If you want to get your site ranked highly in the search engines, then you have really got to get your head round search engine optimisation. Don't let the "experts" bamboozle you with the science behind this "black art", you don't have to spend thousands with SEO experts or consultants, as long as you understand the basics, prepare your SEO at the earliest stage of building your website, and keep your site alive with great content. Here are my top five tips for getting your site ranked and watching your visitor traffic grow.
1. Get a good domain name
Unless you have already have a big brand, like "Coke" or "Ikea", then a domain name that describes what you sell is a great start to getting traffic. So "BobSmith.com" might not tell your visitors what you do, but "BobTheCarMechanic.com" just might. Go to domain registrars local to your country to get the best deals and good service. Here are a couple of examples:
2. Create a keyword strategy
Google Adwords. Just sign up for a free Adwords account and find your way to the Keyword Tool under Tools and Analysis. Here you can type in possible keywords and likely phrases and you will see the number of searches for that keyword or phrase for a month. To get good ranking then it is a good idea to select words that have less competition, so a search of 75,000 a month means you are likely to have a lot of competition for the top slot in an organic google search, but if you can find a less popular search term of around 250 a month you will find that you will rise more quickly to the top spot.
3. Meaningful metatags
When you are creating your site from scratch, then before you even write a word of copy, ensure all your pages have metatags describing the content on the page. Metatags are hidden from human readers on your page, but they are used by search engines to decide your sites ranking. Don't be repetive and use the same meta description on every page. Meta Descriptions are also displayed on the search results page, so make sure the meta description does have meaning to a human reader.
4. Copious content
Get busy on the content. Don't just create a beautifully designed website and walk away. Many static marketing websites are in danger of becoming a "Billboard in the Desert". If you don't keep adding fresh content to your site then it is unlikely that visitors will return to the site, if they ever visit in the first place. To grow the site and to keep the content fresh try writing a blog, just a few words a week will keep the content fresh. Create articles on related subjects that are relevant to your business or industry. So BobTheCarMechanic could give advice on how to get scratches out of paintwork, how to check your oil, how to check your tyre pressure, preparing for winter, etc.
5. Create a virtuous circle
High volume link exchanges and link farms are frowned upon, and can get your site marked as a spam site, so be careful with overexhuberant link exchange programmes. However, it is still a good idea to seek good quality links to relevant services that are of interest to your customers. So BobTheCarMechanic might link to the latest government guidelines on car taxing, or their chosen partner for quality tyres, especially if these links are included in articles or blog reviews of these products and services, outgoing links do add real value to your article content. Be sure to keep your outgoing links live and active, deadlinks can have a devastating effect on your site, and pages with a significant number of deadlinks may be blocked from search engine results. In turn you can seek out quality incoming links from other related services or local business directories. Not only does this create a virtuous circle of linking you can increase your site's ranking based on the number of incoming links.
6. Find a trustworthy SEO services
Not all SEO consultants are black hat snake oil salesmen. There are many out there who work very hard at understanding the ever changing SEO rules, and at making sure you stay on the right side of the Google law. So if it all seems too much for you - after all you have a business to run - then select an honest SEO consultant who will help you get to Number 1 in the search results.