By many reports, search engines account for up to 80% of all website traffic. This means you need to be in at least the top 30, or better yet, the top 10 in your category to be noticed and get that valuable search engine traffic. But how do you get there? It isn't easy.
The first step is to optimize your website for the search engines. You can hire a firm for this or do it yourself. Whatever you do, don't fall for claims that this or that "trick" will get your website to the top. When a search engine discovers that websites are using a particular trick to get ahead, they often change their algorithm to remove that trick, and often sites using said trick will be penalized. It's just not worth the trouble.
To do it yourself, you will first need to brainstorm keywords. Do this on your own first, in a spreadsheet or on paper, depending on your preferences. Just write down every word or phrase you think people will use to find your site.
Next, use Wordtracker to both broaden and narrow down your choices. This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn't. Use the free trial first, just to get a feel for things. Put in the keyword or phrase you think will bring you the most traffic. Wordtracker will do an analysis for you on one search engine of that keyword or phrase. Select keywords you want them to send you and compare them. If you are fortunate, you will discover some very valuable keywords - that is to say that you may find a keyword that is often searched for, but has little competition. If you like this service, Wordtracker allows you to buy their service for as little as a day or as much as a year. The pay service gives you many more keywords and allows you to use a range of search engines, including Google , which has a huge portion of the search engine market.
You can compare your keyword selection on Google's AdWords .
Once you have selected your keywords, you need to place them on your site, most especially in your text. Use your main keyword or phrase as often as you can while keeping the text of your site flowing. Put your keywords in your meta tags, remembering that only a few search engines still use meta tags. Use your keywords in your links, your title, and in alt tags for images. Search engines will treat each of these differently, but don't abuse the system. Remember, you still have to look good to your potential customers, not just to the spiders and robots.
When it comes time to submit your site, be choosy about how you do this. You may see sites that offer to submit your site to 1000s of search engines, FFA pages and so forth. These can actually hurt you in the rankings. I prefer to use SelfPromotion.com , a free service which helps you submit your site to a wide range of search engines. You have to do a fair amount of work with this site, but it's worth it. I also use the free list of directories at Info Vilesilencer.
Be ready for it to take several months to get listed in some search engines, as well as to achieve a decent ranking. You'll hear claims from people who got top 10 ranking in this search engine or that within weeks, but take a closer look. Often, either the phrase is obscure and rarely searched for, or they vanished from the top 10 quickly. They may have used a trick that will shortly become a penalty. Focus your efforts on getting your ranking honestly, so that as algorithms change, your ranking will remain or increase.
Links are the next step to looking good in the search engines. You need a solid link building strategy to build up your website's relevance to the search engines. You can join a site such as Site Sell's Value Exchange , install a script, or handle it manually. Make certain that the links will be hosted on your site, not an external site, to maximize the benefit to you.
Link only with sites that are relevant to your topic. If you sell shoes, don't link to sites about ducks. This does not mean link with your competition. You are best off if you can link to sites that will be relevant to your customers but won't steal them away.
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