This is part 2 in the “How to get 1000 visitors a day in 6 months” series. It the first article, we covered Building Content. Now that you have content in your Web site this article will cover Search Engine Tips, which will eventually help drive traffic to your website. Some of the topics covered in this article will include keywords, submitting your website, sitemaps and WordPress plugins. This article will not cover methods to increase your backlinks or Search Engine Rankings, as that will be appivapp covered in a later article. Google Page Rank will also be covered in a different article.
What Is A Keyword?
You may be asking yourself “What is a keyword?” Keywords are words or phrases that people label or tag on certain articles, pages or posts. These keywords act as a guide and aid search engines in determining what a specific article or page is about. Essentially this acts as an index to help a search engine place your article in it’s database. Then when someone does a search for that specific term, your page will appear in the results. Ideally, the goal is to get your site or page listed on the first page of any search engine page for a specific keyword. The problem is, there are usually millions of pages on the internet competing for any imaginable keyword. One trick that people use when they are a new site, is to use long phrase keywords. For example, my website is about martial arts. One of the arts I discuss a lot on my site is Muay Thai.
If I do a Google search for “Muay Thai”, over 5,600,000 million results appear in Google. However, if I do a search for “Muay Thai Private Lessons” there are only 24,000 results. Furthermore, if I do a search for “Muay Thai Private Lessons In NJ” there are only 13,500 results that appear, and in addition my website appears on the first page in Google. It’s understandable that much less people will search for the longer phrase keyword, however if they do, my page comes up high in the results. At this point it should hopefully be recognizable how this should appy to you and your website. You need to maximize your keywords in both the big pools and little pools.
If your website is about the NY Yankees, you want to use that as a keyword, but also find other keywords that describe what your site is about more specifically. Perhaps “injury reports for the NY Yankees” or “autographed baseballs for the NY Yankees” fit what your site is about, and you should include them as well. This is what is called building your niche. Becoming high in the rankings for your niche will help drive more traffic to your website.
Where Do I Put Keywords?
Now that you know what a keyword is, you may be asking yourself, “Where do I put these keywords?” There are a couple answers to this question, but the simplest one is “it depends.” What I mean by that is it depends on if your website is HTML based or if it is a blog based website. If your website is HTML based, then inserting keywords isn’t that difficult if you understand some basic HTML code. You need to use the “meta name” code. Basically on each page of your site, you will place hidden code called Meta Tags, which a search engine will see when it views your site to help it determine where to place it in it’s database.
However, this code will be invisible to the average user. I’m not going to discuss how to use the code in this post, but a simple Google search for some explanation should help you. Now, if your website is blog based, this is a lot simpler. Some blogs will automatically add the Meta Tag code for you when you place the words in the “tag” box underneath the body or subject box in the post. In other, self hosted blogs, you may have to add a plugin to do this for you. It will simply only require one extra step. I will discuss a couple WordPress Plugins towards the end of this post.
Submitting Your Site
Once you have built your content and made sure you have place the proper keywords in the pages and posts on your site, now you have to let the search engines know you exist. There are a couple different ways to submit your site to search engines. The first method, which is also the most time consuming is to submit your site manually to all the search engines. Most SEO experts recommend this as the best way to submit your site. I do this for the bigger search engines such as Google, MSN (Bing), Yahoo and AOL. Apparently search engines can tell the difference between a site that is submitted manually and ones that are submitted by a service.
Now, the next method to submit your site to search engines is to do it through some type of service. There are many services on the Internet that will submit your site for a fee, but you can also find several free ones. I like to use Mad Submitter and Submit Express to submit my site to several of the smaller search engines. Usually free services will submit your site to around 20 or so for free, and if you want them to submit it to more than that, you can pay them a fee. I have never paid the fee, but have had good results with the free service.
One of the reasons that experts suggest you submit your site manually is because they suggest you submit your sitemap to the bigger search engines. Submitting your sitemap will easily allow the search engine to index all the pages on your site. Think of the sitemap as a tree or directory of your site, which lists all the different pages or branches in an ordered fashion. Sitemaps are usually an XML file. If you don’t know how to write or program in XML, that’s OK, there are sites out there that will create a sitemap for you for a small fee. You can even find some that will do it for free. If you have a blog based site, there is a plugin that will do this for you for free. Once again, I will discuss this option in a bit.
Once you create your sitemap, the next thing you have to do is sign up with the search engine or provider. For Google, you have to sign up for the Google Webmaster Tools after you create a Google account. From there simply navigate to the sitemaps page and provide the URL (web address) of your sitemap and you are done. For Yahoo, you also have to sign up for a Yahoo account. After you create an account, do a search for “Submit a site feed to yahoo”, add the URL, click submit and you are done. This will help the search engines add your current pages and future pages to their search results.
Since my site is created in WordPress, I know quite a bit about it, and some of the useful plugins for it. There are two plugins specifically that I want to discuss that will help you optimize your website for search engines if you are using WordPress. Keep in mind, you must have a self hosted WordPress site, and not a WordPress.com free site. The first one is called the All In One SEO Pack. This plugin allows you to enter keywords on the pages or posts every time you publish a new one. The plugin will then take the words or phrases you enter and automatically create the Meta Tags for them and encode them into the page, saving you a lot of time and effort. You can also use this plugin for your home page. This will make it easier for keyword placement in search engine results if you use it on every page and post.
Another great plugin is called Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin will quickly create a sitemap for you and allow you to place it on your hosted domain. You can then submit the URL of your sitemap to Google for easy and fast indexing. I went through dozens of sitemap websites and various other plugins until I found this one. This made my life so much easier. If you use WordPress, I suggest using this, because it should make your life easier as well.
In my next post I will discuss another way to drive traffic to your website, building backlinks. This will also help you in the search engine rankings. Stay tuned for the next article in this series.