|Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Information Tony|
10 Steps To Higher Search Engine Positioning
There is perhaps no more level playing field in business than the Internet. It is this fact that has created millionaires from paupers. The amount of money that can be made depends of course on your industry and your products and/or services but to be sure, if it can be sold at all, it can be sold online.
While there are many methods out there for building a profitable website, from banner ads to email campaigns, by far the most cost effective over time has proven repeatedly to be search engine positioning. That major advantage search engine positioning has over other methods of producing revenue online is that once high rankings are attained and provided that the tactics used were ethical and that continued efforts are made to keep them, they can essentially hold and provide targeted traffic indefinitely. Your site will rise and your site may sometimes fall in the rankings but a solid and complete optimization of your site will insure that through algorithm changes you may fluctuate but you will not disappear.
I have been ranking websites highly on the Internet for quite a few years now and there are some essential rules that, if followed, will insure that over time your website does well and holds solid and profitable positions on the major search engines.
Here are the 10 steps to higher search engine positioning:
Step One - Choosing Keywords
You first must choose your keywords. This is perhaps the most important step of the process as incorrectly targeting phrases can result in traffic that is not interested in your product. There are three tools that I use virtually every day to help pick the most appropriate keywords:
Overture's Search Term Suggestion Tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/)
The last in the list is the most important. Look through the potential keyword phrases and think, "Who would be searching using that phrase?" If the answer is, "a student looking for information" then chances are it won't result in a sale. If the answer is "Someone who is looking specifically for a product I offer," then obviously this is a prime candidate as a targeted keyword phrase.
Step Two - Site Content
Even before I optimize websites I like to get a good deal of new content down in order to insure that I know exactly where I'm going and exactly what I need to do to get there. Creating some of the new content before starting the optimization process can be doubly helpful in that it can reveal potential additions to your website that you may not have considered (a forum or blog for example). If you already have a site, perhaps simply sit on your back deck, sip on a coffee and image what you would do if your whole site was lost and you had to start again (other than launch into a very colorful discussion with your hosting company).
Step Three - Site Structure
A solid site structure is very important. Creating a site that is easily spidered by the search engines yet attractive to visitors can be a daunting and yet entirely rewarding endeavor. To adequately structure your website you must "think like a spider" which is not as difficult as it may sound. A search engine spider reads your web page like you would read a book. It starts at the top left, reads across, and then moves down.
Priority must be given then, to what you place near the top of your page.
Step Four - Optimization
Once you have your keyword targets, your content created and your site structure established you must now move on to the most obvious step, the optimization of your content.
As noted above, a spider places importance on what it reads highest on the page and so beginning with a sentence that includes your targeted phrase only makes sense. That said, stuffing in keywords in hopes that it will add weight to your page generally doesn't work. The term "keyword density" refers to the percentage of your content that is made up of your targeted keywords. There are optimum densities according to many reputable SEO's though exactly what they are is debata ble. Estimates seem to range anywhere from 4 or 5% to 10 to 12% (quite a gap isn't it).
Personally, when it comes to keyword density I prescribe to one rule: put your keywords in the content as much as you can while keeping it comfortably readable to a human visitor.
Some do it first, I do it last, regardless of when you do it you must choose your heading. At the beginning of your content you have the opportunity to use the tag to specify the heading of your content. This tag is given extra weight and is also an indicator to the search engine of where your actual content starts. Make sure to use your keywords in the heading but don't shy away from also adding additional words (though not too many).
Step Five - Internal Linking
To insure that your website gets fully indexed you have to make sure that the spiders have an easy path through your website. Text links make the best choice as the anchor text (the actual words used to link to a specific page) add relevancy to that page for the words used to link to it. For example, if I ran a website on acne and had a treatments page I could link to it with an image, with text reading "Click for more information on how to treat this skin condition" or simply "Acne Treatments". When a search engine spider hits an image it has no idea what the image is and, while it will follow the link, it will not give any weight to the page it hits. If you use text that does not contain the keywords you are targeting you are essentially supplying the engine with the same lack of relevancy as with an image, but if you use the phrase "Acne Treatments" to link to your acne treatments page you are attaching relevancy to that page for those keywords.
There are two main ways to insure that your site gets well spidered AND that the relevancy is added. The first is to place text links on the bottom of your homepage to your main internal pages (not EVERY page, that just looks odd). The second is to create a sitemap to all your internal pages and link to it from your homepage. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages but that's a whole article unto itself.
Step Six - Human Testing
So now you have your site, it's optimized and you have your navigation in place. The next step is to put it past someone who has never seen your site (and preferably who won't know how much work you've put in and tell you it's great even if it's not).
Ask them to find specific information and see how long it takes. Ask someone else to just surf your site and watch which links they click and ask them why they chose those ones.
Most importantly, find out how the content reads to them. You've spent hours working through the content at this point and are probably not the least biased on its readers. Find out how it reads to someone who has no invested interest in the site and correct any issues they may bring up.
Step Seven - Submissions
I take a different philosophy than most when it cones to search engine submissions. I submit to directories (both general and topic-specific) and to a few topical search engines but for the most part I've found submitting to Google, Yahoo, MSN and the other major engines has proven to be a bit of a waste of time. The major search engines are spidering search engines which means they will follow links to wherever they go. Simply having sites that are spidered by the major search engines linking to you will get your site found.
When I have spent time submitting my sites I have found they get picked up in about a week. When I have simply skipped this step and sought out reputable directories and other sites to get links from I have found that at least the homepage of the site gets indexed in as little as two days.
Neither will hurt your rankings but simply to make the best use of your time, seek our directories and other websites to get links from and leave the spiders to find you on their own.
Step Eight - Link Building
All of the major search engines give credit to sites that have quality links pointing to them. How many is enough depends on your industry and targeted phrases. Running a search on Google the reads "link:www.yourcompetition.com" will reveal approximately how many links a competitor has.
The first place to seek links is with general and topic-specific directories. After that you may want to move into reciprocal link building. Reciprocal link building is the exchange of links between two websites. Some webmasters will simply link to any website that links back to them. I highly recommend being more particular than that.
Find websites that you believe your site visitors would genuinely be interested in and you've probably found a good link partner. You want to find links from sites that are related to yours.
There are obviously many more methods to building links than directories and reciprocal link building. Again though, this is a whole article (or more) in itself.
Step Nine - Monitoring
Whether you use WebPosition Gold (http://www.webposition.com/) or just run searches manually by hand you will have to monitor the major search engines for your targeted phrases. Also, you will need to review your stats to see where your traffic is coming from and what search terms are being used to find you.
If a month passes and you don't see any changes then more work needs to be done. I'm certainly not stating that you should take a month off, a solid search engine positioning strategy involves constantly adding content, building links, and insuring that your visitors are getting the information they want to have and finding it as easily as possible.
Step Ten - Reward Yourself
So you've done it. It's taken many many hours of work but you're rankings are doing well. What you've created is a solid position that will stand the tests of time provided that you continually revisit the above noted steps and insure that your website is always one step ahead of your competition (who have noticed you climbing and succeeding as you would notice others climbing up around your ranking).
Now it's time to turn off your computer, take your partner out (you haven't had much time for them lately) and have a great week(end). You've got a lot of work to do to maintain and build on these rankings but the hardest part is over. Congratulations!
About The Author
Dave Davies is the owner of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning (http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/). He has been optimizing and ranking websites for over three years and has a solid history of success. Dave is available to answer any questions that you may have about your website and how to get it into the top positions on the major search engines.
Search Engine Optimization - Enhancing Web Site Visibility
I've had several prospects and clients say to me "I want my web site to come up on top in search engines." And some have been contacted by an SEO company asking for lots of money and claiming that they can guarantee top search engine results, which in many cases is just false promises. There is no quick and easy way to make a web site display in the top 10 on search engines. Getting a web site to come up high in search engines "naturally" can take time and effort. When I say naturally, I mean without paying to be a sponsored link. The content of the web site has to be relevant. By this, I mean the web site content should be very descriptive, and ideally unique, about your business, product or service. This way search engines can rank your site according to this detailed, descriptive and relevant content. Some reasons that a web site will rank high:
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SEO is a never ending battle! So is SEO over-rated? I don't think it is. Some say that Google's automated PageRank? system and Alexa's Traffic Rank system are losing ground. This may be may be true to some point but the fact still remains that we want at the top of the search results. And to achieve this we need to educate ourselves and do the work or hire someone else to the work for us. Search Engine Optimization "SEO" is a term we see all over the net. For those of you that are unsure exactly what is meant by SEO, it's simply adjusting many characteristics of your website to conform with what the major search engines deem important. That's where the simple stops. It's complicated only because no one other than the developers themselves know all the rules and even then the rules are constantly changing. What I'll try to do here is cover the basics that have fairly consistent lately. Keep in mind however there will always be inconsistencies when it comes SEO. 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To do this if you haven't already done so, download Google free toolbar http://toolbar.google.com/ Once installed, you can see the PageRank? of any site you go to. You want as many sites as possible with high PR's. Set a goal of getting a few PR6 or PR7 sites. This will do wonders to your rank. In fact one PR7 might do more for you than hundreds on no or very low PR sites. 3. Third, the engines like to see incoming links from what they consider on authoritative site. So aggressively go after well established, high ranking sites that share the some focus as your site. 4. Fourth on our list are the sites to stay away from. Sites that generate artificially created links. Link farms and even huge link exchange sites can even get your site banned. I don't mean to make anyone nervous here. The fact is, if you are generally doing the right thing for the right reasons, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you find yourself trying to hide something or hoping an search engine doesn't catch something, then you may want to re-evaluate your strategies. Requesting a link. The first thing you should do when requesting a link exchange is little research. Glance over the site in question and consider where your site link might hold the most relevance one their site. This will benefit both parties. And then don't be afraid to offer the suggestions when you contact the site administrator. I have had sites accept my link on a suggested page even though they have a section designed just for outside links. I have even accepted links that I would have normally rejected because the fit would have seemed wrong if they hadn't shown a better fit. Always add their link to your site before you make the request and include the page url of the link when making contact. Keep track of the contacts you've made and if you haven't received a reply. Do a simple search on there site to see if they added your link and forgot to reply. At most, send one more request and be sure to include the words link exchange in the subject line so they don't delete your mail as spam. Then if you still don't get a reply within a week simply remove theirs from your site and move on. Don't send any more mail. Consider the lack of response as a rejection and accept it. Don't take things personal and send a negative e-mail. I have actually received a couple of these and there's really no point. If you do get a reply and a link send a short thank you note. Always include the exact text of the link you want on their site. Again, before you do this it helps if you look at other links on their site. If they have a 3 or 4 word description with each link, you don't want to send a whole paragraph in your links description. What you do want to do is include your best key words. In fact, a short description with the right key words can benefit you far better than a watered down version. Keep it short and sweet. Make things as easy as possible for the webmaster. Include the html code of your link so he/she can just copy and paste if they decide to.
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How to Get One Way Backlinks
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Diary of a Google Gazumpee
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As a matter of fact, I recommend NOT wasting money on pay inclusion in most cases because it doesn't offer enough of an advantage (and many times the fees give you absolutely no advantage - the only exception are the few sites that guarantee placement within a specific timeline). Focus your online marketing and gain positive and targeted traffic without paying out for "expedited listings" or "submission software."
Your Website Title Could Be Costing You Money
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Speed Indexing - 3 Steps to Getting Your Website Listed in Google Quickly
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