Want to grow web revenues? Of course you do. But how do you do it?
First you need to focus on growing your Web traffic. The right Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is the most effective way to grow sustainable traffic.
Web publishing wizard Ethan Smith will take advanced and beginner publishers behind the SEO curtain and reveal the secrets of solid SEO at the upcoming Niche Digital Conference in Nashville this fall. He is going to teach simple and effective ways to boost your site traffic in the short term (the next 60 days), mid-term (180 days) and ongoing.
With the right strategy, SEO isn’t that hard after all. No theory! Ethan gives us real world advice in the Session: SEO Gangnam Style
We recently interviewed Ethan to share with us what is working now:
Niche Media HQ: What are some steps that niche publishers can take to begin to grow their web traffic and revenues in the next 60 days?
Ethan Smith: Here are 3 great ways:
1) Clean up your best practices–title tags, h1’s, setup webmaster account, etc.
2) Improve your internal linking by how your pages point to each other and connect. It must be very easy for search engines to find your site.
3) Reach out to your friends and network to get them to link to your site.
Niche Media HQ: Can you give us two real world examples of how these steps increased web traffic and ROI?
Ethan Smith: I worked with a design firm who changed just the title tag to include the phrase “design firm” on their homepage, and their traffic went up by over 30%.
We fixed our internal link structure at Wize.com, and our traffic more than doubled because a lot of the pages that weren’t getting crawled by Google got crawled. When we changed our links, they got crawled, and thus we got traffic.
Niche Media HQ: Why do you think SEO seems so mysterious? Can you de-bunk some of the myths for publishers?
Ethan Smith: Google wants to return the best results to users. They use algorithms to do this. No algorithm is perfect, and people have an incentive to do whatever they can to get their pages to rank including gaming the algorithm to get their lower quality pages to rank. Most people won’t intentionally do this, but many will because there’s a huge incentive to do so. So, while Google tries to help webmasters understand how to design their site in a way that is good for both users and Google, they intentionally keep a lot of the details of their algorithm secret to avoid having people game the system.
Their secrecy on details means that there is mystery around those details. This leads to a lot of speculation about those secret details. Much of this speculation is, in my opinion, false.
The way I choose to think about SEO is that the only things I believe are things that Google has explicitly and unambiguously said, and things that have clear statistical data to support. For example, I made a change to the home page, traffic went up 50%, the change was statistically significant and I compared it against a control set.
Google puts out a lot of good, useful information on their webmaster blog and youtube channel for webmasters. Everything else anyone says — whether they be SEO “experts,” people I know, SEO companies, etc.– I disregard. If someone tells you something about SEO, ask them for the quote from Google, and/or the data to support the statement. If they can’t provide either, then don’t believe it.
Niche Media HQ: What are some ways that you see SEO strategies evolving in the future?
Ethan Smith: I think social is interesting. Google has said that they consider social signals. I have yet to see any compelling evidence that they consider these data much at all, but I expect that they will do so more in the future.
There are new types of search engines like facebook, pinterest, youtube that receive large amounts of search activity. Because these just launched, the knowledge around optimizing for them is very limited. I expect that will evolve a lot over the coming years.
Niche Media HQ Bonus Question: What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?
Ethan Smith: …Caramel Napoleon.
Niche Media HQ: Ok, readers, here’s a recipe. YUM.
More about Ethan Smith: Ethan Smith is the Head of Product at Yummly.com, an online digital kitchen platform mapping the food genome and making life better, easier, and more fun for everyone who cooks. He leads SEO strategy, manages business intelligence and site design, and works on community outreach and social media.
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments!