Search Engine Optimization Guide Introduction Congratulations! By downloading this guide, you’ve taken the first step toward getting FREE traffic to your website from search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. In this Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide, you’ll learn 5 techniques to get targeted traffic from search results and some tips to prevent your website from being penalized or banned. Once you’ve applied what you’ve learned in this introduction to SEO you’ll have a head start to boosting your website traffic with very little effort or investment. Search Engines vs. Search Sites You might be thinking “There are so many websites offering a search bar, where do I start?” Relax, most of the sites you think are search engines are actually using the same database to get their results. You see, a web search engine is actually just a program that collects, analyzes and categorizes stuff. A website that uses a search engine is referred to as a search site. For example, Univision.com is a search site that uses the Google search engine, and now Yahoo.com is powered by Bing. So Which Search Engines Matter? There are only 3 major players in the search engine market. We’ve listed them below by market share: • Google Sites (66.2%) • Bing & Yahoo! Sites (29.3%) Coming in behind Microsoft’s Bing is Ask.com with 3% market share. If you get web search results from any other website, they are most-likely derived from the search engines listed above. Search Engine Optimization Guide Five Ways to Get Free Traffic From Search Engines 1 - Know Which Keywords are the Most Relevant The first thing your SEO Expert will most-likely do is Keyword Research to determine which relevant search terms have the most queries. Relevance is absolutely critical. The search engines pride themselves on providing the most relevant search results. So your job will be to optimize for the most relevant search terms. If you sell widgets, it might not be in your best interest to optimize for “Brittany Spears” or even “widgets” by itself, since there are so many different ways a term can be used in context. Instead, optimize for search terms that produce leads and sales not traffic. For example, “best price on widgets”, “blue 3.5 widgets”, “large light-weight widgets” and so forth. Ranking for these terms will more likely produce revenue than just “widgets” alone. Even if you did manage to get to the top, a searcher's decision will ultimately determine who stays at the top. If you have a local or regional business, including the geography with your search term may result in placement within the regular and “local/maps box” in the search results. Use this free keyword tool from Google to get an idea of which keywords are the most searched. Account for all search engines by dividing the estimates by 66%. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal Want to know each and every keyword your competition is appearing for in the search results within both natural and sponsored listings? Try this tool from SEMRush: http://www.semrush.com/search.php Search Engine Optimization Guide 2 - Make Your Website Search Engine-Friendly SEO is not some secret mathematic or scientific equation. In fact, everything you need to know about how the search engines interpret your website is available in all three of the major search engines. Follow the rules and recommendations provided by each engine and you’re on your way to higher ranking. Here are the tools for each: • Official Google SEO Starter Guide • Google Webmaster Tools • Bing/Yahoo! Webmaster Tools Simply submit your website to each of the tools above to get feedback on which keywords your website appears for, which websites are linking to yours, which links are broken, HTML errors and lots of other data the search engines want to share with you. 3 - Scorecard Your Website There are a number of free tools available on the Internet that will analyze specific focal points on and off your website; several will give you a grade to benchmark off of. Grade your website at least twice a year and send the results from the analysis to your webmaster to take corrective action. Here are two tools you can use to scorecard your website and subsequent web pages: • Website, create a campaign: www.seomoz.org • Webpage, analyze a URL: www.opensiteexplorer.org If you'd like me to personally review your website for you, and potentially provide you with the steps to take to remedy obstacles and identify opportunities, use: www.expertseoreport.com Search Engine Optimization Guide 4 - Navigation and Internal Links Did you know that images are read by search engines and translated to computer code (called binary)? That means if you are using navigation on your website made up of images, the search engines will have a difficult time translating the keywords you are targeting. Use text-based links instead of images to provide the search engines with words that define the pages you are directing them to. Alternate (ALT) text may also be used with an image-based link, but may be less powerful than plain text. 5 - External and Inbound Links There’s much more involved in the ranking process than what’s on your website. Thanks to the TRUST factor, fewer websites are being created by spammers trying to manipulate the search engine results. Every link can be compared to a vote. The more trustworthy a page is in the eyes of the search engines, the more voting power each link on that page receives. Therefore, when you link to a page outside of your domain (referred to as external linking) you are giving away a vote to that page instead of voting for a page on your own website. It’s a good practice to only link to internal pages from your homepage and to limit the amount of external links used on each subpage. If you don’t completely trust the page you are linking to, your webmaster can add an attribute to the link that will tell search engines not to give your vote away (“nofollow”). In an ideal scenario, each page on your website will have a different keyword theme, with well written titles, descriptions, headings, and content (all of which will non-explicitly up contain your target keyword). When other related web pages on the Internet outside of your domain link to your webpage, your trust with Google will improve and that page will move up in the search results. If the link text matches (not necessary explicitly) the words used in the titles, descriptions, headings and content, that page will move even further. Search Engine Optimization Guide Traditionally, SEO Experts used Google’s PageRank™ for measuring the value of a potential link host. However, Google has made many changes to its PageRank™ algorithm that has made it a less reliable source for measuring value. Fortunately, Rand Fishkin and the geniuses at SEOMoz.org offer a suite of great tools for discovering the most valuable link opportunities. Try to find links that have authority, such as older domains that rank well for the similar keywords. You might start with industry directories, relevant associations, participating in forums and social networks in your niche. Keep track of your links with what Eric Ward (the authority on Link Building) claims “can be the absolute category killer tool for link builders and online public relations. It's a process manager on steroids” called BuzzStream. Eric Ward just happens to rank #1 in Google for "link building expert". I subscribe to his private newsletter and recommend you do the same: http://bit.ly/eric-ward-newsletter Search Engine Optimization Guide Avoid Getting Your Website Penalized! Celebrated Speaker Jim Rohn said it best when he said “To be successful you don't need to do extraordinary things; you just need to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.” The Ph.D.’s at Google created their search engine to be as organic, or natural, as possible. Trying to force your way to the top by being too explicit with keywords will do more harm than good. Additionally, anything you do off of your website that could be seen as a “drastic” change could also get your website flagged and/or removed. So here are some things not to do when optimizing your website, to avoid getting penalized or removed from the search results: 1. Do not stuff keywords all over your website. Instead, use SEO Best Practices. 2. Avoid being explicit in titles, headings, and so forth. Use semantic variations. 3. Never hide text or try to trick the search engines. Your competitors will report you to Google in heartbeat. Refer to Google’s Spam Report Tool for more information. 4. Do not (ever) participate in linking schemes. There are plenty of relevant places to get links without creating more spam on the Internet. 5. Don’t suddenly get a drastic increase in links. Work on getting links naturally with a relatively equal pace over time, rather than getting 300 links one month and none the following, shoot for 10-30 quality links per month. 6. Don’t outright buy links. Learn why at Google.com. 7. Avoid software that automates link building (such as blog commenting software) 8. Don’t use multiple domain names or duplicate websites. Instead, use Bruce Clay’s IP Funnel and redirect domains appropriately. 9. Don’t trap users or search engines on your website. (Don’t you hate when you can’t click the Back button in your browser? Search engines do too.) 10. Don’t spam website owners to get traffic or links. BONUS - Local Search Engine Optimization Local businesses can be by far the most aggressive competitors on the Internet. In fact, many times over, businesses such as locksmiths and plumbers have been blocked by Google for being too aggressive with their search engine optimization tactics. Here are some tips to help you move up within Google Places and the listings that appear from Google Places within natural search results: 1. Validate your business data a. Tools such as the WhiteSpark Local Citation Finder can help b. Search the various search engines for your business name (in quotes) c. Insure that your name, address, and phone are a 100% perfect match 2. Optimize your website a. Have a location page for each location with accurate address data b. Include your service areas on every page of your website c. Create and submit a KML file for each location d. Link to your Google Places, Yahoo! Local & Bing Local profiles 3. Earn citations and reviews a. Have "Review Us" prominently on receipts, websites, and onsite b. Use the Local Citation Finder or hire a local SEO agency to help Search Engine Optimization Guide Additional Resources Thank you for downloading this Search Engine Optimization Guide. It’s our hope that you will be able to see improved traffic from the major search engines after applying the techniques described above. Below you will find some addition resources to help you reach your online marketing goals. Thank you again for visiting our website and downloading our SEO guide! Conferences and Summits • http://airweb.cse.lehigh.edu • www.Infonortics.com/searchengines • www.PubCon.com • www.SearchEngineStrategies.com • www.SearchMarketingExpo.com Recommended Memberships, Literature & Software • Search Engine Marketing Inc. (Best Book on SEO) • SEMPO Institute • SEOMoz.org (Web App + OpenSiteExplorer Link Search) • SEO-Cart (Best eCommerce Cart for SEO) My Stuff You Might Be Interested In: • www.creativesearchstrategies.com/workshop-schedule/ • www.seosteve.com/best-permalink-structure • www.seosteve.com/seo-manager-job-description-salary • www.beattheautocomplete.com • www.seoinaday.com I also try to blog as frequently as can, as I learn new ways to improve online visibility. Search Engine Optimization Guide Would You Like to Republish or Co-Brand This Guide? I receive on average a 6.3% conversion rate from this download. I'd be happy to share it with you. I'll even add your logo plus one additional page to the guide on request.
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