FREE SEO GUIDE!

Powerful Strategies to increase your website traffic Ten-Fold in under 6 months!

  • Easy to follow guide on the most effective Search Engine Optimization Techniques
  • Learn how to Maximize Traffic from Google, Yahoo and MSN
  • Please Bookmark this page.. or memorize it

 

Free SEO Guide       -Table of Contents-
SEO Introduction
Advantages Of SEO
Disadvantages Of SEO
Common SEO Mistakes
Introduction To The Search Engines
October Search Statistics
 
SEO Tactics To Avoid
Over Optimization Or Keyword Spamming
Other Unethical Techniques
 
Keyword Research
Starting Keyword Research
Using Automated Software
What Is KEI?
Refining Your Keyword List
About Niche Keywords
Targeting Targeted Searches
Misspellings
Website Name And URL
Anchor Text Definition
To Hyphenate Or Underscore?
 
Site Infrastructure
Interlinking
Hierarchical Linking
Pagerank Definition
Sharing Your Pagerank
HTML Links And Sitemaps
 
Title And Meta Tags
Title Tag Optimization
Don’t Forget Your Visitors
Meta Tag Optimization
Description Tag
Keywords Tag
Website Content Optimization
Introduction To Keyword Density
Headings
Text Formatting
Keyword Placement
Stop Words And Word Order
 
Anchor Text Optimization
How Search Engines Use Anchor Text
How Not To Optimize Anchor Text
Internal Linking
Quality Versus Quantity
Providing HTML Code
 
Link Building
Reciprocal Link Campaigns
Inbound Link Requests
Submitting To Article Directories
The Direct Traffic Benefit
Getting The Best Pagerank
Buying Text Links
FFA Pages
 
Different SEO Techniques For Different Search Engines
Google
Yahoo
MSN
Combining The Big Three
Alternatives To SEO
Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Banner Advertising
Using Affiliates
SEO Plan For A New Website
 
Conclusion

 

SEO Introduction

For as long as search engines have been prevalent on the web, marketers have looked for methods to manipulate the pages of their site in a bid to improve ranking in the search engine results. While this is a very simplistic view of SEO and fails to take into account off-page SEO factors it is also an accurate assessment of exactly what SEO is.

 

Advantages Of SEO

By optimizing the content of your individual web pages, and by building a powerful link profile for those pages, it is possible to increase your position with the search engine result pages. This offers numerous advantages. Primarily, the biggest advantage is that search engines can drive traffic directly to your website. This traffic is advantageous for several reasons:

  • The visitors that are sent to your pages are precisely targeted visitors. They have conducted a search with one of the major search engines and your page has featured in the list of results. That person has then read the title and the description of your site (as well as looked at your URL) and decided that you offer what they are looking for. AS a result, they have clicked on your link to visit your site.

 

  • These targeted visitors are predisposed to the basic topic of your website. Because they have been actively looking for the kind of information that you provide they are much more likely to perform the desired action when on your site. Whether you want your visitors to purchase your product, pay for your service, or click on links they are more likely to do so if they are targeted visitors.

 

  • When compared to other online marketing methods SEO traffic is comparatively inexpensive. PPC, or Pay Per Click, marketing means that you pay an advertiser every time somebody clicks a link on their site that directs to your own site. This is also targeted traffic but unless you get the balance just right it can cost you more money than you make.

 

  • Your website’s exposure is likely to be much greater with SEO than other advertising or marketing techniques. Because you do not need to pay directly to maintain a top position with the search engines you will be able to keep running an SEO campaign. More people use search engines to find sites than would use the limited number of sites you would be able to advertise on.

 

Disadvantages Of SEO

If you are able to learn effective SEO techniques and stick to a dedicated SEO plan for a number of months then you will be able to generate traffic that has cost you very little money. However, before you start you should also know that there are certain disadvantages to using SEO. On the whole though, we believe that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages but see for yourself:

  • An effective and natural SEO campaign can take a long time to start showing results. Generally you should expect a wait of several months before you start to receive the first trickle of search engine visitors. You will need to maintain your efforts during this period to ensure that you really do make the most of SEO. If your website covers a topic that is highly competitive, i.e. there are a lot of pages competing for the same terms, it may take longer. In contrast a term with very few competitors can show results much quicker.

 

  • An effective SEO campaign can lead to literally thousands of visitors to your site every single day. You may not think of this as an advantage but you will have to ensure that your website and your hosting account can cope with the extra load. This will be a particularly pertinent point if you serve a large number of images, multimedia files, or downloadable files on your site.

 

  • Similarly, an extensive increase in leads and potential customers for your company can also make things exceptionally difficult. Unwanted or unserviceable leads can cost companies a lot of money not to mention heartache. Because of the strict privacy that many consumers now demand it can be difficult to monetize these unnecessary leads.

As you can see, we’ve had to scrape the barrel to find any disadvantages. Too many leads and too many website visitors may generate their own disadvantages but they are not disadvantageous in themselves. We shied away from adding the disadvantage that you might have too much money to know what to do with.

 

Common SEO Mistakes

Search engine optimization is an ongoing effort. A lot of people new to the idea make one of several mistakes.

Giving up to easily or too quickly is the most common mistake. You will have to stick with an SEO campaign for some time before you start to see results. This is quite a direct contrast when compared to PPC and other online marketing techniques. You won’t see results for the first few weeks but don’t just pack it in and move on to the next possibility.

Another common mistake is to give up when you start to see results. If anything, the reverse of this is likely to yield the best results. For SEO to be truly effective you should continue optimizing and improving your link profile throughout the life of your website. Once you start to see results it is quite conceivable that you might retain these results for a short space of time with no further effort. However, eventually you will find that another website has doubled their efforts and overtaken you. Over time more and more sites will do this until you are eventually back to where you started.

 

Introduction To The Search Engines

Throughout the course of this e-book and tutorials we will be looking at methods to optimize your site and link profile for the benefit of all search engines. In general, though, the techniques work best for Google, Yahoo, and MSN as well as any search engines powered by these. They are more commonly referred to as the big 3 because of the market share they command.

 

October 2006 Search Statistics

Search statistics for October 2006, released by Nielsen//NetRatings (nielsen-netratings.com) confirm this. The statistics are based on the activities of over half a million people around the world so are likely to be very accurate. The ratings for the big three broke down as follows:

 

Search Engine

Total Share Of Searches

Google

49.6%

Yahoo

23.9%

MSN

8.8%

Total

82.3%

Source: netratings.com

As you can see, the big three are responsible for more than 80% of all searches with Google taking a half of all searches (equivalent to over 3 billion searches), and this is why SEO has a tendency to concentrate on the big three and Google in particular. As a general rule if you optimize your site for these search engines then you should be listed and rank well in the majority of all search engines and portals.

 

SEO Tactics To Avoid

Before we start with the tutorials it is important to discuss the actions that a Webmaster or marketer should avoid at all costs if they hope to do well in the search engine result pages. Unethical or black hat SEO techniques not only hinder your SEO efforts but can see your website completely removed from the index, or banned. Recovering from this situation can be incredibly difficult.

Ethical search engine optimization means following the guidelines that are set out by search engines. On the other hand, unethical search engine optimization techniques resort to the use of any technique to gain a high ranking with the search engines. While these techniques can work sites that employ their use will inevitably be banned meaning only a short-term gain, if any at all.

 

Over Optimization Or Keyword Spamming

The most common unethical SEO techniques is the over optimizing of web page content. Including keywords in the content of a page is an ethical SEO procedure but the preferred density ranges from 2% to 5% depending on the search engine in question. Keyword cramming, as it is more commonly known, consists of literally cramming content with numerous keywords. This is not only a black hat SEO technique but it is also incredibly difficult for human visitors to read; most will give up after the first few words and look for a more beneficial site.

 

Other Unethical Techniques

Other techniques that we will discuss in further pages of this e-book include the use of inappropriate or inaccurate keywords, hiding text, the over use of titles and meta tags, and providing different pages dependent on whether a visitor is human or a search engine spider. The majority of search engines do find out about these techniques and will ban sites that use them. If you do begin your own SEO campaign then you should avoid them at all cost, and if you employ an SEO company or professional to work on your behalf you must ensure that they do not employ any of these methods because your site will still be banned.

The rest of this e-book will deal with the most important aspects of search engine optimization. We have attempted to include examples in the shape of short tutorials wherever possible to make it easier to follow. We have also included definitions of some of the more commonly used SEO terms and the e-book concludes with an SEO plan for you to follow when optimizing your website.

 

Keyword Research

A keyword or key phrase is the term that is entered into a search engine when searching for a given topic or subject. When undertaking an SEO campaign, a keyword is a word or phrase that represents the topic of your page. While keywords may naturally appear in the content and URL of your website as well as the anchor text of your links, these may not be the most beneficial keywords.

Just guessing at the most appropriate keywords is unlikely to yield the best results. A well-chosen keyword can ensure you receive more visitors, that those visitors are highly targeted, and that your conversion rate is as good as possible. If you intend to serve contextual adverts on your site it will also help to ensure that you get the highest paid keywords for your topic or subject. It could prove to be a very poor decision not to conduct thorough and proper keyword research.

 

Starting Keyword Research

Manual keyword research can also be hit or miss in some circumstances but provides an excellent place to start. Make a list of words and phrases that are most pertinent to your topic. At this early stage of research it is important not to discount anything that might be relevant. Even the least advantageous keywords can point to improved ones later.

If possible you could consider quickly telling friends and family about your website and asking them to do the same thing for you. Eventually you should have a very good-sized list to work from.

 

Using Automated Software

At this point you should look for a keyword research tool. One of the first and still most popular is wordtracker.com. Whichever tool or application you decide on you should ensure that it provides the following information:

  • Keyword
  • Similar keywords
  • Demand data
  • Supply data
  • Data from as many search engines as possible

A list of similar keywords should usually give you any search terms that include your main keyword as well as a variety of stems and inflections. Some tools take this a step further with synonyms and related words.

Demand is the number of searches that have been done using that exact keyword or keyphrase. All things equal, the higher the demand the better for our purposes.

Supply is the number of sites, or pages, that are listed in the search engine result pages for that exact keyword. The fewer pages that display, the better, because this means we have less to compete with.

While Google may be the search engine that generates 50% of searches, it would be foolish to ignore the remaining search engines. Try to ensure that the keyword research tool you use also includes Yahoo and MSN data is possible.

 

What Is KEI?

It is also worth noting that many keyword research tools use a figure known as KEI, or Keyword Effectiveness Index. This is a mathematical formula developed by an Internet marketer called Sumantra Roy to help determine keywords that have the greatest number of searches but the lowest amount of competition. This is a useful figure to ensure that you don’t concentrate solely on keywords that have millions or tens of millions of results. The higher the KEI the less competitive and more advantageous the keyword is. While KEI is a useful indication of competitiveness it isn’t an essential part of your keyword research tool.

 

Refining Your Keyword List

Work through your original list of keywords and note down any further keywords that are relevant to your page. Remember that search engines are not as intelligent as we are and words that look similar but are different in meaning may still appear. You should avoid these keywords because even if they do generate any traffic it will not be effective traffic.

Once you’ve completed this stage you will be left with an extensive list of potential keywords and the appropriate figures. It would be tempting to simply target those keywords with the highest demand, the lowest supply, or the highest KEI. However, you should try to avoid this temptation and instead concentrate on a good mix. Each of your web pages will be optimized for two or three keywords so you should try to ensure that the ones you choose are similar or related.

 

About Niche Keywords

Niche keywords are keywords that have a good level of demand but a small amount of supply. If your keyword research tool does include KEI then these will be the higher KEI figures you come across. Unfortunately, while it is beneficial to try and include one on each page they do not usually offer the same kind of exposure for your page as some of the more competitive keywords. This is why we need to find a balance of keywords and keyword competitiveness. The more pages your website has the more keywords you will need and the greater the opportunity to include niche keywords.

 

Targeting Targeted Searches

In general, the more targeted a search the more likely your visitors will be to make you money. Targeted searches are usually much more precise than a single word search. Consider your own search habits when you are looking to buy a product or find a service provider. In some cases you would be inclined to include your region in the search term as well. In some cases, using keywords that include your region, town, city, or even country can be an excellent method of attracting search engine visitors that are poised with their credit card in one hand and phone in the other.

Two and three word key phrases tend to produce better conversion rates than more general single word keywords. As we become more accustomed to using the Internet and, in particular, the search engines to search for information or products we soon learn that entering a phrase like SEO will generate millions of results (119,000,000 on Google.com at the time of writing). As such we make our search terms more precise. For example we might try “cheap SEO service” instead. This only generates 1,610,000 results in Google. While this is still a lot of competing pages, it would be easier to compete in this marketplace and visitors would be more likely to purchase having searched on this term.

 

Misspellings

Incorrectly spelt keywords can generate traffic but you shouldn’t include them at the expense of content clarity. It is ok to include a poorly spelled keyword here and there but don’t attempt to optimize entire pages. You may need to run through the keyword research steps again in order to look for misspellings of your keywords.

 

Website Name And URL

It may seem counterintuitive that your website name and your URL could be considered in an SEO campaign. Businesses concentrate on this aspect because it offers an excellent opportunity for company or product branding. The SEO should look at the website name and URL because by including one or possibly two keywords in both it will make linking campaigns much easier. It has also been noted that some websites perform particularly well for a given keyword or key phrase on the back of the URL.

 

Anchor Text Definition

Anchor text is the clickable section of a link. Anchor text should always include one of the keywords from the page where the link points in order to really help with SEO. Many people use their website name and while this is understandable, if it does not include a keyword or keywords it won’t be particularly helpful in building a link profile.

 

To Hyphenate Or Underscore?

There has always been a debate over the use of hyphens and underscores in domain names. Some believe that an underscore should be used to depict a space while others opt for the hyphen. While the literally correct method would be to use an underscore in terms of SEO the opposite is known to be the right approach. However, care must be taken when doing this. Including too many hyphens is seen as an indicator by the search engines of a spam website because it is a popular trait that black hat SEOs display.

Domain names only require hyphens to separate important words. For example the domain searchengineoptimization.com not only looks messy but also would not be treated by the search engines as three separate words. Any searches for the key phrase “search engine optimization” would not gain the benefit of the domain name. In contrast, if the domain were search-engine-optimization.com then most search engines would treat this as three words.

Keeping the domain name short is always a good idea and avoiding the use of excessive hyphens is also beneficial to your site. In all honesty, the length of the domain name is highly unlikely to help your search engine results but it will be more appealing to the visitors you get.

The same things are also true of path or page names, except that you can make these much longer and include multiple hyphens. Again, you will gain the benefit of including your keyword or keywords within the page title and hyphenating the individual words in the page URL. This can become difficult if you use a content management system or dynamic page names. Alphanumeric characters and symbols such as a question mark and equal sign are usually representative of these types of page. If possible use static HTML page names or use a script to convert dynamic URLs to static ones.

One final advantage of using one of your primary keywords in the title and URL of your site is that it is much easier to add that keyword into the text. The site called Search Engine Optimization with a URL of search-engine-optimization could use the opportunity to add several instances of the keyword throughout the text of the site.

 

Site Infrastructure

The infrastructure of your site is hugely important to your SEO. There are basically two methods of creating an effective infrastructure – interlinking and hierarchical.

 

Interlinking

Interlinking, perfect and highly advised for smaller sites, means that every page is linked to one another by including a standard navigation bar on every page with a link to every other page. Interlinking shares the PageRank out between each of your pages and they should all essentially end up with the same rank. Obviously, interlinking all the pages of a website that has 100 pages, or even 50 pages will not look ideal and won’t help with your SEO efforts either. In these cases you should employ a hierarchical structure to your linking instead.

 

Hierarchical Linking

Hierarchical linking means using a more directory based structure to your site. All of your main pages, including your home page, will be interlinked with a link to and from one another. However, under these pages there will be various sub-pages that are only linked by that one page and possibly the other sub-pages of that page. Using this linking method your main pages will gain a higher ranking while your sub-pages will receive a reduced PageRank.

The PageRank of your website is heavily dictated by your linking structure because it is possible to essentially pass on some of the PageRank of your main page to all of your other pages. You don’t lose any of this rank from the home page but it is possible to pass on a good amount to other pages in order to help them become indexed and receive a PageRank.

 

PageRank Definition

PageRank is a numerical measure of your site’s popularity or linking profile according to Google. As a numerical measure of something that includes relevance as one of its most important factors it has become less useful in recent years. However, it is a good indication of how well your site is performing thanks to your recent SEO efforts. Do note that while you can view a snapshot of your PageRank at any time using the Google toolbar this display is only updated roughly every three months. Your site could potentially have a very different PageRank to the one you currently see.

 

Sharing Your PageRank

Generally speaking, the home page is the most important of all pages on your site. As such, it will contain your most important keywords and will receive the largest number of links. This means that it will receive the highest PageRank, which is a good thing. The main pages are also important and generally more important than any sub pages under them. If this sounds similar to the structure of your own site then a hierarchical structure is the best choice. If you only have a few pages or all pages are of equal importance then an interlinked site is the best option.

A portion (believed to be 85%) of the PageRank of any given page is shared equally out between all the pages and external pages that page links to. This means that the fewer links there are on a page the more benefit the resulting page receives. Try to ensure that if you link out from your site that this link gives true value to your page in one fashion or another because it is reducing the benefit that you are giving to your internal links.

 

HTML Links And Sitemaps

Search engine spiders can struggle to crawl and subsequently index any page that does not use standard hypertext HTML links. Flash or image navigation bars are notoriously bad for SEO purposes. If a spider doesn’t find a link then it obviously can’t follow it. This means that the spider will stop there and only a portion of your site will be indexed and only that portion of your site will receive the search engine position it deserves.

Sitemaps have long been used to give a clear menu of all the pages and sub-pages of a website. However, more recently, Google and Yahoo in particular have adopted them as a method to aid site submission. Whereas submission to these search engines via the submit page of their site can take two or three months it generally takes less than a week by adding a sitemap and then submitting it to the search engines.

Google prefer sitemaps presented in an XML format, which is the same format as most news feeds. The majority of web hosts should allow you to host an XML page and there are a variety of third party XML sitemap creation tools to be found online. Simply try searching on one of the search engines.

 

Title And Meta Tags

In the <head> section of your page there are a number of important tags that you should include. These can give you a good positive boost with the search engines and may help elevate your site to the top of the rankings. In particular in this section of your HTML code is the title tag and various Meta tags.

 

Title Tag Optimization

The title tag should appear between <title> and </title> tags and, as well as being descriptive and alluring to your human visitors, it should also include at least the primary keyword for that page. Every page should have a unique title to accompany its keywords and to complement its main topic.

As a general rule, it is better to optimize your title tag to include the primary keyword for that page only and keep the title as short as possible. This gives much greater value to the primary keyword when Google and other search engines index your pages. Some smaller sites may find it necessary, however, to use two or possibly three keywords in the title of each page.

Another factor to consider is the length of your primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords. If you use single word keywords that link together to form a coherent, albeit small, sentence then it can pay dividends to do this. However, if your primary key phrase is three words long and it makes a good title for your page on its own then attempt to stick to this key phrase.

 

Don’t Forget Your Visitors

While we are concentrating on SEO in these tutorials it is absolutely imperative that we do not forget the most important visitors to our site – people. Visitors will read the title of your page on several occasions. Some, in fact most, search engines use the title you give at this point as the title for your listing in their results pages. This is the first thing that searchers will read when looking at your listing so while SEO is important to gain the rankings it will count for nothing if your title is an unappealing list of keywords.

As well as being unappealing to your potential visitors, using nothing more than a list of your keywords may see you penalized with the search engines for potential keyword spamming. It really is a no win situation because you lose a lot of the keyword weight you could gain, you lose appeal with people viewing your listing, and the search engines may penalize you for your unethical SEO tactics.

 

Meta Tag Optimization

Meta tags also appear in the head section of your site. Originally, the very first search engines were all Meta search engines. They used the information provided in certain, pertinent Meta tags to ascertain your keywords, the topic for your site, and much more. While the majority of search engines have moved away from this method of indexing your site some of the smaller engines do still use them and they come in handy for other reasons.

The two most important meta tags from a purely SEO standpoint are the description and keywords Meta tags. The names are self-explanatory but we will discuss them both in a little more detail because good optimization could just win you some extra traffic for your site.

 

Description Tag

In all honesty your description tag is unlikely to give you a boost in rankings. However, it is displayed as the description in many search engine result pages. After your title, this will be the next thing that potential visitors will view that provides them with information about your site. The description must be compelling, appealing, and provoking. Either put a new spin on the topic that your site offers or buck the trend. Arguing against common theory is always a good way to pique people’s interest.

Because the description tag is not used by search engines to rank your site there is again no reason to cram it full of keywords. While Google and the others do not use this to rank your site they are known to still look at all your Meta tags for keyword spamming so be warned. Concentrate on your human visitors and ensure that your description is accurate, appealing, and as short as possible while still getting your message across.

 

Keywords Tag

The keywords meta tag is still in use with some search engines and directories, but very few. Until recently Yahoo claimed that they still use the keyword Meta tag but to what extent nobody really knows. It is possible that they use it only to look for possible keyword spamming. Google are believed to do something similar. However, because some directories will automatically take this information and use it to categorize your site it is a good idea to include it. Only use accurate keywords that are genuinely related to your site and don’t get carried away. If you have optimized your site for three keywords then only list these three keywords.

 

Website Content Optimization

To the search engines, content is the most important aspect on your website. On the whole they now encourage and require natural content that does not appear like it has been written with search engines in mind. They want to provide as positive a user experience as possible for their visitors and they can only do this by displaying the best results.

Once upon a time it was common to pack a page full of keywords placed in what became nonsensical text. This page would then automatically perform well in the search engines. Obviously, the ones that really suffered from this were the users and so search engines put new rules in place within their algorithms that looked for content that included too many instances of a keyword.

 

Introduction To Keyword Density

When we are talking about keyword optimization we generally refer to keyword density, which is measured as a percentage. In its very simplest form this is the number of instances of a keyword within the content divided by the total number of words multiplied by 100. There is a vast range of free keyword density analysis tools available on the Internet and it is advisable that you find one rather than attempt to calculate your own densities.

Not so long in the past it was acceptable to optimize a page with a 10% keyword density and even higher. This would rank well and the Webmaster had no fear of having their site completely removed from the index. However, times change and as they do so too do search engine algorithms and requirements. Much lower densities are now required that range from as little as 1% to as high as 6%.

Search Engine Demands

Google is constantly striving to provide top quality results in their search engines. As such, keyword optimization has taken a back seat to the power of your link profile. They prefer content that is written as naturally as possible with “optimized” text featuring roughly a 2% density. However, linking has become so important that it is commonplace to see website featuring at or near the top of result pages without a single use of the keyword on that page. That said, using the appropriate keyword density could further compound the results of any site.

Google does still look for and subsequently penalize over optimization, or keyword stuffing. The exact level where a page crosses from optimized to over optimized is not known exactly but attempting to keep keyword density below 2% or 3% is a very sensible approach and one that generally serves Webmasters and SEOs well.

Yahoo, on the other hand is at the other end of the spectrum. They will happily accept a page with a 6% density as being well optimized. Anything around 10% would still be considered keyword stuffing and should definitely be avoided because it will not read well.

It may seem impossible to optimize content for both search engines but Yahoo allow the use of keyword stemming and inflections and still count these variants on a keyword towards that keyword’s density. Google, on the other hand, treat them as separate keywords. So, for example, using a 2% density for each of the terms “SEO”, “Search Engine Optimization”, and “Search Engine Optimizer” would provide both Google and Yahoo with what they want to see.

 

Headings

Headings and sub-headings do give a reasonable SEO boost. Using the proper <h1>, <h2> etc… tags gives the search engines clear indication that the information contained within these tags is important. As such, including keywords in here means they are a very important part of your content.

 

Text Formatting

Certain text formatting elements are also known to give a slight boost. Bold, italic, underline, and lists are included among these. Many SEO copywriters or SEOs will bold the first and last instance of the primary keyword and also underline the secondary keyword in the text.

 

Keyword Placement

Keyword placement is important. The closer to the top of the page and the bottom of the page of content a keyword appears the more important that keyword is treated by the search engines. Always try to include your primary keyword in the very first and very last paragraph, preferably the first and last couple of sentences to be more accurate.

 

Stop Words And Word Order

Stop words are words like “and”, “a”, and “the”. Including these in the middle of a key phrase does not affect that key phrase. This is because search engines generally ignore these words when querying their database to display a results page and when calculating your keyword density. For instance “SEO and Internet marketing” would be treated as “SEO Internet marketing” in the eyes of the search engines. This is also true of punctuation marks that can be included in the middle of key phrases with no negative effect.

Word order is not entirely rigid, although swapping the word order will not give you the same benefit as using a key phrase exactly as it appears. For example using the key phrase “Internet marketing SEO” would give some advantage for the term “SEO Internet marketing” as well.

It is possible to include all of these factors together, although the less like the original key phrase your phrase becomes the less advantage it provides. However, this does mean as an example that you could use the term “optimizing for search engines” and be given some benefit when somebody searches for “search engine optimization”.

 

Anchor Text Optimization

Anchor text is the section of a link that is viewable by your website visitors. It is the portion that falls between the <a href=”…”> and </a> tag. Good anchor text is vitally important to any optimization process, especially in the eyes of Google who have been known to give very good rankings to websites based solely on a site’s linking profile alone.

Most websites and links contained within those sites use the anchor text to convey the main topic or message of the resulting page. Another method is to use the short or shortened version of the title. This is one of the reasons why primary keywords are often used as the page title because it means that when another site links to you and when you place internal links on your own site the link will contain the keyword most appropriate to your page.

 

How Search Engines Use Anchor Text

Search engines use the anchor text of a link to help them determine the topic of your page. Basically this means that by gaining an inbound link that contains your primary keyword as the anchor text you can help promote your site in the search engine results for that particular word or phrase. As the major search engines, in particular Google, attempt to move closer to natural or organic listings the anchor text of links becomes even more important to an SEO campaign.

 

How Not To Optimize Anchor Text

The most common mistake made with anchor text is the use of terms like “click here” or “here”. It is highly unlikely that you are attempting to promote your site for these keywords and so you should not use them. If the primary keyword for your site is “cheap SEO service” then this would be an excellent place to start when building links.

 

Internal Linking

Because internal linking between your pages is also important you may want to consider placing links from pertinent keywords in the body of your content pointing to relevant pages of your site. Write the content for your page first and then look through that content to see if there are any good linking opportunities. This can pave the way for an excellent linking campaign.

 

Quality Versus Quantity

While the number of links that point to a page is given some importance in algorithms, you will find that in order to get the best results you should garner links that contain each of your keywords pointing to the pages of your site. This will help to propel your site up the listings for each of these keywords.

Also note that by using the term “cheap SEO service” you are essentially optimizing your anchor text for several different keywords and key phrases. Some are given more weight than others depending on the density of those words compared to the anchor text as a whole. For example, “cheap SEO service” will gain the full benefit of a link with that anchor text because it makes up the whole of the link. “cheap SEO” and “SEO service” account for two thirds of the words in the anchor text and so will gain a proportionate advantage from that link. SEO, which is really the only useful individual keyword in the text, will gain the least advantage but it will still gain an advantage.

 

Providing HTML Code

If you are attempting to persuade other sites to link to your own then you should provide the HTML code that you would prefer them to use. Obviously, for a truly organic inbound link, this isn’t possible and is the reason why you should attempt to optimize your website URL and your page title. Using article directories or submitting an article to a very beneficial website gives you the power to optimize an entire page of content and ensure that the anchor text used is accurately optimized for your most important keyword or keywords.

When submitting to Internet directories or link pages you will need to provide a title for your link, which is usually used as the anchor text of the link so should contain the keywords you are optimizing for. You will also usually need to include a site description and your URL. The site description should be as beneficial as possible for potential human visitors but don’t be afraid to include your keyword. It can help humans identify your site as being relevant to their search and it can help, albeit only a little, with search engine promotion.

By altering the anchor text and the description regularly you can ensure that you get greater benefit from your linking efforts. Some search engines will only give benefit for a percentage of results where the link and surrounding text appears the same. This is particularly beneficial when using directories to build a link profile.

 

Link Building

Link building is another area of SEO that has been through some expansive changes. There are various methods you may wish to employ in order to increase the number of inbound links and therefore improve your link profile.

 

Reciprocal Link Campaigns

Reciprocal link campaigns have been used almost as long as links have been in existence. The theory is that you provide a link to a web page on your site, and in exchange the Webmaster of that site will provide a link to your page. Before the algorithms advanced to their current stage this provided a hugely beneficial way to build a mass of inbound links. However it is known that many search engines do not offer as much weight to reciprocal links as they do to one way inbound links. Again, this is because a one way inbound link appears more natural.

Reciprocal links do still provide a little benefit to Webmasters, although far less than some of the other methods of building a link profile. The most important thing to consider is whether a page you include a link to and receive a link back from is relevant to your own site. If the two are unrelated then you should avoid the reciprocal link at all costs.

                                                                                                                

Inbound Link Requests

Requesting inbound links was the next progression in link building strategies. Initially, many sites placed resource pages on their site and accepted requests to link to relevant pages. Hosting a directory on a website could generate some good PageRank benefits from Google if the directory was based around a similar topic to that of the rest of the site.

However, this has become a less common practice as website owners look to profit from any available Internet real estate on their sites. Also, links or resource pages were becoming so overwhelmed with links that they were quickly losing any potential they previously had. Link pages can still give great benefit but advantageous ones are more difficult to find. Try to ensure that the linking page has a reasonable PageRank and that there are comparatively few outbound links on that page. This includes advertising links as well as directory type links to other pages.

 

Submitting To Article Directories

Article directories can be found all over the Internet. Some niche directories are based on individual, specific topics, while others are much more general with a variety of categories and sub-categories. As a general rule, the article pages themselves do not tend to have a high PageRank but the sites, blogs, and even archived newsletters that use your content may well have. Looking in the long term, even a brand new site that uses your content may become a large behemoth of a website with an excellent PageRank.

 

The Direct Traffic Benefit

As well as potentially providing you with hundreds of links from just one well written article, some article directories can generate direct traffic for your website. This isn’t SEO but it is traffic and therefore worth mentioning. Using article directories is a good way to become known in your industry and if you choose this route then the most important aspect is creating an effective and well-written article. Not only do you want to appeal to Webmasters so that they use your article but you also want to appeal to their visitors so that they click through your link. If in doubt then hire a website content copywriter to complete the article for you. Many will even post the article to a number of relevant directories.

 

Getting The Best PageRank

Whereas the article pages of article directories do not provide a high PageRank, it may be possible to create an original article and submit it to just one site. Ensure that this site has a very good PageRank to make it worth your while and attempt to negotiate the placement of your link on one of the pages with the highest PageRank to get the greatest possible benefit. This can prove a highly effective method of improving your PageRank and your link profile providing you can find sites willing to accept your proposal.

 

Buying Text Links

Buying text links is an area that is hotly debated. The fact is that Google and other search engines do attempt to penalize sites that they find to be guilty of doing so. At the very least they do not give the weight that link would ordinarily deserve. However, there are link brokers on the Internet that do not release or publish details of the sites that offer to purchase or sell links on their pages. Using one of these services means there is very little risk involved. However, it is a decision that you must take.

Buying text links is usually done on a monthly basis and will cost according to the PageRank and visitor statistics of the site. As ever, it is important that you choose a site related to your own and that you check the site is listed in the search engine indexes. Also ensure that you have complete control over the link and, in particular, the anchor text of that link.

 

FFA Pages

FFA pages, short for Free-For-All pages, are not a good method to generate inbound links. They allow any Webmaster to include a link to their site on the page. There are no limits, and no rules that govern the page. Search engines give no weight to these types of links because of the lack of value and unnatural method used to gain them.

 

 

Different SEO Techniques For Different Search Engines

In this section we are going to look at each of the three major search engines and the most important factors that they consider when ranking a page for a particular search result. We’ll also look at ways to optimize content and off-page factors so as to benefit your site with all three of the big search engines.

 

Google

Google are the top of the pile in a number of respects. While Yahoo receives more page visitors than Google they receive less than half of the number of searches. This means that in the eyes of the SEO Google are the most important and potentially most beneficial of all the search engines. However, the pure volume of searches also makes Google one of the biggest and it is perhaps this that means people consider them to be the most difficult to be indexed with and perform well. It doesn’t need to be like that.

Google favors organic search results filled with organic websites that use organic content and methods. It is ironic that they need to incorporate so many different algorithms and factors to determine an organic site but it is this that has led to them getting closer and closer to achieving their goals.

To optimize your page content for Google you need only a very low keyword density level. 2% to 2.5% is considered to be the top end of the scale for any one of your keywords meaning that a natural approach to your writing is not allowed it is blatantly preferred.

In light of this relatively low density, Google relies heavily on your linking profile. In particular they concentrate on the anchor text and the value of the inbound links you receive. You should always attempt to gain the best quality of links over quantity. They are more rigid in rejecting a link because of the quality of the host site and are quite heavily reliant on determining relevancy and using their own PageRank scale.

Always attempt to ensure that the anchor text of your inbound link contains the keyword or keywords central to your SEO campaign. Because page relevancy is important to Google, as well as just anchor text relevancy, you should also try to acquire links on pages that are based on a relevant topic. If that page also includes one or more of your keywords then you will gain a big bonus from Google.

Google uses their PageRank system to determine the quality of a site. This is heavily dependent on the link profile of a particular page. In very general and simple terms the higher PageRank of the page that links to you the more benefit you will gain. However, this is an overly simplistic view. Other factors are also brought into play. The number of outbound links on the linking page is also very important. If you are one of thirty links on a PR4 site you will gain much less (in theory, one thirtieth) of the advantage you would gain if you were the only link on that page 

Some Internet marketers also claim that the use of fresh content, and plenty of it, gives you an advantage. The exact value of this is uncertain but bigger sites with more pages are advantageous for an SEO campaign. The more pages a site has the more keywords that site can be optimized towards.

 

Yahoo

Yahoo is known to clearly favor your content as a judgment of where your site should appear in the ranks. This is true on certain levels. The amount of content you have, how well optimized that content is, and the keyword density you employ are important.

Whereas Google likes a natural 2% keyword density, Yahoo favor much greater keyword density levels as high as 6%. To other search engines the inclusion of a keyword with this level of density may be considered spam so it is important that you take care when optimizing to this level.

Because of this high level of density Yahoo also looks at keyword stemming and keyword variants to comprise the density level. For example, “search engine optimization” and “search engine optimizer” would both count towards each other’s keyword count for a given page. This not only makes it easier to write quality content but it also makes it easier to optimize a page for Yahoo and still stay in the good books of other search engines like Google.

The total amount of content is important to Yahoo as well. In their eyes the bigger your site, with the more pages, and the larger the amount of content the better. Sites that include article directories, blogs, and other content driven sections to a website tend to fare particularly well with Yahoo. Links and anchor text are still important but without following these content optimization rules it will be difficult to perform extremely well with Yahoo.

 

MSN

MSN also like the linking profile as a guide to quality. It is even possible to get a site ranked well by using just the internal links of a website as long as the anchor text is accurate. Building up a strong base of inbound links will almost certainly help you to rank well. MSN may be the smallest of the three but some aggressive marketing techniques and brand changes have been witnessed recently that suggest Microsoft is not happy with being pushed firmly into third place.

Keyword density for MSN can be around 4% to 5%; MSN is also known to count stemming and alternatives of keywords when calculating page density. Again, this makes it possible to optimize for them without being punished by Google.

 

Combining The Big Three

In order to optimize for all three of the above search engines there are certain things you can do. The first, having decided on the primary keyword for a page, is to determine two other stems of that keyword. Use all three of the resulting keywords and optimize each word with around a 2% keyword density on your page. This accommodates the natural Google algorithm and the more synthetic approach of Yahoo and MSN.

Generally speaking the more content your site contains the better equipped it is for an SEO campaign. More pages means more keywords means more visitors. It is best not to get too carried away immediately, because you will need to generate a link profile for each of these keywords and gain inbound links for each profile. However, a blog is a particularly useful tool for a long term SEO campaign and they are generally popular with visitors.

Inbound links are used by all three of the search engines. Google, in particular, place a lot of faith in inbound links. Using the link building techniques we discussed earlier you should gain a good set of inbound links to each of your important pages. If a site has a lot of keywords then this will mean building a lot of different links for a lot of different keywords on a lot of different pages. It will be worth it in the long run, though, so start by concentrating on just one or two of your best keywords and gradually progress from there.

 

Alternatives To SEO

There are a number of alternatives to SEO, and they do not need to be mutually exclusive. It is possible to combine an SEO campaign with banner advertising, PPC advertising, or any other form of advertising. In fact, because SEO can take a reasonable length of time to come to fruition it may be a good idea to use another form of marketing in the meantime.

 

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

PPC is short for Pay Per Click and is another popular form of advertising. It is also another area where Google hold the market share. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t gain any advantage from using other services. The principle is that you write a short ad and this ad is displayed on PPC search engine sites and partner sites. Every time a person clicks that link they are taken to your site and you pay the amount you bid for that term.

Banner Advertising

Banner advertising was one of the first forms of advertising. Having a banner created is generally inexpensive and once done you shouldn’t have any problem finding websites or newsletters that will rent space to you. You can then use this space to display your ad banner. However, banners are less effective than they once were and it is necessary to create a highly effective and powerful banner for it to prove worthwhile.

 

Using Affiliates

Why not have someone else do your selling for you. By joining an affiliate program as an advertiser and installing some code to your site you can then sit back and let others sell your products on behalf of you. All sales and figures are managed on your behalf by the affiliate company and you pay a percentage or flat level commission for every lead or every sale. 

 

SEO Plan For A New Website

This is a short term SEO campaign plan to help you get started and is broken down in terms of weeks. It attempts to give the search engines exactly what they want without losing any benefit because they believe that your brand new site is gaining links too quickly.

Week 1 – Check that all pages are optimized and the appropriate keyword density is employed. This includes stemming and also title and meta tags. Once this is done it is time to get indexed with the major search engines. Most search engines have a manual submission feature but these can take weeks or months before your site is actually listed in the index.

Instead create one well-written article with the primary keyword for your homepage and submit it to article directories. These directories are crawled quickly and efficiently, as are many of the sites that use the content. Another good way to get indexed is to create an XML and an HTML sitemap and submit them using the sitemap features that Google and Yahoo have. MSN does not currently have a similar feature.

Also submit your site to 50 Internet directories. Search engines generally give links from bone fide directories a lot of weight. Use niche directories and some general directories. Make the title of the listing, which is usually the link, your primary keyword and use a powerful description.

Week 2 – As long as you used the sitemap and article directory method of getting indexed then you should find that your pages are beginning to display on the search engines. However, you may be best leaving any more article submissions for now. Instead, concentrate on submitting to Internet directories but don’t get too carried away.

Week 3 – Create another page for your site for the benefit of the content reliant search engines. If necessary, make it a blog so you can begin to add regular, optimized content and persuade others to link to your blog and, therefore, your site. Write an article and submit to the directories.

Week 4 – By now you should have gained quite a few links and if you set up a blog in week three then you will have added plenty of new, fresh content to your site. Continue to submit new blog entries or web pages to your site and continue to submit articles on a fortnightly basis for now. After about 6 months of this you can increase your article submission rate to one article a week.

Conclusion

The most important aspect of any SEO campaign is persistence. Giving up after a week or even a month means you will not have gained any of the benefit of that campaign. The actual amount of time and the eventual level of success will also depend on the actual keywords and key phrases you are optimizing for. The more competitive that your terms are the longer it will be before you begin to receive any traffic but niche keywords with very little competition can provide you with a regular, although generally quite small, amount of traffic very early on.

SEO is not a precise science by any stretch of the imagination. Every SEO has their own beliefs of what the search engine algorithms contain and while there are areas that are generally accepted by the vast majority there are also other areas that tend to attract debate and argument over the right way to go about doing something. In time you will form your own decisions on what works and what doesn’t but the guidelines in this e-book have worked very well for us for a large number of sites.

Generally, using clean code, internal links that are easy to navigate, high quality content, and a good linking profile will serve you well. As the search engines attempt to show more organic listings they will begin to demand less and less from you in terms of keyword density, which will leave you free to concentrate this section of your site entirely on your visitors.

SEO can drive traffic to your website and help improve your site’s performance. It is essential, though, that you do not forget about your real visitors. Your visitors are the ones that you ultimately have to impress. They are the ones that are hopefully going to be parting with their hard earned cash and they are the ones that will be providing you with your website’s income. Always combine SEO tactics with good, honest quality that will appeal to anyone that happens upon your site and avoid anything that seems like you are manipulating the search engines as a pose to manipulating your site.

Unethical SEO methods will probably always exist and while the appeal of quickly ranking at the top of the search engines may seem too good to miss you will inevitably be disappointed. Even if any of these black hat tactics actually work you will usually find the effects to be only short lived and you won’t only lose your top spot you are likely to be completely removed from the search engine index altogether.

We wish you the best of luck with your online endeavors and ask you to think about us when your new website reaches the top spot for your primary keywords.