Almost anyone who has decided to put together a Web site appreciates the importance of driving traffic to their pages, whether its for building revenue from ads, gaining new customers for their products and services, or just for the ego stroke of having lots of eyes viewing their creation.

Web traffic and site design go hand in hand. But not everyone is up to speed on the best practices to make sure their site gets good rankings in the search engines so that people can find them. In fact, many new site owners may fall into the trap of using outdated techniques that may do them no good or even work against them. However, if you follow these tips for optimizing your own Website, you may see gains in your traffic before you know it.

Maintain fresh, relevant content.

There are a number of reasons for keeping your site charged with high-quality, topical material. But the most important reason is that you want people to see your site as a relevant part of the Net community. Use your site as a platform to show your knowledge and skill within field that relates to your site. And new, regularly updated content will keep your visitors coming back to enjoy the labors of your efforts. A blog is particularly useful for serving this purpose, and the latest postings should appear on the home page, if the home page is not the main page of the blog itself.

The other reason to make sure you have decent, timely content is that it can improve your ranking in search engines. Web crawlers like the one the Google search engine employs are designed to detect whether a page is content-rich or whether it’s ad and link-heavy. The crawler can also tell whether a page has been updated since the last time it crawled the site. Fresh, content-driven sites are usually granted a higher ranking.

Build high-quality backlinks.

One of the foundations of Google’s PageRank algorithm is the determination of how important a page is determined to be based on how many other pages on the Web link to it. All things being equal, a page with a lot of backlinks is viewed as more important than those with only a few. Although that’s only part of the equation, because the rankings of the pages that link to you are also considered, so a page’s rank is partly based on a fraction of the rank of each of the pages that points to it.

This is why you want to build as many links to your page as you can from other quality sites. Generally its good to have as many backlinks as you can get, but its the one’s from site’s that themselves are ranked decently that matter the most. However, you don’t want to spam the system by using a link farm or some other mechanism to generate a bunch of “fake” backlinks, those that aren’t legitimately from sites that want to share a link to you. Search engines can often detect this practice and penalize you by substantially downgrading your rank, or even completely removing you from the listings altogether.

Research effective keywords.

One of the most common ways to employ SEO on your page is to research the most popular keywords relating to the topic of your site, and create your content in a way that makes as much use of these keywords as possible. They should be placed within the text in the body of your page and in the anchor tags so your backlinks can refer to them. It is even considered useful to place keywords in the alt attribute of your HTML tags. Just don’t overdo it. You still want your site to appear natural to users trying to view your page. And overuse of keywords can even cause Google’s search algorithm to penalize you for trying to manipulate the system.

All in all, you should be able to develop an effective strategy using these techniques to optimize your page, drive new traffic to your site, and keep those visitors coming back for more.