Search Engine Optimization

Search engine rank optimization is an important skill to have. Knowing how to rank high in the search engines will boost your traffic and, in turn, your sales. And best of all, it’s 100% free!

The biggest mistake newbies make is that they create their website and then try to optimize it for the search engines to get traffic. You need to do the research first and then build your site around your keyword phrases.

When researching your keywords, look for ‘buying’ keywords that are not too competitive, for example:

keyword phrase guide’ or ‘keyword phrase book’

Don’t target keywords that suggest the surfer is searching for free information, e.g.  ‘keyword phrase tips’ or ‘free keyword phrase tips’.

Also, don’t try to rank for keywords that are too vague, e.g. ‘real estate’ (also way too competitive). Target specific keywords relevant to what you’re selling, e.g. ‘los angeles commercial real estate’.

Using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool you can see how much volume a keyword is getting. Then, if you do a search in the Google search engine, you can see how many results are returned for that phrase (make sure you wrap your keyord in “quotation marks” when doing this). Only target keywords that have competition less than 100,000 results.

Keyword Phrase Competition

Keyword Phrase Competition

The best platform to use to build up your website is a blog, specifically WordPress. Search engines love blogs because the content is fresh and organised well.

Install and activate the ‘all-in-one-seo pack‘  and the ‘Google XML sitemaps‘ plugins. WordPress and its plugins are free and can be found at WordPress.org.

If you don’t have your own domain and a web hosting account, you can set up a free wordpress blog at WordPress.com but I strongly recommend buy your own domain and web hosting. Namecheap is recommended for domain registration and Hostgator is a good web host.

For the best search engine ranking results, you need to look at on-page optimization as well as off-page optimization.

On-Page Optimization

Try to register a domain name that contains the keyword phrase you are targeting. Dot com (.com) and dot org (.org) domains work best. Stay away from .info and .net, they don’t rank as well in Google. If you can’t get your keyword phrase as a domain, just add an ‘s’ or the word ‘site’ at the end or hyphenate the phrase, e.g. los-angeles-real-estate.com.

The headline (h1 tags) of your page/post should contain the keyword phrase you’re targeting and also include your target keyword phrase at least once in the content. Once at the start and once at the end is a good practice. Don’t stuff your keywords everywhere in the content. Make your content sound natural.

Before publishing your blog page or post make sure you add your keyword as a tag. Keep your title less than 55 characters (longer gets cut off) and include your keyword. Your description keep less than 160 characters long and make it an attention grabbing headline. You’ll want to keep in mind that the search engine will show this exactly as you type it.

Website Title and Description

Website Title and Description

With images, use the alt text to include your keyword phrase to describe your image and make your image file name the keyword phrase you’re targeting. This will not only help your ranking but also will help your site to show up when someone is doing an image search.

Don’t make your blog posts/pages too long. Make it 300 – 600 words and break it up with subheadings, images and/or videos. Basically, you want to make it easily digestable.

Link to other related content on your site, making the anchor text the keyword phrase that you are trying to optimize for. Also link to other sites (external links) that are already ranking highly for the keyword phrase you’re targeting. Search engines like this.

Off-Page Optimization

Get as many quality backlinks to your site as possible. An easy way to do this is to submit an unique article to good directories like Ezine Articles.

Link not just back to your homepage, but also to specific pages/posts with anchor text of the keyword your targeting. You can do this with sites like Squidoo and Hubpages.

Video sharing sites offer another great way to get quality backlinks and lots of traffic. One way of creating videos from your content is to create a Powerpoint presentation and do a voiceover. This can be captured onto video by CamStudio. Then you can use services like TubeMogul to upload to several video sharing sites with just one upload.

Another way to get more backlinks is to create mp3’s from your content and upload it to podcast directories like PodcastDirectory.com.

The great thing about most of the resources covered in this section is that they are all 100% free!

Search engine rank optimization takes work but the results are well worth the effort.