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Boost Your Web Traffic/Users/adamp/Desktop/SolutionsGuide08/images/boost_traffic

Want to drive more traffic to your Web site? Here are some ways to do it.

Your snazzy Web site’s up and running, but is it generating leads? If your site isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do—drive consumers to your door—consider search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

SEO involves building your Web site in a way that search engines like Google and Yahoo! can easily read, which makes it more likely they’ll rank it highly when users search for terms included in it. “There’s a whole science to how you should structure your Web pages,” says Todd Walrath, executive vice president of leads.com, a division of Website Pros in Jacksonville, which builds Web sites for companies.

One key to SEO is segmenting your site so that each page is dedicated to a single topic and search engines can easily pinpoint that topic. Courtney Silverman, a sales associate at The Keyes Co./Realtors in Weston, taught herself SEO and knows the lesson of segmentation well. “I have about 900 pages on my Web site (www.courtneysilverman.com),” she says. “I have a page for the town of Weston, and then I have a page for each development in it.”

It’s also important to use clear descriptions and titles on each page of your site. “Think about the keywords people might type into a search,” says Walrath, “and use those words on your pages.” Silverman does just that. “My pages are titled ‘Weston Real Estate,’ ‘Plantation Real Estate’ and so on,” she says. “By using descriptive terms, it helps people find you. You can’t just keep saying ‘Realtor,’ ‘Realtor,’ ‘Realtor’ on each page.”

Building an information-packed site also helps search engines pull your site into more searches. “The more content rich your site, the more often search engines will find it,” says Shannon Lefevre, a sales associate at John R. Wood, Realtors in Naples (www.shannonlefevre.com), who also taught herself SEO. “Anything you can think of that might interest buyers or sellers should be on your site. That takes time and energy, but a lot of that information will be timeless and is worth putting on your site.”

Lefevre also uses PPC advertising, which allows you to buy keywords in search engines so that when consumers search for those terms, you’ll appear at the top of the results. The more popular the keywords, the more they cost. “Bay Colony is a neighborhood I want to specialize in,” says Lefevre, “so I pay the most per click for the search term Bay Colony.”

“Building your site is an ongoing process,” says Lefevre. “I make changes to it every single day. If you think you’ll spend an hour on your Web site and all these leads will come in, that’s not the way to do a Web site today.” But Lefevre’s work has paid off. “My Web site traffic has probably quadrupled from last year,” she says, “and that came from building my site.”

G.M. Filisko is a Chicago-based freelance writer.