1. Create Search Engine-Friendly Content
Unique web content is your most valuable asset, and ensuring search engines can read it is crucial. Text embedded in images or Flash cannot be read, so make sure you use important keywords, headings, and hyperlinks in plain text form. Now that you’ve created good content, is it actually being crawled? Copy and paste a page’s URL into a search engine to see if it has been indexed. If you’ve just created the page, it may take a few days to show up. .
2. Choose Your Keywords Wisely
One of the first steps of SEO, this one needs to be done properly the first time or all your future efforts and promotion could end up being wasted. Start by writing down general terms that describe your products, services or web content. Use keyword research services to investigate word and phrase variations. Wordtracker, KeywordDiscovery, and the Google AdWords suggestion tool are good starting points. The goal is to find those niche phrases that your target market uses to find sites just like yours and optimize your site for them. At the same time, stay away from general terms that are tougher to rank for (ie. like “holiday home”, “self catering”, “holiday rental”, etc.) as a great portion of the traffic will not be targeted and you’ll waste your advertizing budget.
3. Get Others to Link to Your Site
In theory there are countless ways, some traditional and some quite innovative, to get other web sites to link to yours. In practice, it can be easier said than done. Google defines a link as it pertains to rankings and SEO as a “vote” from one site to another. The more quality votes your site receives, the greater chance you have of ranking well. If a well established site links to yours, that link carries more weight than one would from a smalll site or less reputable page.
If your site has useful content and is doing something unique, you’re already ahead of much of the competition. People need a reason to link to your site, as very few will do it out of the goodness of their heart. Trading links can work, but link exchange networks have decreased in value and won’t be of much use in competitive fields. Buying links, if you haven’t heard, is a big Google no-no.
- issuing a press releases with a link back to your site
- submitting to reputable business directories such as Yahoo!
- be active on related blogs by commenting and exchanging ideas
- if you have friends with web sites, ask if they would mind adding your link in a “partners” section
- participate in relevant forums and discussion boards with a link in your signature
- write and submit original articles to web publications in your field with a link in your bio
- get involved in social media and bookmarking
4. Join the Social Media Revolution
The collaboration between Internet users and the development of online communities is at an all-time high. Social bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter provide users a way to store their favorite pages and media online, and share it with others. These services also provide a way to promote your content or create a buzz over a product or service. Creating a Facebook page is also a way to network and share information.
However, if your goal is to generate sales, then you must provide something without the promotional hype. The reality of social media is that popularity is based almost entirely on public interest. If your information or media isn’t unique or of interest to anyone, you cannot force success using social media communities.
The key to using social media and bookmarking sites to your advantage is to not be shy. Getting your entries and content to the popular pages on these sites requires some hard work. Network with other users, bookmark and share useful content, create eye-catching titles for your entries, and tell your friends and co-workers about the content you have on these sites. However, don’t force your employees to vote your entries up – this is social media fraud. If you have great content and simply share it with as many people as you can, it will become successful naturally.
These four points are a general guideline to follow for SEO. The DIY approach can yield great results for web site owners with smaller marketing budgets.