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SEO STRAGEGY 

Basic Search Engine Optimization Strategy Is Not Rocket Science.  Here's What You Need to Know.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is big business. It is the second most important aspect of a website. Creating valuable content is the only thing more important. Thousands of SEO "experts" offer their expensive services on the internet. There are entire "firms" who are devoted to doing nothing other than getting your website to pop up as #1 on a search engine results page (SERP). Well, I guess they'll take a lot of your money too.

I'm not saying that they can't get your website to move up the ranks. Many probably can. The problem is that only a handful of people in the entire world know exactly what it takes to get a #1 ranking for a keyword typed into a search engine. And they aren't talking.

The algorithms that are used by Google and the other search engines to determine what websites are displayed when someone searches for a keyword are strictly confidential, calculate an enormous amount of data, and are tremendously complex. Due to their complexity, it is essentially impossible to "game" the system by doing one or two things and then see your website as the #1 result on a SERP.

However, the principles that will generally get your website to move up, up, and up are not secret.  You should read Google's own statement before reading any further here.  Here is what Google says.  After you read their own document, I will share additional SEO strategy with you on this website. But, even though the principles are relatively easy to apply, not many websites apply them.  (see also: Google Is the SEO Boss)

Don't make the same mistake. Follow the guidelines I lay out for basic search engine optimization strategy, and you will be well ahead of the vast majority of website owners. Or, you can pay an SEO expert hundreds or thousands of dollars to give it his own best shot. Here is a summary of what you need to keep in mind as you create your website or blog and write your content. Click each of the links below for additional specific information regarding each area.

There is a lot of information on this page. This should be your one-stop-learning-shop for basic SEO strategy. If you successfully apply this information to your website or blog, you will move up the search engine ranks. To skip straight to a section, use these links:

Preliminaries

Internal Optimization

External Optimization

Miscellaneous Tips

SEO Strategy: Preliminaries SEO Strategy Prelims

There are a few preliminary things you need to remember or be reminded of before you launch full-steam into search engine optimization.  It is important to remember what drives the internet, the importance of keywords and keyword research, and a few other factors that will serve your website well.  Click the link to understand the Basic SEO Strategy Preliminaries.

Content is King.  People seeking information is what drives the internet.  The algorithms used by the search engines are always being tweaked and refined in order to match up searchers with content that they are looking for.  People are always trying to manipulate Google, et. al., to display their content in response to a search.  Likewise, the search engines are always reacting to such efforts in an attempt to not be manipulated.  The result of that exchange is a system that works relatively well at matching legitimately good content with people who are genuinely seeking it.  Bottom line: you must write good content.  Chances are that you won't be able to write shoddy content and do well with the search engines.  Focus on delivering with great stuff first, worry about your SEO strategy second.  Feel free to review the tips on How to Write Your Content.

Center your content on keywords for successful search engine optimization.  See my Niche Research page for an introduction and the Free Online Keyword Tools List to get started.  However, if you are serious, you will eventually upgrade to a multi-functional and powerful paid keyword tool (the one I personally use and highly recommend is Keyword Elite 2.0).  Ideally, you will have a content outline made up of keywords ready to go from when you worked out your Content Development Plan.  Writing your website's content based on relevant keywords is a huge part of any successful SEO strategy.  Before settling on your keywords, it is wise to type them into Google to ensure they mean what you think they mean.  For example, does "green" refer to a political party or an enviornmentally-friendly energy? 

Buy your own domain name.  And, if possible, make sure your best keyword is contained within the name.  Do this early in the process.  You will likely own the domain name at least six months before you are ready to publish your website for the first time.  Additionally, publishing early on helps you diminish the effects of being placed in Google's "sandbox."  It is possible to avoid the sandbox alltogether, but many people will find themselves relegated to this mythical place.  Google does it to mitigate against spammers, but being relegated to this mythical place causes your website not to get the rankings it otherwise would.  Buy your domain name and publish quality content as soon as you can.  For review, here is how to Choose Your Domain Name and how to Register Your Domain Name.

Submit your website to directories as soon as possible.  As soon as you have valuable keyword-centered content pages published (at least 10), submit your website to directories.  This will help drive traffic, defend against time spent in the sandbox, and provide you with a backlink (discussed more in the external optimization section below).  DMoz (Open Directory Project) and Yahoo!'s directory are two options.  However, Yahoo! may charge you a fee if your website is a commercial website.  You may be able to circumvent the fee if you use your blog instead.

SEO Strategy: Internal Optimization     SEO Strategy Internal

A website's internal optimization used to be the pinnacle of any successful website's SEO strategy. Internal optimization also is sometimes referred to as Web 1.0 optimization. External, or Web 2.0, optimization is now vastly more important than optimizing internally. However, while external is more important, it is still critical that you apply many of the principles of internal optimization to your website or blog if you want to be successful with your SEO strategy.

Successful internal optimization will vault your website above an equal peer website, all other factors being equal. So, learn how to internally optimize and then internally optimize each of your websites and content pages as you create them. You need to address each of the following points and ensure each webpage you create meets them all. Here is what you need to do and address:

TITLE - The title of each webpage should contain only the keywords you selected to write the content of the page around (i.e. the topic of the page). It is best to use the absolute least amount of characters you can. For example, if you are going to join two separate keywords with "and," replace the "and" with the "|" symbol (right above the enter key on most keyboards). Additionally, combine keywords if possible. If you choose the keywords "summer baseball" and "baseball leagues," your page title should be "Summer Baseball Leagues."

HEADER 1 - This header is whatever is between the < h1 > and < /h1 > when you view the source code of a webpage. Put your #1 keyword there. It is best if you include only your #1 keyword there. Layout is also analyzed, so put this header as far to the top left (or middle) of the page as you can. See the LAYOUT comments below for why.

HEADER 2 - This header is whatever is between the < h2 >and < /h2 >. Put your secondary keyword here.

CONTENT - The SEO strategy gurus used to put tremendous emphasis on something called keyword density. Keyword density was the inclusion of keywords in specific concentrations and in specific locations to "convince" the search engines to display your webpage first in response to a search on that keyword. Keyword density no longer matters. You should, however, include your keywords throughout your content. Shoot for an occurance of your keyword every few paragraphs. But, don't force it. If a keyword doesn't fit the natural flow of your content, don't force it in. And, by all means, don't use meaningless repetition of keywords. Your visitors will notice and resent it, and Google will likely catch you and send you to Google purgatory (more on that later). Do try to make sure that your keyword is the first and last text on a page. If it is in your header, great. Also try to put it at the end of each of your pages. To emphasize the keyword, for both the reader and the search engines, you can use bold, italics, or underline. But, only use them once each if you do. Be sure to also review Google's webmaster guidelines.

IMAGES - Since Google is not human, it cannot appreciate beauty. In fact, it doesn't even take real images into account when running its algorithm. It does, however, look at the alt-text associated with pictures. The alt-text is what will pop up if you hover your mouse over a picture online. For example, a photo of a Japanese Maple tree may have alt-text of "pretty tree" programmed in. You should make alt-text on your images contain your keywords. Here too, you shouldn't repeat for repetition's sake. If you are posting photos on your baseball leagues webpage, change the alt-text up to include the keyword "baseball leagues" plus some other text. For example, you could put as alt-text: baseball leagues in Detroit, fun baseball leagues, expert baseball leagues, etc. The main point is to use alt-text tags on your pictures and images to increase Google exposure to your targeted keywords. Click the link to read what Google says about images.

LAYOUT - When Google executes its algorithm to scan a webpage, it starts at the top left and ends at the bottom right. Most websites have a navigation bar or something other than their top keyword at the upper left corner of their page. A layout tip to help your SEO strategy be more successful is to insert a small blank column in the upper left part of your website. When Google hits the blank column, it will then skip to the content portion where your SEO strategy for internal optimization is in full effect.   One of the reasons I appreciate XSitePro (which I use personally) is that it can automatically insert a column for you so that you don't even have to think about it.

LINKS - Interlink the webpages within your website. Make sure that every page in your website has a link pointing to it from another page within your website. Make sure that the text of the link pointing to the page is the #1 keyword for which that page is optimized.  To understand the importance of this better, read about external optimization. Also, click the link to see what Google says about linking.

The reason that doing each of these things is important is that Google (and presumably other search engines) analyzes these things when they evaluate your website for their index. Including each of the above helps you tell Google what your webpage is about (keywords) so that they can return your page for people searching for information on the keywords for which you optimized.

I'll say it again: your external optimization SEO strategy is more important. But, doing the simple internal optimization will help you as well. Now, on to the biggie: external optimization.

[UPDATE (22 March 2010): the above mentioned method will still work for Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo! search engines.  However, Google has become more sophisticated, yet again.  To rank well for Google, it is now important to use related words and phrases and not just the same keyword over and over.

For example, if you wanted to rank well in Google for the acronym "SEO", you would need to have related terms scattered throughout your content as well.  The terms could include: search engine optimization, search engine placement, SEM, search engine optimization company, search engine marketing, search, promotion, engine, search engine promotion, internet advertising, marketing, web, website, search engine ranking, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and so on and so forth.

Google's algorithm gets ever more complex, which is great for searchers and tough for would-be search engine optimizers.  Use a keyword tool to find related search terms.  A free one is the Related Keywords Lookup Tool.  You can also learn How to Use the Google ~ Search.  Additionally, you can use Google Labs: Sets and Quintura.

Also, it can now benefit your Google rank if you use a descriptive, non-keyword word to begin your page title.  You should also use plural, singular, and -ing forms of your keywords.  Even mix up the page headers and link anchor text.  END UPDATE]

SEO Strategy: External Optimization     SEO Strategy External

When it comes to SEO strategy, external optimization is the holy grail.  It is also much harder to accomplish successfully than is internal optimization.  Google and other engines are ever refining their analysis algorithms to try and return the most relevant websites in response to any given keyword search.  Now, the external optimization of your SEO strategy is much more important to the success of your traffic-generating efforts than anything else.

 

Due to its importance, this section will be rather long.  Stick with it.  Understanding this is the key to the success or failure of your SEO strategy.

 

There are several aspects to external search engine optimization.  Each is important.  Use the following links to jump right to a section, or scroll down to read them in order.  Here are the main aspects of any good external SEO strategy:

Get Indexed in Google (and other search engines)

Understand the Main External Optimization Factors

Analyze Other Successful Websites

Get Other Websites to Link to You (backlinks!)

Get Indexed in Google (and other search engines)

 

You will get no traffic from search engines until you get indexed by them. There are two main ways to get indexed by Google: tell them you exist and wait for them to check you out, or "help" them find you on their own.

 

After you go to submit your webpage to Google's index at their Add URL page, you should also submit a Sitemap.  Here Google gives you details on how to submit your website Sitemap. Once you submit your website, it can take up to a month or two before Google's "spiders" index it through a "crawl." This limbo time is often referred to as being in Google's sandbox. It is terribly annoying for anyone wanting to see their hard work available to the world. Eventually, however, your site will be indexed and begin to show up in search engine results pages.  You should repeat this process for the major, well-reputed search engines.

 

The quicker way to get indexed (but not necessarily easier) is to have a website with a PageRank of 5 or 6 link to your website. To understand why, it is important to get some background information on how Google works.

 

Google continuously runs software called "spiders" that analyze the vast majority of the websites on the internet. This is done by following links and analyzing content on the pages to which the links lead. Since most of the internet is interconnected, Google finds just about everything on the internet this way. The execution of this spider software is called "crawling." The data that is recorded is then analyzed by a proprietary algorithm that determines the imporance and authority of an individual webpage or website based on the aggregate importance of all links that point to the webpage or website (links pointing to a website are commonly called inbound links or "backlinks"). Each link that links back to you will contribute some of the linking webpage's value to your webpage. As you get more links and more significant links, your own website will be granted a higher PageRank and carry more authority itself. In short, Google will consider your webpage and "expert" webpage. This helps you move up in the search engine results.

 

So, what is a quicker way to get indexed in Google and avoid the sandbox?  Get high PageRank webpages (a webpage with authority) to place a links to your website on their pages. If you can get a PageRank 5 webpage to link to you, you should have Google's spiders crawling your site within 2-3 days.  It will likely take longer to actually make it into the index, but the process will be started more quickly. If you get a PageRank 6 webpage to link to you, you'll usually be crawled within 24 hours.

 

The higher the PageRank of a website, the more often Google sends their spiders to crawl that particular website. So, getting a link from such a page will get your website crawled and indexed much sooner than waiting to be indexed after submitting your URL and Sitemap through Google's submission process. PageRank will be discussed more below in the SEO Strategy Tips, and it isn't always easy to get indexed quickly in this manner.

 

In the recent past, people would either pay a website with a high PageRank to place a link to a new webstie on their page, or offer to swap links so that the Google spiders would find them quickly. Now, doing either of those is dangerous as such tactics can get you "gray-barred" or, essentially, black-listed and kicked out of Google's index. You do NOT want that to happen to you. So, I don't recommend engaging in these practices.

 

It is best to focus on creating quality content. If your content is well-written and informative, you will eventually get links as you promote your website. Don't undermine your efforts by attempting to practice the black arts of search engine manipulation. More information on what NOT to do is also below in the SEO Strategy Tips section.

 

So, what should you do? You should submit your Sitemap to Google and other search engines AND try to get a few high PageRank pages to link to you as you promote your new website. Getting indexed in the search engines is the first step in any successful external SEO strategy. Once you have a webpage that is a PageRank 5 or 6, the process is easier. Simply put a link to your new website on your high PageRank page, and wait 24-72 hours.  The spiders will crawl the new site and start the countdown until you are indexed. It should be indexed much more quickly than it would be otherwise. Once it is indexed, you can remove the link.  You can also use this technique to speed up the process: use YouTube to bypass the Google Sandbox.

 

Understand the Main External Optimization Factors

 

To develop a good external SEO strategy, you need to know what factors affect your website's ranking. Success is much more likely when you understand the following factors and how each goes into the calculations for your page's importance, according to Google:

Which websites link to you? It is important to know which websites link to you. To find them, simply type "link:www.examplewebsite.com" into Google. The results will be all of the websites that have a link pointing to the website in question (or your website).

 

What is the PageRank of the websites that link to you? When a website links to another website, it casts a "vote" for the linked-to page. The higher the PageRank of a website that links to your website, the more important the "vote" is.

 

How many websites link to you? When you search Google for the answer to which websites link to you, Google will also return the quantity of those websites. The total will be listed at the top where it says, "Results 1 - 10 of about ??? linking to www.examplewebsite.com."  The ??? is how many backlinks the website has.  Since a link to your website is considered a vote for your website by Google, the more the better.

 

What are the topics of the websites that link to you? If you have a website that centers around a niche market for pet turtles, a website centered around astronomy linking to you will not help you nearly as much as one centered around pet food for turtles. The "theme" of the website linking to you and the actual title of the page linking to you are both important and will factor in when you are seeking to promote your website. Ultimately, you want pages linking to you that have your main keyword in their title. Completely unrelated websites can link to you, but they won't benefit you as much as related links that contain your keywords will.

 

What is the anchor text of the actual links that link to you? The anchor text of a link is the actual text that comprises a link. Take, for example, this link: How to Make Your Own Website. It links back to my homepage. The anchor text is "How to Make Your Own Website." Google analyzes this anchor text for every link it crawls. To rank well for a keyword, it is critical that the keyword appears often in the anchor text of the links that point back to your webpages.

 

How many and of what type are the links linking to the websites that link to you? You should attempt to gain links from websites that are considered "authorities" by Google for a particular keyword. This doesn't necessarily mean that the webpage will have a very high PageRank. One way to try to determine some of the authority pages for a particular keyword is to go to a hubfinder page. One can be found here. Search for a keyword you are interested in through Google. Then type the top 10 URLs into the hubfinder. It will then tell you which websites have common links to those pages. These results are likely considered authority pages by Google. If time permits, you should gear your SEO strategy toward getting links from these websites, if possible.

 

What are the IP address of the websites that link to you? Another factor that is important to consider is the IP address of the websites providing backlinks. Diversity of IP address is very important. If a webpage has 10,000 backlinks from one IP address, it will not benefit the webpage much, if at all. Since people will try to manipulate the "system" by creating a bunch of meaningless webpages to give links to their main website, Google counters them by noting the IP address from which the links come. Same IP address = same person, no matter how many links there are. Make sure you have lots of different IP addresses for your backlinks. The only way to realistically get this is by making valuable content creation the bedrock of your SEO strategy. When people read valueable stuff, they'll link to it. Each backlink will then come from a unique IP address and benefit you! You can find out the IP addresses of websites by using this tool.

Finding all this information and manually inputting into a spreadsheet so that the data can be analyzed is tremendously time-consuming. But, it will really help you in your SEO strategy to do it. If you are like me and simply do not have time to track all of these things, you will buy a tool to do it for you.

 

I highly recommend that you look into Keyword Elite 2.0 for your keyword research needs. Even more, I recommend you use the sister program SEO Elite to automatically do all this website and link research for you automatically. As of now, you can even get it for free if you buy Keyword Elite 2.0. Again, it isn't absolutely necessary to get either program. But, having done it the hard way and through using these programs, I can attest to the fact that they will save you enormous amounts of time.

 

Use the saved time to create more valuable content!

 

Analyze Other Successful Websites

 

Again, the quickest and best way to do this is with a program like SEO Elite. However, if you are going to do it manually, here are the steps you'll repeat over and over. The goal of this process is to find out what the successful websites are doing to rank well for your keyword and then do the same thing, only slightly better. This will either be relatively easy or relatively difficult depending on the competetion for the keyword.

 

So, here is what you'll analyze, step by step:

1. Take the first website returned by Google for a search on your main keyword and find how many backlinks it has. Now you know that www.site#1.com has ### links.

 

2. Take one of these (on www.site#2.com) links and analyze it. Record its PageRank, its IP address, the title of the webpage linking to www.site#1.com, the anchor text of the actual link linking to www.site#1.com, the total outbound links on that webpage, and the total links on that webpage.

 

3. Do this for the top 10 pages that link to www.site#1.com and record everything into a spreadsheet.

 

4. Once you've done that, move down to the next website on the search results page for the initial keyword you typed in. Repeat the process for the second through the tenth results for that keyword. Record everything into the spreadsheet.

 

5. Once you have all the data, structure your websites to mimic and then exceed the technical details you received from your research.

Or, you can get a program to analyze for you. Or, you can simply focus on writing the best quality content the world has ever seen and let the details take care of themselves. My recommendation: do both if you can. If you don't have the ability to get a program to analyze it for you, just focus on content. Just don't try to do it by hand. You'll get bogged down and give up. At the end of the day, the best SEO strategy is simply writing excellent content that serves your website's visitors well. Always remember that.

 

Get Other Websites to Link to Your Website (backlinks!)

 

While great content will get you backlinks as visitors find it and link to it, you should actively seek them as well to speed up the process. In the recent past, people would manipulate the system by creating enormous link directories on their websites. They would agree with other webmasters to put a link to their website in exchange for them doing the same. Naturally, this type of behaviour didn't and doesn't help the website traffic find what they need.

 

So, Google started analyzing these link-trading practices and now penalizes websites who engage in them. Of course, some reciprocal links can benefit traffic to your website, so Google won't penalize you if you have a few strategic reciprocal links. Just don't create huge directory structures full of reciprocal links to try to manipulate the system. It will backfire on you. My advice: put links on your website that will benefit others whether or not those websites backlink to you.

 

With that said, one good way of getting links is to write and ask for them. Of course, many webmasters will decline because they don't want to share their PageRank with you by voting for your site with a link. But, if your website fits with the theme of their website, they may place a link to your website if they feel their traffic could genuinely benefit from your content. You'll never know if you don't ask and make your website known to them. To contact other webmasters, scan a website for the contact information. Then, shoot them an introductory email.

 

With the interactivity of the "Web 2.0" internet, there are a lot of ways to get even more backlinks than you could just a few years ago. Interacting through forums and blog posts (where you leave a tag with your website URL) can generate backlinks. Creating PDF files with links to your website and then giving them away can generate backlinks as Google will scan the text therein. Adding a Blog to a Website will help you improve your website and implement SEO strategy that includes many of the Web 2.0 options.

 

One of the time-tested methods for generating backlinks is to write articles specifically for submission to one of the numerous online article directories. For more information on doing this, understand how to Submit Articles to Directories. You can also learn How to Use Social Networking to generate backlinks.

 

There are, essentially, an unlimited number of ways to get backlinks. As long as they don't get you in trouble with the Law or with Google, take advantage of any opportunity to get a link pointing back to your website or blog. To see your website grow, you should set aside several hours each week dedicated to doing things to purposefully generate backlinks for your website. If you incorporate this discipline into your schedule, you will see your website grow in prominence. Keep reading for some miscellaneous tips that will help you refine your SEO strategy.

SEO Strategy: Miscellaneous Tips     SEO Strategy Tips

Search engine optimization is always changing at the margin. The core principles stay the same, but there are always slight changes that can be made to improve your SEO strategy. This section will give you additional guidance and tips that will help you find success.

 

SEO Strategy Tip #1: Evaluate Keywords and Difficulty of Ranking Well for Each

When choosing a primary keyword for your main website (your domain name), do some research to see if it is a keyword for which you can reasonably expect to break into the top ten search results.  To determine this, pick three or four keywords and type each of them into Google.

 

To get an overall estimate of the demand/supply ratio, take the number of monthly searches (you get this by using a free or paid keyword tool) and dividing that number by the number of sites returned when you typed it into Google.  This is your demand/supply ratio.  The higher this number is, the better the keyword.

 

Next, analyze the ten pages that pop up on the first page of Google's search results.  If the #1 result isn't a top-level (just a domain name) link, you will likely be able to pass it with your website.  Additionally, PR of 4 or lower can also be passed relatively quickly with effort. 

 

Third, evaluate the websites' code to see if they are internally optimized according to the parameters above in the section on internal optimization.  If they aren't, you'll likely be able to pass them.

 

Fourth, check the PageRank of the top ten results on Google's first SERP.  If half of them are PR 6, it will be tremendously difficult for you to break in (at least initially) with that keyword.  Choose a different one.

 

Again, there are great programs out there that will do this for you and, in the span of a few seconds, tell you exactly the competition level for any keyword you want to analyze.  Keyword Elite 2.0 does it.  Using that one program has saved me hours upon hours since I started using it.

SEO Strategy Tip #2: Don't Get Banned by Google

If you try to mess with Google, they will likely have the last laugh.  Implementing an SEO strategy that uses deceptive or manipulative techniques to try and coerce Google into ranking your website highly is often called "black hat SEO."  Don't do it.  You may get away with it for a while, but ill-gotten gain will bring you to ruin eventually.  If Google catches you doing anything deceptive or tricky, they will kick you out of their index.  If you aren't in their index, you get no traffic from Google.  Zilch.  Nada.  You don't want to be kicked out of Google's index.

 

So, how do you tell if you've been banned?  First, type your URL into Google.  If it says there is no info available, your website either hasn't been indexed yet or is banned.  If you check the PR of your website, if there is a gray bar instead of a PR, you've likely either been banned or relegated to the sandbox.

 

Here is what you need to avoid so that you do not get banned. 

 

1.  Do not use hidden text on your website.  Hidden text is anything that a visitor can't see when they visit your website.  For example, do not use white text on a white background (or very, very light gray on a white background).  Eventually you'll be found out and kicked out.

 

2.  Do not stuff keywords into the alt text for images.  The alt text for images was initially created for the visually impaired, so they could have the auditory programs give them an idea of the pictures on a website based on the alt text.  Not only is keyword stuffing not very kind to blind folks, it will get you banned.  An example of keyword stuffing would be typing this into a picture of a poodle on poodle-themed website: poodle poodles poodle buy a poodle poodle toys poodle poodle poodle.  You get the point.  Don't stuff keywords into alt text for your images.

 

3.  Do not stuff keywords anywhere else either.  Stuffing keywords into the title tags of your webpages, the meta tags (which Google doesn't use to rank but will ban based on them!), or meaningless repetition in the content of your website will all get you penalized by Google.  Remember to focus on the content for the sake of your visitors, not search engines, and you'll likely be fine.  Also, don't worry about what other sites do.  Google will not penalize you for anything another website does, only what you do.

 

4.  Avoid linking to bad neighborhoods.  "Bad neighborhoods" are websites that have been banned for some reason.  If you link to such a website that has been banned or is a known link farm, you will likely be penalized.  Since many websites will "go gray" after you link to them for some reason, you must check your links on a regular basis to ensure that you haven't linked to a bad neighbor inadvertently.  If you find that you have, delete their link immediately and you should see your search engine rankings increase.  Do it manually, link by link, or use a program that does it for you.  SEO Elite lets you do this easily.  It currently is free with the purchase of Keyword Elite 2.0. 

SEO Strategy Tip #3:  Understand PageRank and How It Works

You need to be able to see the PageRank (PR) of a webpage before you can evaluate it. Download and install the Google Toolbar or another tool that allows you to view the PageRank of a website you visit. I use SEOquake for Firefox. The PR on Google's Toolbar and on SEOquake look like this, respectively:

 

SEO Strategy PR Toolbar

 

SEO Strategy PR SEOquake

 

Basically, PageRank is how important Google thinks your website is based on the quality and the quantity of links it has pointing to it. Every time a link from a website points to your website, some of the PageRank from the linking page is imputed to the linked page. Essentially, they are casting a vote for the worthiness of your website, and, in doing so, transferring some of their Page Rank to you.  For a more complete understanding of PageRank and how it is calculated, click here.

SEO Strategy Tip #4: Apply Internal Linking to Maximize Your PageRank

As just mentioned, anytime a webpage on a website links to some other webpage, the linking webpage transfers some of its PR to the page it links to. Take advantage of this fact by transferring the PR of your webpages around internally throughout your website. Make sure that every webpage on your website is linked to from somewhere else on your website. Make sure that every page has links to other webpages on your website. Doing this helps you retain most of your PR. For example, if you have 10 links on a webpage and one external link, 90% of the PR will be sent to your own website while only 10% is donated to the off-site, linked website. You can also shift PR to specific webpages that you want to emphasize on your website. Whenever you do link internally, be sure to also use as anchor text for the link the main keyword of the page to which you are linking.

SEO Strategy Tip #5:  Use Freebies to Generate Links for Your Website

Create valuable free reports, manuals, or other freebies that contain links back to your website.  Give them away to as many people as you can.  Encourage them to give them away (unaltered).  As the freebies "go viral," the links will also multiply.  The more they multiply, the bigger the boost your rankings will get.  The easiest way to do this is with PDF files.  Google reads the text contained in PDF files, so make sure you create some, give some away, and include links to your website in them.  Anyone who re-posts the file will be helping your SEO strategy work!

SEO Strategy Tip #6:  Use Google's Zeitgeist to Pick Up Traffic from Current Trends

Google has trend-reporting tools available.  These can be found at Google's zeitgeist page.  Use these tools to see which search terms are being searched the most and the trends of keyword searches over time.  This can help you "invest" in keywords that are growing in popularity instead of declining.  It can also help you spot opportunities based on fast-moving and fast-changing search trends.

SEO Strategy Tip #7:  Use Your Blog to Push Traffic to Your Website

Blogs can be a powerful support for your website and should be an active part of your SEO strategy.  Without a blog, you can't take advantage of many aspects of optimization in the Web 2.0 world.

 

Use your blog to get people to your main website by writing genuinely helpful articles on it and then linking to your main page from there.  If the articles help people, they will often link back to your page.  Always remember to center your articles on good keywords and apply all the internal optimization techniques to each blog post as well.

 

Additionally, you can find high-traffic forums or other blogs in your niche that are likely to have a high percentage of visitors that would also find your website interesting.  If the webmaster of those forums/blogs hasn't instructed Google's spiders to ignore links on those pages (which they often do to prevent spammers), you can use your blog to answer some of the questions and then post a link to the answer on the forum or in the comments section of a blog.  Cumulatively, these links will raise your rankings in the search engines.

 

Using a blogs (particularly the WordPress platform which I recommend) also gives you the ability to take advantage of a powerful tool: pingback.  Pingback serves to get you backlinks from other blog posts you blog about.  If you link to someone else's blog in a blog post, they'll be notified and will often automatically include a link to the post where you referenced them.  The link will usually be added at the end of the post you blogged about and will often contain your keyword.

SEO Strategy Tip #8:  Update Your Website and Blog Frequently

Your SEO strategy should include a plan for regular updates to both your blog and your website.  New content keeps the traffic coming and calls back the search engine spiders more often.  A blog works exceptionally well for this as they are designed to be updated frequently.

 

SEO Strategy Tip #9:  Learn the Tricks of the Trade

SEO strategy is all about keywords.  Any time you can find a few tips or tricks that help you tweak your results, take advantage of them!  Here are A Few Keyword Tips you can use.

SEO Strategy: Conclusion     SEO Strategy Conclusion 

It is important to have a SEO strategy.  It is important to do the things I have written about here.  But remember, content is always king.  Content serves your site visitors, and Google cares about your content.

 

It is a good idea to remember that Google is the current ruler of all things search.  It is a huge company.  Specifically, you need to understand the significance of the fact that Google Is the SEO Boss.

 

There are hundreds of different ways you can (and should) promote your website, but if you write good content, people will come.  There are a few other aspects of getting website traffic that should be addressed also:

 

Should a Website Have Ads?  Learn how to use Blog Carnivals.  And, as was mentioned above, get one-way backlinks by learning how to successfully Submit Articles to Directories.

 

 

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