I got into search engine optimization back in 1998. Of course back then SEO was a lot simpler than today. All the tricks like keyword spamming and invisible key phrases worked like a charm. Better still, little tricks like these were acceptable. Not anymore.
In fact, most old-school tricks don't work today and many can get your pages banned. This is great news for you. Over the next few minutes I'll show you how to make Google absolutely LOVE your web pages and help you jump to the top!
This is all you need to know... Search engines today place 90% or more of their ranking priorities on content and links. Keywords are still important, but more so in the text of your pages than in any sort of META tags.
Simple, right? It really is. The first step is to find the best keywords and place them just right in your web page text. Next you need to get great inbound links. And finally, you need to monitor your progress closely (and that of your competition.)
Part 1: How to Find the Best Keywords
Google gets more searches than any other search engine so let's peek into their database. Check out https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and type in any keyword or phrase you can think of that you believe your target audience is looking for. Not only will it give you tons of data on that and related keywords, it will also provide "Additional Keywords to Consider", which is a section at the bottom of the page.
BIG TIP: Try to use specific keyword phrases whenever possible. Let's say you have a web-page dealing with floral delivery. Instead of just the word "flowers", which has 233,000,000 competing pages on Google, try "send flowers", which has 1/10th the number of competing pages. Better still, think like people speak (I.E./ I'm sending flowers to my mom.) As it turns out, a lot more people are searching for "sending flowers" than are searching "send flowers" and - here's the best part - "sending flowers" has less than 1% of the competing web-pages as the search term we started with, "flowers". Now that's impressive! You have an advantage over about 99.5% of your competitors with just that single tip.
Now take the top three or four keywords (and keyword phrases) and list them in order from best to second best and so on.
Part 2: How to Develop the Best Possible Content
Content is king! If you take nothing else away from this article, make sure you take this. Producing search engine friendly, optimized real-person content is key to your success. Today's search engines can read a page just like a human would. And thanks to natural text algorithms, they can easily tell if you are writing your pages for real people or just trying to get better ranking. With this tip, you can do both!
First, call a good friend and describe exactly what you want to tell your web visitors. Now write it down, word for word, as close as you can remember it. If you can record it, that's even better.
Now go back through your text and fit your top keyword as close to the beginning of the first sentence as possible. Now place your number two keyword someplace else toward the beginning of your first paragraph. If possible, try to get your third keyword into the end of your first paragraph or the beginning of the second paragraph.
Repeat this concept using only one of your keywords for each of the next three paragraphs. Try to make it fit naturally toward the beginning sentence or two of each paragraph.
Now do the reverse for the very last paragraph. Put your least important keyword at the top of the paragraph and end with your most important. This shows consistency.
Finally, try not to repeat any keyword more than three or four times per page. Make it flow naturally.
Part 3: How to Get Great Links and Monitor Your Site
Having quality inbound links can account for more than 75% of your search engine optimization success. Getting these links is the crucial step that will get you over the top. Next you need to monitor your progress and your site's status (how search engines really see it). This will tell you not just where you are - but where you are likely to be. In the old days, we used to do all link work and monitoring by hand - and it took a long time (I averaged about 16 hours per week - per site!) My advice to you is to find a good SEO tool and let it do the work for you. If you get the right product, it's the best money you'll ever spend.
I used WebPosition Pro for a couple years but switched to SEO Elite because it has automated linking, which I find to be the most time-consuming aspect of SEO. Both are excellent products for tracking and reporting however.
Number 1 Pick: SEO Elite
Cost = $167 (lifetime free upgrades and no annual fees)
My Results: 121 top 5 rankings on Google in three weeks - Mostly 1's and 2's.
Top Features: Finds best link partners; Automates link process; Provides great Site Monitoring
Comments: I bought SEO Elite in 2005 and have used every upgrade - never spending another dime. I retired my other three programs after using this for just three months.
Number 2 Pick: WebPosition
Cost = $389 WebPosition Pro or $149 Standard (plus $99 per year subscription fees for either)
My Results: 44 top 5 rankings in Google in eight weeks - Mostly 3's and 4's.
Top Features: Site Monitoring; Great reporting; Site Critic
Comments: I stopped using WebPosition because there were no automated linking capabilities. I did however really like the reporting.
Now you're ready. Good luck!
About The Author
Michael Small is the founder of free SEO (search engine optimization) site SEOpartner.com and author of numerous search engine optimization books and whitepapers including the SEO Notebook.