The top three search pages- the only place you’ll be noticed they say. Unfortunately, they are correct. How can you possibly compete with millions of pages? Many represent thousands of dollars of professional search marketing and optimization per page, backed by budgets on which most of us could retire. How can the little guy have a chance armed with an already out-of-date search engine marketing book and a ream of now dog-eared, printed web pages on the topic? Do you really think you have a chance to land those top spots? Yes, you do… the same chance the big guys have!
Do a search for Internet marketing or some derivative of that and you’ll be thrown into an expanding mass of theories, techniques, methodologies, scams and some actual useful information. Sorting through the latest trends, applying them to your site, and most importantly understanding what you’re doing can be confusing to say the least. Before we discuss how to get on top, let’s define some of the different players on the field.
If you’ve guessed it’s not about which strategy to use, but rather how to use each strategy effectively, you’re headed down the right path. I’m going to show you that all of these techniques share one common thread… you master that, and you’re in the big leagues!
Here’s the team line up in the current Internet marketing playing field.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a kind of programming language format that lets you share news headlines and stories through a type of Internet address called an “RSS feed.” You can import these feeds into your site so you have the latest headlines from news around the world.
But the great part about them is that feeds exist for almost every subject matter, in every genre you can think of. Track a couple down that pump news about your business subject matter and you have juicy, up to date dynamic content on your web page to attract visitors! You can even take it one step further.
It’s not that difficult to create your own RSS feed. In this case, you’re actually writing the news about your business. People around the world can then display your information on their websites. If you make those news stories factual, appealing, attractive and easy to read, you’re on your way to becoming a household name.
Many would argue that this is the most crucial factor in search ranking today. You might have heard the “vote” analogy. Where every site that links to yours is like a vote for your site. The more sites you have linked to you, the more votes you have…the more votes, the higher your ranking.
That’s an extremely simplified definition. There’s a big curve ball though. Votes are not equal. Search engines weigh many factors about your site, your link text, the site that links to you, and the number and type of sites that link to it, just to name a few variables.
Link popularity is definitely a big contender in achieving high rankings. But, you don’t want to link to just anyone. And stay far away from link farms and free for all link sites. They usually cover a full gamut of different kinds of sites. They’re scams. And many are already banned from search engines and you will be penalized.
You want to stick with sites that are similar in theme and subject matter to yours. It's worth paying for some one way links to your site from well established, authoritative sources.
The concept of article marketing in terms of the Internet is two fold. If RSS were like a news ticker, articles would be the equivalent of magazines. Here’s how the process works. Write an article about one particular interesting facet of your business. An issue, current event or strategy that would peak interest in a likeminded reader are targets. Next, post your article for free on sites like content-articles.com and ezinearticles.com that store giant collections of articles. Post your article on groups like yahoogroups.com that announce new articles by particular category.
Then, a person in your related field is looking to fill their site with some well-written, interesting things that will keep people on their site. They select your article to publish and include it for all of their traffic to read.
How does this help your business? The key is in the very bottom of the article, in few lines of type called the resource box. Here, you put your name, and a well written (and varying) text link to your website. (This is part of the agreement. If someone wants to reproduce your words on their site they may do so for free. But they must include the resource box with the active links.)
Now, a search spider comes along and indexes your article on their site, with a link pointing right back to your site! And remember that links back to your site, in a search engine’s mind, mean that you must be important.
Secondly, people may want to learn more and follow the link right back to your site. Hint… post your articles on your own site too. If someone wants to read more of what you’ve written they have immediate access.
According to Princeton University, a blog is a “web log, a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies…”
What makes blogs so exciting is that anyone can have a blog. It’s a chance to establish yourself in your area of expertise. Get your name around. People will keep coming back to your blog to hear what you have to say about a particular subject matter. While the term “diary” conveys a free writing style, the content of blogs can be quite educational and come from some powerful high ranking industry people in an easy to understand, all professional titles aside type of atmosphere. Hint: A blog can be an unprecedented educational tool.
Imagine that your passion is physics and you could read Einstein’s own, every day thoughts on relativity in an atmosphere of his laptop by a fireplace, typing away at night in his jammies very relaxed, outside of the office. You have access to some great minds and thinkers, learn from them, expand upon their ideas, and become a leading mind yourself.
Search Engine Optimization
This is the combination of art, creative writing and statistical analysis that give your site viewers rich content and presents it to the search engines in the most efficient method of achieving you high ranks. Optimization includes researching keywords, analyzing your competition, having just the right keyword in just the right place on the page in just the right frequency in just the write line of code so the engine feels your page is relevant. It involves streamlining your code, placing things like CSS and Java and other scripts in external files. Search engines love text, not the framework that makes it look pretty on the page.
Search engines are evolving at an exponential rate, forced to adapt and develop battle strategies to combat programs and technology developed to outwit them. When link popularity became important, software to create hundreds of doorway pages to sites was invented, to cite one example.
The consequences from these people trying to outmaneuver the search companies are chaotic and create virtual gridlock on the Internet. However, statistics overwhelmingly show 75-80f site traffic comes from search engines. So search engine marketing must be an equally strong part of your web development thrust.
You think ok, but if search engines are always evolving to stay a step ahead of the abusers, what if I manage to get my site way high on the list, only to be at the bottom again because a modification in the search-ranking algorithm is made. Suddenly my top 10 results plummeted to position 880 overnight. That’s pretty upsetting, not to mention a huge waste of money.
Don’t rely only on keywords in your pages to get to the top. Like you would diversify a stock portfolio, write some articles, make sure you get yourself listed on good, quality directories and sites, and optimize your code. Develop an Internet marketing plan that won’t cause you to plunge in the search ranks because of an algorithm change. Insert appropriately the eggs in one basket cliché here.
The Common Thread
RSS feeds, articles, link text, blogs… the combination of these and other methods will bring you to the top. But they have to be effectively consistent in one thing. They must all have superior content written for the end user, not the search engines. Remember; always sell to your potential customers, not the engines. Here’s why.
A search engine company’s goal is to provide the end user with the best, most relevant matches to a search inquiry. If they fail, the user moves to a different search engine. They don’t want to lose customers any more than you do. To keep a customer, a search must be matched to the best content. Period. No matter what defenses or blockades or changes they evolve with overnight. If they don’t provide results a user can use, they lose that user. And they wont allow that.
Therefore, only legitimate, quality content will be matched to the end users request. No matter what modifications to algorithms or stops to doorway pages or link farms a search engine company integrates into their defenses, they wont deviate from their goal of being the best. They can only do that by providing the best results.
An assortment of carefully planned and executed Internet marketing strategies and techniques will get you to the top. It does take some time, but your efforts must start with a solid foundation. You must look at the big picture. It’s not something that can be done in an evening, so don’t try. Instead, focus on building a well diversified skeletal system to your Internet marketing.
In Part two learn what good content consists of, how to write it, how to get it, how to keep it fresh and keep your audience.
About the author:
John Krycek is the owner and creative director of http://www.themouseworks.ca.
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