Here’s the scenario: you’ve just launched a new web site, now you need to get some visitors.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your site, including but not limited to:
- Tell people you know to go there
- Put your web site address on all your marketing materials
- Work on getting your site indexed and ranked in popular search engines
In this article, I’ll focus on getting you jump started with Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO. You might find it worthwhile to hire a professional to aid in your own SEO efforts, but there are a few things you can do on your own to give your site a chance in search engine rankings.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is the process of “optimizing” your web site so that it ranks well for specific keyword searches in various search engines. Sounds simple enough, but it gets complex very quickly. I won’t bother with the complexities in this article. Instead, I will focus on the simple things you can do to “optimize” your own web site.
SEO Requires Time and Patience
Improving your search engine ranking doesn’t happen overnight. The first thing that you need to know as a do-it-yourself search engine optimizer is that you’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort to reach your goals. If it does turn out to be easy, then great! But, most of the time you need to work hard to improve your rankings over a period of time.
Write Keyword Rich Content Frequently
This is the most important base of SEO. Without good keyword rich content on your web site you will struggle to get your site ranked at all. When writing pages and articles for your web site, concentrate on using the keywords that you want to get ranked for. Think about it, if you don’t use the words and phrases that people will use to search for your site. you instantly have a huge roadblock.
In addition to having content on your site that focuses on your keywords, add new content using those keywords frequently. Search engines (and your site visitors) love new content.
Get Links TO Your Web Site
Another VERY important aspect to SEO is link building. Link building takes time, but will pay dividends. Google, for example, looks at the number of links TO your site from other sites with similar content and will adjust your rankings based on the quality and number of links TO your web site.
Google pretty much figures that if others are linking to your site, the content must be worth reading.
How can you build links? The easiest do-it-yourself way is to go out on the web and find Web Forums, Blogs, and Directories related to your site topic. Once you find these sites:
- Participate in the forums and get involved with discussions, while putting links to your web site in your forum signature.
- Post comments on blogs and leave links back to your web site.
- Submit your site to directories that focus on topics similar to your web site.
All three of these methods will take time. If you’re not willing to put in the time to build links back to your site, your SEO efforts may be in vain. If you don’t have time to do these things, hire somebody to do them for you.
What You Need To Know To “Do SEO”
To “Do SEO” yourself, start with the link building and content writing. You really don’t need to be a web designer or developer to do these things.
Hire a web professional to add content to your site after you have written it, or to optimize the code of your site if you need to. When having your web site developed initially, tell the developers that you are concerned about SEO and if they are worth their salt, they will be able to:
- Add proper meta tags
- Code the site with SEO friendly HTML tags and content structure (tell them to use heading tags)
- Overall, create a good code-base for your site so that when you start to add content and build links, you won’t need to worry too much about optimizing the site code anymore.
Hiring a Professional
Even though a person that is not a web professional is capable of doing some of the very important aspects of SEO, it might be best to hire a professional even if only for the purpose of having somebody to consult with and provide guidance. The web professional doesn’t need to do everything for you, but will provide you with insight to make your efforts more worthwhile.
Now Get Out There!
Now that you know what you need to do to do-it-yourself, go out there and:
- Start adding more content to your web site
- Get involved with web communities and forums
- Find some blogs related to your topic and do some reading and commenting
- Find some directories and submit your web site
With time and patience, you’ll see your natural search engine rankings climb!