SEO Apprenticeship

Search Engine Optimization is a process of choosing the most appropriate targeted keyword phrases related to your site and ensuring that this ranks your site highly in search engines so that when someone searches for specific phrases it returns your site on tops.

It basically involves fine-tuning the content of your site along with the HTML and Meta tags and also involves an appropriate link building process. The most popular search engines are Google, Bing, MSN Search, AOL and Ask Jeeves.

Search engines keep their methods and ranking algorithms secret, to get credit for finding the most valuable search-results and to deter spam pages from clogging those results.

A search engine may use hundreds of factors while ranking the listings where the factors themselves and the weight each carry may change continually. Algorithms can differ so widely that a webpage that ranks #1 in a particular search engine could rank #200 in another search engine.

New sites need not be “submitted” to search engines to be listed. A simple link from a well-established site will get the search engines to visit the new site and begin to spider its contents. It can take a few days to even weeks from the referring of a link from such an established site for all the main search engine spiders to commence visiting and indexing the new site.

If you are unable to research and choose keywords and work on your own search engine ranking, you may want to hire someone to work with you on these issues.

Search engine marketing and promotion companies will look at the plan for your site and make recommendations to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic. If you wish, they will also provide ongoing consultation and reporting to monitor your website and make recommendations for editing and improvements to keep your site traffic flow and your search engine ranking high.

Normally your search engine optimization experts work with your web designer to build an integrated plan right away so that all aspects of design are considered at the same time.

The Importance of Search Engines

It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers.

When a topic is typed for search, nearly instantly, the search engine will sift through the millions of pages it has indexed about and present you with ones that match your topic.

The searched matches are also ranked so that the most relevant ones come first.

Remember that a prospective customer will probably only look at the first 2-3 listings in the search results. So, it does matter where your website appears in the search engine ranking.

Further, they all use one of the top 6-7 search engines and these search engines attract more visitors to websites than anything else. So finally, it all depends on which search engines the customers use and how they rank your site.

It is the Keywords that play an important role than any expensive online or offline advertising of your website.

It is found by surveys that when customers want to find a website for information or to buy a product or service, they find their site in one of the following ways:

  • The first option is they find their site through a search engine.
  • Secondly, they find their site by clicking on a link from another website or page that relates to the topic in which they are interested.
  • Occasionally, they find a site by hearing about it from a friend or reading in an article.

Thus, it’s obvious the most popular way to find a site, by a search engine, represents more than 90% of online users. In other words, only 10% of the people looking for a website will use methods other than search engines.

All search engines employ a ranking algorithm and one of the main rules in a ranking algorithm is to check the location and frequency of keywords on a web page.

Don’t forget that algorithms also give weightage to link population (number of web pages linking to your site). When performed by a qualified, experienced search engine optimization consultant, your site for high search engine rankings really does work, unless you have a lot of money and can afford to pay the expert.

With better knowledge of search engines and how they work, you can also do it on your own.

How Do Search Engines Work?

It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. Hence it is better to know how these search engines actually work and how they present information to the customer initiating a search.   

There are basically two types of search engines. The first is by robots called crawlers or spiders.

Search Engines use spiders to index websites. When you submit your website pages to a search engine by completing their required submission page, the search engine spider will index your entire site.

A ‘spider’ is an automated program that is run by the search engine system. Spider visits a web site, read the content on the actual site, the site’s Meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects. The spider then returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed.

It will visit each link you have on your website and index those sites as well. Some spiders will only index a certain number of pages on your site, so don’t create a site with 500 pages!

The spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the moderators of the search engine.

A spider is almost like a book where it contains the table of contents, the actual content and the links and references for all the websites it finds during its search, and it may index up to a million pages a day.

Example:  Excite, Lycos, AltaVista, and Google.

When you ask a search engine to locate information, it is actually searching through the index which it has created and not actually searching the Web. Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.

One of the things that a search engine algorithm scans for is the frequency and location of keywords on a web page, but it can also detect artificial keyword stuffing or spamdexing.

Then the algorithms analyze the way that pages link to other pages in the Web.

By checking how pages link to each other, an engine can both determine what a page is about if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.

Submitting Your Website to Search Engines

If you have a web-based business or if a significant portion of your business is done on the web through your website, then the best advertising and marketing is done by submitting to a search engine.

No amount of press release, newspaper or radio ad, banner ad, spam email or newsletter will achieve the same results, although, may be effective in a small proportion.

Beware of companies that promise automatic submission of your website to hundreds of search engines which are but only false promises.

The best way to submit your website for search engine ranking and inclusion is to do it yourself or to hire an expert to do it manually, by contacting the search engine companies and directories.

Before you begin to submit your website to search engines ensure your websites are thoroughly designed to the professional quality using the right keywords, good graphics and pictures and the relevant content.

Don’t submit websites that are incomplete. While submitting to a search engine, make sure to provide information about your website, keywords and any other information that may be pertinent, including the name and contact information of your business.

Mere submission to search engine companies does not guarantee that your site would be immediately listed, and the ranking will be high. Because there are thousands of new websites coming up every day and it may take quite some time before they take up your site for review by human editors.

One important factor to remember while submitting the site is to include a site map of your website which makes the crawling easy for the web robots. Search engines like Google hardly consider submissions without sitemaps.

Must Have Features Your Web Site

Just Don’t Focus On The Home Page, Keywords And Titles

The first step to sales when customers visit your site to see the products they were looking for. Of course, search engine optimization and better rankings can’t keep your customers on your site or make them buy.

The customer having visited your site, now ensure that he gets interested in your products or services and stays around. Motivate him to buy the product by providing clear and unambiguous information.

Thus, if you happen to sell more than one product or service, provide all necessary information about this, may be by keeping the information on a different page. By providing suitable and easily visible links, the customer can navigate to these pages and get the details.

Understanding Your Target Customer

If you design a website you think will attract clients, but you don’t really know who your customers are and what they want to buy, it is unlikely you make much money. The website business is an extension or replacement for a standard storefront.

You can send an email to your existing clients and ask them to complete a survey or even while they are browsing on your website. Ask them about their choices. Why do they like your products? Do you discount prices or offer coupons? Are your prices consistently lower than others? Is your shipping price cheaper?

Do you respond faster to client questions? Are your product descriptions better? Your return policies and guarantees better than your competitor’s?

To know your customer, you can check credit card records or ask your customer to complete a simple contact form with name, address, age, gender, etc. when they purchase a product.

Does Your Website Give Enough Contact Information?

When you sell from a website, your customers can buy your products 24 hrs. a day and also your customers may be from other states that are thousands of miles away.

Always provide contact information, preferably on every page of your website, complete with a mailing address, telephone number and an email address that reaches you. People may need to contact you about sales, general information or technical problems on your site.

Also, have your email forwarded to another email address if you do not check your website mailbox often.

When a customer wants to buy online provide enough options like a credit card, PayPal or other online payment services.

Tips to Getting Repeat Web Traffic

1. Update the pages on your website frequently. Stagnant sites are dropped by some search engines. You can even put a date counter on the page to show when it was last updated.

2. Offer additional value on your website. For affiliates and partners, you can place links to their sites and products and ask them to do the same for you.

You can also advertise their books or videos if these products relate to your industry and are not in competition with your own product.

3. You can allow customers to ‘opt-in’ to get discounts and special offers. Place a link on your site to invite customers to ‘opt-in’ to get a monthly newsletter or valuable coupons.

4. Add a link to your primary page with a script ‘Book Mark or Add this site to your Favorites’.

5. Add a link ‘Recommend this site to a Friend’ so that the visitor can email your website link, with a prewritten title, “Thought you might be interested in this”, just by clicking on it.

6. Brand your website so that visitors always know they are on your site. Use consistent colors, logos and slogans and always provide a ‘Contact Us’ link on each page.

7. Create an ‘Our Policies’ page that clearly defines your philosophy and principles in dealing with your customers. Also, post your privacy policy as well so that clients know they are secure when they visit your site.

8. Create a FAQ page which addresses most of the doubts and clarifications about your product or your company that are likely to be asked. This helps to resolve most of the customer’s doubts in their first visit to your site.

8. Ensure that each page on your website has appropriate titles and keywords so that your customer can find their way back to your site if they lose the bookmark.

9. Never spam a client, who has opted for newsletters, with unsolicited emails. Later if they decide they want to ‘opt-out’ of the mailings, be sure you honor their request and take them off the mailing list.

They may still come back if they like your products. But they will certainly not come back if you continue to flood their email box with mails they no longer wish to receive.

Tips to Increase Ranking and Website Traffic

It is worth cataloging the basic principles to be enforced to increase website traffic and search engine rankings.

  • Create a site with valuable content, products or services.
  • Place primary and secondary keywords within the first 25 words in your page content and spread them evenly throughout the document.
  • Research and use the right keywords/phrases to attract your target customers.
  • Use your keywords in the right fields and references within your web page. Like Title, META tags, Headers, etc.
  • Keep your site design simple so that your customers can navigate easily between web pages, find what they want and buy products and services.
  • Submit your web pages i.e. every web page and not just the home page, to the most popular search engines and directory services. Hire someone to do so if required. Be sure this is a manual submission. Do not engage in an automated submission service.
  • Keep track of changes in search engine algorithms and processes and accordingly modify your web pages so your search engine ranking remains high. Use online tools and utilities to keep track of how your website is doing.
  • Monitor your competitors and the top-ranked websites to see what they are doing right in the way of design, navigation, content, keywords, etc.
  • Use reports and logs from your web hosting company to see where your traffic is coming from. Analyze your visitor location and their incoming sources whether search engines or links from other sites and the keywords they used to find you.
  • Make your customer visit easy and give them plenty of ways to remember you in the form of newsletters, free reports, reduction coupons, etc.
  • Demonstrate your industry and product or service expertise by writing and submitting articles for your website or for article banks so you are perceived as an expert in your field.
  • When selling products online, use simple payment and shipment methods to make your customer’s experience fast and easy.
  • When not sure, hire professionals. Though it may seem costly, it is a lot less expensive than spending your money on a website which no one visits.
  • Don’t look at your website as a static brochure. Treat it as a dynamic, ever-changing sales tool and location, just like your real store to which your customers with the same seriousness.

Using SEO Effectively For Online Marketing  

Many people are confused as to why SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is considered an internet marketing strategy. The reason for this is really very simple.

Traffic among the search engines is free and as your rank rises within the engines you get continual link requests from webmasters. In turn, this gives you another source of traffic that does not cost you a penny.

For most internet marketers, traffic is their main concern and priority. Without traffic, online businesses will go nowhere and are doomed to failure.

Everyone wants their site to be rated higher among search engines.

The best approach is to learn how to maintain your search engine optimization by yourself and avoid wasting money by paying someone else to do it for you. It is fairly easy to learn how to properly optimize your site for search engines.

However, there is time and effort that are required to do this. Keep in mind that there is a significant difference between an index and a directory.

Indexes are maintained by what is known as “spiders” that crawl all webpages on a consistent basis and index sites based on a very complicated set of factors. Where your site is listed in the index listings is dependent on your score according to the formulas that the search engines are using.

To get listed in an index, you either submit your URL and wait until the spider crawls your site or the spider finds your site indirectly through your incoming links.

It will be important to learn about all of the different search engines, indexes, and directories. However, before you dive into these, you need to first understand Meta Tags.

Meta Tags exist within HTML codes and are found at the very top of a webpage. The title tag, description, and keyword tags are the most important and vital to your success.

In the last few years, spiders have started indexing website pages based on lists of keywords that are provided by the site creators. When this happened, webmasters started trying to cheat their way to higher rankings by stuffing their sites with irrelevant keywords.

Since that time search engines started changing and redoing their indexing system to combat this.

Now, only Title and Description Meta Tags are looked at with importance. This has led to search engine indexing becoming much more complex. Now, the focus is on evaluating website content instead of single page content.

This means that webmasters now have to structure their pages appropriately to get the spiders to find them relevant to the keywords that they are using.

Directories, on the other hand, are a simple list of sites that are divided up into categories. To get listed in a directory, all you have to do is submit your site description and wait for the editors to approve it.

Keep in mind that most directories organize their listings alphabetically within categories. This is important to keep in mind when deciding on your URL or website name.

Regardless of how you go about getting your site seen, whether, through indexing or directories, it is important to spend some time planning and doing research.

Make sure that you learn all that you can and that you are utilizing search engine ranking to the full potential and reaping the benefits from it.

Quick SEO Tips For WordPress Marketing

WordPress is one of the most powerful marketing tools that are available on the internet today.

It can be used to create a blog for your internet business or your very own website to promote your product. What is really great about WordPress is that you can create either of these in a matter of minutes even if you do not know how to do HTML.

The key to a successful WordPress blog or website is SEO Capability.

Here are a few tips that you can use on your WordPress Marketing blog or website to make it SEO capable:

Permalinks

You need to be sure that you are using permalinks on your WordPress site. By default, your WordPress software contains web URL’s which contain question marks and numbers inside of them.

These links are hard for the search engine web crawlers to attach themselves to. As a result, your site will not be indexed as fast as it would normally be. WordPress also, however, does offer you the opportunity to create custom URL for both your permalinks and archives.

You will be able to find this option under your Administration panel. All you will have to do is to choose the options panel then click on permalinks.

Titles

In the permalinks section of your WordPress marketing software, you have the option of date and name-based. This option will place the year, month, date, and post title in your URL. For the SEO WebCrawler’s it is best to have the site of your site appear in the front of this URL. So instead of using the basic URL you should choose the custom URL and create a link that has your site name appearing first.

Tags

Tags are a great addition to your site on an SEO standpoint. They will enable the search engines web crawlers’ crawl through your site more easily and it will allow you to create specific pages for your tags and keywords. You can also install the Ultimate Tag Warrior for your WordPress.

Page Titles

You will need to make sure you have good titles on all of your webpages. Just as you put the site name at the beginning of your URL you will need to do the same thing with your page title.

Post Titles

The post titles that you choose should be clearly written.  Do not stuff these titles with keywords that you are using to target your site or blog. Choose your keywords carefully when you are posting and get those words in your post title.

Auto-Links

You will also need to cross-link to your own posts and pages in your content. You do this by linking keywords to your relevant posts.

Relevant Posts

Be sure to post links to related posts under all your postings. This will help the web crawlers that are crawling through your site and indexing all of your posts.

Ping Services

Each time you post or edit either a posting or a page your WordPress blog can notify a variety of different sites that you have updated your blog.  It is very important that you use this step.

Google Sitemaps

Google has a tool for you that is called Google Sitemaps. This tool will help you index your site and allows you to tell Google which pages are the most important.

Categories

Categories will help you organize your content. If you have your permalinks turned on, the category names will appear in your URL.

This is why it is very important that you name your category names very carefully. Try and make sure that you use keywords to name your categories and do not be afraid to make loads of them.

WordPress gives you the ability to use subcategories and sub-subcategories so make as many categories you can. This way you are able to down your focus on certain keyword phrases.

Creating a WordPress site that is SEO ready is simple if you know how to do it correctly. Using these steps can help you create a great SEO site in no time.

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