One battle of many websites is… How do I drive organic search traffic to my site? Another problem with SEO (or search engine optimization for newbies) is that it is very time-consuming. Search Engine Optimization is not something you can do in an hour, it is something that you must dedicate time to every day in order to be truly successful. Here are 10 easy things you can do to get started that don’t take all of the time in the world but will provide almost immediate results in your organic search success.
1. Register your Site with the Mozilla Open Directory Project
The Mozilla Open Directory Project (Dmoz) is one of the several web directories online. Dmoz is great if you can get listed. The site has a Google Page Rank of 8, so it immediately will boost your e-clout. Remember that the more important (i.e. high page rank) and relevant (having to do with your subject matter) a referring site is, the higher your site’s importance becomes.
2. Capitalize on Local Search
If you have a local brick and mortar business (or even if you don’t), list your business with all of the local business guides that you can. Note that a lot of the local listing sites “nofollow” their links (this means it makes the SEO impact negligible, however, posting to these sites can still have a strong impact on traffic. Also, with blended search, your local listing could appear high in the results list near your business location. Several key providers of local listing information are:
- InfoUSA – Directory listing for local businesses. They make money by selling your information to direct marketers. They provide your business information to search engines, the people that make the mapping software for your GPS in your car, and to people using other mobile devices.
- Internet Yellow Pages – Post your information on many internet yellow page sites. The list below are yellow page sites that are free and easy to submit your business information to:
- Submit your site to the search engines’ local search function
One awesome resource to make sure you have all of your listings where they need to be is gMoz Local. You can keep track of what sites you have listed your business on and check your ongoing progress for optimizing for local search.
3. Write a Press Release
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t super easy to do, but, it can pay dividends, especially if your release gets picked up by high ranking news sources. The key to this is to make sure that your release is newsworthy. I will say this again, make sure it is newsworthy or it will not get published.
If there is nothing newsworthy going on in your company, use your expertise in your area to write an article on your industry and cite yourself as an expert. One of my companies has done this before and the article got plastered all over the internet. Just make sure you include a link to your company in the article. Just, please, make sure that the article does not sound like advertising copy. It will not get published or worse, cause a decrease in your credibility. There are several companies on the web that will distribute your press release for a free or negligible cost.
4. Submit your Product Feed to Shopping Search Engines
If you have an e-commerce site, one source of great, focused traffic are shopping comparison engines. You can post your feed for free on various comparison engines including Google, TheFind and ShopWiki. If you don’t mind paying for links, check out Yahoo!’s Service. A link on these pages brings in an enormous amount of traffic. The Yahoo! Merchant Solutions brings in about as much as Google, but the cost can add up.
5. Update your CMS with SEO Plugins
If you are using a CMS (content management system) like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress, there are literally thousands of plugins available. Do a quick Google search and you are sure to find one that plugs in nicely to your CMS. This can do a lot of the hard SEO work for you.
6. Get Rid of the Flash
Flash is tough for search engines. The problem with flash is that it is very graphic intensive and is located on a single URL. The search engines are not good at reading text embedded within images and much less animation. The URL issue can also be a problem for AJAX since the URL stays the same and the search engines cannot try an infinite number of queries to your scripts. The problem with Flash is that it is designed for human consumption and the computers just have a tough time deciphering it. Your best bet, stay away from the flash and try using JQuery effects instead.
True, Google is trying to index Flash now, but doing it well is far off. There are many issues with crawling and indexing Flash sites when the search engine spider can get past all of the animation and graphics. The text is not cleanly sorted. You can’t “deep link” (link to internal pages on your website). It simply is not designed for SEO.
7. Have a Powerful Domain Name
There are several key things that the search engines look at when determining your page’s content. One of the key things is your domain name. Make sure you have a keyword rich domain name to drive in maximum traffic. Also, don’t forget to have strong tags in your documents. Try to make your title tags unique and specific throughout your pages.
8. Post Relative Content to Forums
Participate in forums. Make sure your signature line has a backlink to your site. Also focus on the anchor text (this is the text for the link). The search engines use this anchor text to figure out what your site is all about. One example of the power of anchor text is the “miserable failure” Google bomb. Try searching “miserable failure” in Yahoo! (Google has revised their algorithm) and on the first page of results is a link to George W. Bush’s White House biography. This shows the power of anchor text. Utilize this to your advantage and post relevant content to forums, blogs, social networking sites, etc, and include your keyword strong link. Make sure you do not spam forums. Make your content relevant or your post will be deleted.
9. Get your Link on Relevant Sites
This is an SEO basic. Your site needs to have people linking to it. The search engines see this as a “vote” for your site. The more websites that “vote” for your site, the more relevant and important it seems. One approach to doing this is to request link exchanges from other webmasters. Send an email or use the contact form to talk to related but non-competing websites and ask if they are interested in doing a link exchange. Again, I stress the importance of strong anchor text in your backlinks.
Another approach is to use a technique is to use link baiting to attract links. This is where you post something funny, controversial, interesting, etc, to convince people to link to your site. Be careful about this one though. You need to protect your company image, so don’t do anything too provocative.
10. Stay Away from Link Brokers
If it seems shady, it probably is. Do not pay for backlinks. The search engines know many of the sites that are in the shady business of selling backlinks for SEO purposes. This can actually count against you in search ratings. You need to find legitimate websites that would like to link to your site.
In summary, SEO is a never-ending process. You must always continue to work at it, but over time, the results can be astounding. These are just 10 (relatively) easy ways you can work on improving your ratings. Keep at it!