Before we get into the building traffic concepts – make sure that your website has a statistics program set up or add Google Analytics to your pages. You won’t be able to track what is working and what is not without this. You will also want to watch for changes in traffic and the fun part is watching your traffic go up and up and up!
Head over to Google Analytics. Set up a free account. https://www.google.com/analytics/
Analytics is really confusing even to me and it’s very overwhelming. You will just want to access it to see where your traffic is coming from and for simple things like what type of computer/phone are they using so you can build a better website.
Here is where to start to set up a website profile and get the tracking code.
You will need to figure out how to add the code to your website.
Your website will also most likely come with some sort of statistics program. The thing is that these stat programs also usually count the bots and spiders that come to the website which makes the numbers look inflated. Be sure to research how your stat program works and know what it counts so you can interpret the results correctly.
Ok then…on to content.
Every website that you see online is competing for traffic or visitors (Potential Clients!). The more traffic you get, the more clients you will get. The more traffic you get that is using your targeted keyword- massage your city – the more clients you will get and the more likely they are ideal clients. The next thing you do after you have built your website is to increase the traffic to it. This will allow you to have a steady flow of clients. Since not everyone who lands on your website will become a client, you want as many people landing on it as possible to increase the number of people who do become clients.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Submit your website to the search engines
- Build a Natural referral network by getting links to YOUR website FROM OTHER websites. (Remember – Search Engines like to follow links!)
- Go Local – get listed on the local sections of search engines
- Get more citations!
- Go Mobile! Your website needs to be mobile friendly. It needs to be readable on a phone screen—every phone screen. Be sure you don’t miss out on potential clients!
Submitting your website to search engines.
In order for the search engines to find you, you have to let them know that you exist! The best way to do that is to create an xml sitemap of your website and submit the url to the search engines. An xml sitemap is a special file that tells the search engines what is on your site and what pages were added or updated most recently. This is an example of what one looks like.
It doesn’t really make any sense to a person looking at it, but people don’t really see it. The search engines see it and can tell what is on your site. There are a few websites that will create these sitemaps free of charge. Just do a google search for “create google sitemap” and try one of them. I used this one -xml sitemaps for one of my old sites that didn’t have an automatic xml sitemap creator. Many systems will have an automatic sitemap generator.
You will have to ask your webhost or website builder system if you have one and find out the address so you can tell search engines about it!
If you don’t have an xml sitemap available, you can at start with submitting your site in general to Bing and Google.
Regular website submit pages.
You will also need to set up free webmasters accounts with Google and Bing and continue the process of submitting your website to them.
Submit Your XML Sitemap File to Google
It is like an announcement telling search engines to come and get it! Without this page, your site is likely to be lost in never-never land.
Once you create one this is what you have to do with it:
- Log into Google Webmaster Tools. On the Home page, click on your domain name. You are then taken to the Dashboard page.
- Click on the tab that says Sitemaps.
- Find the address of your xml sitemap. It will look something like: http://www.yourmassagewebsite.com/sitemap.xml or other sites the sitemap address is usually sitemap.xml
- Click on Submit Sitemap to submit it.
- On the next page, Google will confirm that you submitted your sitemap successfully.
Back on the Home page, you will see your sitemap’s file name in the bottom right corner.
- Follow the steps to verify your website also. The directions are in the Google Webmasters tools.
Submit your xml file to Bing
- Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools. www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster
- On the dashboard, in the Sitemaps section, click on Submit a Sitemap
- Find Your xml sitemap address. It is usually sitemap.xml but you will need to check with whatever software you are using.
- Paste it into the text box. Click Submit
(Directions for this for both Google and Bing seem to be constantly changing so you might have to figure this out on your own.)
Congratulations! You have now submitted your site to Google and Bing letting them know you have a website! How else will they know that you are out there?
Backlinks: Getting Other Websites to link to your site.
Getting people to your website is a big part of building a website. What good is doing all the building if no one will ever find your site?
Google and other search engines think that when there are other sites that link to your site, it makes your website look like a much better site.
They called it this because the program analyzed the web’s “back links” to understand how important a website was, and what other sites it related to. BackRub operated on Stanford’s servers until it eventually took up too much bandwidth. ~Business Insider
The job of search engines is to find the best results for their users so the more links you have going to your site – the better your chances of getting found by search engines and getting new clients for your business! Links from other websites to your website is one of the easiest ways to get Google’s attention. Remember what I said in the beginning?
Search engines send out spiders to crawl webpages to find all of the words that people search for. The search engines track the results. The crawlers create an index of websites on the internet so that they can have a database to work from when people do a search. That is why a search is able to give such fast results. Each search engine has its own rules about how it looks at a website, which site to put in their results, and which ones to put on the top of the first page of results.
The main thing that they look for on a website is how popular your website is. They also look at how many websites are linking to your site. They look for links to your domain and to each page of your website. They look for links that use your main keyword because that tells search engines what is on your site.
So the more pages you have linking to your site, the more popular your site looks to search engines. When you have links to your website from other websites, the spiders will also follow the links and come scan your website. If you don’t have luck in getting your website found with what you are doing, then just work on getting other websites to link to you.
In 2011/2012, many websites were affected by the changes in the Google algorithms that penalized websites that had too many unnatural backlinks. The keyword here is UNATURAL. People were trying to outsmart the search engines. This was called the Google Penguin update and the focus was on weeding out webspam. What happened was that Google saw that too many people were getting too many links and there were many ‘link farms’ set up just for this purpose. They were trying to manipulate the search engines and Google didn’t like that! The things that they were looking for are:
- Too many links coming from paid or free directories.
- Links coming from poor quality sites like link farms.
- Links coming from sites that have no relation to your niche (massage).
- Links that are over-optimized within your site.
While I am sure most massage therapists stayed out of the link building business, I am just bringing this up so that you are aware of it. Just create a natural, quality site and build links naturally. Personally, I just work on keeping my citations updated and don’t worry about backlinking anymore. It is just too risky in my opinion.
Today Linking is about creating relationships. Find other massage therapists, chiropractors, doctors, dentists and health related local sites to write articles for and have them write an article for your site. Linking should be natural… a result of a shared passion, vision and community building.
- Make high-value professional acquaintances and occasionally mention each other with a link.
- Be asked (or ask, after developing a relationship) to write a guest post on an excellent, related blog.
- Issue the (very) occasional press release from a respected service. The links in the press release will not count in the opinion of the search engines. But if a reporter or other reader of the release decides to write about you and/or your site, and provides a link to the site, that is a very valuable link.
The key now is now about creating quality content and natural links. It can be links from other sites to your site but it is also about the links within your site too which I have previously talked about. I also recommend that you start this only after you have a content rich website of about 20-30 pages- 30 is better!
Take a look at your top competitor, do a Google search for ‘massage, your city’. Take a look at the first site that is listed in the results. (If it is your page, you can stop reading now!) Click on the top listing. Then go to http://www.majesticseo.com/ and do a search for the domain name of your competitor. You can also check at www.alexa.com.
These will tell you how many other sites are linking to the top site. The basic theory is that you will need more links and better quality links than your competitor to be listed higher than their site in the search results. Your website should be on the first page of results on all of the search engines to have a better chance of getting clients.
It isn’t so much about getting links that people actually click on and follow to your site. What happens is that when Google finds a site that it likes and then finds a link to your site, it will actually follow the link and scan your site! So the trick to all this is getting links from sites that Google and search engines already visit often (as in they rank high when people search).
Natural linking though. It has to be real. Google knows now!
You can see a list of the updates at http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change . You can find out what sites are linking to you in your Google Webmasters account. www.google.com/webmasters
You should have created an account when you submitted your site to them! If not go back now and create an account and wait a few weeks or so to get the data!
Go to: Google Webmasters >> Your site >> Search Traffic >> Links to your site.
There will be a long list of sites. You can click on each one and find out what page they link to and where on their site they link to you. If you find any really questionable sites that link to you, you can use this little tool to disavow them from Google. Bing has one too.
There is also a little tool Google created to let you disavow links from your Google
Webmasters account. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en
The best way to use articles is writing original articles and having them put on sites that may complement your business. Say you work with a local chiropractor or acupuncturist – approach them about writing articles for their website and ask if they would write something for your site. Ask them to put a link back to your website in the article in the bio section or some other place in the article. Make it an exchange! You can also write articles for major websites to get a link to your site. Just keep it natural! Make it an original article every time! Do not use the same one!
Getting Backlinks is now more of a natural process and it has more to do with writing compelling content. You want to write things that are so great that people will want to naturally link to your pages or share them on their social media site.
Local Search: Going Local
Google and Bing and Yahoo! have a “local results” section near the top of the search results. You will need to get your site listed on that “local” listing. Just follow the directions at each link listed below. It may take a while for the listing to show up.
Just follow the directions on each page and get your business listed in their local results section.
Be sure to encourage your clients to leave reviews on these sites and also watch out for negative reviews. I am not sure if there is anything you can really do about bad reviews except reply with an explanation.
The one thing to remember about all of these local listings is that you need to make sure that your name and contact info are the same across the board on all of these sites. If there is a discrepancy, Google will know it!
And then there is Yelp!
Yelp results seem to be dominating the search results. They are also very controversial in the way they control reviews making it difficult for some of your clients to give you good reviews. Apparently, if people only log in and give one review, their review may not be posted. There are also many lawsuits around reviews so just be aware.
Once you sign up for a free account at Yelp, a representative will start calling you relentlessly trying to get you to sign up for their paid listing which currently goes for $300- $1000 a month. I have seen a wide range of responses from massage therapists as to just how well this works. Some say it was a waste of money, and some say it works great to pay for a spot in their listings.
With Yelp, Google Local and Bing local, you need to check on the reviews that you are getting there once in awhile. If you get a bad review, Yelp recommends that you reply and answer the issues directly. It is a good opportunity for good customer service to prevail.
If you have a statistics tracking program installed on your server or if you are using Google Analytics on your site, you will be able to see the number of users that are using mobile devices to access your website. It is becoming the highest sources of traffic for websites these days. If you have a website, it needs to also be mobile. That is a fact. You are missing a lot of business if people are looking on your site on a mobile phone and it is difficult to view. Mobile can be a whole new source of traffic for your website.
If you are using Google Analytics you can see how many people are viewing your site on a Mobile device, tablet or computer.
There are two kinds of mobile sites that you can have. You can have a website that is ‘responsive’ or changes so that it is easily readable to viewers. Most WordPress themes are responsive. It is the same site but it is made smaller to fit the screen of a smartphone or a tablet or will expand to fill a very large tv screen. A responsive site isn’t really a true mobile site but it can help. Even though it fits on a mobile screen, that doesn’t mean that people will be able to easily use it.
The thing about mobile sites is that you want to make sure that they load quickly and that the links work. Try it on different phones to see how it looks. People will get frustrated if it loads slowly or doesn’t work right on their phone. Set it up so that it is easy for people to call you or that the directions on how to make an appointment are really easy to use and clear on a mobile phone. This is also where online scheduling can help but make sure your online scheduling system has a mobile version or is easy to use on a mobile phone.
People on mobile phones and tablets will most likely have a shorter attention span so it is important to get your mobile site right. Keep the text down to a minimum and get right to the point. Use shorter headlines and use more paragraphs to break up the text to make it easier to read. You will also want to optimize your images so they load faster and can still be viewed.
Here are two tools that will let you view your site on various mobile phones/tablets.
Have other people look at your site on their mobile device and get feedback!