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So... what should I do? I don't wanna spam, and I don't have any money yet to spend on AdWords. I can't just tell random people about the site, can I? Wouldn't that be spam?
This is highly frustrating.
PS: The site is actually high-quality and is practically ad-free. But I don't know how to get people to use it if they don't even know about it.
the only way of getting instant traffic is to pay for it - use adwords or something like that.
Well, SEO doesn't do much if nobody links to you.
This ls actually not **as** important as you'd think. We abandoned link hunting a few years ago, although we still wish people would link to us, it's certainly not killing the traffic.
Also don't fall for link directories. This can cause you more trouble than it's worth, associate you with "bad neighborhoods."
If your site is rich with content as you say, here it what you do: take a vacation. Forget about it for 3 or 4 months. Spiders will find you and index the content, then up you will come for relevant keywords. Sure you can submit to major engines, but you really don't have to.
I will relate one point and I swear this is 100% true: I recently built this NPO site for someone, while it was being built it had a "coming soon" index page with no links. Launched the site and must have timed it just right - TWO DAYS and it was page one for the major keywords on G, MSN and Yahoo with all top level pages indexed. Two days!
When I tried to add my URL. "Pay now"... they all want money for the links. I'm not gonna pay for links. Besides, like I mentioned, I don't even have the money even if I were that stupid.
If you do all this well, the links will take care of themselves and the search traffic will come eventually but it will just be a bonus.
Hope this helps. It really is what you should be doing and if any of it doesn't make sense let me know and I'll sticky you some good resources. If you really have built a great site then you deserve traffic and the brutal truth is that search engines don't recognise quality sites quickly unless they pick up the buzz through social bookmarking, news sites etc.
Guess why? Because I haven't dared to tell anyone! Who would I tell? Submitting it to Digg or Reddit or any of those sites is pointless as only a select fews' articles make it to the front page. The rest are put in the trash flood of spam that nobody ever sees. (Trust me... it works that way.)
Step 1. Develop a can do, winning attitude.
Step 2. Be nice to people who are trying to help you.
Step 3. Don't have an empty site.
Step 4. Start off going after less competitve key words that don't require hundreds of links in order to rank.
Step 5. Read the posts in the link development library. There are probably hundreds of great ideas in there.
Step 6: Go through the backlinks of the other sites in your niche for ideas.
I was actually wanting to post a question on what decent directory alternatives to Dmoz and Yahoo there are out there... These other ones centime listed like Best of the Web and GoGuides, they are looking for fees in a similar fashion to yahoo, but does anyone know whether these deliver bang for the buck? If you submitted to all of them you're out a few hundred dollars.
Also, does anyone have any more similar Directories that are working submitting to (fee based or free, either way). It would be good if we were able to compile some sort of list in this thread if one hasn't been created already elsewhere.
1. Add a blog to your site at www.site.com/blog.
2. Locate some good long tail keywords (3 words or more) from Google Adwords (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal)
3. Do some basic research on the Internet and then write a nice piece (200-400 words) on this topic. Liberally give out information. Link out to a few good resources (wikipedia, industry leaders, your product pages, your affiliate principals) etc.
4. Keep doing this at whatever rate you can manage.
5. Whenever you post, ping some good places (your blog software should take care of this).
Over a period of time, you will start getting links, visitors and money.
If you have ample time, do this. if you have ample money, outsource a few of these activities.
When you speak about your site...include the URL on all of your posts.
I actually wanted to see it to try to help...now D sleepy...zzzzz
Vetofunk's natural search tutelage is second to none...and he is a good friend...
Proper planning of content is important. Solid keyword choices, solid page design, on topic and interesting articles... those are all important long term.
Since the topic is just about getting initial traffic however I recommend the following basics to get listed quickly (for Google, since it's the most widely used search engine right now).
Step #1 - Create the site, upload the content and take care of your on page SEO factors that are well covered elsewhere on the site.
Step #2 - create a sitemap and upload it to your server.
Step #3 - create a proper robots.txt file and upload it to your server.
Step #4 - head to googles webmaster tools page and submit your sitemap. Continue adding an article or two per day and update the sitemap if you don't have software that updates it automaticaly.
Thats it, Google can and will take it from there. Remember that each page is competing against other pages for search terms. You won't rank first for your main topic keyword right away because you simply don't have enough content or backlinks to be an authority on it but you CAN rank top ten for smaller related keywords with some planning.
Those smaller related keywords are where your traffic will start to flow from search engines. The more competitive the topic, the harder the fight. You also mention advertising. Spend time on content, not on advertising, until you get at least some regular traffic. You'll only frustrate yourself more when you earn no money.
When I tried to add my URL. "Pay now"... they all want money for the links.
I don't even have the money even if I were that stupid.
Otherwise, do as others advised you: Add content, give it time, expand the site.
However, I am in a similar situation and comparing a certain project with one I did three years ago, I do have to say that things have become harder in the world of website development. Probably due to competition.
Anyway I would not say that 49 USD is too much to be included in yahoo.com database search right away - not that I am a yahoo fan but it is an important actor on the web and will increase your website relevance. From the yahoo.com website:
"When you initiate your Search Submit Basic subscription, a nonrefundable annual fee of $49 per URL is charged. This annual fee also includes account setup and a basic quality review of your pages. You can submit a maximum of 5 URLs per domain into the program."
This applies to yahoo search, while the inclusion in the Directory is definitely more pricey (299$ per year, recurring)
An Italian proverb says "chi non risica non rosica" that means "who does not take risk will not eat".