Setup time: 2 – 5 hours, then minimal ongoing maintenance.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of getting your website recognized more frequently when people perform searches on sites such as Google or Yahoo. Better SEO rankings mean you get seen by more people … and that’s a free way to increase traffic to your website.
There are three easy ways you can increase your SEO rankings:
keywords, inbound links, and local search listings.
The first thing you should do is write down all of the keywords associated with your business. Try to think like someone who needs your product or service, but doesn’t know where to go. What would
they type into their search engine? If I were looking for a local plumber, I might type in “plumber Gilbert Arizona.” If I were searching for a reasonably priced webmaster, I might type in “cheap websites.” Try to determine all of the possible (intuitive) combinations you might get.
The next step is to go to the Google Keyword Tool:
Enter in the keyword phrases you thought of when you were listing possible combinations. You’ll be able to see how many people searched for those phrases and how much competition there is
surrounding those keywords. You’ll also see similar keywords that you might want to target in your SEO strategy.
Once you know the best keywords to use on your site, it’s time to put them to work for you. Search engines like to see your keywords in important places—places like the title (the text that appears in the browser tab at the top of your screen), headlines, sub-headlines, and even the content that is
toward the top of the page.
The more keywords you use, the more search engines will take notice. But be sure to integrate your keywords into readable sentences andavoid “keyword stuffing.” If I have a headline of “Gilbert plumber plumbing Mesa toilet repair broken pipes Arizona,” visitors to my site will not be impressed (and neither will the search engines, by the way)
Another good way to implement keywords into your site is by posting articles or other relevant pieces of content that are keyword rich. Search engines also love updated content, so don’t hesitate to add new articles regularly that will bring more keywords to your site.
Inbound links build your reputation and credibility among search engines (and potential customers, for that matter). These inbound links (often called backlinks) also allow search engines to more easily find you, rank you, and get you on the search lists. Not all backlinks are created equal however.
Links that come from legitimate sites are best. If you are linked from a very popular site—even better. But purchased links from “link farms” might actually do more harm than good. It may sound daunting, but you can build a solid base of backlinks the right way if you are patient and consistent in your efforts.
The first step is to set up links from all of your own domains. Your blog, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and any other social media outlets should all include links to your website. When you post
entries on these outlets, include links to your site, as appropriate. When others “retweet” these links, you get exponential exposure.
You can also ask partners and affiliates to add links to their websites. It’s probably a good idea to return the favor too. Consider a section on your website that highlights the “products I use” or “services I recommend.” You’ll be amazed at how this will not only help your SEO rank, but it will increase your referrals too.
When possible, try to insert keywords into the anchor text (the text that acts as the link, such as click here or learn more). A keyword-rich link might read The Gilbert Plumber or My Web Design Business. This will greatly increase your keyword credibility and skyrocket your search engine rankings.
Local Search Listings
If you provide products or services to local customers, a local search listing is a great way to increase your search engine exposure. When someone is looking for a localized provider, Google will often send them to their local listings.
To put your business on the map (literally), go to www.google.com/places. Select “Add New Business” to enter your business address, details, category, photos, and more. Google will have to
confirm your address with a phone call or a postcard sent to your address. Once confirmed, you’ll begin appearing in local searches … and your rankings will improve significantly.
Keywords, inbound links, and local search listings are great ways to get your website
recognized in organic searches. And the best part? They’re totally free!