The whole subject of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a mine field with professional SEO services ranging in price from budget to "break the bank" with results ranging from non existent to fantastic. If it was merely an equation of the more you spend, the more you get then SEO would not be the mine field that it is. Our aim in this tip is to arm you with the knowledge and the tools to do your own SEO. Even though the recommended software package does have a cost, it is a tiny fraction of what even the most basic SEO campaign will cost you. Best of all though is the experience you gain from using these techniques is absolutely priceless and can be applied again and again.
Throughout this article we highlight two software products, both from Axandra - IBP (Internet Business Promoter) and Arelis. We have no hesitation in recommending them because we know they work as we use them ourselves to optimise our own sites.
The two primary elements of SEO
It may surprise you to find that there are really only two elements to SEO. Site Content and Inbound Links. When thought of in such simple terms the whole process becomes much easier to get your head around. My aim in this tip is to break each element down into a few basic sub elements so that you can tackle them as mini projects to achieve a great result. Neither primary element is more or less important than the other.
The site content is what determines what key words and key phrases search engines rank your site on. There are two aspects to that content: visible content and meta content. Visible content is what visitors to your website actually see. Meta content is information provided to the search engine. This is made up of meta keywords and meta description. Of the two content types visible content is the most important.
When looking at what content to put on your website keep in mind that search engines can't read text on images or flash animations so that doesn't count. Your site should ideally be arranged in a hierarchical fashion with a home page that links to information pages and category pages which subsequently link to product information pages. If you are using ezimerchant Professional this is automatically how your site will be arranged, so that's one less thing to worry about.
When looking at content for the respective pages, the home page should be quite generic, the category pages should be specific to the category but not specific to individual products; that content should be reserved for the product detail pages. Visible content should be your first focus. When working on the meta content, it should be based on the visible content. For example, you should never include anything in the meta keyword list if that word or phrase doesn't appear in the visible content of that page.
When optimising for a particular key word or key phrase you should select the page on your site that most closely relates. If a page is already ranked for a key word but you want to improve your ranking, you should focus on optimising that page.
That leads to the biggest question of all "What do I do to optimise my page?". While the answers themselves are usually quite simple, they can vary dramatically from one circumstance to the next. The best way to know what to do to your page is to look at how those that have succeeded have done it. This does not involve any kind of plagiarism or copyright infringement. In fact that would be highly detrimental to your efforts. It involves looking at primary elements such as page title, heading text, first paragraph, etc. of the highly ranked pages compared to your own. Manually doing this yourself is possible but unnecessarily time consuming. IBP from Axandra has a great utility called the Top 10 Optimiser, which takes as inputs a key phrase, the page you want to optimise and the search engine you want to optimise for. It then gets the top 10 ranked websites from that search engine, downloads the 10 pages and analyses them against your target page. Upon the completion of the analysis a report is produced telling you exactly what you need to do to your page in order to improve your rankings.
One of the main factors that search engines use to determine the importance of a web site is by analysing how many relevant web pages link to that site. The search engines determine what sites are about by looking at the site content. If a site that has lots of information about art and craft supplies links to a site that sells art and craft products, that is considered a highly relevant link. If on the other hand a site that has information about holidays links to the same art and craft site, that link will have minimal to no relevance.
The best thing you can do to get relevant links to your site is to get your suppliers or industry associations to link to you. Quite often you may be asked for reciprocal links. This is ok - you should build a links page for such a situation. Arelis from Axandra helps gather and build such links by maintaining a database of link requests including updated status.
The next best thing you can do is to get listed in directories. The most important of these is DMOZ (open directory project). It can be quite an effort to get listed but it is well worth that effort because a DMOZ link can have a very positive impact on your rankings.
Also worthwhile is exchanging links with other sites. There are many sites in a similar situation. Every site needs links so it is not difficult to find webmasters that will exchange links with you. Arelis is perfect for finding such links. It will automatically search for related sites and list for you to review. It will also send the request email, manage the status of the requests. Finally it will build and manage the link directory for you.
Tools to make your job easier
Internet Business Promoter (IBP) is a software package designed to help you achieve high rankings for your website. Click the banner below for more information or a free trial.