The first goal of any
search engine optimization strategy is to get your website and all
pages indexed. But even before that can happen, you need to get the
search engine crawlers to visit your website. Depending on the search
engine or directory and the overall circumstances (how you invite and
solicit crawlers), that first visit could take days, weeks, or even
While it’s true that
the initial crawler visits can be somewhat unpredictable (or take a
long time in coming), once the ice is broken, future visits can be
controlled to some degree…
Basically, the more
frequently you update your pages, the more frequently the crawlers
will show up on your website doorstep. Which is one of the reasons I
recommend blogging on a regular basis, but more on that later.
Of course, that’s only
half the battle. The other half is getting the search engines and
directories to actually index your pages.
In order to do that, you
need to start at the beginning. And the beginning in this particular
instance is developing and enhancing pages in such a way that the
search engine crawlers will be impressed.
The overall search
process is simple…
All the text content that
search engine crawlers gather is stored and indexed. People conduct
searches based on certain phrases (keywords). Whatever content
possesses the most relevancy with regard to any given keyword will be
placed in the top positions of the search results.
Since the title of the
page and the text content generally carry the most weight – at least
with regard to what search engine crawlers deem most relevant during
their visits – it stands to reason that improvement in page rank
and/or search results listing can most often be attributed to having
individual and specific keywords properly incorporated into those two
Of course, if keywords
were the only basis for which page rank and position in search
results were determined, optimizing web pages would be pretty much
cut and dried…
Pick a keyword > use
it in your title and throughout your content >
achieve high page rank
and top position in search engine results
The problem is, there are
so many variables that not only come into play but change on a
regular basis, it can seem as though achieving solid and effective
search engine optimization might never be possible.
Fortunately, it’s not
only possible, it can be relatively painless as well. All you have to
do is satisfy the top three requirements of pretty much all major
- Provide quality content
- Update content on a
- Get numerous top-ranking
websites to link back to your site
The search engines and
directories you should be trying to impress the most are the top
Beyond that, there are
countless other search engines and directories.
Should you optimize for
those as well, or simply level your sites on the major players and
bypass all the search engines and directories below them? Not
necessarily. You still want your pages listed in as many locations as
possible. You just shouldn’t try to satisfy every one of them with
regard to optimization.
Satisfy the top
contenders. Then, if you have the time and ambition to broaden the
scope of your SEO efforts, do it. If not, don’t worry about the
hundreds (or even thousands) of other search engines and directories
You’re only human. And
just meeting the optimization criteria of the top three is going to
be challenging and energetic enough.
Of course, unless you
plan to make search engine optimization your life‘s work, it’s
not likely you’ll invest most of your energy in that one single
area (even when restricted to the top three players). But you do need
to invest a fair amount of quality effort.
That basically equates to
these two missions…
1. Get your pages indexed
by major search engines.
2. Improve your page rank
and position in search results.
In order to accomplish
both of those, you need to carefully balance the line between good
optimization techniques and the urge to take things a bit too far.
In other words, you need
to make certain you carry out your two missions without stepping over
the line into what’s commonly referred to as “black hat” search
That dark and evil
territory would include things like…
Keyword Stuffing –
repeating keywords over and over again for no logical or practical
Hidden Content –
including keywords or text that’s the same color as the background
for the purpose of manipulating search engine crawlers
Doorway Pages – not
intended for viewers to see but rather to trick search engines into
placing the website into a higher index position
Although these types of
practices were once considered intelligent and effective methods of
optimization, they can now result in having your website banned from
search engines entirely and unfortunately forever.
In general, it’s better
to concentrate on the most popular and most reasonable optimization
techniques. By doing that, you’ll not only achieve the results
you’re looking for, your efforts will have long lasting results.
When you consider how
much work is involved in getting any website to the top of search
engine rank and position, it’s worth whatever effort it takes to
get it right the first time.
Search Engine Strategy
For the most part, there
are three basic things you’ll need to do in order to accomplish
proper and effective search engine optimization.
- Compile keyword lists
- Publish keyword-rich
- Establish a beneficial
The core of any SEO
strategy is built almost entirely around the group of keywords you
choose to target.
The first order of
business is to decide which groups of keywords you’ll be utilizing.
In most instances, those groups will be either directly or indirectly
related to the topic or niche that your website is (or will be)
Once you’ve established
the individual groups of keywords you want to target, you can begin
to compile a comprehensive list of top-level phrases that have each
of the following characteristics:
- Are searched for by
thousands of viewers each and every month
- Have little or no
competition associated with it
The more people who
search for the term combined with the least amount of competition
associated with it, the more valuable the keyword will be with regard
to gaining automatic search engine traffic.
Beyond that, you’ll
want to compile lists of secondary keywords. These would still be
valuable, but not to the extent that the first top-level list would
The main advantage of
lower level keywords is the fact that you don’t have to work quite
as hard to get definitive search engine recognition. And since you’ll
automatically get fairly decent results position, you’ll also
receive additional targeted viewer traffic.
To make up for the lack
of quality in the keyword itself (in most cases that equates to fewer
searches being conducted every month and therefore less competition),
you need to work with a much larger quantity of lower-level keywords.
Basically, the results
will be just as good as what you experience through top-level
keywords. It will just take more keywords to achieve those same
There are several ways in
which you can compile keyword lists. One of the quickest and easiest
methods is to use is Google & their keyword planner.
Now, I would love to go
over all the steps to use the keyword planner but I really don’t want
to take up more time than I need to so I’d recommend you taking a
look at this overview:
There are numerous
reasons why “Content Is King”.
From a viewer’s
perspective, content not only invites them to visit your website but
encourages them to return on a regular basis.
It’s a relatively
They’re looking for
valuable information. Give it to them.
From a search engine
perspective, content is one of the primary factors in determining
just how much weight or importance should be given to any web page.
Unfortunately, this one
isn’t quite as simple an equation…
Search engine crawlers
gather and index content. Figure out how to make them place your
content higher on the results ladder than some other website.
Of course, in order to
become King, content needs to be of considerable quality. In order to
remain King, content needs to be updated on a fairly regular basis.
Not to mention the fact
that you also need to add content (new pages) on a regular basis. If
not, whatever ground you initially gain will simply fade away. And so
will whatever search position or rank you’ve achieved.
Choosing the right
keywords and publishing quality keyword-rich content puts you
approximately two-thirds of the way toward optimum search engine
recognition. The other third is pretty much solely based on
If we were talking about
popularity in the real world, it would probably include simple things
like who was voted King and Queen of the high school prom, or who had
the most date options on a Saturday night, or which sibling got the
most attention from Mom or Dad.
In the world of search
engines, popularity takes on a whole different meaning. And in most
instances, it comes down to this… the website with the most quality
links pointing to it wins the contest.
That’s the game. And
the ultimate goal is to get countless “important” websites (those
that have a theme or topic that’s similar to yours) to provide
links back to you. Of course, when we’re talking about importance,
we’re referring to how major search engines view them.
Most often, that equates
to high page rank and top position in search results. The higher up
the food chain a website happens to be, the more powerful any link
they provide back to you is perceived.
In order to get the most
bang out of the link popularity process, it’s best if you actually
seek out valuable websites. Aside from those you might already have
in mind, conduct searches based on the keywords you’re most
interested in gaining search engine recognition for.
Naturally, someone who’s
in direct competition with you wouldn’t even consider giving you a
link back. So what you’ve really looking for are popular websites
that have content or products that are either complimentary to yours
or are indirectly.
For example, let’s say
your topic and keyword is based on ways of perfecting your golf
swing. Good link back choices would be websites with the following
themes or products:
- Information about golf
courses or golf tournaments
- Golf equipment or
- Golf instructors or
If the topic is related
to yours and the website that’s providing the link back carries a
good deal of weight with major search engines, the value of your own
website will automatically be elevated.
When it comes to the
actual link that these valuable and important websites place on their
Always encourage the use
of text links rather than just a URL. For example, instead of simply
displaying https://digitoolbag.com as the link back to your
website, you want something more substantial and keyword rich. And,
of course, search engine friendly.
If one of your keywords
is “targeted traffic”, for example, the link might read as
Get Exclusive Marketing &
Webdesign Tools & Resources With DigiToolBag Free Membership.
That not only gives you
credit for the keyword, it encourages the search engine crawler to
perceive your website as having more value.
Always keep in mind that
in this particular instance, quality will always win out over
quantity. Yes, you want a vast number of links pointing back to your
website. But given a choice, you’re much better off with fewer
links from important websites than countless links from sites that
don’t carry much weight with search engines.
NOTE: While backlinks are
important in getting ranked for your desired keywords, only real
links are good for you. So please head my advice when I say DO NOT
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUY BACKLINKS. While I fully support sites
like Fiverr, there are always bad apples. When you buy backlinks,
especially in bulk, there is no guarantee.
Most search engines use
meta description and keyword tags. High score for the overall weight
and proximity of keywords, < h > tags, and bold text. Rewards
quality content, anywhere between 500 to 1600 words. Content should
include keywords in text and links. Likes to see keywords in the page
title (utilizing 90 characters or less) and carried consistently
throughout the website. Especially values link popularity, themes,
and keywords in URL‘s and link text. The use of excessive keywords,
cloaking, and link farms is viewed as spamming and/or “BlackHat
Not To Do…
After all your hard work
getting your web pages optimized, the last thing you want is to do
something that would prevent your site from getting indexed. Or
worse, have it blacklisted by search engines altogether.
At the top of the “don’t
do” list is the use of invisible text (the text is the same color
as the background ). Most every search engine is wise to this
practice and will currently ban any website found to be using it.
Here is a quick rundown
of everything else you should never do…
- Don’t repeat keywords
- Don’t place irrelevant
keywords in the title and meta tags.
- Don’t make use of link
- Don’t submit to
inappropriate categories in search directories.
- Don’t submit too many
web pages in one day.
- Don’t publish
- Don’t use meta refresh
No matter how good your
website is – no matter how valuable the content it contains or how
legally optimized it might be – if you use any of the things spelled
out above, you run the risk of being blacklisted, branded as a search
Although it varies from
one search engine to another, spamming can include one or more of the
- Irrelevant web page
titles and meta description and keywords tags
- Repetition of keywords
- Hidden or extremely
- Submitting web pages
more than once in a twenty-four-hour span
- Mirror sites that point
to different URL addresses
- Using meta refresh tags
When it comes to
directories such as DMOZ (which have human editors), spamming
generally equates to one of these three practices: deliberate choice
of an inappropriate category within the directory; marketing
language; capitalization of letters
It’s not difficult to
stay out of black hat territory. But it’s certainly difficult to
recover from having used those types of techniques. That is, assuming
you can recover at all.
Just pay attention to the
rules established by search engines and directories. And since
Google is the player you’ll most want to satisfy, it’s important
that you read and re-read their webmaster guidelines which are
published at http://www.google.com/webmasters/ on a regular basis.
Break the rules and
you’ll always be struggling to gain benefit from all the major
search engines. Follow the rules and you’ll establish web pages
that will not only be around a long time, they’ll always be in
contention for top search results position.
Now that we have gone
through that … WE ARE DONE!