- Choosing the keywords applicable for your site
- Submitting your site to Google
- Improving the link popularity of your site
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short, is an incredible way to drive traffic to your website. It is often touted as being low or no cost. This is untrue!
SEO is a science. Google is at war with spammers. When I started my business on the web top positions in search results or SERPS was simply a matter of altering code in the head of a website called meta. This was super cool and the best way to get business. Unfortunately, The Wold of Scum is hot to jump on any quick way to sell crap. Before long a search on ‘car insurance’ for example would bring up sites for Viagra!
Google would then look at ways to serve better results. The issue is that a tweak on Google is a one shot fix and it affects every site. Since those heady days at the dawn of the net SEO has become more and more difficult, made even harder because Google will not tell us thoroughly decent webmasters, what they’re up to.
These days SEO is a full time job and extremely complex. Every ‘expert’ has an opinion and just when something begins to work the spammers jump on it and Google changes the playing field.
Having said that I always do the best I can by getting the fundamentals right. This module is designed you give an overview of what makes sense in what Google is looking for.
I do believe that spending time on SEO is getting less and less viable in terms of ROI. Google is becoming so sophisticated that despite what all the guru’s preach when selling their SEO services, there’s is little we can do to influence it. Good content will organically create back links and visitors. An active link building campaign is unnatural and I think that going forward all attempts at manipulation will be penalized.
Think about it. There are a number of SEO tools available, all come with a hefty price tag. An SEO ‘expert’ will charge up to $100/hour to share their version of good SEO practice. They have nothing more to go on. There is no Google qualification, just good SEO practice. Does it really matter if your keyword does not appear in the title. Is Google really that basic?
But let’s say we have 100% quality score on our website, SEO states that we need to build back links. In fact that’s exactly what we need to do but unnatural links? Running a campaign requires a human to create these links, often hundreds a day. Is it too much of a stretch to think Google does not factor multiple links posted by a single IP into their algorithm?
And this is a thoroughly good thing, it is encouraging publisher to actually publish great content … well there’s a thing eh!!!
I always start a site from a human perspective, create content and navigation for a human, then I look to ensure it’s as good as it can be in terms of SEO. My advice is to get the basics right and then continue to build your knowledge with further reading and group discussion.
Traffic, Traffic and Traffic!
It doesn’t matter what you are selling – you MUST bring in targeted traffic if you want to make profits. After all, you can’t make sales if no one knows what you are selling!
So, the important question is…
How do you drive targeted traffic to your site?
Maybe, but we all know that advertising costs a LOT of money. And worse, it often doesn’t work. Which means that you can spend thousands of dollars on advertising without seeing any results.
There must be a better way of driving targeted traffic to your site – right?
Just ask yourself a question. When you are looking for anything on the Internet, what do you do?
9 times out of 10, you go to a search engine and type in something related to what you are looking for. You then browse through the results displayed by the search engine and hopefully, find what you are looking for.
Now, ask yourself another question. When your customers are looking for something that you are selling, what are they likely to do?
They too are likely to go to a search engine, type in something related to your site, and look at the sites which come up.
Now, just imagine that it is YOUR site which is listed right at the top of the search results. Do you think your customers will come to your site? You bet they will! And since they are actually looking for what you are selling, in all probability, they will end up buying from you.
This means that if you can somehow ensure that it was YOUR site which was displayed at the top of the search results, your site will quickly turn into a TRAFFIC MAGNET – drawing thousands of targeted customers every day!
And the best part of this is that you get all this traffic for FREE – you don’t need to spend a dime for getting it!
This Search Engine Masters Module will try to give some basics to help you accomplish exactly this – it will take you through all the steps that are required to ensure that the search engines see your site as being valuable.
While this course will give you most of the techniques that we use to optimize our sites, there’s something that this course can’t give you – TIME.
Only you can provide this. You need to allocate at least 2-3 hours every day for the next few months in order to put the techniques described here into practice.
At the end of The Search Engine Masters Course, you will be on your way! But nothing is guaranteed, Set the foundation and then work hard on creating fantastic content which will build your business over time.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Choosing the Correct Keywords for a Site
The first step in any search engine positioning campaign is to select the most effective keywords for your site.
If you initially select keywords which won’t bring targeted traffic to your site, or if you select keywords which no one searches for, all the time that you spend on optimizing your web site for the search engines will go down the drain. After all, what good does a high ranking for a particular keyword do, if no one searches for the keyword or if the people who search for the keyword are not looking for the products and services that you are selling?
Here, we focus on the correct way of finding out the keywords for which you should optimize your site for the search engines.
This module will give you an overview of a formula for the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) – a mathematical formula which was developed some years ago and is still relevant to help you determine which keywords you should be optimizing your site for.
KEYWORD EFFECTIVENESS INDEX (KEI)
The KEI is a measure of how effective a keyword is for your web site. The derivation of the formula for KEI is based on three axioms:
1) The KEI for a keyword should increase if its popularity increases. Popularity is defined as the number present in the “Count” column of Google. This axiom is self-explanatory.
2) The KEI for a keyword should decrease if it becomes more competitive. Competitiveness is defined as the number of sites which Google displays when you search for that keyword using exact match search (i.e. you should use quotes around the keyword). This axiom is also self-explanatory.
3) If a keyword becomes more popular and more competitive at the same time such that the ratio between its popularity and competitiveness remains the same, its KEI should increase. The rationale behind this axiom requires a more detailed explanation.
The best way to do this is to take an example:
Suppose the popularity of a keyword is 4 and Gogle displays 100 sites for that keyword. Then the ratio between popularity and
competitiveness for that keyword is 4/100 = 0.04.
Suppose that both the popularity and the competitiveness of the keyword increases. Assume that the popularity increases to 40 and Google now displays 1000 sites for that keyword. Then the ratio between popularity and competitiveness for that keyword is 40/1000 = 0.04.
Hence, the keyword has the same ratio between popularity and competitiveness as before. However, as is obvious, the keyword would be far more attractive in the second case. If the popularity is only 4, there’s hardly any point in spending time trying to optimize your site for it even though you have a bigger chance of ending up in the top 30 since there are only 100 sites which are competing for a top 30 position.
Each hit is no doubt important, but from a cost-benefit angle, the keyword is hardly a good choice. However, when the popularity increases to 40, the keyword becomes more attractive even though its competitiveness increases. Although it is now that much more difficult to get a top 30 ranking, spending time in trying to do so is worthwhile from the cost benefit viewpoint.
A good KEI must satisfy all the 3 axioms. Let P denote the popularity of the keyword and C the competitiveness.
The formula that is chosen is KEI = P^2/C*1000, i.e. KEI is the square of the popularity of the keyword multiplied by 1000 and divided by its competitiveness. This formula satisfies all the 3 axioms:
i) If P increases, P^2 increases and hence KEI increases. Hence, Axiom 1 is satisfied.
ii) If C increases, KEI decreases and hence, Axiom 2 is satisfied.
iii) If P and C both increase such that P/C is the same as before, KEI increases since KEI can be written as
KEI = P^2/C*1000 = P/C * P * 1000. Since P/C remains the same, and P increases, KEI must increase. Hence, Axiom 3 is satisfied.
You may be wondering why we are multiplying the figure by 1000. The reason is that since the popularity will be very small compared to the competitiveness, the KEI for most of the keywords will be in decimals. This makes it slightly difficult to use. However, introducing the 1000 makes it easy to compare the KEI between different keywords.
Note that the formula for KEI is not unique. In fact, this is one of the nice things about the KEI. If, instead of using 2, you use any power of P greater than 1, the resultant formula will also satisfy the 3 axioms.
For example, P^1.5/C1000 and P^3/C1000 both satisfy the 3 axioms.
The exact power of P that you choose depends on how much emphasis you want to give to the popularity of a keyword viz-a-viz its competitiveness. Higher the power of P in the formula, higher will be the emphasis on popularity. If you are very confident about your search engine positioning skills, choose a higher value for the power of P. If you are not that confident about your search engine positioning skills, choose a lower value for the power of P (but the power should still be more than 1). Thus, the KEI can be adapted to your skill level!
Feeling confused as to which power you should choose?
Stick to 2. It maintains a nice balance between both popularity and competitiveness.
Step 1: Open your text editor or word processor and write down all the words and phrases that you might have searched for if you were looking for a company which offers products and services similar to yours.
For example, suppose your company organizes packaged tours to Australia. Here’s a list of phrases that we might have searched for if we were planning to make a trip to Australia:
tourism in Australia
travel to Australia
traveling in Australia
travel agencies in Australia
traveling agencies in Australia
Australian travel agencies
Of course, the keywords that came to your mind may have been different. But that’s not important – the important thing is to get an initial list of keywords.
You may be wondering why I have not used single word keywords.
Firstly, single word keywords tend to be hyper-competitive. A search for “tourism” or “traveling” in any search engine will probably generate hundreds of thousands of pages. While it is possible that you may get your page in the top 10 for such a single word keyword, it is quite unlikely.
Secondly, because of the sheer number of pages that single word searches can throw up, most search engine users have realized that they can get more relevant pages if they search for phrases rather than individual words. Statistical research has shown that most people are now searching for 2 or 3 word phrases rather than for single words.
Thirdly, single word keywords won’t get you targeted traffic.
When people search for “tourism”, they are not necessarily looking for tourist destinations in Australia – they may be interested in any other country of the world. Even if you got your site into the top 10 for tourism, you gain nothing from such visitors. However, when someone searches for “tourism in Australia”, he/she is your potential customer, and therefore, it makes sense for you to try and get a top ranking for your site for that keyword.
Hence, whenever you are trying to generate keywords, try to be location specific. Try to think of keywords which apply to the geographic area that your product or service is designed to serve.
Step 2: Right click here and ‘Save target as’ to Download the Spreadsheet
Or Open any spreadsheet program that is installed in your hard drive. I assume you are using Microsoft Excel. If you are using some other spreadsheet program, just change the spreadsheet related procedures outlined here to fit your program.
- popularity of the keyword,
- number of sites that appear in Google for that keyword
- and the last for something I call the Keyword Effectiveness Index (don’t worry – I’ll explain what KEI means later on). In order to ensure that you can follow what I am saying, I recommend that you add the following column headers to the first four columns of the first row of your spreadsheet:
No. of Competitors
Here’s how you can calculate the KEI.
If you using some other spreadsheet program, you will need to adjust the formula to the requirements of your spreadsheet program. Click on cell D2. Type in the following exactly as it is shown:
Then click on the Copy button to copy the formula, select all the cells in column 4 which have keywords associated with them and press the Paste button to paste the formula. The KEI for each keyword will be displayed.
Step 3: A great way to obtain a list of keywords related to the ones you have developed in the first step is to use Google’s keyword generation service
Step 4: Google’s keyword generation service will display a list of keywords related to the keyword that you had typed in. (Just scroll down the left pane to see the keywords).
Now, click on the first keyword in the list which is applicable for your site. Google will show a list of keywords which contain the keyword you had clicked on in the left pane.
Then in the table that you have created in your spreadsheet, copy each of the keywords in the right pane and paste them in the first column of the table. Also, copy the number of times those keywords have been used (i.e. the figure present in the Count column in Google) and paste them in the second column.
In order to ensure that you can follow me, make sure that you type the first keyword in the second row of your spreadsheet. Of course, you should only bother adding a keyword to your spreadsheet if it is applicable for your site.
Once you have added all the keywords, which are applicable for your site, click on the next keyword which is applicable for your site. Once again, Google will display a list of keywords in the right pane which contain the keyword you had clicked on in the left pane. Again, copy the keywords in the right pane which are applicable for your site and paste them in the first column of your spreadsheet. Also, copy the figures present in the Count column and paste them in the second column beside the corresponding keywords.
Repeat this process for each of the keywords in the left pane.
Step 5: Once you have finished with all the keywords in the left pane, press your browser’s Back button a number of times until Google again displays the text box which asks you to type in a keyword.
Type in the second keyword in your original list (i.e. “travel to Australia”), click on the “Proceed >>” button and repeat Step 4. Do this for each of the keywords that you developed in Step 1.
Step 6: Go to Google.com Search for the first keyword that is present in your spreadsheet using exact match search (i.e. you should wrap the keyword in quotes, i.e. you should type a quotation mark before typing the keyword and a quotation mark after typing it).
Google will return the number of sites which are relevant to that keyword. Add this number to the third column of the spreadsheet in the same row in which the keyword is present. Repeat this process for each of the keywords present in your spreadsheet. Once you have done that, your first column will contain the keywords, your second column will show the popularity of the keywords and your third column will contain the number of sites you are competing against to get a high ranking for those keywords.
Now it’s time to calculate the KEI!
Step 7: The Keyword Effectiveness Index is the square of the popularity of a keyword multiplied by 1000 and divided by the number of sites which appear in Google for that keyword. It is designed to measure which keywords are worth optimizing your site for.
If you had used the spreadsheet file that I created for you, you won’t need to enter the formula for calculating the KEI yourself. The KEI would be automatically calculated for you the moment you enter the values in columns 2 and 3.
Step 8: Use your spreadsheet program’s Sort feature to sort the rows in descending order of the KEI. In Excel 97, you would click on the Data menu, click on the Sort menu item, choose KEI from the drop-down combo box named “Sort by”, click on the “Descending” option next to it, and then click on OK.
And guess what – that’s it!
You now know the keywords which you should optimize your site for. You can now start optimizing your site one by one for each keyword, starting with the keyword with the highest KEI. Exactly how many of the keywords you choose to optimize your site for largely depends on the amount of time that you can spare from your normal business activities. But whatever the number of keywords that you target, it obviously makes sense to go for the most effective keywords first.
Tying up the loose ends:
This completes this module of The Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can select the most effective keywords for your site.
The next part of the course,, will tell you how you can create pages which are designed to get top rankings in the search engines for these keywords. Before you read it, it is essential that you develop the list of keywords which are applicable for your site using the techniques described today. Without the list of keywords, you won’t be able to use the strategies present in the next part.
Creating Keyword Rich Pages for the search engines
Part 1 of The Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site. Once you have established the keywords for which you should optimize your site for the search engines, it is time to figure out how you can get a high ranking in the search engines for those keywords!
The solution is to create Keyword Rich Pages (KRPs) – pages which provide good content and in which a particular keyword is repeated a number of times so that the page gets a top ranking for that keyword.
I am assuming you have a working knowledge of the different HTML tags like the Title tag, the Meta Description tag, the Meta Keywords tag, the Heading tags, etc. If so you can skip this bit:
About HTML Head Tags
The HEAD contains general information, or meta-information, about the document. It is the first thing in any document, lying above the BODY and just after the <HTML> tag starting the document.
The contents of the HEAD are not displayed as part of the document text: the displayed material is found within the BODY. Consequently, only certain mark-up elements can be placed within the HEAD. Some of these are:
TITLE — The title of the document. This element is mandatory — all documents must have a TITLE.
DESCRIPTION — This meta element defines a description of your page:
KEYWORDS — This meta element defines keywords for your page:
<title>The Wealthness Blog</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Business success was never easier. Our complete success system is a step-by-step personal coaching and training program that shows you the inside secrets, tips, and techniques you need to know to succeed in your own business.”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”business, work from home, internet marketing “>
….. text of the document
Now, let us assume that your company sells packaged tours to Australia, and that you are targeting the keyword “travel to australia”. Here’s how you create the KRPs:
The Title Tag:
The first and most important tag to consider is the Title tag. You should always begin the Title tag with the keyword that you are targeting. Also remember that the search engines are going to display the Title tag while they are displaying the results of a search. Hence, you need to make the Title tag attractive to humans as well.
Here is one Title tag that I may have used: “Travel to Australia and discover its scenic beauty”. Have a look at the Title tag – it uses the keyword right at the beginning and also tells people how beautiful a place Australia is. Of course, all Titles need not be like the one I used. The Title that you use depends on the subject matter of your site. However, you should follow all the general rules that I have outlined here.
Meta Description Tag:
The Meta Description tag is used by many search engines to provide a short description of the page that is listed in the search results. Hence, like the Title tag, it is important that the Meta Description tag be keyword rich as well as attractive to humans.
The rules for the Meta Description are more or less the same as those for the Title tag. However, the content of this tag will generally be longer than that of the Title.
Here’s what I may have used in the Meta Description tag:
“Travel to Australia – We take care of all the details of your trip so that you can travel with complete peace of mind.”
Note how this description repeats the keyword and also the benefit that it stresses – it says that the customer will be able to travel without having to worry about the intricate details of the trip – you will take care of them.
Meta Keywords Tag:
The Meta Keywords tag has become less and less important as far as search engine optimization is concerned. In fact, you can get top rankings without having anything in the Meta Keywords tag at all. However, just to be on the safe side, you would want to include some keywords in the Meta Keywords tag. You should also include some of the common upper/lower case variations of the keyword. The rules for the Meta Keywords tag are pretty simple – don’t repeat any keyword in the Meta Keywords tag more than three times and don’t repeat any keyword one after the other. Here’s what I may have used in the Meta Keywords tag:
“Travel to Australia, tourism, travel to Australia, Down Under, TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA”
Note how I have introduced “tourism” and “Down Under” just to separate the different instances of the keyword.
Body of the page:
Now we come to the actual body of the page.
Begin by getting hold of a nice (but not too large) picture which is applicable for the page that you are creating. In the present case, I might include a picture of the lotus shaped Sydney Opera House. Place this picture at the top of the page. In the Alt tag for the picture, just mention your target keyword once, i.e. the Alt tag would be “Travel to Australia”. You can include other words in the Alt tag, but it should start with the keyword you are targeting.
Once you’ve put up the picture, it is time to create a Heading for your page. Use the H1 tag to do so. Again, in the H1 tag, mention your target keyword once, i.e. like the Alt tag for the picture, the H1 tag could be “Travel to Australia”. Again, like the Alt tag, you can include other words in the heading, but the heading should start with the keyword you are targeting.
Now it’s time to create the actual text of the page. The way you create the text of your page would depend largely on what you want the visitor to do after reading this page. In some cases, you may simply want the visitor to go to the home page or another specific page in your site after reading this page.
In this case, you should write the text in such a way that the visitor is attracted to the page that you are targeting. You would also want to provide links to the home page or the specific page that you are targeting at strategic places in the KRP. Or, you may want the visitor to click on the link to an affiliate program that you are a member of.
In this case, you would stress the benefits that the visitor gets by purchasing the product or service that the affiliate program is selling. You would also want to provide links to the affiliate program at strategic places in the page and/or at the end of the page. Whatever it is that you want your page to do, there are some general rules to follow:
1) The first thing to remember is that some search engines don’t recognize the Meta Description tag. These search engines will often simply take the first few lines of text in the body of your page and display that as the description. Hence, you must ensure that the first few lines of text in your page are attractive to human beings.
2) Ensure that as many sentences as possible in the page contain your target keyword once. The keyword shouldn’t just be placed on an ad hoc basis – the way the keyword is placed in every sentence should actually make grammatical sense and the repetition should be such that your human visitors do not feel that you have deliberately repeated a particular phrase throughout the page.
This is not only important from the point of view of ensuring that your readers don’t get a bad impression of your site, but also from the point of view of search engine optimization – the search engines may penalize your page for spamming if they find that you have randomly repeated the keyword throughout the page. Also, while repeating the keyword in the page, try to repeat the keyword once near the top of the page and once near the bottom.
3) Make sure that your paragraphs are not too long – each paragraph should be no more than 3 or 4 sentences long. This is because people on the web simply don’t have the time or the inclination to read long paragraphs.
4) Try to ensure that the page contains links to other pages with the keyword being present in the text under the link. This can often lead to a higher ranking for your page.
When linking to other pages the ‘anchor text’ is important. When you link to another page most sites put the hyperlink under the words Click Here. Whereas, it is far better to include keywords in the hyperlink. For instance Go here to make money online
5) If possible, link to other pages which have the keyword in the file names. This can again lead to a higher ranking for your page.
For each page in your site copy the images into its image directory and rename them to Keywords found on each page.
Make sure all your images no mater how small have alt tags, look at this page.
Each image has an alt tag and each image has a different name. Check the arrow.gif right click mouse and see the properties. I use text from the page and sometimes added a keyword or two.
With this structure system when renaming all graphics, folders and alt tags there is a saturation point for the keywords when the engines flag it as a ‘spammy’ site.
You want to use different words with the same meaning or plural words and a salting of all caps and lowercase letters. Just don’t go name an image Stock_trader_stock_trader_stock_trader.jpg or a directory or have it in alt or meta tags that way! As long as you keep it realistic you will never have any problem…
The key rule for alt tags is the question: is it there for a reason other than spam?
The algorithms are now so sophisticated that they’ll detect the spam and you’ll be peanalised.
So I always use a ‘proper’ sentence which contains keywords – not use keywords for the sake of it.
6) There is no hard and fast rule regarding the total number of words that should be present in the KRPs. As a rule of thumb, try to ensure that there are between 500 600 words. However, if the number of words falls a bit short of or exceeds this limit, don’t worry too much.
Once you have created the page, ensure that the name of the file in which it is saved contains the keyword and that the individual words of the keyword are separated by hyphens. In this case, the name of the file would be travel-to-australia.html. This will get you a higher ranking in the few search engines which give a lot of emphasis on the keyword being present in the file name.
When you want to target another keyword, simply create another KRP for it using the procedure outlined above.
After you have created the KRPs, you cannot simply upload them to your site and submit them to the search engines. This is because the search engines take a rather dim view of pages which only contain outgoing links to other pages but do not contain any incoming links from other pages. The search engines may penalize sites which have such pages.
What you need to do is to directly or indirectly link the KRPs with your home page. If you are going to create many KRPs for your site, it will be impractical to link the home page directly with all the KRPs as this will needlessly clutter your home page. Hence, what you should do is to create a separate page in your site called a Sitemap page (name it something like sitemap.html).
Add links to all the KRPs from the Sitemap page.
The text that you use to link to a particular KRP should be the same as the keyword that the KRP is being optimized for. Hence, the link to the travel-to-australia.html file should say “Travel to Australia”.
Now, some search engines refuse to spider pages which only contain links to other pages and nothing else. Hence, if the Sitemap page only contains links to the KRPs but contains no other content, the search engines may ignore this page. Hence, what you can do is to add a short description of the content of each of the KRPs after you have added a link to that KRP in the Sitemap page. This ensures that the search engines will not ignore this page.
After doing all this, simply link the home page of your site with the Sitemap page using a text link. Then, submit your home page, the Sitemap page and each of the KRPs to the search engines.
When you are submitting these pages, to be on the safe side, make sure that you submit no more than one page per day to any search engine – otherwise, you run the risk of some search engines ignoring some of the pages you have submitted. You can submit your site by going to the individual “Add URL” pages of each engine.
This completes stage two of The Search Engine Masters Course. Today you have learned how you can create pages which are designed to get top rankings in the search engines. Part three of the course, will tell you how you can submit your site to the Open Directory in order to improve your chances of ranking well in Google.
And so you don’t have to wait – Here is Part Three.
Submit Your New Site to Google
- Part One of The Search Engine Masters Course taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site.
- Part Two taught you how to create pages designed to get top rankings for these keywords. Here, we discuss how you can get an optimum listing in Google.
The Republic of the Web
The web continues to grow at staggering rates. Automated search engines are increasingly unable to turn up useful results to search queries. The small paid editorial staffs at commercial directory sites can’t keep up with submissions, and the quality and comprehensiveness of their directories has suffered. Link rot is setting in and they can’t keep pace with the growth of the Internet.
When you place your website on the net Google will index it over time.
Instead of fighting the explosive growth of the Internet, submission to Google is means for the Internet to organize itself. As the Internet grows, so do the number of net-citizens. These citizens can each organize a small portion of the web and present it back to the rest of the population, culling out the bad and useless and keeping only the best content.
The Definitive Catalog of the Web
Google follows in the footsteps of some of the most important editor/contributor projects of the 20th century. Just as the Oxford English Dictionary became the definitive word on words, Google follows in its footsteps to become the definitive catalog of the Web.
The Internet Brain
Things to consider whether a site is appropriate for submission:
- Do not submit mirror sites. Mirror sites are sites that contain identical content, but have altogether different URLs.
- Do not submit URLs that contain only the same or similar content as other sites you may have listed in the directory. Sites with overlapping and repetitive content are not helpful to users of the directory. Multiple submissions of the same or related sites may result in the exclusion and/or deletion of those and all affiliated sites.
- Do not disguise your submission and submit the same URL more than once.
- Example: https://www.theomniscienceprinciple.com.org and https://www.theomniscienceprinciple.com.org/index.html
- Do not submit any site with an address that redirects to another address.
- Google has a policy against the inclusion of sites with illegal content. Examples of illegal material include child pornography; libel; material that infringes any intellectual property right; and material that specifically advocates, solicits or abets illegal activity (such as fraud or violence).
- Do not submit sites “under construction.” Wait until a site is complete before submitting it. Sites that are incomplete, contain “Under Construction” notices, or contain broken graphics or links aren’t good candidates.
- Submit pornographic sites to the appropriate category under Adult.
- Submit non-English sites to the appropriate category under World.
- Don’t submit sites consisting largely of affiliate links.
Getting your site an optimum listing is vitally important. It is becoming harder and harder to influence your indexing, we can only do the best we can. Today we focus on how you can get your site an optimum listing. Even if your site is already listed, you should read today’s lesson to find out how you can get multiple listings in Google.
Before you submit your site, go through your entire site and ensure that there are no missing graphics, no links leading to empty or non-existent pages and no “Under construction” symbols. Also, check for typos and grammatical errors. Furthermore, your site must provide good content. If your site simply contains links to various affiliate programs, you will find it difficult to get through. Google does not mind sites containing links to affiliate programs, as long as you provide proper content.
You need to select the two most important keywords for your site based on their popularity. Part One of this course taught you how to develop the list of keywords applicable for your site. I mentioned that while selecting the keywords for your site, you should look at both the popularity of the keywords as well as their competitiveness. However, for the purpose of today’s lesson, don’t worry about the competitiveness – select keywords only on the basis of popularity.
We now discuss how you should write the Title and Description of your site’s listing in Google.
When you write the description, your aim should be to make Google’s job as easy as possible. You should not give the algorithm the feeling that it needs to edit your description in any way.
Your description should be a single sentence which conveys what your site is all about and contains the two keywords you are targeting as close as possible to the beginning of the description. However, your description should not just be a list of keywords – the description that you use should be a proper sentence and should be grammatically correct.
Broadly, here are the rules that you should remember when forming the description:
i) Make sure that the description can tell a visitor what your site is all about. Things like “Have a look at our site” or “Welcome to my site” does not tell a visitor what your site does.
ii) Avoid hype of any sort. Avoid using ALL CAPS or exclamation marks. Phrases like “The best web site dealing with widgets!!”
“Offers the BEST QUALITY, CHEAPEST WIDGETS you can find anywhere” are inappropriate.
iii) Don’t capitalize every word in your description – capitalize only the first word. Of course, if some of the words in the description are proper nouns, then you should capitalize them.
iv) Write the description in the third person. Don’t say “We offer financial planning and credit counseling services”, say “Offers financial planning and credit counseling services.”.
v) Don’t make your description too long – limit yourself to 15 words at the most. If you are lucky, you may be able to get accepted with a description longer than 15 words. However, longer the description, higher the probability that Google will want to edit it.
vi) Check your description for typos and grammatical mistakes.
Now, we come to how you can create the right category for your site.
Does a particular category come up at the top for both the keywords?
Improving The Link Popularity of Your Site
Links are a major factor in Google’s algorithm – there is a right way to build them and a wrong way.
Things to Avoid
Don’t fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to “cloak” pages, or put up “crawler only” pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don’t intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site.
Don’t feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to “guarantee” high ranking for your site in Google’s search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.
Don’t create multiple copies of a page under different URLs. Many sites offer text-only or printer-friendly versions of pages that contain the same content as the corresponding graphic-rich pages. To ensure that your preferred page is included in search results, you’ll need to block duplicates from spiders using a robots.txt file and canonical linking. For information about using a robots.txt file, please visit our information on Googlebot.
3) Exchanging links with other webmasters. Popular belief states that another way of improving the link popularity of your site is to exchange links with other webmasters who have sites which are related to yours, but are not direct competitors.
There are a lot of factors why you shouldn’t consider link exchange:
- The website is unrelated to your site niche.
- Theirs is a kitchen utensils site and your site is about SEO.
- Their website is not good. No valuable information.
- Their website has lots of outbound links because they have exchanged links with other sites while your site has only a few. This means your links are highly valuable and theirs is a commodity.
- Their website is new and has no PR, no alexa presence, no compete presence.
- They have out nofollow links.
- Their website is horribly designed. Bad navigation. Disaligned divs. Not good and unprofessional.
Here’s how you can do it:
Google gives weight to sites that have outbound links to relevant articles and sites. First, open a database program like Microsoft Access and create a new table containing fields like FirstName, LastName, Email Address, URL etc. Then, make a list of the sites belonging to your competitors.
Then, go to Google and type in the following in the search box: link:somesite.com -url:somesite.com where somesite.com is the domain name of one of your competitors.
This will give you a list of all the sites which are linking to that competitor. Then, find out in what context a particular site has linked to your competitor. If this site is an affiliate of your competitor, then your chance of getting a link from this site is limited, unless you offer an even better affiliate program.
However, if you find that this site has an articles page which contains links to other sites, one of which is a link to your competitor, then it is an excellent prospect for getting links. Find out the name and email address of the webmaster of the site and add them to your database. In this way, go through all the sites which are linking to your competitors, locate those sites which you think may want to exchange links with you, and build up your database. Once you have done that, create a Links page in your site/articles, and add the URLs of these sites to the Links page.
Then, send an email to these webmasters, introduce yourself, be personal and mention your site, congratulate them on building an excellent web site, tell them that you have relevant and related content, and then ask them whether they would be kind enough to add a link to your site.
In your email, emphasize the fact that adding links in this way will be mutually beneficial for both of you because it will help both of you drive traffic to your sites. Wait for a month or so to see the response. Some webmasters will agree to link to you. Others will simply not respond. After a month, remove the links to those sites who are not interested in adding links and using the methods outlined above, try to locate more sites with which to add links.
Pay for a link!
When you find a high PR site offer $25 to publish your unique and high quality article – this always goes down well and gets you a fantastic one way link. Your article also has a much higher chance of being found in search results. I’d say that’s money well spent.
When you send the email to the webmasters, make sure that you personalize each email. Don’t begin every email with “Hello Webmaster”, begin with “Hello Mike”. If you want, you can use email merge programs to automatically personalize each email.
The main problem with this method of improving the link popularity of your site is that it takes a lot of time. You may find that the number of links you manage to get just does not justify the time that you spend over it.
Another thing that you can do is to mention in your articles page that you are willing to add links with other web sites. This allows other webmasters who come to your web site to propose a link.
4) Starting an Awards Program A moderately effective method of improving the link popularity of your site is to start an awards program. You can have web sites which are related to yours apply for an award from your site. The sites which win the award get the chance to display the logo for your award.
This logo is linked to your site, preferably to a page which contains more information on the award. If you publish a newsletter, consider declaring the winners in your newsletter. You can also perform a review of the winners’ sites in your newsletter. This adds useful content to your newsletter and also gives more webmasters the incentive to apply for your award, since you may review their sites in your newsletter. This also gives them the incentive to subscribe to your newsletter to see if they win the award. Make sure that you give awards to only those sites which deserve to win. If you give your award to sites which don’t deserve it, your award will have little credibility, which will, in turn, hurt the credibility of your company.
Furthermore, make sure that the logo you design for the award looks professional. If it doesn’t, not many webmasters will want to display it in their sites.
5) Giving testimonials This may sound a bit unusual, but giving testimonials for products or services which you find useful can be another moderately effective way of improving the link popularity of your site. If you really like a product, simply write to the company and tell them why you liked the product so much and how it has helped you. Chances are, the company will write back to you to thank you for your comments and will ask you for permission to display your comments in their web site. Tell the company that you have no problems if they publish your comments, but request them to add a link to your site along with the testimonial. There is every possibility that the company will agree since publishing the URL of your web site gives more credibility to the testimonial. Of course, please don’t go about giving testimonials to every company you can locate just because it will improve your link popularity.
6) Posting to Message Boards and Discussion Lists Another moderately effective method of increasing the link popularity of your site is to post to online message boards. At the end of every message that you post, you can sign off by mentioning your name and the URL of your web site. If the message board allows it, you can even include a short promotional blurb about your site at the end of your posts. However, make sure that the individual messages that are posted to that message board are archived in static HTML pages (i.e. the URLs for the individual messages should not contain a “?”). Otherwise, the search engines will consider these pages to be dynamic pages and may not spider these pages and hence, will not be able to find your link.
Email based discussion lists which are archived on the web in static HTML pages can also be used to boost the link popularity of your site in a similar manner. In this case, the signature file that you use with your email program should contain the URL for your web site.
7) Setting up new web sites Yet another moderately effective method of improving the link popularity of your site is to set up new web sites and have these new sites link to your main site. If you are Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon.com), you can afford to purchase hundreds of new domains and have these new domains link to your main site. If you are not Jeff Bezos, you can simply set up new sites with some of the free web hosts. (Of course, your primary web site should always be hosted in a separate domain of its own).
Simply add a few pages of unique content to each of your new sites, and have each of the pages in your new sites link to your main site. If you use this technique, make sure that you do not duplicate content across multiple sites. If you do, the search engines might penalize your sites for spamming. You need to ensure that all the pages that you create for these new sites contain unique content.
The disadvantage of this method is that Google may refuse to spider sites which are present in the free web hosts.
8) Starting a Link Contest A good method of improving the link popularity of your site is to give away prizes to other webmasters if they link to you. The prizes that you give out should ideally be something which other webmasters will find valuable enough to want to link to you, but which do not cost you too much. For instance, if you publish a newsletter, and have unsold ad inventory, you can give away some free advertisements in your newsletter to the winners. If you sell a software (or an ebook), you can give away a free copy of your software or ebook to the winners, since it doesn’t cost you anything to produce an additional copy of digital goods like software and ebooks.
Link contests work best if you run the contest on a continuous basis and if you declare new winners frequently. If you run the contest for a few months, and then stop it, the webmasters who had linked to you will all remove their links. However, if you run it on a continuous basis, and declare new winners every month or so, the webmasters will have the incentive to keep their links to your site. Also, make sure that you require all participants to have a link to your site either in their home page, or in an internal page of their site which is linked to their home page. Also ensure that the page which contains the link is no more than two levels deep from their home page (i.e. it should not take more than two clicks to go from the home page to the page containing the link). If they don’t do this, the search engine spiders may not index the page which contains the link to your site, and hence, may not find your link.
PRWeb.com (press release but will get your articles out there)
Many webmasters and ezine publishers frequent these article directories in search of articles. Submitting my articles to these directories gives them the opportunity of re-publishing my articles. While I have had some success with each of the above directories, by far the best among them is the ezinearticles.com directory.
Now, at the end of each article, I mention that people are free to re-publish the article as long as they include my resource box (i.e. my bio) at the end of the article. I always include the URL of my site in the resource box. This means that whenever someone publishes one of my articles in his/her web site, I have another site linking to my site.
Also, many ezine publishers archive their ezines in their web sites. If they have re-published my article in a particular issue, I again get a link. Writing articles is also an excellent viral marketing tool. As some webmasters and ezine publishers publish my articles, other webmasters and ezine publishers will read my article.
Some of them, in turn, will publish my article, which will again be read by other webmasters and ezine publishers, some of whom will publish it… and so on.
Also, since only web sites related to mine would be interested in publishing my articles, all these links tend to come from related sites, which, as I mentioned earlier, are more valuable than links from unrelated sites. Writing articles, of course, has another very important benefit – if you write good articles, it makes you known as an expert in your field.
This helps to improve your credibility, which makes people more comfortable about buying your products or services. Some notes about writing articles:
i) I have learnt through experience that some webmasters will publish other people’s articles and will display the complete resource box but will not link to the URL mentioned in the resource box. In order to prevent this, you need to explicitly state that the article can be published only if the URL mentioned in the resource box is linked to your site.
ii) Your resource box should not be too long – it should be no more than 6 lines long, formatted at 65 characters per line. Otherwise, other webmasters and ezine publishers will hesitate to publish your article.
10) Starting your own affiliate program This is another excellent way by which you can improve the link popularity of your site. When you have your own affiliate program, you give other webmasters the incentive to link to you. In this case too, since most of these web sites will be related to the industry in which you are operating, these links will be more valuable than links from unrelated sites.
Now, when you start your affiliate program, you need to decide whether you want to run the program yourself, or whether you want to outsource it from a third party. While outsourcing your affiliate program has a number of benefits, doing so will not help you improve the link popularity of your site, because affiliates are going to link to the third party’s site.
In order to improve the link popularity of your site, you need to ensure that the affiliate links are pointing to your domain.
11) Submitting to the directories This is by far the most important step as far as improving the link popularity of your site is concerned. As I mentioned before, what is important is not only the number of links to your site, but also the quality of the links to your site. Also, you should submit your site to as many of the smaller directories as possible.
This completes The Search Engine Masters Course.
The course has taught you how to select the most effective keywords for your site, how you can create pages designed to get top rankings in the search engines for these keywords, how you can get a top ranking and how you can improve the link popularity of your site.
In short, the course has given you a blueprint for ensuring your success with the search engines. If you have always been frustrated by the difficult task of getting high rankings in the search engines, this course has given you a step-by-step guide to becoming a search engine CHAMPION.
For even more advice on all aspects of search engine positioning, I highly recommend that you subscribe to many of the FREE monthly newsletters on search engine positioning. Every issue will give you the latest tips and techniques for taking your web site to the top of the search engines.
Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of the course, while the course will give you most of the tactics that we use to get our clients top rankings in the search engines, there is something that the course cannot give you – TIME.
You need to spend at least 2-3 hours for the next few months in order to implement the techniques described in this course. If you have the time required to do so, then you should, by all means, optimize your site yourself. However, it is quite likely that you are already very busy with the other aspects of your business and do not have the time to optimize your own site.
In this case, you may want to take on help in getting top rankings in the search engines. You will also have the confidence of having an expert at your side, who will constantly advise you on how to improve your rankings in the search engines. If you do this there needs to be a clear path to ROI.