How Can I Drive Traffic to an Existing Site? #AskanSEO by @jennyhalasz

Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!

Today’s Ask An SEO question comes to us from Taylor of Tallahassee, Florida. He asks:

When taking on a new project and it’s an existing website with 0 traffic and no optimization done on it, would a smart approach to get the ball rolling and boost traffic be to target competitor and geographical keywords and incorporate them into the site? Along with proper title tags, etc. Thank you!

It’s never a good idea to target the keywords of competitor names or products. Why would you give them free advertising? You’ll never be relevant for their specific brands or items.

Here are five ways to get the ball rolling on a brand new site that has never been penalized, but has no traffic to speak of.

1. Technical SEO

Start with technical SEO. Make sure every technical thing checks out. Basic things like robots.txt being closed and code being unreadable are common things to overlook. Submit an XML sitemap to Google and Bing.

2. Links

Get some directory links. Basic stuff, but just let the world know your site exists.

List your site in the Yellow Pages online, the Chamber of Commerce (if it’s a local business), and the relevant directories for your industry. Here are some more link ideas.

3. Content

Look for a niche you can fill. Some specific use of a product or service that no one else is doing well has to exist – trade on that.

Focus mainly on getting some traffic to your site first. Once you have some traffic, you can start working more on writing great content and finding some way to get visitors to return.

But you don’t want to be shouting at the wind in the meantime and have all your best stuff go unnoticed. You’ll need some content of value to get people to come to your site and not vanish instantly, but save your best stuff for when you have some followers.

4. Public Relations & Social

Really focus on public relations and getting noticed. Send someone to speak at events. Network – make new industry friends.

Seek out bloggers that write about your industry and let them know there’s a new site. Do a press release that announces your existence.

Get social. Open accounts with all the major social networks so that you have them, and then choose one or two and start listening and engaging.

Build your following. Join Facebook groups and Twitter chats.

5. Get Good SEO Help

Don’t give your money to an unscrupulous person who promises to get you ranked on Google. It’s probably too expensive to hire an SEO if things are brand new, because any SEO worth their salt who wants to work on a brand new site is going to require more money than you can probably spend (unless you’re VC backed).

If you decide to get some help, find a reputable SEO. Here’s some advice on how to vet an SEO agency.


Have a question about SEO for Jenny? Fill out this form or use #AskAnSEO on social media.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

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Author: Jenny Halasz

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