I got into search engine optimization back in 1998. It sure has changed a lot since then. Back in the day you could use invisible text, load keywords to the point of overflowing and fill META tags with anything even close to what you had on your page. And you could do well on Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista; all the biggies. Not anymore.
Today SEO is about a 75% / 25% split between links and content, with inbound links being the most important thing. Especially on Google. When all is said and done, you can get to the top of Google in just two simple steps. Seriously. I've done it hundreds of times and it's easier than you'd imagine.
Step 1: Develop Great Content
Writing great SEO content is a snap if you follow this simple 5 step formula...
1.) Write naturally as if speaking with a friend. Record yourself actually speaking to a friend about the topic of your Web page and it will all come together automatically.
2.) Limit each page to 2 to 3 keywords or keyword phrases.
3.) Mention each keyword no more than 4 times per page and split the usage somewhat equally between paragraphs. Two mentions of your most important keyword in the first paragraph is the only real exception. And be sure you mention each toward the end of the page to show overall consistency and topic authenticity.
4.) Try to incorporate the first mention of each keyword into hyperlink anchor text. The link should lead to another page of your site. (Note: The keyword would then be the clickable text leading to your other page.)
5.) Have between 150 and 250 words of text per keyword. So if you have 3 keywords on one page, you will have about 600 words on that page, in total.
That's the quick and dirty SEO content writers course. And believe me, it works!
Step 2: Link Like the Pros (Part 1; Strategize)
Linking is a bit more involved. The main thing to remember is that you want as many high quality, topic relevant links as you can get. And you want them all using the same exact URL since Google sees URLs that begin with "http://www" differently than links that begin with just "www". In other words, even if you have 200 links to your page, if they are split between URL formats, you are not getting full credít for the links.
And forget all that stuff about links to the homepage being "a must." Sure, having inbound links go to your homepage is great but Google has smartened up. They figure your site overall is probably not that great if nobody bothers linking to your actual content pages. While it's true that Google ranks pages rather than sites, they do still base each of your page's worth on its supporting pages.
I won't bore you with a bunch of techno babble. In short, if you keep this in mind, you'll always be ahead of the game:
1.) Inbound links should be from pages containing relevant content of a similar nature.
2.) Links to your pages from outside pages with high Google PageRank (GPR) are most desirable. ( Note: GPR is NOT the page's position on Google. It is a value, from 1 to 10, that Google assigns to all Webpages.)
3.) Links from (not to) a homepage are typically most valuable, unless they have a higher GPR page to link from. Focus on the GPR. If you use software like that mentioned below, it will do all this automatically. If you do it all manually, get the free Google Toolbar . GPR is shown for every page (that has any) on the Internet.
4.) Inbound links to your pages should feature your keyword as the anchor text triggering the hyperlink (keyword is the clickable part leading to your page.)
5.) Do NOT use generic text for your link's surrounding content. Make the sentence as relevant as possible.
6.) Use as many variations of your link's surrounding content as possible so the search engines don't view your inbound links as duplicate content.
Step 2: Link Like the Pros (Part 2; Do It)
As far as actually getting great links, avoid the automated script based reciprocal link services. A lot of these services link your pages to "gray barred" pages, which means your site can get kicked off Google as well. And to be honest, reciprocal links are not nearly as valuable to Google as they once were, especially the junk link pages most of these services create.
If you want the "set it and forget it" convenience of a linking service, but not the problems I just mentioned, you might want to try one like 3-WayLinks.com . Although I'm not a fan of any linking service, this one is the best I've come across so far. They set it up so your page links to another, which links to a third, which links to you. There is no direct reciprocal beeline back to your page and each link is counted as a one way inbound link by Google, which is the most valuable type of link.
Of course, natural linking is the way to go whenever possible. Google LOVES links that are part of page content (see the anchor text notes above.) And getting great links like this is easier than ever with the right software so don't sweat the time or effort. Both are minimal.
The product a lot of SEO pros use (myself included) is SEO Elite . It works great as both a full function link building tool and ranking checker for all major search engines. Even if you don't need the app, take advantage of the free videos on the site. They explain special linking considerations, like special reserved commands such as "allinanchor" and how to find Google "Authority sites." You can still benefit from the information, even without the tool.
Big Tip: When approaching other sites for links, try to get your link as anchor text in the actual page content, or a margin. Also do their link that way and explain the benefits and how much Google loves this type of natural content linking.
So there you have it; everything you need to get your pages on top of Google in record time. Best of luck. You'll do great!
About The Author
Mike Small is a ten year veteran SEO specialist with thousands of top search engine rankings to his credít. He is the author of seven SEO books and founder of SEOpartner.com .