Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making a web page rank well, either passively or organically, in the search engine listings. This might sound too good to be true but it really does work provided that you understand and apply the basic principles of SEO.
One of the most important SEO principles is the tailoring of a page to a particular keyword which will, if done properly, make that page be noticed and then be selected by the searcher ahead of any other page. Page content is, therefore, the key to the popularity (and therefore, success) of any web page. And you will never sell anything unless you have good visitor numbers to your web pages. Search engines use secret algorithms, as we have seen, to trawl the internet and find web pages that seem to meet a particular search query. Being secret it is clearly impossible to know the exact formulas they use but it is possible to guess the approximate methods employed. This has come mainly from trial and error, but that is sufficient to build a good picture of the process needed to rank a page successfully.
Essentially this process comprises three main elements:
1. Use the right keyword (the term is used loosely to cover phrases as well as single words).
2. Provide useful, interesting and relevant content to support that keyword.
3. Get backlinks to the page from other relevant websites.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT KEYWORD
This is an enormous subject, and can use hours and hours of your time trying to get it right. It is at the heart of internet marketing. But it is quite easy to start a simple search. Use the free Google Keyword Tool to provide a list of suggested keywords that you then use as the basis for further, and more refined, research.
The secret of success here is to find a keyword that fits well with the topic you are promoting but does not have too many competitors using it as well. Easy to say but rather more difficult to do.
HOW TO PROVIDE QUALITY AND RELEVANT CONTENT
Google Panda wants to see websites that offer a good experience for the human visitor. It is therefore important to identify the niche topic that the article will address, then the keywords that you want to include. The article content should:
• concentrate exclusively on the chosen topic.
• contain at least 400 words (500 is better, 600 probably too much).
• be unique (very important).
• use good copywriting techniques.
• include one or two calls-to-action usually a link to an affiliate product that will produce a sale or commission.
HOW TO GET BACKLINKS
The main way search engines assess the success or suitability of a web page is by the number of times people visit it. They also measure the time each visitor spends on each page, on the assumption that the longer the time the more interesting and relevant the content.
They count the number of backlinks to the page from other sites. These links are obtained each time a person clicks through to your webpage from one of these sites. Search engines look at the origin of the link and assess whether it is relevant to the target site. For instance if your webpage’s topic is dog training and it gets a link from a dog food site, Google will probably decide that it is relevant. If, on the other hand, the link is from a travel site Google will probably ignore it. Until a page has achieved quite a few relevant backlinks it is unlikely to get a decent page rank.
How many backlinks?
Perhaps 50, more or less. I have seen successful page ranks with only 5 backlinks and unsuccessful ones with more than 100. Just concentrate on gradually getting more and more, and on keeping the good ones.
Getting backlinks is a simple process but requires quite a lot of work and determination. It works as follows:
1. write a unique article that gets published on the Internet, either as a blog or as a static page, and
2. include in that article a link (known as anchor text) back to your web page.
When a reader of that article clicks on your link and gets taken to your webpage, that is a relevant backlink. Success!
Penguin is an entirely different animal. Do not be fooled by the friendly-sounding name this is a big stick that Google uses to punish sites that it thinks are using unnatural backlinks. In the process several perfectly legitimate sites have been shut down or severely hammered.
For some time webmasters have been gaming the backlinks system. Google used to judge the popularity of a website or webpage, at least partly, on the number of relevant backlinks coming in to it. The greater the number of these backlinks the higher the page rank awarded by Google. In due course some webmasters found that they could buy these backlinks from third parties who were not actually interested in what the websites or webpages had to say. You will come across ads saying things like: I will send 1,000 backlinks to your website for $20. Obviously this was not fair on those websites that had legitimate links from people actually interested in them, and Google eventually decided to act. It did this by identifying the links that it considered to be unnatural.
For example if a new site had no backlinks one day and then 1,000 links the next, this was most likely a case of unnatural linking. There are other ways of finding these links as well. All well and good, and the genuine online marketers amongst us should be cheering.
The problem is that Google’s only way of doing this is to use its robot spiders as the unnatural link searchers. And they use very clunky formulas to make up their electronic minds. As a result many perfectly legitimate backlinks have been identified as being unnatural, and page ranks have suffered accordingly. Webmasters have seen their pages fall overnight from first or second position to third or fourth page in the SERPs. But like it or lump it if you want to stay in business online you have to play by Google’s rules, at least until something better comes along. That means being especially careful where you get your backlinks. You will know yourself if you are trying to boost your links by some dubious means, and my strong advice is: DONT DO IT. Better to take the long way, do it properly and still have your online business when you wake up tomorrow.
If you have found the right keyword for a particular topic, written a web page with good content and found a reasonable number of suitable backlinks, you have achieved the basic requirements for ensuring the webpage will eventually rise up the page rankings. This will send traffic (and buyers) to your website. But good SEO is a little more detailed than that, and we should look at the steps for both on-page and off-page SEO to get a better picture of what is needed in order to succeed.
First you must make sure that your site is set up correctly for on-page SEO. As its name implies this is all the actions necessary to make sure that each webpage is set up correctly for your online marketing.
Good content creation requires some writing experience as well as some copywriting skills but it is vital for promoting a site properly. Don’t worry about having these skills in the beginning. They will come with time and practice.
IMPORTANCE OF OTHER PAGES
Google expects to see the following pages included in every good website:
1. An About page. This can be a simple paragraph showing who owns the website and how he or she can be contacted. An email address will do, but avoid using your personal or host server email addresses. I usually set up a separate Ymail account for each website and check it regularly. However, this page is an opportunity to expand on the purpose and aims of the website for anyone interested (and many readers are), to build trust and credibility and to place various useful links to other sites (which will impress Google). Including a personal photo is a good idea as well.
3. A Disclaimer page. It is important to state that you, as the website owner, are not responsible for any actual or consequential damages that users of your website might suffer. Also include a statement about earning commissions if you are an affiliate, so that there can be no argument about misleading readers concerning the purpose of the website. Again, you can find and download standard disclaimer statements that you can then customize as you see fit.
It is amazing how many websites do not have these pages. Do not follow their example.
Social networks, known collectively as Web 2.0 properties, are now very popular for promoting a website. Each has its own way of doing things and rules about what linking it will allow. Find four or five that you feel comfortable with, and let people get to know you before you start to steer them towards your website. Forums do not like people who are there simply to get backlinks, and will soon make their feelings clear to anyone seen as spamming.
The best way of approaching social network sites is to give rather than take. You need to want to help others, to give useful information, to over-deliver with no expectation of reward. Once you do this, and are seen to do this, you will be amazed how much you get in return. Building relationships and being seen as an expert in your particular niche will be more valuable than any other efforts you make to promote your website.
GOOD SEO TECHNIQUES
Assuming that you have done your SEO – found the right keyword, written a good article and got some good backlinks – what do you do then? Well, you could sit back and wait for the visitors and sales to roll in. The problem is that you might have to wait quite a long time, and possibly nothing might happen at all. There are 4 main reasons for such inactivity:
1. the search engines have not found your web page.
2. your keyword is not as good as you think it is.
3. your web page content is not sufficiently focused or interesting.
4. your backlinks are not relevant.
PING THE SEARCH ENGINES
Clearly it is important that the search engines find your web page as soon as possible. They do this by using electronic robot devices called spiders that constantly roam the internet looking for new pages and for changes to existing pages. Luckily these spiders tend to be very efficient, so usually find your page very soon after it has been published on the internet. But good search engine optimization techniques suggest that you should still tell them about any new or modified page and, if your web design software does not already have one, it is easy to find a plug-in that will do it automatically for you. The Google XML Sitemaps plug-in does the job admirably for WordPress users.
FINDING RELEVANT BACKLINKS
The search engines will evaluate your backlinks for relevancy before they decide page rank. Clearly a backlink from an acne cure site to your solar panel site is not really much good. You will prevent this happening by writing blogs or articles for publication that are properly focused on your chosen keywords. Make this a big part of your off-page SEO. Try to get backlinks from sites with high page rank. A link from a PR4 site is worth perhaps 10 times as much as one from a PR3 site as far as the search engine robots are concerned. Build backlinks slowly over time. Too many too quickly and Google Penguin will hammer your website for having those unnatural links. It is far better to have 5 good links than 1000 poor ones.
Mike Owner of rightseosteps.com has been an Internet marketer for many years as both Internet Marketing Manager for several companies and also as a private entrepreneur. He is a serial creator of new products and is constantly experimenting with the latest and safe techniques to buy links.