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Search Engine Optimization

(cont'd)

Google's 'One Site, One Vote' Rule
Google awards a lot less weight to a link to your site if that link is on a page with lots of other links. That's why so-called 'link farming' doesn't work. Ideally, you want a link to your site from a page that includes relevant content and not that many other outgoing links.

Step 5. Submit your site. Many search engines, Google included, allow you to submit your site for free. Generally you can submit your home page and let the search engine crawl the rest of your site. Some directories and engines offer paid 'express' services, and some, like Teoma, require that you pay for URL submission. Which engines you choose depends on your budget and campaign.

Step 6. Review, Revise, and Keep Going. Think you're done? Wrong -- search engine optimization is an ongoing project. At least once per month, review your rankings, site traffic reports and link popularity and tweak your site as necessary. The tools you need to measure results are:

  • Site traffic reports. Any web hosting company should provide you with a web site traffic report, and almost all of the reporting tools in use today provide a 'referrals from search engines' section. Take a look at this section for a good measure of campaign results.

  • Link counts. Use the link: command on Google (see above) to determine your link popularity.

  • Your keyword list. Search on the relevant search engines to see if your ranking has improved.

  • Your brain. You have to interpret what you see, and decide whether changes are warranted. There's no hard and fast rule for this, and no magic formula. Sorry about that...

So now you'll get instant results, right? Well, not quite...


A Word About Expectations

Search engine optimization can take time. Even Google only refreshes its entire index once a month, so don't expect instant results.

If your first registration run doesn't generate increased rankings within a month or two, don't panic. Look at your site traffic and search on the keywords you chose. Make sure that the search engine you're checking actually includes your site, too -- most likely the bots just haven't gotten around to 'crawling' your site.

Still stumped? Find a professional. Sure, we cost money. But you may have missed something about your site that's preventing a good keyword rank, and a second set of eyes can help.


A Solid Marketing Strategy

Obviously, Search Engine Optimization is a big job. But nothing can send more traffic to your site, for lower per-click cost. If you follow the basic steps, and keep at it, you will definitely get results. What's really, really important is to make sure you don't award too much weight to one step (such as link popularity) at the expense of the others. A well-rounded campaign will provide solid, long-term results.

What about pay per click?
Pay-per-click services, such as Overture and Google Adwords, are very different animals. If you've done your keyword analysis you're halfway there, but there are other tasks. I've not talked about them in this article because, well, they need an article of their own. Check back soon...

About the Author
Ian Lurie is an Internet marketer in Seattle, WA. He started his web design and marketing firm, Portent Interactive, in 1995. Portent offers complete Internet marketing support, including search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, and web design and development. Recent projects include SEO and production for www.princesslodges.com, SEO, marketing strategy, design and production for www.dessy.com, and, on the more whimsical side, frida.filmateria.com. Ian has a law degree from UCLA and has successfully avoided practicing law for almost ten years.

Thank you to Elisabeth Archambault, who contributed insights to this article based on her experiences as owner of
BuckWorks Online Shopping Directory. Her article on Building Reciprocal Links is a useful introduction to the topic of building link popularity.
 

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