Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

NOTE: This blog entry inspired an SEO ebook (The DIY Guide to SEO), and this awesome SEO resource to support it.

Do you want to get your site listed on page one of Google, Bing or Yahoo Search? Then take a look at this in-depth guide to SEO...
  1. Find the best key word for your product, service or site
  2. Work on your content
  3. Get contextual links
  4. Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and Squidoo
  5. Build your virtuous SEO circle
1. The Best Key Word

While everybody else is stuffing dozens of key words into their homepage, take a step back and relax. google isn't going to list your site on page one for any of those keywords unless it has good reason. And it's very hard to give it 'good reason' when you're chasing dozens of terms.

If you're a DIY operation, it's far better to pick the best key word and focus on building content, contextual links and a virtuous circle. That gives you a much better chance at getting on page one.

How do you find the best key word for your product, service or web site? You can use one of the many key word research tools listed here. Or do what I do, and stick with Google's own key word analysis tool. It contains all the information I've ever needed, and is well documented. You'll find advice on how to research keywords for SEO here and here.

What about Bing and Yahoo Search? This article covers Microsoft's research and analysis tools, while this does for Yahoo. And if that's not enough, try this site (packed full of useful SEO tools).

2. Work on your Content

You'll find a lot of help and advice about how to shape page content for SEO here and here. If you're a blogger, you'll find more specialised search engine optimisation info here. Meanwhile this page provides useful information about common search engine marketing mistakes.

The main points to be aware of when it comes to creating content for SEO purpose are...
  • The title tag must contain your most important keywords
  • The content of your meta description and keyword tags do matter
  • Include your #1 key word in your page headline
  • Use the H1 tag to indicate your page headline
  • Include your #1 key word in your first paragraph
  • Use natural language. Don't force keywords into sentences
You'll find a very useful, thorough and detailed SEO report on this site. The first report is free, and I strongly recommend you run it on your site's home page. Over the course of 50 pages, it explains what's missing, what's holding your site back, and what's needed to get you to the top of search engines.

The creator of the above report also publishes a short book packed full of the exact information you actually need to know. I really like this book because it leaves out 150 pages of fluff typically found in competing titles (time is money - who wants to wade through pages of fluff?). It gets to the point, and focuses on the important stuff. You can pick up your copy here.

3. Get Contextual Links

Click the link to find out what a contextual link is, and go here for more information about the use of internal contextual links. These two articles also explain how contextual links work.

Google uses contextual links to help decide which web pages will rank highly for a given keyword. If you create a web page about stamp collecting, when you link to it from other pages on your site, the phrase 'stamp collecting' should be clickable. It's this clickable text that makes a link contextual.

For example, look up two paragraphs and you'll find two links. The first is contextual for the keyword phrase 'contextual link'. As a result, it's delivering some SEO benefit to the web page it links to. The second link isn't contextual.

The main purpose of external inbound contextual links is to obtain link juice, and build PageRank. These advanced SEO concepts are essential, so click the links and find out what they mean. Then take an in-depth look here.

NEW INFO: There's a lot more to inbound links than the contextual link. Take a look at this extensive article on link building for SEO.

4. Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Squidoo

These 6 social media tools make for an excellent marketing team. Here's a quick look at the potential uses for each of these from a search engine optimisation perspective...
  • Blogger:
    You can create a Blog within minutes, and start publishing content immediately. It's a simple way to get content on the web, and start building your reputation. Your blog should have a specific topic based around your primary key word (see point #1 above). You must promote it, and build PageRank for your Blog. Then you can send link juice to your main site.
  • Twitter:
    If you don't have a Twitter account, get one now. Twitter is an excellent way to get visitors to your site. Your aim is to pick up followers, and have them retweet your posts. I've created a page that explains how to build targeted followers and get traffic with Twitter in detail. Spend time with it, and explore the links I've included. This system works really well. I suggest you follow me on Twitter, as I post links to a lot of useful SEO, Internet marketing, lead generation and social media marketing information on my Twitter page.
  • Facebook:
    If you don't have a Facebook account, get one now. Once you're on board, scroll down the left-hand column and click the 'Create a Page for My Business' link. Follow the instructions to build your page. I'm going to explain how to take advantage of this for significant SEO benefit soon, via my own Facebook business page. Click this link, then click the 'Become a Fan' button. I post links to the web's best SEO, Internet marketing, and social media marketing information on that page.
  • Delicious:
    Get yourself a Delicious account, and start posting links to all the pages under your control that offer people in your target market useful information, tools and resources. Watch this video to get ideas on how to use Delicious for SEO link building.
  • StumbleUpon:
    StumbleUpon sends visitors to your site, and can provide SEO benefits as well. Check out my lead generation StumbleUpon page, click the 'friend' button, and sign up (it's free) if you don't already have an account.
  • Squidoo:
    Take a look at the information on this page and find out how to get SEO benefit from your Squidoo page. Then get yourself a Squidoo account and set it up using the information you've found. It's also worth taking another look at my Squidoo page above (the one linked to from the Twitter section).
5. Build your Virtuous SEO Circle

Tools such as Twitter, Blogger, Delicious, Facebook and Squidoo can be used in conjunction with your own site to build a virtuous circle. It's purpose is to help you build PageRank over time, and then let it flow out (via link juice) to other sites in your circle.

It's also a way to maximise the facetime you get with each visitor to your site. They'll eventually leave your site anyway, so why not send them to another of your sites? That way you double your chances of achieving your objective for that visitor (e.g. to capture their contact details).

Here's more information about how to create an SEO virtuous circle, and even more information.

What's Next?

Assuming you've read everything in this Blog entry, and followed the links I've posted, you've taken in a lot of information. Rather than seek out even more (and there is more to learn), I suggest you start practising.

I learned a lot more by trying out ideas than I did by reading about them. Don't get me wrong, obtaining new information is important. So is practical experience. In particular, I find trying out ideas helps me to understand them better. And to establish them firmly in my mind.

One SEO tool I haven't included here is article marketing. If you're good at writing, this is something you definitely need to look into. Click the link and take a look at the article.

It's also well worth requesting the ebook The DIY Guide to SEO. It goes into far more detail than is possible here, including a in-depth and deeply practical explanation of how to build good quality back links. Click the link, and take a look.


Geoff Sewell said...

Awesome article dude. I plan to put these principles to work on my site. I especially liked the Twitter strategy. I've been wondering how to extract marketing value from all my followers!

SEO Chester said...

Great post, these tips will definitely be useful.

Wayne Davies said...

Thanks guys. I'm currently looking at whether or not this strategy works for a wedding entertainment company.

So far, we're getting a lot of other companies that want to sell stuff to brides, but we're not seeing many brides (about 1 in 30).

This may be time-based, and I'm waiting to see if the ratios change over the weekend.

If we don't see more brides, it suggests Twitter may be more useful as a source of visitors for B2B. Or perhaps brides don't currently view Twitter as a source of useful information?

Arnould said...

Awsume article ! iam gonna put this into work:) thanks Wayne.

Wayne Davies said...

Thanks Arnould

Make sure you check out the latest post, which looks at a great use for Twitter (and follows on from the comment 2 above this one).

4little1s said...

Great post. I would also add Stumbleupon to the list also. Generally creats a wide range of traffic though

Wayne Davies said...

Great idea 4little1s. I've added it to the list. I do use StumbleUpon, and can't quite believe I overlooked it. I can't even use the excuse that I have 4 little ones demanding my attention! An excellent website by the way - Baby Nursery Furniture is an excellent example of how it should be done, hence this contextual link containing your main keyword phrase.

Hcbcomm said...

Qualification is the core of any lead generation services.Without good qualification, you risk wasting time and resources both during and after the sales lead generation campaign.

John Mentho said...

I love this article. It provides so much depth, and those links lead to some very valuable resources for SEO. Thank you for doing this.

search engine optimization said...

Thanks for the sharing of such information for search engine optimization, we will post your article. Thanks Jeff search engine optimization

end user experience monitoring said...

great idea for a guide, this kind of thing always helps