Archive for January, 2009

10 Steps to Higher Search Engine Ranks

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

In this economy, people are looking for value even more than they were in the roaring days of, well, hell, there haven’t been any roaring days for most people in a long time. With that in mind (and believe me, I feel your pain on the being broke thing) I’m giving away some search engineering tips to help yourself get higher search engine ranks.

1. Your HTML title tag should have the 7 or 8 keywords that people most use to search for what you have. Of course, if your subject matter is highly competitive, you might want to do some keyword research (I use Word Tracker), and find a niche.

2. Repeat those words on the home page at least 4 times for the most important 4 (not too many times though, as it will look like you’re spamming), and 3 times for 2, and two times for the last two. This is not a hard rule. You can repeat them all 4 times, but if you’re tying to keep your home page short, you can truncate.

3. Still, you should have at least 400 words on the home page. Content is still king on the internets.

4. If in those 8 main words there are 4 categories, then the titles of those categories (and the corresponding pages) should have the keyword pair as the first words in that title tag, followed by words that are related, or subsets. This navigation, or architecture, is very important. The better organized, the better.

5. Get a robots.txt file.

6. Get an XML site map.

7. Use the main words in the ALT tags of the images, and in the names of the images.

8. Google doesn’t read the description or keywords metatags, but use them anyway. There are other search engines, and those people spend money too.

9. Blog. Set it up at blogger or wordpress if you have to. In fact, I recommend using one the free blogs for small businesses, because you can benefit from their “piggy back” page rank. I helped a client in Hawaii set up a blog about Maui last year, and she’s already got a Google PageRank of 3 (out of 10), which is quite good. Link prominently to the blog from the site, and vice-versa.

10. Get inbound links from quality, high-ranking sites, preferably from like-minded sites. Get them often. Then get some more. Make sure the links to your site have your keywords in the “anchor text” or the text that’s actually in the link. Link images that have your keywords in your alt tags.

11. Hire me and don’t worry about it.

OK, 11 tips on getting higher search engine ranks. Think of it as a bonus.

How Does Blogging Help My Business?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Blogging can help your business in many ways. Here’s a post that I put up at my bloglines blog, Supak Blogs for Small Business Blogs, just a few days ago. I started that blog a long time ago, before I had the kind of experience that I have now. So, I’m not always happy with the way things run over there. However, it is an extremely popular site, I’ve established some PageRank there, and I’d hate to abondon something that successful.

In the interest of organization, more exposure, and the constant creation of content (which is still king), I’ll just try to remember to post anything from there to here as well…

I like to think of blogging as a kind of automatic newsletter. It’s a very direct way for you to connect with your customers and your potential customers. Writing posts directly to people who might hire you is a way to show them that you are competent and professional. You can talk about all the reasons why they should hire you. You can link to the pages on your main site that support what you’re saying, or give more information. You can highlight particular customers and what they say about you (testimonials). You can link to sites that mention you, as a kind of pay-back.

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and marketing skill.

From my point of view, as a search engine marketer, I see blogs as a gold mine of fresh content that Google, and other search engines, just love. If you write a few paragraphs a week, you’ve created 52 posts by the end of a year. That’s a lot of content, and a lot of keywords and phrases. These words and phrases, no matter how obscure, will eventually be searched for by someone, and your blog will show up on the search. If you’ve linked those words to your web site, that searcher might follow the link, and you’ve sent traffic to your site.

Plus, Google sees that link, and the text in it, and the site to which the link links is given higher relevance for that term. So, there’s this multiple whammy going on with your blog at the search marketing level. You’re providing content that shows up for search, but you’re also lending credence to every thing you link to. And, you’re expanding the search terms for which you appear in the results. The more content you have, the more search terms for which you will appear.

As your blog becomes an authority on a subject, people will subscribe to your “feed.” That means that every time you write something, it will show up in people’s “readers” – usually RSS, or feedburner.com. There are many brands of reader. The point is that when these people read what you, now a known authority on your subject, they will link to it from their own blogs. In this case, your content has become what is known as “link bait” and you will start attracting links to your posts. This causes google to see you as even more of an authority, thus improving your blog’s PageRank (PR, or google’s way of ranking pages on a scale of 1-10), which imparts more PR to everything the blog links to. So, you’ll be getting higher search engine ranks!

Furthermore, as people link to you, there are more pathways to your site, and your traffic will increase from referals as well as from searches.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact me and start blogging!

Internet Marketing Starts with Higher Search Engine Ranks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Internet Marketing is the blanket term for promoting your business through the internet. The first place to start your adventure in marketing your business through the web is to get higher search engine rankings for the search terms people actually use to search for you. Often called search engine optimization, or SEO, designing your site right is one of the key determining factors on how highly it ranks.

When I perform SEO for a site, I begin by researching the keywords used to search for your business. Using databases from many different search engines (but always concentrating on Google, which gets approximately 60% of all searches), I determine which are the best words to attempt to get higher rankings for based on how much those terms are searched for, balanced by the amount of competition for the term. Keyword decisions are extremely important, as going for terms that are extremely popular is extremely hard, and going for really easy terms won’t get much traffic.

Once we have the keywords figured out, I include them in the web site copy, which usually has to be rewritten to include the phrases in the right places and density. During this part of the process, if your budget allows it, I try to increase the functionality, navigation, and salesmanship of the site. What good is getting a lot of traffic if your site doesn’t convert those eyeballs into customers?

Finally, high search engine rankings come from authoritative links to your site from other sites. I control a lot of valuable “real estate” on the web. I write a lot of blog posts on multiple blogs, covering many subjects. I use social networking and social bookmark sites to drive traffic to my client’s sites. All of this exposure, and linking, increases the ranking of your site, because ultimately, two things matter most. The content of your site, and the links to it.

Search engine traffic is often just a small part of over-all traffic patterns, especially for more established sites. The longer your site is around, with me working on it on a monthly basis, the better the quality and quantity of links leading to your site. Eventually, those links will provide referral traffic to your site, and people will begin booking marking you, linking to your content from their pages, subscribing to your blogs, and generally helping you spread the word.

Contact me – scott@supak.com – for more information about how I can work with you to tailor an internet marketing plan for your business that works within your budget, and pays for itself as it goes. For more information on internet marketing and higher search engine ranks, visit Bald Mt. Press.