Thursday, July 3, 2008

SEO – Oh, gee, not again!

If you are anything like me, you’ve read about SEO (search engine optimization) so many times that you are beginning to repeat it in your sleep.

Yet SEO is very important. Why? Because SEO is what drives traffic to a web site. If you want your web site to rank high on a search, here is what you need to know:

SEO = Link Popularity plus Content = High Ranking

For this post, I’m going to focus on link popularity.

Link popularity is the number of links (think of them as ‘votes’) that a search engine has for your site. The higher your link popularity, the higher you will rank in the search engines.

Here is a site that measures link popularity from Google and Yahoo.

Google and Yahoo look at link popularity as a measure of how important other sites think your site is. The number of links is important. Also important is where the link is coming from. If you get a link from USAToday, it will have much more significance to the search engines than a link from Jane’s Weekly Newspaper.

And another factor that influences the value of the link is the text used within it. If it contains one of your competing keywords, the search engine will give your site even more credibility. And last but certainly not least, is whether or not the link comes from a relevant site. For instance, if you sell televisions, a great link would be from a site that reviews televisions.

So how can you improve your link popularity?

1) If you haven't already, submit your site to the three main search engines: Google, Yahoo and MSN

2) When you submit articles to article directories, make sure that you always close your article (or use the Resource Box or Author’s Bio box) with a link to your site that is relevant to what you have written in your article. If you written about televisions, your closing line could be: “John Doe is an expert in evaluating televisions. Visit his site for more tips on evaluating the right television for you.” Put you hyperlink with your URL into the keyword…in this case television.

3) Use your keywords in your titles. Put them at the beginning of your title since some search engines (unfortunately) crop titles.

4) Use keywords in your site description and don't make the description too long.

5) Submit your site to niche specific web directories.

6) Participate in forums and put your link into your signature. If the forum posts are archived, your link will be archived, too, for the search engines to find.

And there’s something else people tend to forget when writing for SEO. You still have to make your content AND title interesting. Getting to the top of a search engine search is one thing. Having a title interesting enough for someone to click on is something else. Don’t lose your opportunity!

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