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A few years ago I wrote a series of articles for a web site about Affiliate Marketing for a nice couple named David and Margie and I'll be adding them here over a period of time. I hope you'll enjoy them and that you'll learn something new from them too. Affiliate marketing can be very profitable if you know what you're doing, if you're patient, and if you work hard at it consistently over the long term. I've learned that over a period of time it can actually replace a large portion of your "regular job" income. And yea, just how cool is that! Whit
Search Engine Optimization, What You Need to Know
The Importance of Search Engines in your Home Business Marketing Plan
It is the search engines that can give you a boost in traffic and get your website noticed by your prospective customers. When a word or combination of words is searched for in Google for example, almost immediately the search engine will sift through the billions of pages it has indexed then it'll present you with ones that match as close as possible to your search term. The searched matches are also ranked, so that the most relevant ones come first at the top of the page.
Just like you, most people will focus their attention (and clicks) on the topmost listings so your site rating as high on the search engines results page is important. Depending on the search engine itself the actual position of your listing on the page could vary and in some cases it'll show up high on the page through one search engine but not another. Since Google and Bing (a combination of the old MS Search and Yahoo) are the two big players in town, these are the search engines you want to be concerned with, but moreso with Google since the majority of Internet searhers will use Google the most.
Designing a search engine friendly site is key. The keywords in your web page content play an important role when it comes to your listing position. I'm not talking about keyword stuffing where a person loads their page with keywords with hopes of getting a higher listing (Google recommends you do not do this), I'm talking about naturally occurring use and placement of the word. All search engines employ a ranking algorithm and one of the main rules in a ranking algorithm is to check the location and frequency of keywords on a web page. These formula's also give weight to your link popularity (how many web pages link to your site) which is very important. In this case it's not so much having a large amount of sites pointing to your site via links, it is about having the right (similar content) sites pointing to your site via links. They are in essence telling the search engine "the site I'm linking to is an important enough site that I'm willing to send some of my visitors there".
When a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant evaluates your site they will check keywords, inbound links, meta tags and more. When this service is performed by a qualified and experienced SEO expert you can expect an increase your sites search results listing position. Of course you'll pay for this service so keep this in mind.
If you're new to online marketing you might not yet have the funds to hire an SEO consultant, that's OK since there are still many things you can do to increase your traffic through better search results positions. You already know that a major source of traffic for most sites are the search engines so your goal is to give these search engines "what they want" when they visit your site.
The major search engines use programs called robots (some call them crawlers) that constantly roam the internet collecting information and sending it back to the search engine... what is the content, has it changed, are there new links to follow, what is new here, what are the keywords, where does this site link to, who is linking to this site and list goes on. It's a never ending quest by the robots to collect information on your site and send it back to the search engine database for use later when someone does a search.
Take a break from this intense SEO discussion and check your browser!
Something to remember is that if you want to make your site to be indexed easily by the robots, you should avoid using frames on your website. frames are pieces of code which tell a particular area of your page to go to another page and pull its content from there. If you think of a web page as a piece of paper, we'll call it page 1 and then you cut a perfect window in the middle of it. On a second piece of paper called page 2 you draw a picture in the middle of the page. When you hold page 2 behind page 1 and look at it from the front, it seems that it's one page of information when in reality page one is in front of page 2. So, whew... when the search engine visits page 1 that particular frame content is NOT on page 1 so it does not see it. In some cases this will confuse the robot and it'll simply leave.
Also, if you're going to have flash movies on your site that's fine, however you don't want to put a majority of your content in there as the search engines will never see it. It's best to use flash movies to highlight a point you're making or as a way to compliment your main page content which was written in text. Learning point - Robots can only see and read text on your page so if you provide important words and text in a flash movie rather than in text form your search engine position could be affected dramatically and for the worse.
Although some of the search engines now completely ignore meta tags, for those search engines that still rely on them you want o make they're in order on your page. Use meta tags accordingly on each and every page of your site so that these search engine robots know at first glance what that particular page is about and whether or not to index it. By using meta tags, you are making the search engine robot's job easier so they will crawl and index your site more frequently.
Us CSS (cascading style sheets) if you can. Using tags in your source code such as many HTML tags like <font> to style your page take up room, make the page more complicated to edit and they are slower to load. Use CSS since it's more effective and efficient and by using CSS, you can eliminate all those redundant HTML tags and make your pages much lighter and faster to load.
Here's a biggie - You should always use keywords in page titles itself, words that relate directly to your page content. Whatever text is placed in the title tag (between the <title> and </title> portions) will appear in the title bar of browsers when your visitors view the web page. The actual text you use in the title tag is one of the most important factors in how a search engines may decide to rank your web page. In addition, all major web crawlers will use the text of your title tag as the text they use for the title of your page in your listings. In other words what you use in your title is what somebody on a search results page will see. Think of it as an ad, you want your title tag to not only match your content you also want to alert the searcher what is on your page.
Note: If you "keyword stuff" (bad webmaster, bad bad webmaster) which is loading your page full of the kewords that you want the search engine to rank you for, yep it could hurt you. The best thing to do is to write your content naturally and let the keywords fall where they fall. If you need additional keyword density, then continue to write your content and include your keyword(s) where they are logical and where they flow naturally for the reader. (Click the SEO guide image above for a larger image and easier reading).
If you've designed your website with many individual linked pages as many sites are (and not just a single home page), remember that each page of your site must be optimized for the search engines. The title of the pages, key words, meta tags and page content will be different so the search engines see them as such and treat them as individual within the search results.
The key here is that your site is then made of diffent pages of content, each catering to a certain search term, and each bringing in traffic targeted to that keyword. Looking at our site you'll see that there are specific areas for the visitors such as the free hosting or free traffic section and though designed primarily for the visitors, they also cater to the search engines since they each have specific and unique content containing words, phrases and combination of words that will attract visitors using various search terms.
One of the most common mistakes made by small business owners when they first design their website is to place their business name or firm name in every title of every page. Actually most of your prospective visitors and potential customers are not so much concerned with the title of your page as much as whether you can help them solve their problem. The page titles can benefit you much more when you use the page titles to tell the "search engine" what the main content of the page is all about.
So, while you might want your business name in the title of the home page, it is a waste of valuable keywords and space to put it in the title line of every page on your site. I'd recommend you include your business name where most webmasters put it... in the upper top of your page graphic normally called the header. Yea, it'll look nice and you can add a little information blurb like we do, you know "Earn from Your Blog or Website" and include a graphic that relates to your site to spice it up some.
In an upcoming PR I'll be covering the importance of "search engine optimized content" so be sure to visit again and look for that little SEO golden nugget to build your home business or program bigger and better (more profitable) for many years to come!
Wishing you the very best of success in business here at IBO!
Team Leader / Lotto Magic Network
P.S. Our secondary program: It's FREE to join and it has been very profitable - don't miss out.