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A Bargain Hunter's Guide to SEO

Oct 9, 2007
One of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your website is to rank well for a few search terms in the Google search results. First, you have to determine which search phrases are most appropriate for your site, and which ones you can compete with. Once you have determined the best two or three phrases you will optimize your site for, you can get started on promotion.

There are more than a dozen different methods you can use to increase traffic to your site via search engines. Not everyone has the marketing budget of Microsoft or Intel, so I will focus on the most cost-effective strategies to improve your position in the search engine results pages (SERP).

Attaining a high position in the SERP requires (1) a high number of quality, relevant, one-way backlinks to your pages, (2) links that contain your search phrases - aka "anchor text", and (3) unique content on your site that is updated regularly. It is well known that Google's highly secretive search ranking algorithm gives substantial weight to incoming links when determining the value and relevance of a site to a visitor's search query. This is why SEO companies give priority to linking strategies when helping clients promote their websites.

Resist any of the mass reciprocal linking strategies and link farms that will list your URL on spammy sites along with thousands of others. These sites do more damage than good, and they are easily detected by Google. There are some legitimate ways to get quality, relevant backlinks on a budget. There are four methods that can be used together that are free or cost next to nothing. These methods are: article marketing, blogging, forum participation and using RSS feeds.

Writing articles relevant to your field of expertise and submitting them to free article directories is a quick and free way to get a large number of targeted backlinks to your site. It costs nothing to write the articles and you can submit them manually for free, although there are automated distribution services that charge a small fee. You can submit three active hyperlinks to your site in the Author's Resource Box of your article. This is where you can use your anchor text to quickly increase your ranking for those phrases in the SERP.

If you have the time, maintaining your own blog is a great way to direct traffic to your other sites. Google and many other search engines love blogs, and crawl them more often than other kinds of websites. You can add a number of links to your blogroll and they will add up over time. You can also comment on other people's blogs that are relevant to the content of your site. Along with your comment, you can add an active link to your website.

In a similar fashion, you can add crawlable links to your site in a signature file when you participate in forums. Once you have a membership, you can usually add a few links in your signature file after a certain number of posts. Every time you post on the forum, you add more backlinks to your site. Like article marketing, you can use your search phrases as anchor text to link back to your site.

RSS feeds are becoming more and more popular due to their simplicity. RSS or XML feeds are available for sites such as blogs, current events, article directories and other sites that update their content often. Visitors can choose to subscribe to feeds from their favorite sites and view them at their leisure without being bombarded by advertisements and other distractions. As a website owner, it is very easy to "burn" sections of your site to make them available for syndication. Taking a few hours to do this can bring a lot of repeat traffic to your site, and give Google some more fresh content to index.

Promoting a website may seem like a daunting task - and it is. But there are many cost effective ways to market your site and bring you the traffic you need. The more time you spend learning how to promote, the less time, money, and effort will be wasted in the future.
About the Author
Click on the links to learn more about submitting to a free article directory, using anchor text or website promotion.
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