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Tuesday, February 13, 2007



If you want to rank on top for Google, Yahoo!, and other major search engines, you'll need more than a basic knowledge of search engine optimization. Those who rank high on natural search results do so because they've been able to effectively manage their on-page and off-page optimization factors.

Inset Photo: Search Engine Result Page for "marketing expert" Listing MarketingScoop.com in #1 position.
On-page Optimization

What you do on your web pages can have a positive or negative impact on your search results. However, as we'll discuss later in this report, off-page optimization is even more powerful when it comes to increasing your natural search engine results.

Some of the most important on-page optimization techniques begin with choosing a key word to optimize your web page for. There are a number of free tools available on the Internet that can help you find a keyword that is popular but not overly competitive.

Keywords that are highly competitive are often very difficult to place well for. Regardless of which tool you use, free or purchased, I recommend using the Keyword Selector Tool (inventory.overture.com) offered by Overture. This will provide you with a count of the number of times the keyword or keyword phrase is searched on each month. If the keyword or phrase gets few searches, its not worth optimizing for.

On the other hand, if your keyword phrase is highly searched, it may also be competitive - meaning that many websites are optimizing for that term. The ratio of searches to websites for a particular keyword or keyword phrase is called KEI. The challenge is to find a keyword phrase that is popular (a lot of people search for it) but isn't all that competitive (i.e. not a whole lot of sites are competing for it).

There are a ton of "keyword suggestion" tools available online for free. Just use Google and take your pick.Once you've selected a keyword or keyword phrase, you’re ready to learn the 7 Secrets of Search Engine Optimization.
Each of these secrets will increase your search engine results. Used together, you'll find yourself rising through the search engines more quickly than you thoughts possible.
Secret #1: Don't optimize for a single keyword, optimize for a keyword phrase. When you optimize for a single keyword, more often than not, that word is highly competitive and your chances of coming out on top are minimal. Where you gain a significant advantage is by focusing on a keyword phrase. This actually increases your chances of ranking well and ultimately helps you towards ranking well for the single word you originally chose.
A keyword phrase is usually less competitive than a single word and gives search engines a variety of choices when displaying your site. One of the best secrets I've learned over the past few years is to use a post to separate your keywords. You can find the post symbol, usually over the backslash key, located near your Enter button. Be sure to hold the shift key down and viola! Your keyword phrase(s) should appear in your page title (ex: [meta content="seo, search engine optimization, website development, google adwords, online promotion, Internet marketing." name="Keywords"][meta content="Increase your search engine results with this free ebook from MarketingScoop.com." name="Description"][meta content="ALL" name="ROBOTS"]The last tag, the Robots tag, lets the search engine know that it should be crawling your entire website).
There are other things you can do to improve the search-ability of your website such as a sitemap and on-page linking, a bit too detailed for this report. Now that we've covered the first four secrets, most of them having to do with on-page optimization, let’s focus on what you can do outside of your website to increase your search engine results. We call these techniques Off-Page Optimization.
A keyword phrase is usually less competitive than a single word and gives search engines a variety of choices when displaying your site. One of the best secrets I've learned over the past few years is to use a post to separate your keywords. You can find the post symbol, usually over the backslash key, located near your Enter button. Be sure to hold the shift key down and viola! Your keyword phrase(s) should appear in your page title (ex: Keyword Phrase1 Keyword2 ).

Secret #2: Place your keyword phrase within the first 25 words of text, and the last 25 words of text on the page. Proximity to the beginning and ending of your website are paramount. This tells the search engines that the keyword phrase is included throughout your site.

Additionally, place the keyword phrase throughout your page - being sure to bold the phrase once, italicize the phrase once, and underline the phrase once. Mention your keyword phrase every paragraph or so. Just make sure that it appears natural. If you stuff the page with your keywords, you'll potentially turn off browsers who would otherwise find your page valuable.
Some of the clients I've worked with have struggled to find an appropriate place to include their keyword phrase. One technique you can use is to include your keyword phrase just after your copyright notice on the bottom of your webpage. This ensures that it is present within the last 25 words of your page and seems to flow. An example would be, © 2007. MarketingScoop.com Marketing Experts.


Secret #3: In addition to where your keyword is placed, it's also important how it appears. Place your keywords in an h1 tag towards the top of your webpage. An h1 tag, also known as a headline tag, is the code you use to display your headline in large type. Although this may seem awkward depending on your website layout, it is one of the most powerful secrets you can use to boost your search engine results. Additionally, you can change the display of your h1 tags using a cascading style sheet.

If possible add a number of sub-headings using an h2 and/or h3 tag. Smaller than an h1, but still significant, using your keyword phrases in these tags are also very valuable to search engines. They also help to organize your content in a meaningful way.

Secret #4: Be sure to place your keyword phrase in your meta tags (the HTML code that appears at the beginning of your webpage) – specifically your page title and description. Your meta tags should look like this:

SAMPLE ONLY (replace "[" with "<"]
[title]Internet Marketing Expert Marketing Secrets[/title]
[meta name="Keywords" content="internet marketing, marketing secrets, online marketing expert, internet marketing secrets, search engine, SEO, direct marketing, email marketing research, online, public relations strategy, trade show booth."]
[meta name="Description" content="Internet marketing expert reveals powerful marketing secrets. Search our database of marketing experts, service providers, and free marketing tools."]
[meta name="ROBOTS" content="ALL"]
[meta content="seo, search engine optimization, website development, google adwords, online promotion, Internet marketing." name="Keywords"]
[meta content="Increase your search engine results with this free ebook from MarketingScoop.com."][name="Description"]
[meta content="ALL" name="ROBOTS"]

The last tag, the Robots tag, lets the search engine know that it should be crawling your entire website. There are other things you can do to improve the search-ability of your website such as a sitemap and on-page linking, a bit too detailed for this report.

Now that we've covered the first four secrets, most of them having to do with on-page optimization, we'll focus on what you can do outside of your website to increase your search engine results (called off-page optimization) in part 2 of this article.... coming soon!


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