First things first: Always be sure to research the keyphrases you intend on using. Find out what keyphrases Internet users most often employ to find your product or service. There is no point optimizing your site for "bass fishing message board" if everyone types in "bass fishing forum".
Research your competition with these questïons in mind:
- What keyphrases are they using (take a peek at their keyword Meta tag)?
- What are the titles of their sites?
- When you do a search for the keyphrases you are considering, who comes up in the top five rankings?
- What is their title/keyphrases?
- Are the top ranking sites your competitors or are they industry associations?
Do a link search to see who is linking to your competition. In a search engine, type in "link:" (without the quotes) followed by the URL you want to verify. This will allow you to see all the important links to the site that the search engine tracks (I would recommend doing this in both Google and Yahoo).
- Can you get links from the same sites as your competitors?
- Are there industry associations or organizations that are linking to the top sites, but not to you?
Get your link campaign going!
Optimizing Your Web Site
Now that you know what keyphrase you are optimizing for, here is how to optimize your site: write good quality content that focuses on your keyphrases.
Above all else, this is the single most important factor.
Sure there are other on-site factors such as:
- Getting the keyphrase into the title (this is the second most important factor)
- Getting the keyphrase into the Meta description tag, the Meta keyword tag, the headers and sub headers, the alt tags, and into some link text (some of these factors are VERY minor)
- Having a good site map so that the search engine spiders can easily navigate your site
- Having a robots.txt to include the pages that you want the search engines to include
- Don’t use frames
- Use flash wisely (not the WHOLE site in flash)
- Use external files for your java-scripts
- Use cascading style sheets (a .css file)
- Use dynamic URL’s wisely (Avoid using URL’s with ? or & in them)
Content is king
Oh…and did I mention that you need to write good quality content that focuses on your keyphrases? All of the points above are superfluous if you don’t have good content. Content is the food that the search engine spiders like to gobble up with a voracious appetite. The items below are just the side dishes. You need good content to get decent rankings, but you need the side dishes to become a serious competitor in your market.
- Write about your keyphrases.
- Write extra pages.
- Write about your industry.
- Write about your product or service’s uses.
- How will your product/service improve the life of the consumer? Find out, and then write about it.
- Why is your product/service better than your competitor’s? Think of a reason and write about it.
- What is the history of your product/service? Or your industry? Write about it.
- Who are you? Everyone always enjoys "about us" pages…
- And of course, be sure to serve the search engine spiders with a tasty main dish full of keyphrases!
Whatever you do, be sure that you don’t write junk or filler copy and double chëck that everything reads well. Keep in mind that writing about your keyphrase doesn’t mean adding the keyphrase unnaturally into the text.