January 14, 2012

How do I get my website to come up on top of the search engines?

That is one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked by clients.

The truth is, it’s not easy. With millions of websites on the internet right now and thousands being added each month, everyone is striving to do the same – to come up in the first spot (or on the first page).

In reality there are only 2 ways you can come up on top:

  1. Set up a pay per click advertising campaign, such as Google Adwords.
  2. Optimize your website for keywords (also know as Search Engine Optimisation)

Keywords

Before you embark on either of these marketing methods, you need to understand about keywords.

Keywords or key phrases are the words that visitors type into a search engine to find a service or product. The best keywords are those that are commonly typed in by your potential customers, but which aren’t used much on your competitor’s websites. In other words, if you optimize your pages for keywords your potential customers use a lot, but your competitors haven’t thought of, you win. But here’s the catch…you’ll never get to know which are the best keywords for your website simply by guessing.

There are many tools you can use to find what keywords people are using, including Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool.

If you are serious about finding the perfect keywords, I would recommend calling and SEO professional like we have on staff here at I Just Want A Site. There are a lot subtle nuances like competition, number of searches, and combinations of words called keyword clusters. (In other words, there is no “guessing” when you use an SEO professional. Everything is based on research and expert level intelligence.)

Best of all, they will help you to find those “best keywords” – the ones your potential customers use, but which your competitors don’t know about. Once you have identified the best keywords, you can either run a pay per click marketing campaign or optimize your website for search engines.

Pay per click

Pay per click advertising is when an advertiser (you) pays for each qualified click that sends a search engine user to your web page. PPC requires you to bid on keywords or phrases that relate to your business. The best known pay per click services are Google AdWords and Overture. Generally you can bid from as little as a few cents per visitor. However, the more you bid the higher up in the search engine your advertisement will appear. Pay per click is a great way to deliver targeted and qualified visitors to your website at a very reasonable price.

It is a good idea to experiment with different PPC campaigns to find the one that works best for you. You will need to spend time and money testing your keywords and ads especially in the first few months. However, PPC advertising can be a quick way to get results in the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engines prefer to list sites that contain good content. In order to rank high you need to create a website that has maximum content and which uses lots of relevant keywords to your service and products.

Once you decide on the keywords, use them in:

  • Your website’s domain name
  • The title of your page – This is displayed in the top bar of your browser window
  • The heading of your home page
  • The first paragraph of your home page
  • Meta tags – Keywords, page title, description
  • Titles of your graphics
  • Alternative (Alt) tags – These appear in place of images when the browser preferences are set for text only.

While it is important to use keywords as much as possible, it is also important you use them only if they are relevant and do not sound awkward. If you spam your keywords you may be penalized or even banned by some search engines.

Another important thing to consider when trying to optimize your website for search engines is to have as many relevant links pointing back to your website from other complementary sites. This can be done through link exchanges or by writing articles/posts and submitting them to article directories or forums. Ensure you include your domain name at the end of each article/post.

If this all seems too overwhelming, you can employ the services of a search engine optimization company, who will make your website’s content more search engine friendly like I Just Want A Site.

SEO is a long term approach to search engine marketing, and often takes 3-9 months to see drastic improvement in the rankings depending upon competition. The good news is that once you become ranked high, it is very hard to fall down the rankings and little or no more investment is required for that key phrase. PPC advertising will stop being effective as soon as you stop paying, this is not the case with SEO.

Please remember, having your website listed at the top of the search engines is not the only way to promote your website. There are lots of other ways you can get visitors to your site for little or no money such as:

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Networking
  • Off-line Promotion
  • Contesting
  • Article Marketing

If you need any help with your online or offline marketing, call I Just Want A Site today at 816.200.1809.

Filed under:Business DevelopmentSEOSocial MediaWebsite tips
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