One of the most common questions that Internet marketers have is how to improve search engine ranking for their websites. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the marketers are new to the Internet, or seasoned veterans. The lure of free search engine traffic is strong, and the secret to high rankings is mysterious.
Part of the problem with improving search engine ranking is that the techniques that work well one year, don’t seem to work well the next year. As a result, search engine optimization is a moving target. If your strategy is not right on the money, your website simply never receives any visitors.
However, there is a straightforward way to improve search engine ranking.
It combines “evergreen” strategies – that is, strategic elements that have always worked well and will continue to work well – with the latest twists that Google, Yahoo and MSN are looking for.
First, remember that the purpose of search engines is to return useful, relevant results for keywords that are searched-for. Always remember that. Anything that deviates from providing this fundamental element of value will ultimately be defeated by the search engines.
So, how does the search engine determine what pages to display?
The first thing to consider is what keywords are being searched-for. If search results are displayed as a result of keywords being typed in to the engines, then it stands to reason that creating your pages around certain profitable keywords is vital in order to appear in the search results.
So, step 1 is to find a list of keywords that your customers are typing in to the search engines. You then need to go through that list and choose only the keywords that have a relatively small number of competing websites. (Like under 1000, and certainly not more than 100,000).
Step 2 is to subdivide your keyword list into groups of keywords that are all thematically related. That is, that all match a certain theme. This is one of the newest elements that search engines are looking for now: strong theme relevance. So, having small sub-groups of keywords related to certain themes is vital.
The next thing to consider is the content on the web pages. We already know that the pages have to be created around certain keywords. Ideally, one main keyword should set the “theme” for each page. However, the content on that page needs to provide some value.
The content needs to be something the search engines would be “proud” to return in their list of results. That may sound corny, but the truth is that weak content or content that is automatically-generated or stolen from other websites tends to make the search engines look bad. And when they look bad, they lose visitors, and that’s bad for business. So they are going to be motivated to get rid of weak content in their results list.
So, step 3 is to create a website with good content, but one that is constructed carefully in order to preserve the “theme” of each page. In other words, when you create your website, the main index page should link to a small number (like less than 10) main theme pages, and each of those pages should link to some number of thematically-related pages (from the sort of keywords we discussed in step 2). Each of those thematically-related pages can link to each other or another one of the same theme.
At all times, the theme must be kept “clean”. That is, there should not be any links on any of those pages to pages that are not in the established theme. If you do link out to non-theme-related pages, these links dilute the strength of the theme and this causes your search engine ranking to suffer.
Finally, step 4 is to gather inbound links to your main theme pages from reputable, relevant websites. Link exchanges are somewhat useful (although reciprocal (2-way) links are less useful than they once were), but one-way inbound links are idea.
You can get inbound one-way links in a number of ways, but three exceptionally useful ways are by writing and distributing articles with links to your theme pages, by creating and submitting press releases with links to your theme pages, and by submitting your website to directories.
And that’s all there is to it. There are really only those four steps to be concerned with, and they are not terribly mysterious.
Let me quickly recap:
Step 1 – Find keywords that are not too competitive
Step 2 – Subdivide keywords into theme groups
Step 3 – Create website with good content and theme-focused linking
Step 4 – Gather inbound links to your theme pages
That really is the extent of it, and it really does work. When you set out to improve search engine ranking, the most important thing is that you get started. Plan your strategy according to the four steps we discussed here, but then get started. It takes a bit of time before the search engines index your site, but when they do you’ll be delighted with the steady flow of free traffic to your website.