What is SEO? SEO Defined Search engine optimization (SEO) is an activity that makes websites easier to find through search engines. By making a website easier to find, the webmaster or website owner will hopefully increase traffic to the site. And when traffic increases, revenue should also increase. If you're trying to sell products or services on your website, knowledge of SEO is essential. SEO relates primarily to gaining traffic through search engines like Google, Yahoo! or AltaVista. This happens when someone enters a word or a phrase into a search engine and is then returned a list of links to click on. Visitors who find their way to a site this way are called "natural search" visitors. Optimization is the act of changing the text on your site, as well as performing many other off-site activities, in order to get better results and appear higher in search engines when people search for specific terms. SEO and the Search Engines In order to implement effective SEO strategies for your website, you'll need a basic understanding of how search engines work and why they rank results the way they do. In SEO, most of what you're doing is editing the HTML code and the text content of your site to improve its results in the search engines. You have to know what those engines are looking at in order to make effective changes. A term you'll often hear when learning about SEO is an algorithm. Algorithms are formulas that search engines use to determine which results they'll display, and in which order, after someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase. History of Search Engines The first web search engines appeared in 1993. And the first engine to gain widespread acceptance was AltaVista in 1995. Other search engines, such as Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, and Northern Light appeared around this time. However, the history of search engines as we know them today was redefined by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. While at Stanford University, these two utilized an algorithm called PageRank to create search engines that listed rankings based not only on keywords, as earlier engines had done, but also on the quality and strength of inbound links. In 1998, Page and Brin founded Google, which has become the measuring stick against which all other search engines are now held up. This led to the revolution of SEO, requiring not only on- page efforts like optimizing the keywords on the page, but also requiring a strong off-page element of link building in order to do well in the search engines. On-Page and Off-Page SEO Essentially, there are two different kinds of SEO. On-page SEO refers to alterations you make to your actual website, while off-page SEO refers to things you try to accomplish on other sites across the web. One of the most important realities you'll need to understand with SEO is that there isn't one “kind” of SEO that's any better than the other. This means you'll have to devote equal attention to both the on- and off-page elements in order to get your site to perform as well as possible. On-page optimization includes anything you can change within your own page. Think about things like your headers, your body text, the links on your own page, and especially the title, meta, and H1 (etc.) tags. Other things like keyword density are also important on-page considerations. Links that point to any of your pages are the off-page considerations. Remember, it isn't just getting a lot of links that enables your site to get a better PageRank. You also have to consider things like anchor text in order to get your site to perform well, and you have to think about the quality of those incoming links. The most important lesson that you can learn about off-page optimization is that quality counts for more than quality. Getting a ton of links from sites that have no value will not be nearly as beneficial for your site as getting a lot fewer links from authority sites that are given high value in the eyes of the search engines. The authority of a site is based on the structure of the links coming into it, and has usually been online for a long time. They have built up a strong link structure with other similarly well- established and well-linked sites, and getting links from sites like these will greatly improve your off-site SEO. In order for these links to count for as much as possible, you also want them to be similar in topic or subject in some way to your site. Try to build links from authority sites that have similar keywords to your own. An important thing to remember about SEO is that while most people concentrate on Google, Yahoo! and MSN are still valuable sources of search traffic as well. The algorithms used on those sites are slightly different, so it pays also to do your research into the methods used by those sites to rank pages. SEO and Keywords Whenever you go to a search engine, you'll see the text box where visitors enter a word or phrase in order to find what they're looking for online. The words they place in this box are known as keywords. You should choose between three and five keywords for each of your pages. These keywords can be selected in a variety of ways. Video Lesson: What is SEO? You want keywords that relate to the content of your site, but you also want to be sure that they're words for which people are actually searching. Google offers a variety of tools to investigate how often certain keywords are searched. Once you've selected your keywords, you'll have to use them in a variety of ways. You'll want to optimize your own site to use those keywords in important places like the title tag, the headings, and the body of the text. It is also important to realize the value of keywords in link-building strategies. Anchor text consists of the words made into a link that links out to another page or site. You want to build links in which you use your keywords as your anchor text, as this will help your off-site optimization efforts better than simply building random links. Black Hat SEO When you're learning about SEO, you'll frequently encounter the term “black hat.” It's important to understand what this is, and what it means. We'll go into more detail regarding black hat SEO in a later screen, but basically, black hat is SEO that violates either posted rules and regulations or unwritten online ethics, and that tries to manipulate the search engines artificially in order to get their sites to rank higher. Still, this is something which many people try and, in the end, lose out. You see, any tactics that violate the terms of service of the search engines will eventually be found out. If the search engines find foul play, the people using unfavorable tactics will be penalized in the rankings or even removed from the index altogether. Examples of SEO Websites There are some basic structural elements you'll want to keep in mind when constructing a site for SEO purposes. By keeping these tips in mind when you're creating your site, you'll help ensure that it's both easily indexed by the search engines, and that hopefully, it will do quite well in the rankings. One of the most important elements will be where to display your keywords. Ideally, you will want them presented in your <title> tag for sure, and also in the <h> or header tags. See the example at the right showing the HTML code for a website with the keywords highlighted in blue: Use URL structure to your advantage using keywords when you can in folders and subfolders. Don't use graphics in place of text. It's important to use visuals to make a site appealing once a visitor gets there, but if you have information (and keywords) in an image rather than in text, the spiders won't index that as content in your site. Ensure that all your pages on your site are linked correctly from the other pages in the site. You can also use keyword-based anchor text for creating those links. Let's take a look at some sites that utilize the phrase, “how to quickly stop panic attack.” The URL http://www.panic- attacks.co.uk/panic_faq.htm will be one of the top results you see. On this site, you can see by everything that is underlined there are many different articles and content pages linked to within the site, all by using keyword-rich anchor text to help improve the ranking of each page. This company is selling their own program on panic attack management, rather than concentrating on affiliate products. The URL http://www.nlppati.com/articles/end -panic-attacks.shtml goes to another highly ranked site. As you can see in the screen shot here, this is another site with lots of content on each page, and it uses correct anchor text in many sections. This site focuses on selling services rather than products. And, http://www.panic- anxiety.com/ is another site that ranks on the first page of Google for this keyword. Take a look at this site to see still another take on how to create an optimized page — this time, one that is clearly selling the Linden Method. Their first page takes the shape of a traditional sales page more closely than the other two sites mentioned, so that might be a good basis for further research. Video Lesson: SEO Website Examples A Good Fit? There are some things you'll have to consider when it comes time to decide whether or not applying SEO strategy to your web development is for you. There are a number of different ways to drive traffic to your affiliate product website, so be sure to weigh these factors when deciding if SEO is a good fit for you. SEO Might Be a Good Fit if You: • Are promoting a product that you have lots of available written content about. • Are promoting a product that you can write about. • Know some basic HTML skills. • Are planning a long-term strategy — SEO takes time to show results. • Are looking for constant traffic. • Have more time than money for promoting a site. • Have a good understanding of keyword research and how to implement that into your site. • Have good relationships with authority sites that could help you build inbound links. SEO Might Not Be a Good Fit if You: • Don't want to spend a lot of time developing content • Don't know any HTML. • Don't want to spend time doing keyword research. • Are looking for instant results. • Don't have the time to invest in a link- building campaign. • Are developing several sites at the same time. Video Lesson: Is SEO a Good Fit For You? Funds Needed While developing successful SEO affiliate websites depends more upon effort than money, you should still expect to spend money on your site. However, a few costs are common to ALL types of websites, and they still apply to sites that you are optimizing for natural search traffic. Essentials Domain Name Generally, domain names cost approximately $10 per year. You can easily register the domain of your choice through any of the major registrars, including GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com) or Namecheap.com (http://www.namecheap.com). Hosting Even after you have your domain name and website built, you still need to pay someone to host that site for you. Expect this to cost around $100 per year. If you need additional storage, features, or bandwidth, slightly more expensive options are available. Basic Keyword Research Tools A great place to start is with keyword research tools available here at Affiliate Classroom. For example, our Google Match Type Tool helps you build a keyword list based on either a broad, phrase, exact or negative match type. The Key Phrase Multiplier Tool helps you multiply your existing keyword list and generate additional key phrases. And the Long-Tail Keyword Generator helps you create a huge list of long-tail keywords by entering a single keyword, as well as any of the expansion words you’d like to use. You can check these tools out by going to the “Tools” tab above. Tracking System Once you’re driving basic traffic to your site, you’ll need to provide information about the traffic coming to your site. Our Traffic Tracker can help. All you need to do is insert a piece of code into your website, and Traffic Tracker will provide you with reports on clicks, bounces, the average amount of time a user spends on your site, page views and more. Recommended Tools Autoresponder If part of the reason for your SEO site is to help build your email marketing list, then you should expect to pay anywhere between $20 to $30 a month for your autoresponder service. Spreadsheet Software If your computer didn't come with Microsoft Office, look into Open Office for a great free spreadsheet and word processing suite. Alternatively, you can use Google Docs, which provides free online document editing and management. Using a spreadsheet will help you keep track of all your web efforts easily and in an organized manner. Advanced Keyword Tools The Keyword List Cleaner Tool, found under “Tools” tab of Affiliate Classroom, will transform your existing keyword list and put the words in order, remove duplicates, change the case and more. And the Geo Keyword Generator allows you to rapidly expand your keyword list based upon geographical location. Video Lesson: Funds Needed For SEO Monetization Methods — How You Make Money Once you have a plan in place to use SEO as the primary means for promoting an affiliate site, you'll have to consider how you can monetize your venture. Almost any model will work when built on an SEO foundation. You can also combine methods on a single page, or focus tightly on a single product per page, or per site. It can be difficult to determine the best way to make your SEO page turn a profit. You may want to test out different methods and let the results help determine which methods are going to work the best. The primary means of turning an SEO site into a cash-generating site are: • Commission or Pay Per Sale affiliate products. • Commissions on continuity programs that offer residual commissions. • CPA (Cost Per Sale)/Lead Generation Programs. • Contextual Advertising Here we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each of these models: Commission or Pay-per-Sale Affiliate Products There are many ways you can promote a pay per sale program on your optimized site. A strategy such as banner advertising works well for many people. On the other hand, some sites rely on their content to directly promote the product through preselling, such as by writing reviews, or providing anecdotes and stories that might include some good inline links. Remember, all of your content should be centered around good keyword use. Advantages • Lots of different programs to choose from. • A wide variety of commission levels. • Can find a program to suit any kind of content. • Provides the most flexibility of all programs. Disadvantages • Banners might not be enough. • You may need to write a large amount of high-quality content. • It can be a time-consuming method. Commissions on Continuity Programs (Residual Commissions) In a continuity program, you get people to sign up for something that they have to pay for every month. Known as a recurring billing cycle, you would be paid a commission for every month that a customer remained a paying member. One great thing about these programs is that they can easily get customers to subscribe. Many of them offer a free trial, and customers are automatically subscribed to a monthly program unless they opt out. This can usually earn you a good commission for the trial offer, and also for their residual monthly billing if the customer does not opt out. Advantages • Ongoing residual income. • Easy to combine with CPA offers (such as the “free trial” example outlined later in this section). Disadvantages • Can be tough to find good programs for your content. • Customers can get upset about forced continuity programs. CPA/Cost Per Sale/Lead Generation Programs In CPA programs, you get paid based on getting the customer to simply enter an email addresses, snail mail address, or zip code into the website for your affiliate program. They also might include things like the customer completing a quiz or signing up for a newsletter. This can also include getting a free offer for that small piece of information, and then leading to a continuity program like those discussed above. Advantages • If you have a pre-established large list or are moving large amounts of traffic, you can make a lot of money in very little time with a CPA offer. • You can easily promote many of these offers through your SEO site because they include free offers, and we all know how well FREE things attract attention. • If you've proven that your site is ranking high in Google and that you are getting lots of acquisitions, you might be able to negotiate higher rates. Disadvantages • CPA networks aren't big on taking on new affiliates unless you can prove how you can benefit them. Proving that you understand SEO and that it is the key to your traffic strategy can go a long way towards getting you approved by a network. • You'll need to do your homework to find the best-paying campaigns, as they can vary widely. Campaigns come and go quite frequently, so you need to monitor closely which ones are still running. Contextual Advertising Contextual advertising includes programs like Google AdSense. These programs scan the content on your website and then insert ads into the areas you have designated based on the content that your visitors are currently viewing. Because this is a content-based method of advertising and monetization, it does easily lend itself to an SEO site. Advantage • Easy to implement — all you have to do is drive traffic after you're approved for the program. Disadvantages • You need a complete site for this program. As an example, AdSense requires a minimum of 20 pages for your site before they will approve you. • You also won't make much per click, meaning you have to drive a lot of traffic to be profitable. • Certain niches might be in violation of the Google TOS. Be sure to check beforehand. Video Lesson: Monetization Methods Best Practices General Best Practices Become an expert in your subject area, if you're not one already. If you don't have time to become an expert, be sure to hire someone who is. Always have an easy-to-understand method for navigating your site so that customers can find what they're looking for easily. On-Page Best Practices • Make a clear navigation scheme with text links so that the spiders can crawl over them correctly. • Write effective meta description tags. • Make the most important content on your site the easiest to get to. • Use lots of text-based articles and descriptions to provide keyword-rich content for the spiders to view. • Link to related content within your own site effectively. • Be sure that you write content that is aimed at human readers, not just search spiders. • Use good <title> tagging. • Use meta descriptions and keyword tags. • Use tools such as the W3 Markup Validation service to be sure your pages are coded correctly. • Use Google's Webmaster tools for creating a sitemap. Off-Page Best Practices • Find related sites from which to build links. • Always try to build links from authority sites. • Forget about link swapping. • Focus on quality over quantity. Black Hat SEO Simply put, if you think something is black hat, avoid it at all costs. All of the methods now defined as black hat were probably legal at one point in time, but you should avoid these methods unless you want your site to be penalized or even removed from the index. Some examples of black hat SEO include: • Keyword stuffing. • Hidden text or text the same color as the background. • Text positioned off screen. • Having an alternate page for search engines and for humans (cloaking). Video Lesson: SEO Best Practices Variations on the Model Today, SEO is really important when building any type of website, no matter what your business model. This is because all commercial websites should be constructed around terms that people commonly use when searching for answers, solutions, or products. Here are some of the most common ways the SEO business model is combined with other online business models: SEO and Content Marketing SEO and the content marketing business models are very closely related. In straight SEO, you spend the bulk of your time and energy on building an authority site and getting incoming links, with the goal of getting as much traffic as possible through high rankings in the natural search results. In content marketing, you get most of your traffic from syndicated content distributed all over the web. Many top SEO firms will combine these two models, using keyword-optimized syndicated content to generate quality inbound links. SEO and Paid Search In this model, you use PPC advertising to test markets and products. When you hit upon a highly profitable campaign, you'll build an authority site with substantial content that targets all the keywords in your PPC campaign, as well as additional keywords. SEO Community Membership Business Model There are opportunities for overlap between SEO and the community business model. This is where you form a community either around social media or blogs (as examples) in order to create a trust with your visitors for when you recommend products to them. SEO can be combined with this model both as a means of generating traffic to your blog or social media site, or for creating another venue with which to introduce your company to your brand, thereby building trust, a key element in the social/community marketing model. SEO and Email Marketing Use SEO to get people to your site in order to build an email list. This is one of the most time- tested methods of becoming profitable online. An example of this is the method of monetization mentioned in a previous screen where you are paid a commission per acquisition of a piece of information, such as an email or a zip code. This method of monetization combines well with a list that you can create by driving traffic to your page via SEO. Let's Review Before you move forward, let's review some of the most important information from this course. Summary SEO stands for search engine optimization, and refers to the activity of increasing how high in the search engine results your site will rank when certain keywords and phrases are searched for. This is the best way to take advantage of natural traffic, still one of the highest sources of traffic on the Internet. Quick Tips • Remember, when optimizing on page, still concentrate on creating quality content for humans to read and learn from, not just making it search engine friendly • When concentrating on off-page optimization, remember that link quality is more important than link quantity. Glossary Natural Search – Results returned from search engines based on their supposed relevance to the terms searched for. Organic Search – Another term for natural search On Page – Refers to optimization techniques conducted on your own page, such as entering keywords into your tags or optimizing your text content. Off Page – In SEO terms, usually refers to link building, or other efforts that take place on sites not owned by you. HTML – Stands for Hypertext Markup Language, the programming language used to create most websites. Meta Tags – Tags in HTML that provide information about the web page for search engines. Page Rank – Describes two uses -- technically, this refers to the algorithm Google uses to decide how valuable a page is in their eyes; but colloquially, it is used to refer to how high in Google a page appears. Keyword – A word that a person looking for information would enter into the text box in a search engine in order to find a web page related to what they are inquiring about. Keyphrase – The same as a keyword, except multiple words are used together. SEO – Stands for Search Engine Optimization, the art of getting your site to list higher in the search engines when various keywords are searched for. Algorithms – In the context of SEO, a mathematical formula used by the search engines to determine which sites will rank in which order based on a certain search done through the engine. SERP – Stands for Search Engine Results Page, the page a person sees after they search for a particular word or phrase. Authority Site – A site that is well established and trusted, and has a number of high-quality links from similar authority sites pointing to it. Inline Link – A link that can display remote content without the content actually being embedded. The display might be a thumbnail or a preview of the content, for example. Inbound Links – Links from other domains that point towards your site. Internal Links – Links within your site that point to other pages on your site. Action Steps ___Research affiliate products on which you could create a content-rich site, or could hire someone to do so. ___Budget for a domain, hosting, keyword tools, and other elements you need to create your site. ___Create a content-rich site. Be sure to utilize keywords properly in both the content and in the appropriate tags. ___Work on building trust with authority sites in order to receive high- quality inbound links. ___Add content frequently to your site. ___Be patient. SEO is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix.
Pages to are hidden for
"SEO"Please download to view full document