I am sure that it will surprise some people to hear me say that Search Engine Optimization isn’t rocket science! Although it can feel complicated at times the aim is simply to ensure that your website is presented in the way search engines like and ultimately that your visitors will like!
At the end of the day Search Engines always try to give users whatever they can find that is relevant to their search. You need to appreciate that the majority of Search Engines don’t work by moving the good stuff towards the top. What they do instead is to try to push the bad stuff towards the bottom, and hope that what’s good will ‘float up’. It is a frequently repeated truth that Content is King and good content which is well written and which is sprinkled with the appropriate keywords can get you good search engine rankings. This not only brings visitors to your site but also feeds the search engine spiders and crawlers. It is impossible to emphasise enough how well written and relevant content is key to good SEO.
One of the fast way to develop good content is to generate a series of articles regarding your topic. These items are very powerful in the world of SEO because they provide your visitors with something to read and they allow you to feature in the Search Engine results for some key words that you normally wouldn’t. Let’s say you are managing a website for Genealogists. A well written article about using a particular genealogy tool is more likely to generate a high position in the search results for “genealogy tools” than your home page. Therefore, if you write articles relevant to your subject but in more depth than you can put on your home page, you will find that you will benefit enormously.
Take a look at the sites that currently rank high on the search engines for your keywords or indeed for any keywords and you will generally find that they have simple designs with graphics that use minimal bandwidth, and they are generally easy to navigate. Simple, clean designs are what both search engine crawlers and search engine users like, as it lets them get the content they want without a lot of peripheral “fluff”. This is what you should be aiming to achieve with your website.
Of course some websites will be ranked highly in search engines, even though their designs make them difficult to read and navigate. If the content of a site is relevant to what people are searching for then that’s all that matters to a search engine. However, it’s preferable to have a site that is user friendly and easy to navigate if you want to encourage return visitors.
Let’s think about meta tags, keywords, descriptions, and titles. These are all important elements, even if they are not what will make or break your site. Whilst important they are just one part of your strategy. These elements need to be compelling and sprinkled with your keywords, as this will entice users to click through from the search results page to your website. It’s best to start off slowly, gradually adding things in as you learn.
If you have any questions and you don’t know where to go, then check out some of the forums on the subject. To do this you just need to go to your favourite search engine and do a search for ‘seo forum’. The people on these forums are generally more than happy to answer your questions, or direct you to someone who can answer your question if they can’t. Remember to be patient with yourself: learning something new takes time and effort, and SEO is no different.
I've always thought of SEO as a long-term process. More of a perpetual process, really. SEO firms (not to be confused with SEO consultants) tend to provide one of two different types of service.
- Short-Term SEO: These firms provide a proposal for optimizing your entire site or optimizing for a set number of keyword phrases. Once that is done you are wither on your own or you can sign up for a "maintenance" plan.
- Long-Term SEO: These firms provide a perpetual ongoing SEO process. This might include continuously uncovering and optimizing for new targeted keyword phrases, continuous link building, ongoing consultation and analysis as needed.
Here are a few pros and cons of each:
- Pages gets fully analyzed, optimized and rolled out within a few weeks or months.
- No long-term contracts.
- No large re-occurring fees.
- Nothing gets rolled out until its all complete. If the contract calls for a large number of keywords or pages to be optimized you might be in for a long wait.
- Some important keywords many not get optimized as the contract has limitations as to how many pages and keywords are to be optimized.
- Newly popular phrases don't get optimized without making an additional optimization purchase.
- Reporting and analysis is limited.
- Link building is limited.
- New keywords are always being found and optimized into your site.
- Ongoing analysis, maintenance, reporting and consulting.
- Ongoing link analysis and building
- You know who is ultimately responsible.
- No fees for just keeping the status quo or a few reports
- Pages are rolled out as soon as they are ready, no waiting for "everything" to be completed.
- Constant analysis for new trendy keywords that can bring in targeted traffic.
- Ongoing link building efforts
- Ongoing reporting and in depth performance analysis
- Some important keywords may take a while to get optimized and rolled out.
- Larger ongoing fees.
- Long-term contracts often required.
Both forms of SEO campaigns have their merit. Your particular budgetary and optimization needs will dictate which is best for you.
I’ll focus on eight ways you can start driving more visitors to your website. To make money online you need people to come to your website and you need a way to convert those visitors into customers.
The first, fastest, and perhaps easiest way is to buy visitors with Google Adwords and other pay per click search engines. Especially with Google Adwords, you can be up and running in an hour or less. Just sign up for an account at Adwords.com, create a campaign, create an ad group, enter some keywords, and your ad will start showing for those keywords in approximately 10-20 minutes. There are definitely right and wrong ways to go about using Google Adwords and I suggest you buy a book about Google Adwords, or get Perry Marshall’s course.
A second way to drive traffic to your site will take longer, but you won’t be paying per click. You can optimize your site for the search engines. This is called SEO or sometimes SEM (for search engine marketing). It’s important to know what keywords to focus on, and Google Adwords is great for determining which keywords make you money. But once you know what your “money words” are, you can start driving traffic to your site though the natural search engine listings. Brad Fallon has a great course called Stomping the Search Engines which tells you just about everything you need to know about how to get listed and rank well in the 3 major search engines Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
A third way to drive traffic to your website is article marketing. This is the brilliant strategy of writing articles and submitting them to article directories. What happens is that webmasters will find and put your article on their sites so that your content is displayed on many websites. You also include a resource box with your article that links to your site. The link will help you rise in the search engines and the article itself may encourage visitors to your site.
A four way to get visitors to your site is to write and submit press releases. Your press release can be picked up by major publications and, just like articles, you can get visitors from the content of the press release, but you may also get some great links which will help you out in the search engines. Marc Harty has a great course for using press releases to drive traffic.
The fifth method for driving visitors to your site is to have a blog. The reason that blogs are so good at driving traffic is that the search engines love them because they provide fresh content, and because they are available through RSS feeds, webmasters can post your blog content on their sites which can then drive traffic to you (much like how you would get traffic from article marketing). If you are totally new to blogging, you might want to try Google’s free service Blogger.com or if you are ready to take the next step, you can move to another free service called Wordpress. Wordpress seems to be a much more effective SEO solution than blogger, but there is more to setup on your website. Sherman Hu has a great set of word press tutorials that you can watch to setup and use Wordpress for driving visitors to your site.
A sixth way to get more eyeballs on your site is from offline advertising. Many people don’t think of actually running advertisement in publications to get traffic to their sites. It might be worth your time to look through a few publications in your industry and compare some of the ads in old issues with ads in the new issues. The ads that are still there are probably the ones that are successful and that you should consider modeling. A phrase that seems to effectively get people to put down the publication and enter your URL in their computer is “free website”.
The seventh method for getting more traffic is viral products. This is simply an e-book, website, movie, etc that gets passed around from person to person because it’s so interesting. Some ideas for viral products including publishing the results of an interesting contest you hold for your customers, putting a creative spin on a current event, or tugging at the heartstrings of people with poems or wisdom. There are some good courses on how to create and use viral products. You can search for these courses, or visit my resource page for a few.
The eighth and final method for driving traffic to your website is affiliate programs. The beautiful thing about affiliate programs is that you can have an army of people sending traffic to your site and you only pay them when they are responsible for a sale. Your risk is almost nothing and the rewards can be huge. Clickbank.com has a great affiliate program if you are marketing electronic products. Commission Junction (cj.com) has a good program for finding affiliates to sell your physical products.