Introduction to search engine optimization (SEO)

1. What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website for a certain keywords, so it will rank high in search engines when people are searching these keywords. Therefore, more visitors will find and go to your website through the search engines, and your website can have more traffic. The traffic from search engines is called “organic traffic”. Organic traffic is quite valuable, because the it is targeted. For example, if people are searching for the key phrase “weight loss ebooks”, most likely they are going to buy the ebooks about weight loss. If you have a website selling this kind of ebooks, and it is ranking high for the key phrase “weight loss ebooks”, then people will go to your website by searching this key phrase, and the possibility of buying your products is high. Also organic traffic is free, if you don’t count the cost for SEO, this is another benefit. Of cause, you may have to pay a lot of money and efforts for SEO.

2. Two different types of search engine optimization (SEO)
There are two different types of SEO you will need to do: “On page SEO” and “Off page SEO”. “On page SEO” is the work you need to do on your website, such as arranging the keywords in your web pages. “Off page SEO” is the work you need to do off you website, such as getting back-links to your website from others’ websites.

3. On page SEO
Before you actually build your website, you need to do the research to find out the keywords you are targeting. You will need to find keywords for the whole website, and each individual page. The best scenario is that you can find the keywords with high search volumn, low competition, and high keyword value. The “keyword value” means the how much value a keyword will bring to you if a visitor goes to your website by searching this keyword. It has many ways to measure the value of a keyword. For example, how much people are willing to pay when adverting this keyword in Google Adword, or Bing.com. You can use Google Keyword Tool to find search volumn and competition of a keyword. But Google Keyword Tool doesn’t provide the “keyword value” information, and you may need to use other tools to find out this information. What I am using is a tool called “Market Samurai“, which provides comprehensive information of the keywords, such as search volumn, total competition, Google Adword bid price, and so on. Besides keyword research, it also has the feature such as rank tracker, SEO competition analysis, domain name research, and so on. You can click here to find more information abut this tool. I will say it is a very excellent tool.

After you decide which keywords to use, you can build up the content of your website based on these keywords. You need to make sure the content is original, high-quality. Once the content of your website is original, it will not get punished by the search engines for “duplicate content”. A website with duplicate content will not get high ranking by the search engines. High-quality content will attract visitors to stay in your website for longer time, this will give them more chance to purchase the products you are promoting in your site. On the other hand, the search engines will also detect that people stay with your site for long time, and therefore it will think your site has good content. This will help your site rank high.

When you are organizing the content for your website, you shall arrange the keywords properly. You need to put the keywords in the title tags(i.e., in your html code, use “<title>Keyword1 | Keyword2</title>” in the header portion. This will become the title of your web page.), meta tags(i.e., in your html code, use “<meta name=”keywords” content=”Keyword1, Keyword2, Keyword3, …” />” in the header portion.), and use h1 tag to highlight the main keyword if possible(i.e., in your html code, use “<h1>Keyword1</h1>” to highlight your main keyword, which can be the title of your content/article).

If the content of your web page is an article, make sure the keyword appear at least once in the first 50 words. Also make sure the keyword density is bigger than 1%, but do not over stuff your article with your keywords. A keyword density of 2%-3% is recommended.

It is recommended to use the keyword in the file name. For example, if the keyword of a web page is “weight loss”, you can use weightloss.php or weight-loss.php as the file name.

4. Off page SEO
“Off page SEO” means the work you need to do outside your website. The most important thing you need to do is getting tons of back links to your website from others’ website.

Not all link give you the same SEO value. You shall try to get links from authority sites. What is an authority site? An authority site always has a high PageRank. PageRank is an indicator that Google uses to measure the relative importance of each web page. The number of PageRank is from 0-10, the bigger the number, the more important the web page. If you are using Internet Explorer as your web browser, you can install Google Toolbar to find the PageRank of each page. When you are getting links from others’ site, try to get them from the web pages with higher PageRank.

Also try to use the relevant anchor text to link to your website. “Anchor text” is the text used to link to another web page. For example, if a web site use the text “Weight Loss” to link to another site, “Weight Loss” is the anchor text. It is not necessary to use exactly the same keyword as the anchor text. Actually, it is better not to use exactly the same keyword for all of your anchor texts, because it does not look natural. You can use different one, for example, the keyword of your website is “Weight Loss”, you can use “Weight Loss” , “Fat Loss”, “lose weight”, “Burn fat”, or your website’s URL, your name, or “click here”, as anchor texts linking to your site, and among all of them about 20%-30% are the keyword.

Links from relevant sites are more valuable than irrelevant sites. If your site is about weight loss, it is better to get links from weight loss sites. Of cause links from irrelevant sites are also helpful.

There are some website owners who exchange links from each other, which is called “reciprocal links”. But I was told that Google is not happy about this, so I never get reciprocal links. I only get one way links, and ignore all reciprocal link requests from other website owners.

You may have a question: Where to find the websites to get links to my website? Well, there are many methods.

You can go to the article directories, such as ezinearticles.com, articlecity.com, goarticles.com, to submit articles relevant to your website. These article directories allow you to put 2-3 back links to your site for each article your submit, either in the article body, or in the resource section.

Also you can go to others’ blogs or forums to submit your comments, and include a back link to your site. Remember, do not spam, otherwise, your comments will be deleted, or even worse, your IP will be banned by the owners of the blogs or forums. You can use Google to search and find the relevant blogs or forums. For example, search “blog” “keywords” to find the blogs. I actually use Market Samurai to help me on this work. Market Samurai has a feature to help you find web2.0 sites, blogs or forums related to you keywords. You only need to enter the keyword and click the button, and Market Samurai will do the rest for you, and then find out a lot of valuable sites for you. It is very convenient, and much more effective than searching it in Google by myself.

Another method I used is Article Marketing Automation (AMA). I write an article and submit it to AMA, then AMA will submit it to many blogs, and each article can have 3 links pointing to my site. The article is spinnable, i.e., there are many variations of each article. For example, I write a sentence in this way: {Running~Jogging} is a good {method~way} {for weight loss~for fat loss~to lose weight~to burn fat}. Each time AMA will automatically select one word/phrase from each { ~ }, and submit to one blog. Therefore, you actually submit a different article to each blog. The anchor texts are also spinnable, so you can have different anchor texts pointing to your site. Another usage of AMA is to spin the article and submit it to different article directories. The down point is, AMA service is not free, it costs me 47 US dollar each month. It may be a lot for a new affiliate marketer. But if you are a serious affiliate marketer, you may find that it is worthy to pay this amount, because it will save you a lot of effort to submit your articles one by one.

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18 Responses to “Introduction to search engine optimization (SEO)”

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