A Primer In Search Engine Optimization, Part 1

For many people today that hope to work from home, starting an online business looks like the way to do it and for good reason. The continued growth of internet commerce and the extremely small investment compared to other business endeavors is what drives people to try this route. Someone once approached me about making a website for them for a reasonable fee. As it turned out, the website that they wanted me to make was a website to sell a product about making websites. The irony in the room was rank and the guy obviously knew nothing about running a successful website and so i walked away from the deal without taking any money from him.

As for me, I’ve been making websites for many years now to varying degrees of success (more often than not failure). Something that I never really understood until recently was Search Engine Optimization. I would make a website, choose a bunch of keywords that I thought made sense for the website and then just hope that people started showing up. There was no consistency with my results from this method and I never understood why until I started investigating how the pros do it. It all comes down to search engine optimization and just in case anyone out there is in the same boat that I was for many years, I’m going to dispel some of the mystery for you.

Okay first things first. This can and probably should be done before you even make a website. Once you have a rough idea of what your website content will be you need to spend some time researching what keywords would work best for you. There are many tools out there that cost money and some are worth the money but one of the best tools available for keyword suggestions is actually Google Adwords. Adwords is what advertisers use to create ad campaigns for those text ads that are littered all over websites. This website included, I’ll just wait a minute while you click on a couple of them to familiarize yourself with how they work…Okay then, we are not actually going to be creating ads to pay for, we are simply going to use the free keyword suggestion tool that is part of Adwords.

Now choose three keywords that you feel describe your website pretty accurately and plug them into the keyword suggestion tool. Most likely what you will see is that the top several keywords that come up have a lot of search traffic and a lot of advertiser competition as well. Aim your sites a bit lower. Find keywords that still fit your website but have less competition. You’ll have a much easier time getting ranked near the top of the search engines when you aren’t go up against the big guys, at least until you are one of the big guys.

Once you have your keywords picked out it is usually a good idea to actually search them in Google and find what the top sites are under those searches. By not going with the top keywords for a website I recently did I had nicely positioned myself against some pretty crummy websites. This would be like taking candy from a baby.

Now it’s time to actually make your website work for you with these keywords. The title of your main page should be the three keywords you chose and nothing else. If you are using text for your main title on the page itself, it should be placed within <> tags and should include your top keyword. All three keywords should be mentioned on the page at least once. If you are using graphics on your page make sure you include the “alt” tag inside the <> tag. The “alt” text should includes your keywords but also one or two extra words so it just doesn’t look like search engine spam. Placing your top keyword at the bottom of the page next to the copyright isn’t a bad idea either.

That’s it for part one. Part two will cover more in depth ways of driving traffic to your site and increasing page rank.

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