Search engine optimization is more important today than it ever was. There are those out there that will disagree, but as a marketing professional, I rely on hands-on knowledge rather than industry gossip.
Without search engine optimization and search engine marketing, a company can easily end up going out of business before they get their feet off the ground. That’s why every internet marketing campaign should include the search engines.
I am providing this as a general article rather than blogger-specific because many bloggers end up getting into the niche website business. This article will benefit everyone looking for information on search engine optimization and search engine marketing.
Onsite seo factors that matter
The following issues must be taken care of before the offsite marketing can commence.
Meta Tags - While many seo professionals (and I use that term loosely) would disagree, meta tags still matter. As a matter of fact, they matter now more than they used to. While it used to be easy to manipulate the serps with meta tags alone, that is no longer the case. Your meta tags can make or break your results however. It is a must that your keywords and descriptions match the page that they are on. Mismatching these items can result in a penalty. Not having the tags can also hurt your site. Matching them however, can result in a boost in your results.
Alt Tags - If your images are lacking alt tags, then you are leaving a huge seo item off the table. You will also hurt your rankings by not using the alt tags. Search engines like to know what an image is saying to the real people viewing your page.
It also helps the blind with accessibility because of text-to-speech technology that is available today. Having alt tags will increase your visibility in the search engines, and perhaps some directories.
Keyword-Rich URLs - Those dynamic urls that look ugly at the top of your browser aren’t as bad as they used to be. Search engines have come a long way since php and other languages were introduced. But it is still a must that dynamic urls get changed to be search engine friendly.
It is important that keywords are introduced into the urls of the pages they are relevant to. This makes it look as if your dynamic website were actually static html. There are plugins and modules for many scripts that are available, and provide this seo-friendly functionality.
Anchor Text - The anchor text is all of that text which is linked. For example, if a link said “click here”, then the words “click here” are the anchor text. Of course, click here is not a good keyword.
It is important to use keywords in your anchor text that match the page or website they are linking to. An example of this would be if you were linking to a website about Michael Jackson Memorabilia, then you would probably want to use that as the anchor text.
Using anchor text that matches the content of the actual link will benefit you by telling search engines that your website is as relevant as it gets. Avoid using general keywords like click here when linking to something.
Anchor text works for both internal links, and external links. If you are doing onsite optimization, you want to link to pages on your site using keyword-rich anchor text. If you are a web designer and have multiple services, then you want to link to the service pages like this… Graphic Design; Web Design; PHP Development; etc. Those are keyword rich anchor text linking to relevant pages, and are more likely to help you rather than using a general term.
Outbound Links - Outbound links matter a lot. Anchor text is just one issue you need to consider. More importantly, never link to another website that you feel is questionable. Also, it would be wise to not link to unrelated websites. Linking to a website that turns out to be bad can end up costing you. Remember, you are the one that’s vouching for them, so you are responsible if they do something bad in the eyes of Google.
Offsite seo factors that matter
Article Marketing - There are many websites out there that allow you to publish articles with author links back to your website. Some of them will allow keyword rich anchor text to be used in those one-way links to your website too.
Social Networking - Google relies on social networks to tell them how popular a blog or website is. For example, if there are 20,000 tweets on an article, it has more social network weight than one with a hundred tweets.
It is wise to sign up with all of the major social networks. They not only provide backlinks and provide traffic, but the shares actually matter more than you can imagine.
Social Bookmarking - Social bookmarks are similar to what social networks do for you. It shows Google your popularity. Sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are a couple of the majors, and a must-have in your search engine marketing arsenal.
Video Marketing - Youtube is a very important tool to utilize when marketing. When you create a video, you can benefit from the traffic that Youtube already has, but also get some good links through your video description.
Video marketing is more than link building though. You can use it to generate a crazy amount of traffic. If a video goes viral, it can really explode your traffic and result in many people linking to you on their own websites.
- Directory Submissions
- Forum Participation
- Guest Blogging
- Link Baiting
- Web Template Sponsorship
Direction submissions are easy, but can be very tedious work. You can find a good list of directories that are free by doing a quick Google search for “free directories” or something similar. If you have an auto-fill feature on your browser, then the work can become easier for you over time.
Forum participation is tough to get going because you have to establish yourself on a forum as a decent contributor rather than a newbie spammer. Take part in actual topics on the forums, and only include your link in your forum signature. I promise you will get traffic this way.
Blog hopping is something I do often. Commenting on an article on a blog is a great way to get backlinks and traffic. Make sure you actually contribute with a thoughtful comment, and not just a “me too” comment. You want to get links and traffic, not blocked.
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get backlinks, and a ton of traffic. You are establishing yourself as an expert this way, and putting yourself out there in a manner that gets results.
Guesting on some blogs can also result in your article being copied across the net with your link in-tact which results in even more backlinks. I have had every guest post on ProBlogger copied against their rules, but I still benefitted from the stolen article. It’s when people steal and take off your link that you should be offended and in pursuit of justice.
Link baiting is all about writing in a way that turns an article into a viral machine. Such things can happen with resource posts where you link to a lot of useful resources that people just can’t resist referencing.
If you use something like Ninja Affiliate when linking to outside resources, you can easily change those links in the future to ensure they never become broken links.
Web template sponsorship is a trick I have had up my sleeve for years. As a web designer, I have been able to create some nice templates, and offer them under the Creative Commons license for free as long as my designer credit remained in place in the footer. This allowed me to get backlinks using the anchor text that I desired. People love free!
If you want to jump in one template sponsorship, I actually offer the service of designing such templates with your link credit in the footer.
Remember that seo matters
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. When done correctly, seo can transform your website into a money-making machine. Whether you just want to collect leads, or you want to generate an affiliate revenue, seo will decide how effective you are in your pursuits.