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Before I teach you how to do SEO/Search Engine Optimization, I first want to make sure you know exactly what SEO is.

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of ranking a website for keywords that are being typed into online search engines by an organization's target market. A keyword is one or more words in sequence that are primarily used to retrieve information on web search engines. For example, everyday online searchers look to the internet for one of four things:

  1. Information
  2. Education
  3. Products/Services
  4. Socialization

No matter if you sell widgets, post videos to YouTube for ad revenue, or run a blog for moms looking for interesting things to do with children, you want to be found as much as possible by your target market. That is the point of SEO - to maximize your online visibility to those in your targeted audience.

So, let's talk about how to perform proper SEO on your website. After all, SEO is a lot like weight lifting in that:

  • The methods of conducting it more effectively are always evolving
  • There are ways to cheat -- steroids in weight lifting and 'black hat' in SEO -- for short terms gains that will harm and sometimes destroy your efforts in the long term
  • It takes a consistent and deliberate effort
  • While some methods of performing it properly evolve, some basic core concepts will never change -- proper form in weight lifting, and good content (FORA) for SEO -- that will determine your success

So now that we've quickly defined what SEO is along with a tangible metaphor, let's get into some best practices of SEO that will never change. After all, what good is learning about chocolate cake if you can't make it for yourself and eat it? Yeah, it's time to eat some cake and get more customers.

 

SEO Begins with Keywords

So again, keywords are words and phrases people type into search engines to find stuff. People are looking for my stuff, your stuff, his stuff and her stuff. So, people want stuff. So the trick is to find exactly what words and phrases they're typing in to find your stuff because that will determine your keyword strategy.

While that might sound easy - it's not. In fact, selecting the right keywords for a client can be one of the most challenging aspects of an SEO program. This is because there are literally endless possibilities of words that your target market can assemble together that create endless keywords you could use. The trick is realizing which ones will be most valuable, and that means profit.

 

Selecting Keywords

Selecting keywords for your website should include the following steps:

  1. Identify which keywords your top competitors are utilizing using SEMrush.com.
  2. Identify which keywords have been successful at generating new leads thus far by asking those leads what they were searching for.
  3. Research keywords that may be effective for generating more traffic.

While the first two steps are pretty much no-brainers in terms of research execution, selecting keywords of your own for your website might be somewhat challenging. So, follow these steps to assist you in selecting the best types of keywords:

  1. A = What is your geographical scope? List all of the states, counties, town and regions.
  2. X = What is your service and /or product? List them all.
  3. Y = Who is your customer? List them all (for example: small business, middle aged men, moms, etc.)

Now, go to mergewords.com and type 'A' words into column 1, 'X' words into column 2 and 'Y' words into column 3. Then merge the words, and voila! Now you have a good list of keywords you should begin creating a page or post on your site for.

Tip: If you are a tree removal company, your keyword is not "tree removal company." This would mean you'd be competing in search engines with every tree removal company nationwide. Ensure you always have a location in your keyword, such as "Mount Laurel NJ tree removal services."

Obviously the larger the keyword is in terms of the size of the location, the popularity of the product and the size of the target market, the more valuable that keyword will be. For example, the keyword for our homepage is: New Jersey Marketing Company. Your homepage is naturally going to get more SEO juice, so ensure your top 2-3 keywords are listed on it. Also, no other page or posting on your website should be optimized for more than one keyword at a time.

So next, let's talk about how to optimize your pages/posts for your keywords.

 

Optimizing Your Site for Keywords

Now that you've chosen your keywords, next let's build new pages and posts around those keywords, while assimilating new keywords into older pages and posts as well.

So, the best way to optimize a page or blog posting for one of your keywords is to follow this celebrated SEO optimization recipe. We'll use the keyword "SEO Company in NJ" as an example of a good keyword.

Fig 1.1

  1. Use the exact keyword in the Title Tag of page. Try to use it naturally in a short sentence, such as: Looking for an SEO Company in NJ?
  2. Use the exact keyword in your general content one time, again, in sentence form and as naturally as possible. For example: "As a leading SEO company in NJ, we specialize in keyword selection, page optimization, external linking and internet marketing."
  3. Use a slight modification to the keyword in the H1 of the copy. An H1 is the major headline of the page. For example: SEO Services that Grow Your NJ Business.
  4. Embed the keyword in an image used on the page
  5. Use a slight modification of the keyword at least a few times in the content, organically.

Once you've begun optimizing each page of your website for your various keywords, you can now begin optimizing your website externally.

 

External Links and SEO

Do you remember high school? What about how some kids were really popular, and others weren't so popular. So, what was the major difference between the popular kids and the non-popular kids?

Everybody knew the names of the popular kids while nobody spoke much about the unpopular kids.

You didn't have to be a football star, head chess team captain or even the smartest kid in the school to be the most popular, you just needed everyone to know your name. Increasing the SEO ranking of your website is no different.

The more legitimate websites that rank to your website, the higher you website will rank in search engines. While there are some slight nuances to that last statement, the bottom line is the world wide web is just like high school in that the more other websites mention you (link to your site), the more credit search engines give you. After all, the popularity of a page usually determine its usefulness, and therefore Google and Bing will be quick to rank a website for a search term if it believe it will give the best possible response to the searchers query.

However, just like in high school, the more popular the website is that mentions you, the more valuable that link to your site will be.  So obviously a link from Forbes.com will always be more valuable than a link from some local blog.

So the question is, how do you increase the amount of external links you have?

 

Getting External Links

The best way to get external links is by writing good quality content that has the potential to be shared.

If you're just writing generic content to sell your products or celebrate your services, you can expect to get no links from other sites. However, if you're consistently generating fresh, original, relevant and authoritative (FORA) content about timely and historically common issues your target market is facing, you can expect to get enough external links, over time, to rank higher than your competition.

However, while you're composing great content that will eventually be linked to, there are a few ways you can increase the amount of sites that link to yours now:

  1. Ensure you have a listing on every relevant online directory.
  2. Ensure you have Social Media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon.
  3. Always post your content on these pages every time you post. Include relevant hastags to maximize the visibility of your article
  4. Every time you read an online article relevant to your industry, ensure you leave a qualitative comment, as well as a link to your website.

Never buy external links because I guarantee you the person selling them to you is going to use unscrupulous websites that are under Google's radar. The bottom line is if you break Google's rules, your site will be penalized in some way, sooner or later. Criminal go to prison, and unethical websites go to search engine Siberia.

Case Study: In February of 2011, J.C. Penny was caught using unethical SEO techniques to increase the ranking of their website. Despite the fact it had been the fault of the SEO Firm they had hired (SearchDEX), their website was unceremoniously penalized for several months thus harming sales, and share value.

So now that you know great content drives great links which will naturally increase the SEO of your website, let's talk about how to create great content.

 

Creating SEO Content

First of all, I don't want you to think you're generating content on your website just to rank highly on search engines. Instead, I want you to learn how to write content that your potential customers will love, all while ensuring you're practicing the proper fundamentals to get ranked on search engines.

So, here are some basic rules to follow in generating content that your potential customers will love, and search engines will rank:

  1. Follow Fig 1.1 for selecting and optimizing a page/posting around a keyword
  2. Use as many words as necessary to create a valuable article. It might be 50, or 1,000, the point is, worry about the value, not the length.
  3. Remember that your audience may not be as smart as you, so write shorter more simple sentences and paragraphs. Ensure you use bullets when necessary, and always link to outside websites that help establish your point or facts (not a competitor).
  4. If you can link to another page in your site within the body content of your article, and it makes logical sense to do so - do so.

Creating, optimizing and sharing great content for your audience is always going to improve the SEO of your entire website, overall. Consistency is the key, and that means posting as much as possible, or whenever you have something valuable to say. I will say that the more you do it, the better at it you become. Good luck!

Don't compete — DOMINATE.

 

Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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