“So I’ll show up in google now right?” This is a question that I’m commonly asked by clients and the short answer is yes. Unfortunately, it might be page 100. This is especially true for new websites with no page rank (a value search engines try to assign for positioning in search result pages). Also show up in google for what? If someone types in your domain name – yes, no problem, that should be first position result. But still no guarantee of that either. If you’re an attorney that practices family law and someone types “divorce” you are not going to show up on page one. Not for a while at least and not without a lot of online marketing effort.
So what’s a new site owner to do? Well there are a myriad of techniques for promoting your site and gaining page rank. To list a few; search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, article marketing, blogging, email marketing, and pay per click campaigns (sponsored ads). To be effective you should be doing all of these or at least a few at all times.
Lets start with the basics, what you need to do to lay a solid foundation. The first step as site owner is keyword research. This may seem obvious, if you sell cookies, then of course you’re going to put the keyword “cookies” in your site. However, it’s more complicated than that and worth the time to do some research. For example the keyword cookie is going to have a lot of searches per month in google, but it is also going to have lots and lots of competition. Therefore making it tougher for you to show up high in the search results. However the keyword phrase “gluten free chocolate chip cookies” will have less competition and will be easier for you to rank for in search engines. Even though you might want to place #1 for cookies, you’re going to need to set your goals a little lower initially. Start with the low hanging fruit, get some page rank built, get some traffic, push your content everywhere and you will get more traffic. Once you get some traction you can start going after higher competition keywords.
There are free tools to help you figure out what keywords to pursue. If you have a google adwords account you’ll see the keyword tool under “Tools and Analysis.” You’ll type in what you think are the obvious keywords and it will show you how many people are searching it. It will also show you some alternative ideas. In addition to seeing how many people are searching you’ll also need to see how many pages of competition there are for each keyword and from here you’ll start to put together a list of keywords you believe are the easiest to rank for. Here’s a good article that goes further to explain keyword research: http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research
Once you have your keywords what do you do? Well, you put them in your content right? Yes, of course. But where? They should be in the visible content of the your site. They should also be in places such as Page Title (this shows up at the top of your browser, not in the site itself), URL Address i.e.: site.com/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies, towards the top of your page content, alt tags on images, meta description (not to be confused with meta keywords, which is largely ignored) navigation links if possible, etc. Here’s a good article on what to do with the keywords: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/perfecting-keyword-targeting-on-page-optimization
Now that you have your researched keywords in your content you are on the way. Unfortunately, this is not all that is needed for high page rank. Back links (links from other sites to your site) are the next key element needed to increase ranking. You can build back links using the techniques I mentioned at the beginning of the article – blogging, article marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, etc… All of this can seem a bit overwhelming to the small business owner who is already juggling multiple responsibilities. However in today’s world it is increasingly necessary to have an online presence and keyword researching is a good place to start. Figure out what words you’re going after, do you research, implement the on-page techniques and then start expanding to the other techniques.