Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide

Ranking high in Google’s search results can have a phenomenal impact on the success of your business.
You can either engage the expertise of a Search Engine Optimization company, or if you have the time, there are some changes you can make to your website yourself.

Step 1: Keyword Research
What keywords do you think your customers would type in to search for your products or services? A keyword can be one word (e.g. “optimization”), but multiple keywords or keyword phrases are usually preferred, because they are more specific and more likely to be what your customers are looking for (eg. “ Search Engine Optimization”).

Write down as many as you can think of. Brainstorm with your team. Think of alternative words. Consider geographical phrases if they are important to your customer (e.g. “Commercial cleaning Phoenix”). Also, get some ideas from your competitors’ websites. Try to make a list of 20-30 keyword phrases.

Choose the two keyword phrases you think would be searched for the most. But also remember, the more competition there is for a keyword, the harder it is to achieve top rankings. If you want to rank high in Google for the keyword “Cleaning”, you have a very long journey ahead. So try your best to select two keyword phrases that are the most relevant to you business but that are not vague nor competitive. It’s a good idea to have 2 or 3 words in each phrase (e.g. “Residential Cleaning Services”)

Once you’ve selected your two best keyword phrases the next step shows you how to make some improvements to your home page.

Step 2: Web Copy Optimization
Web copy refers to all the words or text on your website. Because content is king in the world of search engines, your keyword phrases need to be placed strategically on your web page to convince Google that your content is highly relevant to those keywords. The more prominent they are, the better. (Keep in mind that as important as search engines are, customers come first, so make sure your copy also reads well.)

Here’s how you can increase each keyword’s prominence:

  • Place your keywords in headings, preferably at the beginning of the heading.
  • Use Keywords in the images alt tag and all the other file or media names.
  • Include keywords towards the top of the page.
  • Use Bold or italic keywords where appropriate.
  • Instead of having a link to another page that says “Click here to read more “, reword it to include your keywords, e.g. “Read more about our Cleaning Services”.

An important tip is to also include these keywords in your HTML “title tag”. Use your content management system to make these changes yourself, or perhaps ask your web developer to do it if you’re unsure how.

Once you have fine-tuned your home page, consider adding new content, such as detailed descriptions of what you offer, FAQs and informative articles about your products and services. (If you don’t want to write these yourself, they can be located for free on the internet – do a search for “articles directory”).

It’s also good to bear in mind that search engines can only read text, not pictures. Often web developers embed words in images to look better for website visitors or use Flash for animation, but this is a major impediment to search engines.

Step 3: Backlink Building

On-page search engine optimization is definitely one of the key methods if a website owner would like to improve the results for his or her website’s search ability. However, on-page SEO often entails technical skills. Why? Not a lot of people are HTML enthusiasts. This is often what needs to be tweaked to do an excellent job in optimizing web pages.

What if a geek friend already did the on-page optimization and now you want to know how you can contribute to the “search engine goodness” of your website? Off-page optimization is the next step. And the results you will have to pine for are one-way backlinks. Why? This is how many of the major search engines such Google, Yahoo! and Bing rank websites. The more backlinks from relevant sites with good reputation, the merrier.

So how exactly do you gather backlinks? It’s not an easy task but it’s definitely less nerve-wracking than HTML if you are not the techie type. Here are some off-page SEO tips:

1. Article Marketing

Quality content has been discovered to be real king. Everyone is hungry for fresh and quality info and providing it will make backlinks go pouring in. It helps a lot to be a keen writer to be successful on this endeavor. Also, practise the proper way of using a resource box. It should only include a website that contains information relevant to the article you submit to article directories.

2. Forum Participation

Look for forums that are relevant to your website’s content and keep on sharing information that will be indispensable for the members of the forums. Your signature or that tag-along message at the last part of each of your posts is what will work for your off-page SEO campaign. Keep it simple and make sure that it conveys something about your website. Learn how to hyperlink to make it easy for the people who want to visit your site.

3. Blogging

Blogs or web logs are now the most popular weapons of SEO experts. Aside from being easy-to-update, they don’t require a too formal tone, which is what many readers are into. Informal dialog which can be accomplished through readers leaving comments and the blog author replying to the comments is what also keeps blogs fresh and search engine friendly. Maintaining a blog that’s again relevant to your website’s content will keep the search engines in touch with your site. Don’t forget to have a link on your main website from your blog.

The secret to be successful in carrying out these off-page SEO methods is to be consistent. Submitting quality articles to websites at least two to three times a week and regularly producing content for your personalized blog is a surefire way to make your website stand out. Forum participation should also be something done more frequently since it will not only help you up your website’s popularity with the search engines but also make you learn new stuff from other forum members’ participation. Also, if you discover that you don’t enjoy these stuff, there’s always a plan B – hire someone to do them for you!
Each Backlink Coming from another website to your website (not from your website) is considered by search engines as a vote of popularity for your business and will improve your rankings.

 

How do I monitor my results?

Monitor your rankings in Google over the next few months by typing your chosen keywords into the search box, and recording your ranking. Also look at your hosting reports to understand what search terms your visitors are using to find your website.

The above process can be also be repeated for each page of your website. Remember to keep updating your content, and continually increase the number of links to your website.

As you see your rankings climb you should see a corresponding increase in web traffic and a substantial increase in sales inquiries. Be sure to record the source of your customer inquiries, so you can measure the success of your website marketing efforts.

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