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Five Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

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Deborah Ager founded ClickWisdom.com which helps organizations use online marketing strategies to attract their ideal clients. She welcomes your visit to her site anytime, where her ongoing newsletter and more marketing tips await your feedback. Deborah can be reached via her site or www.Twitter.com/clickwisdom.

The art and science of SEO
[image Triumph of Arts and Science by SunflowerDave, Creative Commons]

As you may know, search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of creating a website and website content to attract qualified visitors from search engines. This process can include researching keyphrases people search for, increasing links to the site, creating valuable optimized content, restructuring site architecture and tweaking HTML code. The process includes analyzing unique website elements in order to create a content-rich website and a positive experience for people who visit the site.

Why care about SEO?

According to a February 2009 report released by Hitwise, Google receives 72% of searches.

If a search engine finds your site too confusing or can’t read the text, then it may not be able to index all of your content and place it in their index. As a result, you’ll miss out on attracting qualified people to your site.

The hunt for solutions online (and keywords)
People who search the web are looking for a solution to a specific problem. For example, they might search for a bookshelf to organize the stack of books in their office, they want to donate money to get a tax break, or they want a particular kind of coffee or a web designer.

When your keywords are well researched and your website is in the top of the rankings, you are more likely to attract customers who are ready to buy your solutions.

The best part of online marketing is that you have the opportunity to connect with your prospect at the moment they’re ready to buy.

A case study: the value of optimization
A client’s website appeared in the rankings for one of their ‘key phrases’ at position 17 (my client was a professional speaker). Speaking bureaus, which take a percentage of speaking fees, contained positions 1 and 2 for this particular keyphrase. And other competitors held the top two positions for keywords 2 and 3.

My client really needed to place better in these critical keyword rankings. They needed to optimize their site. Because when my client’s website was not optimized, potential clients called speaking bureaus instead of calling my client directly; that resulted in less revenue! For keywords 2 and 3, potential clients visited competitor websites over my client as well.

Toward much better search rankings
After implementing the steps outlined below, in addition to more advanced techniques, the website rose into the top two rankings in Google.

Result: Clients started to call and hire the client directly and more revenue was earned by my client.

5 Simple SEO Steps You Can Take Now
These steps include basic SEO strategy and don’t include all you need
to do to achieve top rankings. However, these steps will give you a
solid start to achieving the rankings you want.

  • 1. Headlines.
    Use an H tag, and use your keywords in those tags. An “H” tag is called the “header” tag in HTML and is often used around headlines and subheadlines.
  • 2. Write for people and not for search engines.Use your keyphrases in a natural way. If you offer a good product and quality content, you’ll increase your chances of getting a high ranking and attracting customers.
  • 3. Write articles.
    When you publish articles on other sites – such as
    EzineArticles – you can receive quality links back to your site. That
    attracts search engine robots to your website and gives them a chance
    to index your content.
  • 4. Use your main keyword phrase in the first paragraph.You don’t need to use the phrase over and over. Minimal usage of the phrase will still work. If you have a site on vintage engagement rings, you might start a paragraph with: “Not sure about that vintage engagement ring Great Aunt Minnie gave you?” The keyphrase should be used naturally and not sound awkward, or you risk turning off your visitors.
  • 5. Use internal links.
    These are links from one of your website’s pages to another page on the website. For example, you might write an article about red shoes and mention blue shoes in the text. Make the term “blue shoes” a link to a page that discusses blue shoes, and you’ll help search engine robots correctly classify your site’s subject matter.

While it’s easy to want to optimize a site for the search engines only, I suggest being aware of who you want to attract to your site — and then create a positive experience for those visitors.

Whenever you decide to make changes to your site, ask yourself what your target market will think.

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    1. Thank you for your wonderful article. I'm always looking for ways to better my SEO. I am going to take your advice, especially point #3. Writing articles and getting quality backlinks!

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    2. Hi Fred,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. In addition to EzineArticles, HubPages.com is a good place to post articles with links back to your site.

      Cheers,
      Deborah Ager

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    3. Hi Deborah,
      Good seo points and I agree with them but I would change:
      Write for people and not for search engines.
      To:
      Write for people but with search search engines in mind.
      I think first you write for people, then you go back and make sure your keywords phrases are in it (or insert them), but make sure it still reads naturally. I'm not sure if there's a difference, but I think a lot of writers forget about or ignore the search engines… and one really needs to cater to both (people and machines) if you want to rank, and then be read.
      Steve Booth

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    4. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, we should always write with both search engines and humans in mind. I appreciate you making sure readers understand that.

      All the best,
      Deborah Ager

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    5. @ Steve, I do the same thing. When I write, I always write for people first, then go back and add my keywords for the search engines. That way its a perfect blend of readability and optimization.

      @Deborah, These are great search engine ranking tips. Vertical Measures has some free onsite SEO tutorial videos to help people gauge whether or not their site is optimized and if not, how to fix it. The videos walk people through the 5 SEO tips you mentioned, like how to look at their headings to see if they are using the H1 tag. They're great for people that don't have a lot of coding experience.

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    6. Don't forget to localize, as well…if you're content or keywords are peculiar to a certain place, region, city, etc…be sure to include the name of that place in proximity to some of the keywords…

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    7. Thanks for this useful article… It is really helpful to everybody especially to a newbie in this field like me… Great article.. Keep posting…

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    9. I am glad to talk with you and you give me great help! Thanks for that,I am wonderring if I can contact you via email when I meet problems.

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    10. this is my view power leveling

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    11. You'll need to take steps to make sure your site isn't just … can go a long way toward helping improve your rankings and search traffic. …

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