. At the end of the day, most people would agree this is basic common sense.
Enter the Google era, where many webmasters seem to have tossed this conventional logic aside in favour of a Google-tunnel-vision. It is true that Google is the most popular search engine in the world today reaching 380 million unique users per month. According to ComScore Media Metrix they have a 42.3% share of the search market. These numbers should make webmasters stand up and pay attention, but it should not make them neglect everything else.
Many SEOs (search engine optimizers) will exclusively talk about obtaining a high ranking in Google, as if that is the one and only way to drive traffic on the web. Other SEOs see the web in a larger sense and, instead, treat Google as one piece of the puzzle (albeit an important piece). The good SEOs recognize that while most searches may originate at Google, there are a lot of potential website visitors and customers coming from other engines that deserve some attention too. Fortunately, many of the search engines determine the importance of a site using similar criteria, so optimizing for one engine should give you a boost in all the others as well. But if your SEO is giving you ranking reports that only say Google, it may be time to start asking where you rank in the other engines. After all, no webmaster is prepared to say that a customer coming from a website other than Google is a customer they donít want!
List Yourself in Web Directories
Your website traffic and customers can come from all over, so you want to make sure that wherever customers looking, theyíll find you. There are a lot of different web directories on the Internet. Some catalogue all sorts of sites, while others focus on a particular niche market. By taking just a little bit of time you can launch a web directory campaign that gets you listed in all the directories your potential visitors may use. Best of all, many web directories will let you submit your site for free, so this is a cost-effective way to generate targeted traffic. The best directories are those that offer a direct link back to your site. This way, your directory campaign also becomes a link-building campaign, and you boost your ranking on most search engines, including Google. (Two birds with one stone, not too shabby!)
Find Those Niche Sites
The web was built based on links. Itís how web surfers move from one site to another, following an endless flow of information. You need to take advantage of this by making sure that your site is linked to along this path. If you are selling t-shirts, try to find a site that is dedicated to the topic of t-shirts (or fashion, in this instance). In this day and age, you are almost guaranteed to find a site with t-shirt resources. Look for ways you can generate a link to your site from theirs. If you have some marketing dollars to spend, you may be able to buy text or banner advertising, which will also provide a link back to your site. You can send a quick, polite email to the webmaster requesting to trade links (after all, that sites wants links too!), or maybe you can contribute content somehow and include a link to your site in your author bio. There are a lot of different approaches you can take, and as long as you end up getting a link to your site, youíll increase the likelihood of attracting visitors who are following that information path.
The world wide web is a big place and itís only getting bigger. You should devote a good amount of resources to the more important traffic drivers, like Google, but you should not fall into a trap where thatís the only thing you can rely on. By diversifying your incoming traffic resources and listing yourself in web directories, you will be better prepared for what the future may bring.
About the Author: Robert Burko is president and founder of Eliteweb.cc, an Internet portal featuring a best-of-the-web search engine and a comprehensive search-engine-friendly web directory