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PR5 in 12 Weeks-Diary of a Beginner

Aug 17, 2007
I hope the title grabbed your attention. This is a true story, but to get the sceptics from clicking off or deleting this article, I will start with some provable facts that you can verify at the click of the mouse.
The website I own with my wife is called amlaspain. It is a Spanish property portal website for real estate agents in Spain. The launch date is stated on the homepage. As our first website experiment we had planned the marketing angles, designs etc for about a year leading up to the launch, but it was only when we were ready to go with a viable database that I had time to turn my attention to SEO, (Search Engine Optimization)...that's for the beginners who like me back then, had to find out what it meant!
The Diary comes in twelve parts. A week by week, blow by blow account if you will, of how I delved through the articles on SEO, the differing viewpoints, the pitfalls and tricks of unscrupulous webmasters who try to trick you into providing them with a one-way link to THEIR website, whilst your link back floats around in 'no cache' land. This is the story of how we achieved a PR5 in 12 weeks. Hopefully our insight will help you do the same.

Week 1

In The Beginning...there was a website.
I suppose I am skipping a large portion of this tale for the dramatic effect of a 12 week route to PR5. As mentioned, we had spent nearly a year with our designers molding the website into the product it became. This process, need not take as long as we took, still has a part to play in the overall scheme of things. If your website isn't designed properly for the search engines to crawl, then my tale would have ended in woe, like so many others. Making sure your designer is SEO savvy and not just a creator of 'technology blonde' websites is important because it means that you don't have to worry about the way your pages are coded and one less worry for someone beginning in this business is most definitely a benefit. (Forgive the sexist quip 'technology blonde website'. It arose from a study of Spanish realtor's websites. In a large number of cases these sites proved to be 'pretty to look at', 'expensive to run' but didn't contribute!-Unfortunately my sense of humor got the better of me and the phrase was born.)

So we start with a website. I will comment further on content and search Engine philosophy as we go but as we entered week 1 these thoughts hadn't even entered the 'gleam in the eye' stage.
Week 1 was a case of using the net and searching for answers. Blogs, articles, anything I could find regarding SEO and more importantly Google SEO.
Oh no I hear you cry, not another googlite..

Well, love or hate them, it doesn't really matter. The fact is that if you are attempting to make money from a website business, then 60% + of your potential client base is searching for your product or service on Google. Don't by any means forget the rest, just concentrate on Google. Crack Google and the rest will fall into place. Well, this whole article is about cracking Google to get to a PR5, so if you have read this far I can assume you already agree with me!
So what did I actually achieve that first week.
Well I did three things that you really need to get out of the way early. I submitted my site to the major search engines and whilst doing so came across the Yahoo Directory. Its importance at the time didn't register but it was a free submission so I did it anyway. It was later I would discover, although some will argue the point with you, that along with a submission to The Open Directory dmoz.org (also important) that these two submission are highly important on the road to your PR5.
Probably because they are manually edited directories, they take up to 12 weeks and more for your website to be added. So get it in early.
If you can afford it, Yahoo Directory will speed up the process to a week. The cost is 299 dollars.
I have to say I got impatient and in week 3 paid for the submission. Whether this was a factor in the eventual PR rank we achieved I will leave to you to decide.

Next week...

Spanish property or 3 bed villa in benidorm? Keywords and content.
About the Author
Neil Ebsworth is co-founder of AMLAspain.com, a Spanish property MLSportal for the Real Estate industry in Spain.
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