Getting website traffic from search engines like Google and Yahoo has to be part of your Internet marketing plan mainly for three reasons:
1. It is high quality traffic. (After all, these visitors searched using your best keywords!)
2. With good ranking you can get a lot of this traffic passively.
3. It’s free! I’ve received literally millions of visitors from search engines over the years.
This article will show you how to start your own flow of traffic from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It all starts with a little SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It consists of strategies to help your web pages rank better in the search engine results pages (serps) for a particular search word or phrase.
SEO can be a complicated subject which is why there are so many freelance consultants and internet marketing companies offering SEO services. Some of them are quite expensive, charging thousands of dollars to get a site ranked in the top ten for your particular niche keywords.
However, if you are running on a tight budget and can’t afford to hire a professional, you can do SEO yourself. Just follow the nine SEO strategies below. Most of it is fairly simple, it just takes time.
(When building new sites, I like to do everything myself except steps 7 & 8 below which I prefer to outsource.)
1. Choose Your Keywords Wisely
When you are planning your website’s content, you should do some research about which keywords to use. Keywords are the search terms that people use to find websites in search engines. Think carefully about your target audience and consider what they might type into a search engine when they are looking for websites like yours.
You can use tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to help you with your research. When you are starting out, aim to have a list of five keyword phrases that you will optimize your website for. Once you are ranking well for these five, you can add more keywords to the list.
When using the Google Keyword tool, use the "exact match” option so you know how many people are searching for the exact terms you’re researching. The best keyword phrases to optimize for are keyword phrases with 1500 – 5000 monthly searches. Those keywords usually have just enough searches to be profitable, but not so many that the competition is too stiff to outrank.
2. Use Your Keywords in the Title Tags of Your Web Pages
A web page’s title tag is one of the most important factors for how that page will rank in the search engines. Each page at your site should use a title tag that matches the search term you’re trying to get the page ranked for. This is especially important at your main page. The title tag should also describe the content of the page in a concise and accurate manner. This helps the search engines decide how relevant the page is to a particular search term. The more relevant a page is, the higher it will rank in the results for that search term.
3. Use Your Keywords in Your Domain Name
I’ve done a lot of research on this and even though not everyone agrees, I have found clear evidence that websites with exact match domains get top ranking easier than non-keyword domain sites. In other words, once you know your best keyword phrase for your niche, see if you can get the domain name that matches that phrase exactly. Go for .com then .net, then .org. If none of them are available, use a hyphen (-) between your best keywords.
4. Use Your Keywords in the HTML Heading Tags
Heading tags (e.g. H1, H2, H3, etc.) give the search engines more info about how relevant the web page is to certain search terms. Make sure to use heading tags containing your keywords at each page of your site. As a bare minimum, every web page should have one H1 tag that includes the same keywords that are in your title tag.
5. Check the Keyword Density in Your Website Text
The number of times your keywords appear in the text on your web page or blog helps search engines match the content to the appropriate search terms. This is known as keyword density. How often keywords should be used is often debated among SEO experts. Some believe that stuffing a page with keywords is beneficial to search engine rankings, while others think that ‘keyword stuffing’ is viewed as a form of spam by the search engines. As a general rule, for a web page that has about 400-600 words of body content, use the main keyword once in the first paragraph, once in second paragraph, once in the last paragraph, and once somewhere in between.
6. Setup Your Website’s Internal Linking Structure Properly
When you are planning your website or blog, make sure you have at least one text link on every page that links to your main URL. The text link should contain your best keyword or keyword phrase. As your site grows in size, so will the number of web pages that point to your main page, increasing the popularity for that page based on your best keywords. Also, when adding blog posts at your blog, be sure to hyperlink to other posts on your blog when appropriate. (Each time you do this, be sure to use the keywords you’re working at getting ranked!)
7. Grow the Number of Incoming Links from a Wide Variety of External Sites
Of all the factors in SEO, one of the most important is the number of web pages that link to the target page you are trying to get ranked well. In other words, if site A and site B are virtually identical, site A will outrank site B if there are more web pages linking to site A.
Other factors that help are having a variety of links and multiple links from high PR sites. (PR stands for page rank, a weighted value Google gives to pages based on their authority.) If site A has links from a wide variety of places such as social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg, niche blogs, web 2.0 sites like Squidoo and Hubpages, article directories, etc., it will outrank site B with the same number of links all from one source.
Of course getting lots of links to a site can be time consuming. That’s why you may want to outsource this task. You can do so at odesk.com, guru.com, elance.com and many other places. Just be sure to hire link builders with a good track record and lots of positive feedback. Also be sure to instruct them properly and let them know you need links from a wide variety of sources, and have them apply
strategies 8 and 9 below.
8. Grow the Number of Incoming Links From External Sites Slowly and Consistently
Don’t go too fast with your link building campaign. Getting a few dozen links a week or even 10 a day is OK, but if Google sees 1000 new incoming links to your site the next time they update their database, you’ll likely move down the serps, not up.
9. Use Your Keywords in as Many Incoming Links as Possible
While you don’t want all the links to your site to use the same keyword or keyword phrase, you do want to focus on using your best keyword or keyword phrase for most of your links. Remember, SEO is all about proper site setup and link building. If the top ranked web page at Google for your best search term has say, 200 incoming links, you can outrank that page when you get 201, provided you have all or most of the other strategies explained today in place as well.
Internet marketing can be inexpensive if you do things like SEO and email marketing yourself.
If you use all of the SEO strategies shared in this article, you will improve your ranking in the search engines. Depending on the niche you’re in, you could go right to the top of the serps within a matter of months!