One of the things we get asked a lot by business owners is “How do I get my website to rank well in Google searches.”

I typically respond with “It’s kinda complicated, but here’s the basics…”

So, here’s that “basics” schpeel for those out there still wondering.

This is a large conversation that all falls under the umbrella of “Online marketing.” Online marketing is composed of three main subsets in my mind: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) , Link Building, and Paid Advertising. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to focus on each of these three areas.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO can be broken down into two things:

Making sure your website contains the key phrases that people will be searching for on a search engine Making sure those key phrases are in the right places

Come up with a list of key phrases that should land a potential client or customer to your site. Go ahead…I’ll wait. You may come up with 10-20, if you’re good. Now we need to multiply that by ten 🙂 Think like a layperson. You may need to include terms that aren’t really accurate but they are what the general population might think to search on. Now think like an expert…a person in a desperate situation that may need your product or service right this second (Think emergency 24-hour plumber). Now look at your competitor’s websites. Notice any key phrases being mentioned that you didn’t think of? Try viewing the source of their site and look for key words in META tags, the title, or as ALT names for images. Now pull out a thesaurus and come up with alternate synonyms for your words or concepts. Now plug in some adjectives that describe your terms like “free” or “best” or “cheap” or “friendly.” Now think of geographical names for areas you marks to. Now mix and match all of the above. Your list ought to be rolling now. Note, there are tons of tools on the web that help with combining phrases or identifying new ones.

Getting keywords in the right places may mean checking with your web designer, but basically, it means putting them in body copy, headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.), in the page title, as ALT tags on images, in TITLE tags for links, lists, in bold and italic. Also, put absolute links on your pages to other pages on your site and make sure each page of your site uses different keywords in the title and META tags. Many people use the same info for all pages and that is not ideal. Also, you may need to create “Landing pages” which are pages dedicated to talk about a particular group of related key phrases. You can’t optimize one page for all key words, so creating these landing pages is a must. And it’s not a bad ideal to link directly to these landing pages when linking elsewhere to your site, if you are referring to these key phrases. That would be called “Deep linking’ and it’s a good idea to link to specific pages when possible rather than your home page. It means more relevancy, and that is what search engines are after.

So now you should have a bunch of key phrases and your website should be optimized for those phrases. Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll discuss link building!

By: Daniel Trimpey

About the Author:

Daniel Trimpey is the president of Page Progressive, a web design company in Raleigh, NC that specializes in search engine optimization.

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