How to get to the top of the search engines
How do you get to the top of the search engines?
This is probably one of the most common questions that I get asked. Internet Marketing can be a very complex or easy subject depending on your requirements- The real key in marketing is to be better than your competitors but to also make sure that the site actually delivers the goods.
For this reason - 3 months ago ( in light of so many young budding so called 'SEO Experts' coming onto the scene suggesting they knew something I didn't (it's ok I am over it now!) :o) ) I decided to give a demonstration of 'how to get to the top of your search engine rankings'. Listed below are the steps I took and the following evidence to prove its success. (Shame on you un-believers!)
Step 1. Identify the business model. My business model centres around my clients, I don't like to receive many enquiries because quite frankly I can't handle them. being an individual consultant I can handle as many calls as the next person, as long as that next person is sitting on their own in the office with one phone by their side.
What I want my business to do is be responsive to a client looking for my services but a client that I can work with, nurture and retain for a long period of time.
So what I was looking for was to market my web site to a low traffic search term say between 100-300 searches per month. The search term needs to be relevant to my service provision and preferably with limited competition.
To get the ball rolling I used the keyword search tool provided by Google - link above. The keyword suggestion tool.
This allows me to evaluate the competition, find out the level of traffic I can expect and to find a niche keyword that I can market quickly. The point I want to make here is that if you are looking for high levels of traffic then the following steps will help you, but it becomes a longer more drawn out process to compete with the top listings. Possible, but a great deal harder.
In this instance I decided to market towards Joomla Specialist as that is my key development field of expertise.
Step 2. The marketing bit - Now that I know where I want to position the site I just need to make sure the site is marketed towards that keyword placement.
To achieve this I created several pages of content that were heavily geared to that search term. If you want to know more about content weighting then please check out my article about it. http://researchmode.co.uk/index.php/General-Content/Essential-Content-Basics.html
In essence the content employed some favourites - starting the paragraphs with the keywords and emphasising the text, but always using the chosen keyword in context and not spamming it. You can see the page here under Joomla Specialist.
Those of you who have some experience of search engine optimisation will see what I just did there. By creating a link using the keyword I have made the link and the content more relevant to search engine linking.
Step 3. All the other important bits.
There are many technical elements to the marketing process and in this example I carried out the following jobs.
Page Titles - I made sure that the sites main page title consisted of the keywords
Header text - Does what it says on the tin
Sitemap - Really important if you want your site to be found, but more important if you want to use your sitemap as a keyword link tool
Emphasised text - Where the keywords are bolded or used within a header tag on the site
Webmaster tools - Often neglected always vital part of the marketing process. Google has something called Webmaster tools, which allows you to verify the site and list the sitemap plus others which will assist in the marketing process.
Back links - vital. You are only ever as good as the sites that link back to you. In this case, because I have many outside interests and networks that I join with I was able to get a significant number of very good referenced link backs
In this way we are able to establish the standard marketing process and then use it to build momentum. The next thing we need to do is to make sure that the site is responsive and relevant.
The last thing I want is people coming on to the site looking for a Joomla Specialist and finding information about my pet Labrador.
So this means I need to think as if I were a visitor looking for a Joomla Specialist. What information am I looking for and what is important to me?
The site should then lead the visitor through a pre-planned process to engage and interact while steering them to an ultimate outcome.
To this end I included a quotation tool and provided more information about the range of services I offer in relation to that search term.
For each of the relevant pages I adjusted the Meta-tags and Meta-descriptions to make individual pages relevant to search terms.
Step 4. The final step. Check and recheck the site and get feedback on user experience.
There are a number of additional elements that you need to make sure are covered.
Making the page titles and links Search Engine Friendly makes a big difference. Adding things like TAG clouds, content relevant meta - tags, meta descriptions and good linkable content or site tools are a boon to your marketing efforts.
In essence you don't just want a site that is referential of your business but also a site that is helpful and useful to visitors. The more you offer, the more you will receive.
So what of the results?
The screen capture to the left (taken on 23/03/10) shows that the marketing programme was successful.
Now the point to bear in mind is that this was a practical exercise to demonstrate a marketing strategy. Mode Solutions is an active and functioning website so it is worth bearing in mind that the site you may see now is not the same site that was adjusted for the purposes of this excercise.
As the site is adjusted or changed then the search engine position now attained will disappear especially as the emphasis of the target market will be altering very shortly.