Friday, October 1, 2010

How to Do Search Engine Marketing

First, let me stop laughing at my own hubris. It's not possible to explain in a single blog post how to do search engine marketing, right?

Probably so, but I'll try anyway.

First, what is search engine marketing? It is a series of actions taken to convince the search engines to rank you highly. In many ways, it is exactly like fishing. The search engines spiders are constantly sniffing around searching for food. Your job is to create the bait that catches the (search engine) fish.

Ok, so let's review some types of bait that the search engine fish (or spiders) like to eat:

1. Title tags - This is the favorite food of search engines. They gobble up title tags. What's a title tag? Look a the top of the browser you are now looking at. the line of descriptive text above the URL is the title tag. It's part of the html code for each page of your website. For example, if you want to be ranked highly for "dallas landscape services", then the page where you discuss Dallas landscape services should have a title tag that reads something like "Dallas landscape services - ABC Landscape Professionals". Note that you should NOT have the same title tag on each page. In fact, just the opposite is true. Each page should have a unique title tag that describes what is discussed on that specific page.

2. Header tags - Search engines try to understand the intent of your website page by reviewing the entire page, starting at the top. So, you should repeat your title tag in your page header.

3. Body copy - The copy on each page should be focused on a specific topic which should, of course, be the topic you described in your title tag. For Dallas landscaping, the page should talk all about how you provide great services specifically for the people looking for Dallas landscaping services. You should use your desired search term (dallas landscaping services) throughout the copy but not more than 5% of the time and probably less than 3%. Why, because the search engines don't like keyword stuffing.

4. Directory links - Now that your website is filled with great pages focused on specific topics, you need to list your website in good directories. The search engines want to know how popular and credible your site is, and one way of determining this is to see how many other sites point to your site. For instance, if Wikipedia has a link back to your site this a great thing. It says you are credible and probably important enough to rank. But, don't be tricked into listing your site on garbage sites whose only reason for existence is to link back to other sites. These sites are called link farms; the search engines don't like link farms. In fact, the search engines don't like anything that is done solely for the purpose of tricking them into ranking a site.

5. Articles, blogs, press releases, etc. - These are just a few of the tactics you can use. Let's say you write an article for a trade magazine and in your bio your website is listed. You'll probably get people linking through who read the article plus the search engines will give you credit for being popular. Blogs are a good way of putting out a constant stream of information. The more you put out, the more the search engines see you as a source of current information. They will visit you more often. And, if you write a blog post that becomes popular, the post may rise to the top of the rankings. In our agency, we use Lead Maverick to generate visibility. In many cases, we're able to achieve page one ranking on Google in less than a month. Contact me and I'll tell you how it works.

I'll admit, there's much more to write on the "how to do search engine marketing" topic. But if you start with the search engines tactics described above, you'll be well on your way.