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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Five SEO Tips To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

By David Leonhardt

"Dear David: I just created a website on baby toy safety. What should I do to make sure gazillions of people find me through the search engines?"

I can't promise you gazillions, but there are a few things you should do to make it easy for search engines to find you. I assume you have already decided to submit your site to the major search engines and directories. I assume that you will develop some sort of linking strategy (hopefully a better strategy than most websites use today). I also assume you will have picked key search terms for all the pages on your website.

Beyond that, here are my top five tips for making your website easy for those "gazillions" to find it.

  1. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but search engines don't read pictures. Make sure your key search terms are written out in text, not part of a graphic title you hire somebody to prepare for you. That also means you should not just show pictures of toys, but also write out the names, and possibly a keyword description with the title.

  2. Have several pages of articles related to your website's topic. Use a different keyword search term for each article. For instance, one article might use frequently the term "safe toys for babies", while another might use the term "baby safety".

  3. What's the URL of your website? Your name won't help you there. Your key search term will. In this instance, I might pick, for example (if that is one of your top keyword phrases). Hire somebody who knows what he is doing to develop the right keyword strategy for you BEFORE you choose your domain name.

  4. What's the title of your page? I don't know how many times I see titles such as "Article" or "Contact us". Don't expect the search engine robots to get all excited about that term. And don't expect anybody to search for that term, either. Much better to title your page "Free article on safe toys for babies" or "Contact the *Baby Toy Expert* today". By the way, this is the single most important place to include your keyword phrases.

  5. What about that navigation menu that appears on every single page of your website? Does it say "Contact the baby toy expert?" Or "about the baby toy expert". Or links about baby toys?" Need I say more?
If your website is about life insurance, you have little hope of hitting the front pages of any search engine. "Life insurance" is such a competitive search engine marketplace. Unless, of course, people are searching for a very specific and rare niche. Even then, I suspect you will need much more than these five tips.

In fact, there are dozens, if not hundreds of things you can do to win the search engine race. These top five search engine optimization tips are a great start, whatever your website is about.

David Leonhardt is an effective, professional seo consultant and a website marketing consultant. For a free quote, call 613-448-1841, or send us an email.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How to Quickly Gain Traffic to Your New Web Site

by: Herman Drost

The problem with a new site is that it often takes a long time before it is indexed by the search engines. This means you are missing out on getting traffic and making sales. Google places new sites in the "sandbox" which means they are on "hold" for a period of time before they rank.

Here are some ways to generate immediate traffic to your web site:

1. Start a PPC (pay per click) campaign – you can begin a Google Adwords campaign and start generating visitors the same day you set it up. Of course it is going to cost you some money but you can set a limit for how much you wish to spend. You will soon get a good idea what keywords produce the most clicks for your ads. You can incorporate these keywords in your site when you optimize it for the search engines.

While you run your PPC campaign get busy with preparing your site for the main search engines. Once you have been indexed by the main ones such as Google, Yahoo and MSN and start moving up in rankings, you can scale back the amount you spend on Google Adwords. Your goal is to eventually rank high enough that you won’t have to use PPC anymore because you are getting enough visitors.

2. Optimize your site for the search engines – the keywords that generated the most clicks from your PPC campaign, should be included in your web pages. Research alternative keywords using utilities such as Wordtracker or the Overture Suggestion Tool. You can determine the popularity of those keywords by seeing how many Google Adword campaigns are running. You accomplish this by entering the keyword or keyword phrase in the Google search engine and see how many ads appear on the right hand side of the page. If there are a lot, that means the keyword you chose is very popular and in high demand.

Integrate a few of your best keywords within the text on each of your web pages. The home page should contain the keywords which have the highest demand (most searches) with the least number of competing web sites. Then proceed with the other pages in descending order of keyword popularity.

Make sure you also include these keywords in your meta tags, title, h1-h3 tags, links and file names. Don’t overdo it for you may get penalized for spamming the search engines.

3. Increase link popularity – this refers to how many external and internal links are pointing or linking to any particular page. External links include those that come from web sites other than your own whereas internal links are those that come from within the same domain name. Link popularity is not based on the "quantity" of links but the "quality" of those links as well. Therefore increasing link popularity does not necessarily require having a large number of links pointing to your site but rather a good number of quality links.

4. Submit to the top search engine directories – many of the top directories have good link popularity that can be passed on to your site. They also have specific category pages that are related to the nature of your site. The major directories include The Open Directory, Yahoo and Zeal.

The Open Directory is one of the largest that is still free, however it can take months or even years to get listed. If you become an editor for Zeal you can get your site listed free. Yahoo costs $299.00/year to be included. It is worth it if you can afford it.

Here’s a couple of articles on how to properly submit your site to the search engine directories:

5. Submit to specialty search engine directories – you may wonder why I haven’t mentioned submitting to the major search engines. When you work on building the link popularity of your site, it automatically places you in the main search engines. Once you have submitted your site to the main directories, find specialized directories related to your business. Here’s a good resource:

You can also research the link partners of your competitors’ sites by entering your favorite keyword in the search engines. Once you have found a number of top ranked sites, download the Google toolbar and check their back links. This can save you a lot of time researching other areas to find quality links.

Once your site been indexed by the search engines and included in the directories, focus on adding more content and continue building your link popularity. This will help you to maintain and/or increase rankings with the result of gaining more traffic to your new web site.

About The Author

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting. Subscribe to his “Marketing Tips” newsletter for more original articles. Read more of his in-depth articles at:

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