Search Engine Rankings For Beginners


by Niall Roche

Search engine optimization is best left in the mystical land of the Internet Marketing Guru right? Good Search engine rankings are tough to achieve. Understanding search engine marketing takes years of studying and only people with true insider knowledge and secret tools rank well in Google right? WRONG. Pure crap as a matter of fact.

Ranking well in the search engines is not difficult. In fact search engine optimization is relatively easy. What stops most people from ranking well in search engines is misinformation. Every week there's yet another quick fix to ranking well in search engines and people jump from one quick fix to the next hoping for that Top 10 position in Google and never achieving it.

There are 6 key areas of search engine optimization that you need to know about. These are the basics. Getting these right will help you achieve the Google rankings that you've always wanted.

Domain Name - The jury is still out on the how relevant a keyword rich domain name is. What I mean by keyword rich domain name is say for example your site was going to be about money making ideas then an ideal domain name could be either http://www.moneymakingideas.com or http://www.money-making-ideas.com. My own personal preference is with the hyphenated approach e.g. http://www.money-making- ideas.com simply because I believe that search engines can "read" it more easily. To register your domain name I would suggest using either 000Domains.com or GoDaddy.com

Content - Useful content. Not keyword stuffed, spammy pages. Write something useful for your visitors. If you can't write then you'll need to learn. Content is what keeps people coming back to your site. It's a simple equation.

Content = Traffic. Traffic = Sales.

Turn Words Into Traffic is a great resource for learning how to write content and is a resource that I use personally. Turn Words Into Traffic gives you an A-Z on article writing - from a writers perspective.

Keywords - Keywords are the words or phrases that you expect people to search for your site/service/content with. There are two distinct factors to consider when choosing keywords for your site.

  1. You need to target specific keywords. For example if you have a website about dating then you'll probably find it quite difficult to achieve high search engine rankings initially with that single term. However if you were to refine an area of your site to target say Gay & Lesbian Dating that's more specific. You could also regionalize your keywords or key phrases e.g. Gay & Lesbian dating in Toronto. This refining process is often referred to as niche marketing.
  2. You need to choose the keywords that you want people to find your site with. Put yourself in your visitors shoes - think about what they might use to find you in the search engines. What keywords or key phrases would you type into a search engine to find your site? What keywords or key phrases would your potential visitor use to search for you? Always, always think like a typical websurfer.

If you're interested in seeing what people are searching for on the web and how profitable that might be for you I would recommend that you check out Good Keywords. It's free and does a wonderful job of helping you find good keywords. Good keywords is reviewed on my site.

I would also suggest that you try Wordtracker. It's a brilliant service for tracking down specific, popular keywords. It's a paid service but worth every penny.

Keyword density - This is how often your keyword is used on the the page itself. For example if you have 100 words of text on a single page and you mention your keyword 5 times thenyou have 5% keyword density.

Opinions vary on this but anywhere from 1% - 7% is considered ideal. If this doesn't make sense to you then it's ok. The simple rule is this: less is more. Do not alter the text on your webpages to include your keyword over and over again because......well.... it looks stupid, won't instill any confidence in your prospective customer and might also get you penalized or removed from the search engines. A tip on achieving good keyword density is to write "organically". Imagine you're writing the informationfor a friend. Keyword density "flows" from writing content in that frame of mind.

Page title - Your <TITLE> tag is critical to your page being ranked well. Stuffing your <TITLE> tag with keywords in the hope of ranking well is pointless. Your <TITLE> tag, once constructed properly, will see you moving up the search engine rankings quickly. Bear this simple fact in mind when building your websites and it will serve you well.

Links - Having good links pointing to your site and good links within your site (an often overlooked aspect of search engine optimization) is pretty important as far as search engine ranking goes. Having other sites linking to yours proves the importance of your site to the search engines i.e. if the content on your site is so valuable that other site owners want to link to it then it must be important.

META Keyword Tag - Meta tags are dead baby. Well not quite dead but they are only used as a point of reference for search engines. It's a shame to see websites that have their META tags still stuffed with keywords. It's pointless. Put your primary keywords in the Meta Keyword part of your webpage but apart from that don't lose any sleep or waste any energy on them.

META Description Tag - this is used by many search engines for the text it displays directly beneath your website link and is therefore pretty important from catching a potential visitors attention. Make sure your Meta Description tag is 50 characters or more in length and that it contains the primary keywords that youwant to target. DO NOT stuff the META Description tag full of keywords.

There's not enough space in this article to explain all of the above in the detail that I'd love to. Also I'm not a search engine expert so some of the explanation is best left to those that I learned from (Sean Burns take a bow!)

Having learned the basics of search engine optimization and submission I have achieved Top 10 Rankings for all of my websites. It's not hard to do this. It just takes work, a little patience and a little common sense.

Recommended reading:

Rankings Revealed - reviewed on http://www.affiliate-advocate.com



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