People are browsing the net in may different ways. Some people type the address directly, some people visit their favorite portal or directory but most people are using search engines to find the sites they visit. To successfully gain traffic from search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN etc) you will probably need to edit your website a bit (sometimes completely) and make sure there are no barriers for search engines to crawl your site. And this is where SEO (search engine optimization) becomes crucial.
The Aim of SEO
First of all, you need to know what visitors you want to attract to your site. It is very easy to bring in 5000 people not interested in your website but it is far better (and more diffucult) to bring in only 100 people but those will actualy be interested in your site and there’s great a chance they will visit again in the future.
The aim of SEO is not to bring as much traffic as possible. The aim of SEO is to bring in targeted traffic and people to whom you can offer something (high quality content). Good SEO will also help you earn more money when your website is commercial. If not, you can at least make few bucks from advertisements to help you cover expenses of your website (hosting expenditures etc).
What You Should Avoid
You must eliminate all possible issues that might be troublesome for search engines. Bellow are listed few things you should avoid as much as possible at your website. It is recommended to avoid all of all of them for better SEO.
First thing you should definately not use – frames. Very bad thing. Many search engines have difficulties crawling websites using frames. Moreover, the home page si often empty for crawlers because the content is loaded in frames from files outside the page.
Another bad thing is home page without any text. There are many websites with almost empty home page. Usualy there is just some kind of link or something like “Enter” there. The problem is that this site will be accumulating the useless pagerank (below refered to PR) and the actual pages linked from the home page with the content will gain only about 3/4 from the home page’s PR.
Use static urls instead of dynamic. In the past, almost all search engines had serious problems indexing pages with dynamic urls. The situation has changed and nowadays they are being indexed very well. However, I still recommend you to use static urls. It looks better and people will appreciate it, too.
Beware of duplicity or same content on more pages! For examples, many websites have the same content on more urls like:
In this case, many search engines offer so called webmaster tools (Google Webmaster Tools etc) where you can set up prefered domain. You should always choose only one preffered domain. It will get higher PR. This blog uses netcovered.com as preffered adress.
Content Is King
This is the golden rule of internet. You can have the most beautiful website around, you can have blazing fast dedicated servers and catchy domain name. But without content you won’t get any traffic. Good amount of quality content will also help you rank better in search engines. Also update as often as you can. When crawlers visit your site they will see you have updated it and they will take it into consideration. Once they see that your content is regularly updated you will jump to the higher position in search results.
Choosing the Right Keywords
We already know what we want to do (get traffic from search engines). But we don’t know what are the keywords people search for most often.
There are only two ways how to find the best keywords.
Firstly, imagine you are the potential visitor. Go to your favorite search engines and start typing in keywords that come to your mind. You must analyse competitivness of your potential keywords (is there too much strong competition?) and try to find out ones that are not so crowded. On the other hand, keep keywords that describe your website and niche the best, even though they might be very competitive. Don’t be afraid of that.
Secondly, spy on the competiton. Yes, that’s right. Visit sites with similar niche and look at their keywords (search for titles, h1 tags, meta tags, strong and bold tags etc). If you notice they missed some adequate keywords – you know what to do. Those will be the keywords you will get much traffic from.
For example, these are few keywords I have decided to concentrate on:
making money online, SEO, webdesign, wordpress, internet marketing tips, search engines, how to rank better in search engines, how to improve your PR, how to make wordpress theme, free wordpress magazine themes, wordpress tweaks, webmaster blog
Notice that most of my keywords are highly competitive. But I am not scared of that. I’m not looking for “overnight top search results”. Instead, I chose the slower but healthier way – aiming for durable results.
Now when we know our keywords we need to place them properly. Words have different “weight” in differnet elements. The more words are stuffed in the same element, the less important they become. For SEO, we will need to smartly use sematic elements. Semantic elements (tags like h1, strong, em etc) defines importance of the text but they do not say a word about how should it be displayed. The weight of words in different elements:
|title||huge (similar to h1)|
|h1||huge (similar to title)|
|strong, em||better than physical formatting (b, i)|
|h2, h3||hard to say|
Other things very important for SEO are meta tags keywords and description. Below are examples how to use them.
<meta name=”description” content=”Here you describe your website.”>
Sometimes search engines use desription meta tag for actual description of the site in search results.
<meta name=”keywords” content=”your keywords here”>
There isn’t almost any reliable information about this tag. It highly depends on the search engine whether it will have any effect on SEO or not.
There’s no easy way to be number 1 in search result for your keywords. It depends on too many circumstances and conditions. However these few basic steps I have desribed in this article will only help you get there.