Today let’s talk a little about SEO or search engine optimization. Have you heard of this term yet? Well, if you’re into internet marketing, you should’ve at least encountered it once. What is it for, you ask? It’s to optimize your website to appear on the first page of a search engine’s search results without having to pay for it.The truth is, everybody and their dogs are competing to be included in the first page of search results. This almost guarantees better traffic to their sites, which might translate to better sales and exposure.
For example, if you were to type a certain keyword on Google, the first page results would typically be the ones you’d click on, right? Truth of the matter is, it’s uncommon that anybody would search past page 1, unless Google returns sites that aren’t the ones you were searching for, which could be a case of you not typing in the right search phrase, most probably.
For the most part though, nobody goes past page 1 of search results, so that’s where you want to be, if you were gunning for targeted traffic based on whatever keyword you’re aiming for. Let’s talk about what a keyword is.
Keyword – this is the word or phrase that defines your market. Say that you have a website dedicated to dog shampoos. Then your keyword would be “dog shampoo” or “shampoo for dogs”. What you want then is that when people type that keyword on Google (or any other search engine), your website would appear on first page, preferably the top 5 sites listed. Admittedly, you can PAY Google to advertise your site on the first page (called PPC or pay per click), but if you’re not careful, that can quickly empty your budget, especially if people don’t patronize your product(s). Simply, you would want to be on the first page of Google, listed organically, as compared to paying. This would be pretty easy if you didn’t have competition, right? But what are the odds of that? So, what you need to do is to go for keywords that are not too competitive, AND optimize your site for the search engines.
First things first: Keyword research
Okay, so you need to do keyword research. That means a couple of things:
1. Scope out your competition. When you search Google for your targeted keyword(s), look at the first 5-10 sites that come up in the organic listing. Look at their products, etc. But the real reason for this is, we want to check their backlinks. So list down the websites’ URL (www.competitor.com) then back on Google, type (without the quotes) “link:www.competitor.com”. This will then show you results of other webpages that have linked back to your competitors’ pages. By now, you should be familiar with backlinks. In other words, this result will tell you your competitor’s backlinks. When you have a list of those sites, you can then work on getting those as your site’s backlinks as well.
2. Get a piece of paper (or use Notepad), write down synonyms, phrases that have to do with your targeted keywords. Think like your customer, and anticipate what they would search for that has something to do with your keywords. Decide on one main keyphrase, then two or three supplemental keyphrases.
3. Start the actual research. Look for Google Adwords and sign up. This is actually Google’s PPC business, but don’t worry, you’re not going to pay for an ad campaign; you’re just going to use their free keyword research tool. Once you’re finished with the sign-up process, go to “Keyword and Tools” then “Keyword Tool.” Put in your keywords and you will then see important information that may help you decide on what keywords to actually use. Pay special attention to “Competition”, “Global Monthly Searches” and “Local Monthly Searches.” Choose keywords that are less competitive but are still relevant to your market. There are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube that you can refer to to help you understand this data.
Once you’ve decided on your keywords, it’s time to start the actual SEO.