Search engines and their algorythms are constantly changing. So the exact rules for being found by the search engines are not known, but here are also some old mainstays that don’t really change.
SEO is Simple – My Rules
Rule 1 – Have good navigation that search engines (and humans) can read and follow
- If they don’t know it’s there how can they see it?
Rule 2 – Have good content and keep adding more.
- The first thing I say is to have something that people actually want to see or use.
Simple rule, but often ignored.
- Then, letting your visitors speak about your content adds new content and more value.
Rule 3 – You need to have other, preferably high ranking sites link to you.
- Same thing. Give people (not search engines) what they want to see so they will want link to you.
Then help them do it. Pay walls are death!
Social network sites, like facebook and Twitter are a really great way to add high ranking links to your site and also attract good conversation. It’s important to remember that they own your conversation when it’s on their site. Conversation on your own site then becomes much more valuable for you, so it’s best to try to direct people there. First to publish many times is seen as the *owner* by Google.
My Rules For Good Conversation
- First and most important is admit when you are wrong.
Try to fix your mistake as best you can and move on.
- Don’t try to censor criticism. Answer it!
- Add value to the conversation.
Keep the self promotion to a minimum.
Let your fans promote you
- There are programs to plug your blog into social networking sites. Publish your own content on your own site first. You are viewed as the owner of the content and it helps encourage conversation on your site.
- Some people ask me about planning a viral campaign, video or email.
The answer is, it’s really hard to do. The best ones usually just happen, but if you don’t put something out there to be shared, it guaranteed won’t ever happen.
- To recap, be yourself and listen well
- read more
I found this list of Free SEO tools. I have tried many of them before and there are many others that I haven’t tried yet, but will.
I do recommend bookmarking this post on Investintech and at least having a look at all of the tools.
Whenever I go somewhere and talk about my work the question that gets asked first and most often is “how do I get to the top of the Google search results page?” Many times I’ll foolishly attempt a quick answer, which almost always leads to many more questions.
Well, who better to ask these questions to than Google? On their blog last fall Google published an SEO Started Guide. It covers pretty much every question that a newbie as well as veteran web promoter will ask regarding promoting their site on Google.
Lately I’ve been passing this link on to everyone who’s interested.
One of the best ways to move your site up the search engine results page for your keywords is to have incoming links from outside websites. The higher ranking and more authoritative these sites are the better it is for you.
The problem that people and companies with new sites run into is how to get these popular sites to link to them. Unless you are already a household name there are few authoritative sites that will easily share their “link juice” with an unknown, right?
That’s not necessarily true. I was reading a post today by Dana Larson on the Online Marketing Blog called 5 Link Building Tips for New Websites. It offers some great ideas on where a new site owner can get links from authoritative sites that will help you get started.
The post and commenters had some good ideas that you should check out, but it also made me think of some more. For example
- If you have an account on a social networking site like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. you can easily get a link to your site from there. While it’s true that most of their content is locked up behind your password and Google can’t read it, if you have a link to your site on your profile page and select “make it available to everyone”, you have a link to your website from some of the highest ranking sites there are today.
- If you belong to a group like a networking group, or a professional group many of them will give you a link as well.
There has been quite a bit written and talked about lately about an “SEO Bubble” and how long that search engine optimization will remain viable. One of the best posts that I’ve read recently is on a blog called Conversation Marketing.
The issues that seem to be of the most concern is that SEO is pretty simple and that site owners will be doing it themselves, much more than will it go away. I don’t believe that SEO will go away, because if it’s done well it is one the best and most economical ways to bring customers to your site. Even with all of the phoney, fly by night “SEO Experts” out there, most people will learn the difference between good work and bad.
The main concern that has really benn there for quite a while now is that it will move “in house” and individual shops will not have any customers. My feeling here is that while SEO is simple, if done well it’s also quite a bit of hard work. Even is all of the site owners out there know everything about it (still a huge IF) there will be plenty that just would rather pay someone else to do the work well.
It seems that a person named Jason Gambert is trying to trademark the term “SEO”.
There is no reason to believe that he will be able to accomplish this, but I have seen some strange things come out of our courts.
I got an email the other day from a company in India that wanted my SEO business. I don’t think that they read my site, but they talked to me about link building and I don’t write about that much so maybe they did. They contacted me through my email form so what they sent wasn’t officially Spam, but it sure read like a form letter and if I got it through the regular email I would have considered it junk.
Their claim to “AMAZE you with our work” and mentioning several times their “ETHICAL LINK building process” and “white hat technique” got me curious so I wrote to them and asked them exactly how they planned to do that.
They told me that they wanted 50% up front and before the other half was to be paid they would send me a “report of the confirmed links”. They sent me a lot of other information about how their “One Way Links will help to achieve Top 10 ranks in Google, Yahoo & MSN” and sent a price list, but still no mention of how they got the links that they claim would be so beneficial to my site. While I don’t argue that getting relevant inbound links to my site will help in my rankings, being labeled as a spammer may get me in trouble (like with so much of the crap that I fight against being posted here in this blog).
So I Googled this company. I tried several keyword terms that they claimed to help me with like “Search Engine Optimization”, “SEO services”, “link building packages” and more and couldn’t find them anywhere (surprise, surprise). The keyword terms were all pretty competitive ones so I tried to find them for their name (not mentioned here) and I went back 25 pages. Still nothing!
I am thinking that if you can’t be found for your own name and your site is more than a couple of days old you must have done something bad not to be on the search engine results.
To read more about shopping for SEO services there’s a good post on the Wordpreneur site
You have optimized your site and gotten very good natural rankings for the keywords that you have targeted. Now What?
My customer All America Roadside Assistance is now #3 on Google for “roadside assistance” (their most popular keyword).
While there is no guarantee that they will stay there, I was thinking that they are at a point where they could stop paying for that keyword and find new keywords that they don’t rank as well naturally for.
They could also consider many other choices including to stop paying for keywords completely.
The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work and you go back to where you are now.
Let me know what you think.
I am continuously amazed by people that I talk to that expect me to wave a magic wand and make their site number one on Google for the keyword(s) of their choice. They don’t seem to understand that if I could magically make them number one that everyone else could do the same thing and their reign at the top position would last only until one of their competitors waved their wand.
It also surprises me that folks who wouldn’t pay a plumber, auto mechanic or electrician without knowing before hand exactly what they were going to do along with how much it will cost who will hire people or companies to optimize their sites without any clue as to what they are going to do and only vague expectations for the results.
It may be time to review your SEO efforts and if you don’t know what they are you should find out. To accurately assess what you are paying for you need to know where you were, where you are now, how you got there and where you are going. If your SEO company can’t or won’t answer these questions completely maybe it’s time to consider someone else.
I have written many times before about using tricks to get your site to the top of the search engines.
See this, or just search this blog for SEO.
I believe that it’s always harder, but better to do it right.
I read last week about the CEO of Traffic Power getting jail time and again today on Google’s Matt Cutts blog. Matt makes a very good point that if someone is willing to take any measure, including shady ones, to get you to the top of the search engine results pages who knows what other unscrupulous things they are willing to do.
There can be good money in SEO both for the site owner and the SEO company so there will probably always be snake oil salesmen. I think that I find fewer of the “bad guys” these days and that’s a good thing for everyone.