Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to Start SEO and Increase Web Traffic - Using Keywords

Submissions & Keywords

Many small business owners know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps generate traffic to their websites. They even know that they need to start doing it for their own website. But how?

You can always hire someone to do optimization for you but what if you don't have the budget for it? What if you want to do something yourself? Below are some basic tips of how to get started. Unfortunately, SEO takes time, spanning weeks and months. It's something you have to keep working at. Some of these tips will get you started but some should be worked on every week. Set aside an hour or two each week on your calendar. Pick a day you know won't be filled with constant interruptions, maybe even on a weekend.

If your website is up and running you need to make sure you have the following in place. Some may have already been done by your web designer so check with him or her first so you don't duplicate steps.

1. Submit your Web site name to Google, Yahoo Search and MSN
2. Submit to directories DMOZ, Yahoo Directory (Yahoo requires a fee)

There are many ways to increase your traffic and get the search engines to give you better placement, for now I will stick to the essentials.

Keywords are used to categorize your site by search engines. Then the search engines share your site when those words or phrases are searched. You want to make sure you are using the right keywords on your site's copy and in its meta tags. Meta Tags are a a few lines of html code that explain your site's title, description and keywords to the search engines.

First you need to figure out which keywords or keyword phrases are relevant to your business and searched often by people. Many you may be able to guess. Think about what you would type into Google if you were going to look for your products or services. Start creating a list of these words and phrases.

If your site has been up for a while and gets a regular stream of traffic you can use the traffic reports from your site. Better yet use an analytics tool, some are free like Google Analytics, to see what keywords are bringing in the most traffic for your site. Setting it up is easy. You sign up with Google and it gives you a tracking code. Then either you or your web designer just need to paste the code into the website. If you have access to a content management system or are using a system like Wordpress this shouldn't be too hard. Just follow Google's instructions. Once active see what keywords bring in the most traffic.

Another way is to use Google AdWords' new Search-based Keyword Tool (also free). After you sign up with Google and sign-in you can type in your Website address, add a few words that you think would work and Google will give you more suggestions. They will also tell you how many people search for those words per month, if your competition is buying those words for search engine marketing (SEM, or paid search marketing) advertising and how much it costs.This is helpful to determine what will work for you.

Since you are a small business you may not be able to compete with large companies that are always optimizing their site's keywords and appear at the top of searches for popular phrases. Instead you want to find your niche, an area that isn't extremely popular or competitive and then you want to be strong with those keywords.

Look for words that have:

* A high volume of searches on it
* A high relevance to your site
* Low competition

Add these words to your list, to the copy on your site and to your meta tags to help optimize it for search engines. This will help build traffic. Remember it takes time for you to do all of this and time before the search engines go through all your new keywords, sometimes a few months. So be patient. But remember you'll save in the end by not having to pay someone.

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1 comment:

Justin Brooke said...

Site submissions to many directories like Yahoo will certainly help in the campaign of the website. And coupled with the proper use of keywords, then you get the right mix.