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The Eight Things You Must Do To Optimize Your Site For Search Engines - Missed By Over 98.4%

Aug 17, 2007
Search engines are better at spidering than you. Of course, you need a professional looking site, easy to navigate, appropriate content and size. Many webmasters and sites are great at displaying graphics (flash) and visually appealing sections on their sites. However, the search engines really don't care much about that. If you can give the spiders what they want, they not only will eat it up fast, but you will provide content-rich, relevant data to their index (database). As time, content, size and relevancy increase, you will rise up in the search engine results pages. Properly applied search engine optimization techniques and online marketing principles will help you.

The 3 most important search engines to optimize for are Google, Yahoo, and MSN. (Ed Note: Google owns over 50% of the market today, and is growing fast every day. This includes their exposure via partners like Ask, Earthlink, DogPile, etc). For you to get elevated and relevant rankings you must get into the search engine indexes, and we recommend you start with Google. You should get spidered by Google in less than 3 weeks if applied correctly, but a long term approach to SEO work is needed. You can expect to see your listing within 2-4 months for some pages, and as much time as 2 years for certain keywords/phrases within those.

I invite you to take a look at the starter list below. These are steps you can start today and it is fairly easy and impactful.

Number 1: Learn the SEO concepts.
SEO tries to ensure that your web pages appear at the top of the search engines for target keyword requests. It increases brand awareness, qualified traffic and revenue. Fact: Only 1/2 of the people visiting look at the sponsored (paid) ads (PPC) and only 20% of those actually click. However, 4 out of 5 total clicks - apply their mouse on natural search results. Therefore SEO done right can really elevate your business visibility and revenue. Additionally, the top 5 sites returned from any search are where the action is. Your goal? You should be in the top 10 (Search Engines Results Pages (SERPS)) for your selected keywords.

Number 2: Research the competition.
I am sure you do this no matter what business you are in - whether online or not (brick and mortar). If not, this is one of the big steps missed by online businesses. There are techniques on how to do this effectively, quickly and with high quality results.

Number 3: Linking Strategies and Relevancy.
One of the most important things you can do is to build out your relevant linking neighborhoods. There are a number of great tools you can use to automate this, but we have found that via email and the phone (we are amazed by how many do not use the phone) -- you will establish a closer relationship with your virtual partners, and even though you may only spend an hour a day building link partners, it is well spent. Typically, only 1-2 will exchange links with you out of 8 companies called. However, let us say you get one quality link per day through the year. That is over 300 quality links that will help your relevancy, build your business and get your PR(Page Rank) level moved up.

Number 4: Proper HTML and Site Building.
There are many articles written on this topic. If you are not HTML-savvy, it can be a challenge. However, it is not hard to learn, and many tools are available. Just search for free website design tools. Other SEO tools can analyze your content, HTML syntax and appropriate application of tags like TITLE, H1, META tags, BODY content and more. You must also make notes of server-side issues, including IP numbers that may have belonged to (and still do) block listed ranges.

Number 5: Meet The Search Engines.
Make sure you read the webmasters guidelines on all the search engines, especially Google, Yahoo and MSN. They actually are very helpful, and they want you to do well, contrary to what you believe or have heard. Also, keep in mind, there are robotic search engines, algorithmic based search engines and AI-type search engines - different styles of writing. Additionally, you must include listings in the directories, like DMOZ (free, but takes weeks to get listed), Yahoo (free, months - or paid, immediate). Lastly, you must study and learn the PPC (pay-per-click) strategies, learn how to write ads, copy writing for (cash) landing pages, and implement a solid back-end sales process. If you have never used the AdSense programs, you may be missing out on *significant* income, but many do it incorrectly. We have seen adsense programs go from $3.00/day to over $19,000/month.

Number 6: Use a proven methodology.
None of the SEO "white hat" (opposite: "black hat" - unethical) strategies are rocket-scientists-qualified only. The key areas to keep working on are: a) keyword research, b) competitive analysis, c) analyze your own site(s), d) submit your site(s), e) monitor rankings, f) Reporting, g) link development and h) dynamic site mapping. This approach works, and used by many of the professional SEO companies in the industry.

Number 7: Learn how to use the SEO tools.
Metaphor: For many home-owners, the worst thing that can happen when approaching any project, large or small - is not having your tool belt attached. Even worse, if there are tools missing from that belt after spending 15 minutes retrieving the ladder, lining it up just right, then scaling it just to get to the top of the roof -- you not only feel aggravated, but plain stupid.

Being affiliated with some of the guru-type tools & specialists in the industry is nice, but most people are not. Therefore, free tools are a good place to start (search for seo tools and seo email courses). These will help you get to work immediately, and you don not have to come down off the roof to get them.

Number 8: Relevancy, Relevancy, Relevancy. Why be "search relevant"?
The objective here is to make the search engines "see". You must always ensure that you insert unique relevant content such that the page becomes more worthy of a high ranking in the search engines. You must also make sure you adhere to Style Guide Requirements. The ultimate objective is not to make an inferior page appear superior, but to actually make it superior. Yes, you must be relevant - for any site - be it a commerce/shopping type site, to an information page about Da Vincis life (and, if you have something to sell, that is great). Do not try any uncommon tricks, especially not for the search engines. You will regret it. There are too many sad stories of revenues and business lost from "black hat" strategies (cloaking, spamdexing, link farms). They appear to work for a little while, and suddenly you are gone from the listings and not easily turned around. Be relevant and ethical. It may take a little longer, but you will win out in the end.
About the Author
Jon Rognerud is a recognized authority on the subject of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and has spent over 10 years developing websites and web marketing solutions at companies like Overture and Yahoo. His website, Los Angeles SEO Agency, provides a wealth of informative articles, resources and complimentary SEO email courses on everything you will ever need to know about SEO and Search Marketing.
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