Anyone who has a website knows the importance of attracting visitors to that site. No matter how professional a site you have and no matter how good the content on your site is, you simply can't be successful online until you have managed to find a way to bring in large numbers of relevant visitors to your sites. That is why it is important to learn how to properly optimize your site for the search engines. Because ranking well in the search engines is one of the best ways of driving masses of targeted visitors to your site each and every day. Here, then, are the 7 essential steps to ranking well in the search engines.
1. Only worry about the major search engines
There are basically only 3 search engines that you need to worry about - Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Collectively these 3 search engines make up the vast majority of search traffic online each and every day. Oftentimes, even when you don't think you are using one of these search engines you actually are. For instance, Google provides search results for sites such as AOL and Yahoo provides search results for sites such as Altavista. At the end of the day, if someone is searching for something online, chances are they are searching at either Google, Yahoo or MSN.
2. Make sure that the search engines can "read" your site
Many times a site is programmed is such a way so as to make it difficult or impossible for the search engine "spiders" (the programs that the search engines use to analyze and organize the information found on websites). If the search engines can't process your website then you will not rank in the search engines at all, period! Therefore, it is essential that you (or your programmer) build a search engine friendly website.
3. Find the keywords that your customers use to search for your products and services
Right now there are people searching for your products and services online. Your goal is to find out what terms and phrases they use when searching for your products and services. Those are the exact terms and phrases that you want to optimize your site for. After all, what better time to turn up in the search engine results then when your customers are actively looking for the products and services that you sell!
4. Create specialized, focused web pages for your keywords
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, you will want to create pages on your site specifically for those phrases. Each of these pages should target only a small number of keywords (1 - 2 being ideal). You will then want to optimize this page for those keywords. This involves writing relevant content which uses your keyword phrases a number of times within the text of your webpage. This content should be of the highest quality as possible. This will both help with your search engine rankings as well as customer satisfaction, both of which are crucial to online success! In addition to writing good content, there are other important places to "put" your keyword phrases. To learn where those places our, visit our web page optimization tutorial.
5. Get lots of high quality, incoming links
This point can't be emphasized enough. At the end of the day, high rankings come by getting other sites to link to your specialized, keyword-rich web pages. What's more you want to make sure that those links come from topically related, popular sites. There are many ways to do this such as participating in blogs and forums, writing press releases, submitting your site to special directories and more. It is crucial that you learn all the various techniques involved in creating high-quality incoming links. To do so visit our link building strategies tutorial.
6. Track and improve upon your results
Most people don't want to take the time to analyze the results of their optimization campaign. Not only is this a tremendous mistake, it is also a great opportunity (for you). If you take the time to properly track how you optimization efforts are going and constantly work to improve upon your result you will be able to leave most of your competition far behind. At the end of the day, high rankings in the search engine are the result of learning how to fine tune your particular site to the particular keywords that you want to rank well for. General principles and theories are just that, general, that don't relate to you, your products, your customers, your website, or your rankings.
7. Stay up-to-date
It is crucial to understand that what works today may not work tomorrow (and what worked yesterday may very well be obsolete today). The search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and you need to change along with them. If you don't, your success will be short lived. As such, you need to keep yourself informed of the relevant changes that are taking place in the search engine.
Here is a list of 5 sites that you should frequent to help keep you up-to-date in the world of search:
www.seobook.com (very helpful and insightful blog - also sells a good e-book on search engine optimization)
www.seomoz.com (a high quality blog with lots of useful information and insights)
www.sembasics.com (free search engine optimization tutorials - also includes a helpful blog)
www.searchenginewatch (in particular, check out their blog and forum - great place to get advice)
www.searchenginenews.com (this site is not free, but is well worth the cost - excellent advice and business sense)
Getting your feet wet
Now that you know what to all you have to do is get out there and do it. Nothing is as good a teacher as experience.