by Wendy Montes de Oca

Okay, so you have a website. You’ve spent time and money getting this thing up. You’ve used all your creative juices to get the words just right. And you added some nice graphics to make the site aesthetically pleasing. Now what?

A website is of little use if nobody can find it.

Mastering organic search ranking has proven to be a fundamental part of the online marketing mix. (By “organic,” I mean the “natural,” as opposed to “paid/PPC,” listing that appears when someone conducts a search on Google or other search engines. Optimal placement is typically within the first 20 listings or three pages.)

Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) – the ability to increase your site’s visibility in organic search listings and refine the content structure on the site itself – are critical for market awareness and customer acquisition. According to WebProNews, 66.3 percent of searchers click on organic listings before they click on a sponsored link. Even more important, a recent study by CreativeWebsiteMarketing.com indicates that most people who buy online start with a search engine.

Don’t let your site get lost in Internet obscurity. Here are five simple ways to help boost your website’s traffic and optimization.

1. Create online buzz about your site, product, or service.

You can do this by generating online press releases. There are services on the Web, such as PRWeb.com or Free-press-release.com, that do this for free or at a nominal cost. Another idea is to post comments to high-traffic blogs, bulletin boards, chat rooms, or forums.

Do a Web search for top blogs or news forums that are related to whatever it is that you’re selling. Go to each site, one by one, and post a comment. (Start a new topic or reply to an existing one.) This helps in two ways: One, you create buzz in the marketplace. Depending on your tactics, your message can even go viral. Two, you get a “back-link” to your site that helps when the site is indexed by search engine spiders.

An important note: Your post should be relevant and genuine. Your comment should be relevant to the question you’re replying to, have some sort of value to the readers that view it, and be in the proper area/subject matter on the forum you’re posting to. Stay away from posts that are blatantly self-serving. These posts are viewed as spam by forum webmasters and could get you banned from the forum, or at least be deleted.

For example, MaryEllen Tribby (ETR’s Publisher) had the good fortune to interview Newt Gingrich in March. Immediately after the interview, we posted a press release to several online press distribution services. We also uploaded comments about the interview to news-aggregating services, blogs, and political forums (with a back-link to the release posted in our Investors Daily Edge archive).

Within the weeks following the initial interview, website visits and traffic ranking more than doubled and conversion also showed a spike. Three months later, this release is still being picked up by the media and through syndication…and the Investors Daily Edge website is enjoying residual traffic and back-links from this effort.

Year-to-date, these techniques and the others I’m about to go into have helped increase traffic nearly 80 percent with a monetization of more than 150 percent ROI.

to be continued…watch for the next WebSight Viewpoint!