There are entire books devoted to the subject of search engine optimization (SEO) – indeed, I took an 8-module course on SEO earlier in the year which filled an entire ring binder. So this post is an overview to give you the essentials on how to optimize your site’s rankings on Google and other search engines.
There are basically three things that are key when it comes to getting your site optimized for search engines:
- The number of links that point to your site
- The keywords you use
- How often you update your content. Quite simply, the more regularly you update your site or your blog, the more often the search engines will crawl it.
There’s not much more to say regarding point 3, so the focus of the rest of this post is on links and keywords.
How to get links
Write quality content. If you have a website or blog packed full of useful information that’s genuinely helpful and interesting, then people will naturally link to you.
Ask for them. Contact other sites that write about the same topic as you and ask if they’ll link to you. The worst they can say is ‘no’ but you’ll be surprised how many will agree to your request.
Submit your blog to directories. There are LOTS out there. Here’s a post from Search Engine Journal that features the top 20 directories for blog listings.
Submit articles to article directories, like ezine. Anyone who republishes your article has to include a link to your site at the end of the piece.
Issue press releases. Whenever you have something newsworthy to say, issue a press release via PRWeb. Wherever your news is picked up, there will generally be a link included that points back to your site.
Buy links. Why did I mention this when it’s in direct violation of Google’s guidelines? Well, there are other link-buying techniques that won’t incur the wrath of Google that you can read about on Kaiser The Sage‘s blog.
The main point to remember about getting links is to try and get them from high ranking and relevant sites. And, in an ideal world, the text on the link should either be the name of your site or contain appropriate keywords (ie: not ‘click here’).
Where to use keywords
Once you’ve worked out your keyword phrases for your web page or your new blog post, here’s where you should put them.
- in the page title (this is your browser title and it’s also the text that appears in the title of the SERP – Search Engine Results Page)
- in the page description – and to a lesser extent in the meta tags. Get the ‘All In One SEO’ plug-in to help you with this. It’s free.
- in the heading
- in the first paragraph
- in the url of the page
- in the alt tags of any photos on the page
- at intervals throughout the content – but don’t overstuff them. You are writing first and foremost for humans.
One point I’ve learned recently about Google is that it favours sites that has a domain registered for a long period of time. Apparently, it proves you’re in it for the long term and aren’t a spammy site that will come and go.
What’s the biggest hurdle you face with SEO?