SEO 101 – The Basics Of How To Get To The Top Of The Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization (commonly referred to as SEO) is one of the best waysto get traffic to your site. The best thing about SEO is that the traffic you get is free! If you manage to get top ten listings in a major search engine like Google, you can get hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your site.
Depending on your site’s subject matter, you might even be able to start earning a significant income purely from the popularity of your site. For example, if you have a site on jokes you might be able to get a substantial amount of traffic, but you’re unlikely to earn a huge income.
On the other hand, if you have a top ranking site on Google for the keyword phrase “web hosting”, you’ll be able to earn at least $1-2 million (probably more like $3-4 million) per year from that site alone. However, to get into the top 10 in Google for the phrase “web hosting” is extremely difficult, you would need to be a search engine pro to do it - even then, it might take you two years to get there with a team of 5 people working around the clock.
A profitable site will be based on a good keyword phrase, a good topic (or subject material) and be different enough to stand out from the competition. If you can combine these elements successfully you’ll increase you chances of turning a profit from your site.
Keep in mind that there are a number of niche areas where there is not so much competition but still the opportunity to make a decent profit. There are hundreds of such areas where you have the potential to earn $500-2000 per month.We’ll talk about keyword research and finding profitable niche areas in later issues, but for now, let’s look at the basics of how to get a site to the top of the search engines.
I’m going to focus on SEO for Google because it’s the largest (and the best) search engine which will generate the most traffic, especially if you can master all of the right optimization methods. Google has a very complicated system for determining which sites make it to the top of the search engine. There are manyfactors involved and there is no precise formula. A further consideration isthat Google often changes its formula so you can’t rely on it being the same from month to month. However, there are a few key factors which are unlikely to change dramatically:
Keywords phrases should be one of the most important considerations when you are optimizing your site (remember that for each page of the site you should concentrate on one or two keyword phrases).
Keyword phrases (which you want to get to the top of the search engine for)should be well researched. For more information on researching keywords, have a look at http://www.profitpuppy.com/keyword-research.htm where you can find links to useful keyword tools.
Key factors for getting to the top of Google:
The keyword phrase in the title of the page - you should have the phrase in the title of the page.
The keyword phrase in the text of the page – you want the keyword phrase to be up the top of the page, preferably as high up the top of the code on the page as possible. You also want the phrase repeated a few times on the page. Don’t worry about how many times, just at least 3-4 times and more if you think it fits in naturally with the content of the page.
Include the keyword phrase in a large font heading with H1 tags (this may make a small difference).
Links into your site from other sites (covered in more detail below).
Links within your site (covered below).
Links to other sites (covered below).
Links into your site from other sites
This is probably the most important factor for getting good search engine listings. You need to have good links coming into your site from other sites.
You want those links to be from popular sites that also have lots of links coming into them. Google uses a Page Rank system which is a rough measure of how many links are coming into your site. You want links from sites that have good Page Rank. Creating 50 of your own sites and interlinking them won’t increase your page ranking.
How do you get links from other sites?
The main ways are to: Create a great site that people naturally want to link to, Get an affiliate program so people can link to your site and get paid, swap links with other sites, get listed in directories such as dmoz.org and buy links from people who have sites with a high PR (Page Rank). Again, we’ll be talking about this in more depth in another issue of the newsletter.
The most important consideration with incoming links is that you need to have the keyword phrase in the link that directs traffic to you your site. Getting listed in directories such as DMOZ (Open Directory Project) can also help you significantly in getting a good search engine ranking in Google.
Links within your site
It helps once again if you have the keyword phrase in the links to each page of your site. For example, let’s say you have a site on baby products and you have one page where you are trying to optimize for the keyword phrase “cheap baby supplies”. You should make sure that links that come into that page have the phrase “cheap baby supplies” so that your links look like this: Click here for cheap baby supplies
Links to other sites
You can improve your page rank if you link to other sites that have high search engine listings for the phrase that you are trying to optimize for. Note: it can also hinder if you link to pages that are off-topic. For example, you don’t want to link to a chemical arms factory from your baby supplies site.
Some other things you don’t want to do (and some things that make no difference at all) are:
- Repeating the keyword phrase multiple times on the page unless it makes contextual sense.
- Placing hidden links on your site – for example, links that are the same color as the background of the page won’t be recognized by Google.
- Optimizing your site too carefully – if it’s obvious that you have optimized your site for Google (for example, if all your incoming links use the same keyword phrase) you may be penalized. Google looks for sites that are more ‘natural’ in their structure, so if all links look the same this won’t look like an organic site to Google robots and you may be penalized for it.
- Despite popular opinion, Meta tags don’t really help at all. However, the description tag is important because that is the description that will appear in your listing on Google.
Finally, you may have heard of people using automated pages and or ‘cloaked pages’ to get high search engine rankings in Google. Personally, I don’t believein taking this approach as it’s a non-sustainable way of getting high search engine rankings (that’s not say that some people who aren’t very successful at it). I know of atleast 3 highly successful companies who generate automated pages using this software http://www.profitpuppy.com/traffic. This is a sneaky way to make it to the top of of the search engine rankings, but it can work; one guy I know is earning several million dollars per year using this technique. So it can work, but as I mentioned before, I don’t think it’s sustainable and the Google engine doesn’t take kindly to it.
How do I submit my site to the search engines?
My personal philosophy is that if your site is not found naturally by following links then it is unlikely to rank in the search engines - I don’t usually bother submitting to search engines.
So that’s the basics of how to get to the top of the search engines. We’ll have a look at the more advanced stuff later on. It takes a lot of time knowledge and dedication to get there but once you master it, SEO is a fantastic way to gettraffic and make money on the web.
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