What are we all trying to do with our sites? Simple:
• Improve our site's search engine position.
• Increase free traffic
• Find additional ways to monetize our sites
• Avoid getting ripped off by SEOs that don't deliver
• SEO on the cheap
Yes, you can scour the web searching for sites that might be interested in linking to you, but it's time consuming and not exactly efficient. Or, you can purchase links and link packages from sites like LinkAdage, where webmasters with links to sell, can hook up with webmasters seeking increased exposure and traffic with click-throughs. These sites offer convenience and value, but for some novice e-retailers, even these options can blow the budget out the back door. So, what can you do to optimize your site so that the top search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) will deliver your site to the user who initiated the query?
Studies have shown that in excess of 80% of all of your site traffic got there by way of a search engine. Clearly, it stands to reason that the better a search engine understands the purpose of your site, the more likely you are to show up on the results page of a user's query.
Each search engine uses different criteria for producing search results - criteria that are top secret and certainly not available to the small site webmaster. But certain of these criteria can be gleaned simply by experimenting with keyword searches and keyword placement within your anchor text. Once your site has been indexed by a search engine, conduct some experimental queries using a variety of keywords - both broad and narrow - to see where your site falls on the results pages displayed. Keyword optimization is a low-cost, easily implemented means of improving your site's traffic.
The placement of keywords within your site is another critical consideration. Try to include as many key words in the first 200 words of your landing page text. It's not easy to do. The text often sounds contrived and stilted. You can avoid this SEO text babble by limiting the number of repeaters - keywords that appear more than once in your opening text. A variety of keywords is much more important than keyword density, so mix 'em up.
Spread keywords throughout the entire body of your site's text. Headers, sub-heads, titles and site description are particularly important because they're more heavily weighted by the individual search engine algorithm. Devoting a page to each keyword is often a good idea.
For the search engine that use on-page meta descriptions, be sure to include your top 3-4 keywords in your page’s description which will appear just below your title tag on the results page. Again, make every effort to use keywords that will be picked up by the search engine, but don't cram your site description with a simple list of keywords. Remember, your site's description must also make sense and appeal to the user to get that all-important click.
Create a site index or site map, pointing users and search engines to critical sections and keyword optimized text. A site map is relatively easy to create and will make your on-line business more user friendly and more search engine friendly, as well.
When developing keyword rich text, be sure to load up the first and last paragraphs of the content, with a few keyword references in the main body. Site optimization expert, Scott J. Patterson, author of the popular e-book, Building A Store
describes keyword placement as an hour glass shape - heavy top and bottom, thinner in the main body of the text.
Make sure to contact other sites related to your own. Link reciprocity is low cost and a single note to relevant sites can produce inbound links sure to generate traffic, boost your PR and, most important of all, increase your sales.
Purchase the inexpensive SEOBook
by Aaron Walls. It is concidered to be the best hands-on resource of cutting edge SEO available. The special thing about the SEOBook
is that you get lifetime updates. This is extremely important because SEO changes constantly and this is the only 'how-to resource' you will ever need.
Take full advantage of the free information on many webmaster forums out there. Webmasterworld is a great resource for beginning and advanced webmasters. It is also free of all the advertisements the fill many of the other forums. Assuming that money is an important consideration, you can avoid the expense of hiring an SEO text writing pro, or the expense of pricey optimization software (at least initially), by learning from more experience webmasters that visit the forums.
You can also learn a great deal by visiting the search engine sites themselves. Go to the Google landing page and click on 'About Google' for important information for site owners, webmasters, chipheads and rookies - everything from how to submit your URL to tips that will make it easier for the search engine to spider into your site.
Now, it's important to note that most of these suggestions are intended for sites just coming on line - sites that are not yet paying their own way. As traffic increases, along with actual site revenues, there are numerous other steps you can take to quickly expand your presence. These steps - buying text link advertisements, for instance - will cost you money, but it's the advertising and exposure you'll need to achieve a top 10 ranking for your keywords. If you're successful budgeting capital outlays in the beginning and taking steps to optimize your own site, you'll be able to build on that success by employing optimization professionals and optimization software to take your business to the next level.
And, from there, the sky is the limit.