It gives me goose bumps when I hear that 70% of web users click on the natural search results instead of the paid results to find what they are looking for.
That’s a great reason for optimizing your website or blog and the good news is that it won’t cost you anything but your time.
To get you started, here are 10 search engine optimization strategies for higher ranking, naturally!
The Search Engine Optimization Strategies for Higher Ranking in the Search Engines.
1. Define Your Target Market
Who’s your target market? I hope you answered that question in detail and not just in general. I’m referring to their detailed demographics, things like age, sex, income, etc. These are things that will set the stage for how you connect with your target market. These are the steps I use to identify my target.
2. Research Your Keywords
Don’t simply use words that you think will describe your content, go a step further and use the words your readers will use to find your content.
Formula: Find the most searched on keywords that have the least amount of competing web pages.
But don’t just go for the keywords with the highest search counts. Pay attention to the ‘long tail keywords‘ or the more descriptive keywords. They may have fewer searches they’re more focused and have fewer competing pages making the phrase easier to rank for.
Start with a good keyword research tool. The Google keyword tool is perfectly fine to get you started and it’s free. For a more robust tool I like the Wordtracker paid keyword tool, here’s the differences between Google and Wordtracker.
Once you have your keyword phrases, use them effectively in your site’s content, navigation and links; which brings us to #3.
3. Optimize Your Pages Using Accurate Title, Description & Keyword Tags
The search engines rank web pages, not web sites, so optimize each page of your site individually using these strategies:
- Each page’s title tag must contain your chosen keyword phrase for that page and it should describe exactly what people can find on the page.
- Your description tag must also contain your keyword phrase, only this time add descriptive information that gives your reader a good idea of what they can find on the page.
- Keep your description and your content relevant. For example if your page is about ‘the importance of using good keywords’, don’t describe the page as ‘how to use keywords’.
-Use your keyword phrase when naming your site pages. For instance if your keyword phrase is ‘blue suede shoes’ the URL of your page should look like any one of these examples:
Any quality website builder will offer point and click options that makes it easy to create these tags. If you were to write them yourself in the code, this is what they would look like using an example for ‘Cat Grooming Supplies’
<TITLE>Cat Grooming Supplies</TITLE>
<META NAME=”keywords” CONTENT=”Online Cat Grooming Supplies and Accessories that you won’t find in most pet stores”>
<META NAME=”description” CONTENT=”Online pet supplies: The pet store that
has a complete line of pet supplies at super competitive prices & Fast Delivery.”>
4. Use Good Website Navigation
Use your side navigation to display your main topic pages.
Use top horizontal navigation for pages that you want visitors to notice the most, pages like ‘About Me’, ‘Contact’, ‘Product Info’, or any pages that you don’t want visitors to miss.
Use your footer for resources, site map, disclaimers and copyrights.
5. Create High Quality Content
What is high quality content?
Here’s what Google suggests:
“Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”
My most linked to content is where I’ve provided readers information they can learn and benefit from.
Never create content with the intention of appealing to the search engines. Instead, write with my reader in mind. That doesn’t mean the search engines aren’t important, great care should be taken to optimize each of your pages, but write with the intention of keeping your reader engaged. Your content should be highly relevant and delivers on the expectations of your reader.
Useful tips for how to write quality content and how to develop a writing style that readers will love.
6. Use Internal Site Wide Linking
Internal links help users navigate your site and find related information. These links also help slightly with building rank to you most important pages.
To help build’ link juice’ to each of your pages (or at least your most important pages) have at least 3-4 other relevant pages link to it using a keyword text link. Include those pages on your site’s navigation as well. Your navigation, header and footer links don’t carry as much weight with the search engines as text links within your content do, but they help, so use them.
Note: Vary the keywords you use within your text links. For example, if your keyword is ‘red scarves’, use text link variations that include ‘red scarf’, ‘scarves’ or ‘red neck scarf’. Using the same anchor text for each link is frowned on with the search engines.
7. Encourage Other Like Sites to Link To You
Incoming links help you build page rank to your most important site pages. It’s a key search engine optimization strategy because other high ranking sites linking to your content is an indication of value, and Google is all about adding value.
Of course the idea is to get others to link to your content because it’s good, not because you’re drumming up links.
More awesome ways of getting valued incoming links:
Guest Posting on Blogs – This not only brings incoming links, but writing guest posts for popular, highly visible blogs expands your reach.
Commenting on Blogs – Not all blogs use the ‘dofollow’ link, meaning the search engines won’t recognize your link in the comments you make, however if your comments are useful and you can impress readers with what you have to day, people will follow your link to your site. A strategy worth using.
SEO Tip: When you include links to your site within guest posts, articles and blog comments, don’t link to your home page. Instead, use deep linking strategies. Link to pages of your site that you want to rank the highest for? These will be your sales pages, your email squeeze page or promotional pages. Unless you have a specific call to action on your home page, don’t send your readers there.
These links will deliver more link juice to these pages, which are the pages that you would typically want to rank the highest for.
8. Accurate Spelling & Good Grammar Counts
The jury is still out on whether Google penalizes bad spelling and poor grammar. But regardless of what Google or the search engines think, good grammar and spelling counts with your readers. Spelling errors and poor grammar won’t make you believable as an expert or project your professionalism, and readers are less likely to take you seriously.
9. Create a Site map
Your site map is like an index for the search engines. You need this to get your pages found, crawled and indexed.
If you have a WordPress blog use the Google XML Sitemap Generator plugin. Most other website creators will offer a site map tool, if not, you can create your site map using this easy to use tool at xml-sitemaps.com
10. Know What’s Going on with your Site
One of the best search engine optimization strategies is to know how your site is doing. Ask yourself these questions.
- What keywords are people using to find your pages?
- How much traffic do you get?
- Who is sending you traffic, if anyone?
- What are your most viewed pages?
Knowing these things will give you better focus for what your readers are most interested in and what your web activities are doing for you.
To get accurate information on your website stats and activities use a web hosting service with Cpanel, (Hostgator gets my thumbs up). CPanel makes it easy to get daily up to the minute snap shot of what your visitors are looking at, how long they’re on your site, what keywords they found you with and so much more.
Google Webmaster Tools – This is a whole array of free tools Google gives us to know about things like indexing problems, what kinds of traffic we get and other information about our sites.
Google analytics – Google has awesome free comprehensive reports on your traffic data like page views, traffic sources, number of visits, keywords, and much more. You can also customize reports and set up goals so you can see how well your sales, SEO strategies, campaigns and opt-ins are performing.
There you have it, 10 search engine optimizations strategies for higher ranking, but keep in mind that as important as good SEO is, it’s the value your visitors find in your content that matters most to the search engines.