Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization
A search engine optimization campaign can easily be divided in three fundamental stages:
1. Choose the right keywords (keyword optimization)
2. Optimize your pages for your selected keywords (web page optimization), and
3. Get quality inbound links to your pages (off-site factors).
Part 1: Keyword Optimization
The first step in a search engine optimization campaign is to choose your keywords or
keyphrases for each of your web pages. Keywords are the terms that search engine users
type in the search box to conduct a query. The right keywords are those that:
1. clearly describe the purpose and content of your site, and,
2. allow your site to show up as close to the first results page as possible.
A good position doesn't depend only on your choice of keywords. It also depends on how
well do you position those keywords in your web page, and how many quality external pages
link to you. However, choosing the wrong keywords can throw off your entire search engine
optimization strategy, so you need to invest a few hours and make sure you do it right.
Let's start with your homepage. Look at it carefully and write down the words and
phrases that best define your site. Try to form two or three word phrases, since
competition for one-word keyphrases is fierce, and it is virtually impossible to get a top
position for them. That is why, from now on, we will talk about keyphrases, not keywords.
Once you have developed your list of potential keyphrases you are ready for the next step:
to analyze the demand and supply for those keyphrases, and choose the best ones (those
with good demand and not enough supply).
We will first check the demand for your selected keyphrases. For this, we will go to
Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
Google is a popular pay-per-click search engine. You will then type each of the
keyphrases you selected, and see how many people search for those terms. This tool will
show you only those searches conducted in Google (and only in one month time). However,
the relative popularity of each search term will be very similar in other search engines
as well. In addition to telling you if your selected keyphrases are popular, this tool
will show you other keyphrases that you may not have thought about, which may even be more
relevant to your site.
For example, if your first keyphrase was "Italian Restaurant", the Search Term
Suggestion Tool will also display other popular search terms, like: "Gourmet Italian
Restaurant", "Northern Italian Restaurant", "Italian Restaurant Pizzeria", "Italian
Restaurant Miami", etc. You may also try other keyphrases, for example: "Italian Cuisine",
and come up with more specific keyphrases, like: "Fine Italian Cuisine", "Italian Cuisine
Miami", "Northern Italian Cuisine", "Italian Cuisine Fine Dining", "Gourmet Italian Cuisine", etc.
What you have done is to validate and enlarge your pool of popular, in-demand,
potential keyphrases for your web page. The next step is to check the supply, or, in other
words, to see how much competition there is for your selected keywords. Naturally, you
want to focus on keyphrases where competition is less fierce. For example, choosing
"Italian Restaurant" alone will certainly hurt you. There are so many of them that your
chances of showing up in an advantageous position within the search results are pretty slim.