If you're working on building a business you need to keep pushing forward.
You have competitors. Some are building a better resource than your site. Others are creating a better product (or service) than yours.
And still others are working hard to promote their site more than you do.
The bottom line is no matter what type of business you run, you've got competitors trying to topple you. And they're coming at you from different angles. So you've to keep pushing forward.
We don't have unlimited time, but over time, we can keep making improvements to our business to stay afloat and even come out on top.
In this article I'll look at 2 high ranking sites and see what could be done to maintain and even improve their traffic along with ideas for improving their usefulness to visitors.
If you're involved in the ‘make money online' industry then you may already be familiar with this site. It's owned by a blogger who reports monthly income statistics. Some of his earnings come from the security guard site here:
I included this site in the case study since the site owner has made a lot of information on it publicly available.
Everyone has limited hours in the day, so it's possible the site owner has already thought of my suggestions, but hasn't had the time to implement them (I'm the first to admit I'm far from perfect and have my own to-do lists that don't always get implemented).
But I could also see how if I owned this site (especially if it were my main source of income), I'd be very concerned about a few things. So let me get to the main one …
The site gets most of its traffic from Google.
I don't have access to the traffic statistics, but I'd estimate 80 to 90% of the targeted traffic (so I'm not counting people who want to work from home and check it out because they're curious) comes from high search engine rankings.
That means if the rankings are lost, most all of the income will go too. When most all your traffic comes from the search engines (which means it's pretty much all coming from Google), then it's at least better to rank high for several keyphrases instead of just a few. At least if you've got more higher ranking keyphrases, you're not just depending on a single keyphrase for all your traffic.
So I looked around a little to see just what it's currently ranking for.
The site's ranking #1 for “security guard training”.
I also see that the site is ranking in spot #2 for “security officer training”. And it's ranking pretty high (about the mid to top half of page one on Google) for state searches like: “california security guard training” and “new york security guard training”.
The site is not ranking as well for other phrases it may also be targeting (like “security guard job description”).
So I'm concluding that it's ranking well for “security guard (or officer) training” related keyphrases. And I'd gather that's where most of the traffic is coming from.
So the traffic source is Google and it's rankings seem limited to “security guard (and officer) training” keyphrases. If it stopped ranking high for those keyphrases, it would lose most all its traffic (along with its income) immediately.
Will those rankings last? They may, they may not, but let's think for a minute about what people are looking for when they type “security guard training” related keyphrases into a search engine.
I don't think it's a stretch to say many of them want actual training on becoming a security guard.
And that's an issue. This site doesn't currently provide any actual training on becoming a security guard. I looked around and there was really nothing as far as actual training (or if it's there, it's hidden, really, really well).
There's plenty of other useful information like the qualities needed for security guards, how to get a job as a security guard, but the thing that's missing from the picture is the actual training itself. And I'm not suggesting that the site offer all the training needed to become a security guard and offer it all for free, but in order to keep ranking for those types of keyphrases, if this site were mine, I'd consider adding some training related articles ASAP.
Right now the big purpose of this site is to earn money from people who leave the site and go visit the sites with the actual training on it. So it's playing the role of the middle man. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but traditionally, Google likes to lower sites playing the role of the middle man in their search engine results listings and put the sites with the actual stuff searchers are looking for at the top.
The site is perfect for someone trying to figure out if they want to become a security guard and the next steps to take (even for their particular state) to start on the path to actually becoming one.
And it's a great hub for figuring out where to get actual security guard training. There's value to the site.
I could definitely see it ranking high for “security guard career” related keyphrases, but clearly its role as a training provider is as a middle man to Adsense ads which are not always that targeted.
IFPO.org: International Foundation for Protection Officers
This is site #2 in the case study.
I don't know where most of this site's traffic is coming from. But it is ranking pretty high for many “security guard training” related keyphrases so I'd bet a lot also comes from the search engines. It seems to be a good resource in the industry so it probably has a lot of direct traffic coming to it from other sites referring their visitors to it.
This site offers training courses that people can enroll in for a fee. Although it does offer some free articles right on the site, it doesn't have nearly as many on the career aspects of becoming a security guard or getting into the security industry as site #1.
And these would make a great addition to it.
If I owned either of these sites I'd go check out my competitors and make sure I had at least everything they had and try to make mine better than all of them. That's always a great place to start.
Content Ideas to Make the Sites More Valuable
There are other types of content that would really increase the value to either site. And I've included two ideas here:
- Put actual training on the site. At least some limited free stuff. If you had an actual course that cost money you could give a little preview away for free.
The IFPO.org site offers several online courses for several hundred dollars each. They would probably sell more of these courses if they had a preview of the training on the site. Plus it would make the site a better resource for people interested in security guard training (and help keep it ranking high for those search terms).
The SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com site could also have some actual free training on the site (again, that's if you wanted to rank high for these training related search terms for the long-term).
You could find out what security guards learn in training courses and offer a few how to articles on that.
- Interview people who are security guards and ask them what it's like. Find out what they thought of the training they received (did it really help prepare them for the job), earnings if they're willing to share it, what they like about the job, what they don't like, tips for getting their first job, funny stories. You could do written interviews or actually record them (audio only or video).
Both sites could benefit from this type of content. It would help visitors realize what a career is like and hear from real people in the career.
Hopefully you can apply some of this to your online business. If you're currently ranking high for keyphrases then think about what people coming to your site really want to learn and make sure you're providing them with that. And if you're currently going after keyphrases think about this right from the start and I bet you'll be more likely to hit your target.
Further Content Ideas
Here's another idea for either of these security guard sites:
- Include a few articles on martial arts for the security guard. The only reason I bring this up is because you could get awesome links from martial arts sites.
Martial arts providers would think it was really interesting if you conducted a study where you surveyed how many security guards knew martial arts. Or ask people who are hiring how that skill-set plays a role in their hiring decision. If you can't conduct a study, you can probably find one online or do some research to get answers.
If your article paints mastering a martial art as a benefit in the security guard industry, then you could easily get links from martial arts sites. They'd link to content like that because it provides another reason why you should enroll in their martial arts program.
Here's why I bring this last idea up at all:
Many of the stronger links coming back to SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com are blogs and sites (like mine) that link to the site because they're talking about it as a way for a work at home blogger to earn money.
Here's a few examples:
It's great that the site has a bunch of links like this that weren't manufactured (you know, not spammy blog comments, links from blog networks, or paid links). Instead there are real sites linking back to it. However, these sites aren't linking because it's an interesting site for security guard training, they're linking back to show how the owner's making money online being a blogger. So it's really different.
Can Google tell the difference? Not at this point. Which I can guarantee is the reason why it's ranking high.
In contrast, IFPO.org has links from Wikipedia.org, a bunch of sites in different languages that are definitely about security guards, and http://www.securitymagazine.com (which looks like an online magazine for security guards).
There's also links from:
I only looked at a few of the stronger links back to either site, but as you can see it's night and day difference here.
You've got links from sites given for a completely different purpose. Which if you've ever wondered if you have to get links from sites that are thematically related to yours I think this answers the question with a giant no.
But will it always be like that? I can't give you a definitive answer, but just in the past 2 years the SEO industry has been completely turned on its head not once, but several times. So Google's going to keep getting smarter about linking and on-page optimization factors.
And while it's a good thing SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com has so many great links from sites talking about it, many people depending on Google rankings don't. Instead they've manufactured links (many of which eventually lose their effectiveness or worse yet, cause a decrease in the site's rankings or a manual penalty).
Manufactured links include link building methods where the links aren't based on real merit. Eventually that can catch up with you so having links like those mentioned in the idea above where you write content geared at attracting the attention of a particular site can really help you out.
Plus even if you felt confident about the rankings staying put, wouldn't it be nice to have traffic coming from somewhere else?
And I'd guess that the IFPO.org site actually has real people involved in the security guard training industry visiting it from other sources outside Google. And that's due to the links coming back to it.
That always makes the traffic and income more stable. Here are a few additional ways to diversify the traffic coming to either site …
Build a Subscriber Base
The IFPO.org site does not seem to collect email addresses.
Even if you're offering a product or a service it's a great idea to offer something in return for your visitor's email address so you can follow up with them. Maybe they aren't ready to buy the first time they visit your site, but after a few weeks or months they'll remember you because you've been following up with them for a while.
By adding an opt in form on the site, they could collect email addresses and send out emails leading people back to the site. And that's traffic that comes outside the search engine rankings.
The SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com site has a newsletter opt-in. Hopefully there are a number of follow up emails that send people back to different pages of the site.
Although this site earns primarily through the Adsense program, a newsletter is still worthwhile. I was able to increase my Adsense earnings by treating a site like an online magazine. I would send subscribers to new content as I published it along with a strong follow-up sequence for the general content.
For the security guard training market, YouTube.com might be a great source of traffic.
The owners of either site could produce a few short 2-4 minute videos on different topics, maybe even shortened versions of some of the articles on the site if they wanted to get going faster.
The IPFO.org site does not seem to have any videos. SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com has one video uploaded, but it's just an ad for the site.
Again, there's only so much time in a day, but looking for traffic from other sources (so you're diversifying where your traffic comes from) is always time worth spending if you're running a business. That way you don't have to close up if your only source goes away.
By direct traffic I'm referring to being mentioned on sites who've already got visitors interested in the topic you cover on your site. With the martial arts example from earlier, you'd probably get some free traffic just by having them link to your site.
But there are many other opportunities for direct traffic in this market.
Just off the top of my head I bet there's plenty of opportunity with a site or webpage that covers jobs after High School. A lot of young people want to start earning money right out of High School. They don't want to work at McDonald's and they don't want to spend 4-years getting a traditional degree. So becoming a security guard is a good option for them.
So you could search for ‘jobs after high school' on Google and find those sites. I'm not saying you need to get ranked high for that phrase (although you sure can go for it if you want), but get your site mentioned on the webpages that talk about the type of jobs available after high school. And many High Schools have a career resources page. Just see if you could get your site added there.
To make this easier, if you're in this market, you would create a piece of content discussing how a job as a security guard is a great job after High School. Publish the article on your site, and then tell the right websites about your content. Dig in deep, finding statistics and quotes for your content.
Another angle to approach could be jobs after the military. You would need to investigate the sites and web pages covering this topic. Then see if they'd consider listing your site.
Again, write up a piece of content arguing a case for why a security guard job might be great for someone out of the military.
You could also get a few quotes. Really dig in with the details.
Then ask highly trafficked sites with the right set of visitors if they'd link to your piece of content.
Although IFPO.org seems to have direct traffic coming in, who wouldn't want more?
The nice thing is this also solves the problem of getting better links to your site. So you're getting good links that will cement your position in the search engines plus you're also getting direct traffic through those links.
The strategy here is to think about the sites that already have the type of visitors you're looking for and write up a piece of content that would appeal to them. If you can keep that piece of content on your own site and still get a link that's great. If you have no choice but to give that content to them as a guest article in order to get the link then that's OK too.
Summing it Up
I hope this helps give you some ideas for getting more traffic to your online business.
One of the best ways of increasing your website traffic is to really step back and look at what you've got going on from a visitors viewpoint. Do you offer the best product? Is your website the best? Does it help answer your visitors questions? How can you improve on it?
And second you need to check on what your competitors are doing. Where are they promoting their stuff? How have they made their product or site better? What promotional strategies can you take from them and apply to your business?
Both of these main points will help you stay on top, growing the traffic back to your site.
To sum it up, strive to constantly make your site better and get out of your comfort zone when promoting it. And that will go a long way in long term income from your business.