SEO Basics Part Two

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I talked a few weeks about about the basics of search engine optimization.  In that post I talked about how SEO is art and science and it takes regular, specific efforts to make sure that your site is well prepared to be indexed well by search engines.  I told you about creating pages with good X/HTML markup, the length of registration for your domain, and making sure you’re using all your meta information correctly.  All of those elements lend themselves more to the science-side of the search engine optimization process.  What I’m going to talk about this time are things that are more on the art-side of the spectrum.  Both art and science are necessary and if you put the things that are discussed in these articles in to practice you’re site will be more attractive to search engines.

Maximizing Link Usage for SEO

One of the things I talked about last time is making sure you maximize the use of internal and external links.  Links are incredibly important in how your site is seen by search engines. But how you construct those links is every bit just as important as how you use them.  The bottom line here is use the keywords that you want to rank for in your link text!  Here are a couple good examples:

  • Click here for more information on Orracle Media web technology services.
  • Orracle Media web techology services are ready to take your project to the next level!

I’m sure there are tons and tons and tons of sites that use the former rather than the latter.  I know that I’ve been guilty of it! However, making sure your keywords are used in your link text will provide better and more accurate information to search engines as they crawl your site.  When you’re building your links in your site make sure that you construct those links thoughtfully.  Not only will they be more informative to your visitors but it gives you the opportunity to tell the search engines what the links are about and give them more clarity about what that link is about. So use your keywords and phrases in your links as much as you can, you’ll be glad you did.

Keyword Research Tools

Every website owner needs to keep a list of good tools nearby to manage their site and grow their business.  Previously I wrote about the top tools that every website owner should use.  Here are a few more that will help you specifically for SEO

WordTracker is a paid service that will help you learn about keywords and phrases that will help you learn about what people are searching for. According to their site, "Wordtracker helps website owners and search engine marketers identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their or their client’s business and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors."

Google’s Insights Keyword Tool is another great tool to do research on specific keywords and phrases to help you pick your targets.  This gives you a high level of detail and gives you broad time frames by which to search. It’s great to find out what keywords and phrases are trending and in which direction they’re going.

Backlink Monitoring

Do you know what sites are linking back to your site?  This is the other side of the external links discussion that I made in the previous post.  Backlinks are tools that search engines use to judge the credibility of your site. For that reason they’re incredibly valuable.  However, for that same reason link farms were originated and are actually not a good idea. However there are reputable, and legitimate ways to build your link network. 

Backlink Watch is a great free site to find out who is linking back to you. Another great tool to use is simply to type: link: yourwebsite.com in to the search field on Google.com and it will return results for all the sites that are linked back your site.

Building Your Backlinks

One of the best ways to build backlinks to your site is to get professional associations that to which you belong to get them to link back to your site. Many times these organizations will provide directories of their members and associates and these are great places to have your site listed.  Approach the professional association and Chambers of Commerce in your area to see about getting listed on their site.

Another way to build backlinks is to work with your vendors and business partners.  You’re probably not going to get your competition to put a link to your site on theirs, but those from whom you purchase may be much more favorably disposed to adding you to theirs.  Get them to add your site to theirs, and likewise, you can do the same for them on your site. 

Write early, write often, and write a lot

The last point that I want to make about SEO and your website is frequently updated, keyword-dense content.  Add a blog to your site to demonstrate your subject matter expertise.  If you are going to the trouble to start a website about your passion, you obviously know enough about it to come up with compelling content that would be valuable to your potential market so write about it!  You not only build your credibility in your subject matter, but the frequent addition of new content is fuel for the search engines – they love new content!  Along with backlinks these are probably the two most important things you can do to establish yourself with search engines.  Write about your topic.  Use your links wisely with keywords and phrases. Make sure that you’re site is well done and uses good clean code with proper mark-up, and write as much as you can.

Search engine optimization doesn’t have to be so mysterious that you feel like you need to pay someone a lot of money to "optimize" your site.  No, put your site together correctly and use the practices I’ve talked about here, and your site will be frequently crawled and as you build up your backlinks and reciprocal links your site will climb up the ladder of search engine rankings.