Let me start by asking you a question: What's the number-one business killer on the internet? The answer is obvious, but many people miss it. The answer is: not being found on the first page of Google.
I refer to Google often, since the search engine accounts for approximately 50 percent of search traffic. In February 2007, Google sites garnered 47.5 percent of the U.S. search market, with Yahoo! coming in second place at a distant 28.1 percent, according to comScore. Preparing your SEO strategy around Google makes your plan work for other search engines, as well.
So what's the number-one tip for search engine ranking? Articles. With articles, even a brand new domain--some call this the "Google sandbox hell"--can get updated into the search index quickly. Many sites are spidered or crawled, but not indexed, a major problem for new sites.
Let's first take a look at recent content strategies you can use to write stronger articles. If you're not familiar with the next wave in quality content scoring and relevancy for search engines, you need to understand a little bit about search engine technology.
Google contains more than 100 algorithms that make it the world's most popular search engine. One of those is PageRank, a complex voting system I'll cover in a future article. Another important secret, which has been around for a while, but not utilized by most webmasters, is latent semantic indexing.
"Context" is the new buzzword for SEO in 2007. While you should still write good, natural, user-friendly and relevant web copy, using some simple LSI techniques can elevate your search engine ranking.
When using LSI, engines try to determine what the content or page is about without specifically matching the search term text. It looks at the document collection as a whole and examines which other documents contain some of those same words. In simple terms, this means that as you write and link to and from other pages and sites, search engines using LSI will look at words and phrases that are contextually related and try to figure out what you're writing about. So, if you're writing about bait, poles, lures and tackle, you're probably addressing fishing.
If you want to be ranked higher in the search engines, you should write content and link profiles that have supportive text and anchor text (links) using this "theme" approach. To find related keywords and phrases, use a keyword research tool, like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. First type in your key terms into the Google search engine and pick the first site that comes up. Then go to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, click the "Site-Related Keywords" tab and paste the URL there. Study the results and use groups of related keywords with links on your page to develop strong on-page factors.
Distributing Your Article
Writing an article that is topically related to your business and then submitting it to article directories like ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com and buzzle.com will pay off big.
Imagine the effect of getting a link from the Los Angeles or New York Times. There isn't a sure-fire formula for achieving this, but providing quality articles and adding your link in the resources box of the article will allow search engines to find and index you faster. If the content is interesting and newsworthy, the journalists may start calling.
Yes, this could be a lot of work. But one option is to find a service that can distribute your articles for little or no cost. I like isnare.com; for a few dollars you can get your own distribution credits. Once approved, they'll submit your article to hundreds of directories. Watch your server logs for traffic and spider bots; you'll see domains and search engine referrers very quickly.
Continue these efforts by writing press releases using similar distribution mechanisms. I use services like prweb.com and marketwire.com. SEO firms have developed a complete marketplace for the SEO compliancy of press releases. They clearly understand the power of submitting and distributing content and press releases. If you don't know how to write a press release, hire somebody to help you. You can go to sites like elance.com and guru.com to have something written for $50.
If you haven't pursued these simple tactics for your SEO strategies, you've been missing out on important traffic and business. There are a number of resources for traffic acquisition and how-to-books on building an internet presence. Outside of articles, press releases, SEO and pay-per-click, there are social networks, blogs, paid links, affiliate marketing, paid advertising, viral marketing, co-registration and banner ads--certainly enough to keep you busy for a while.
Jon Rognerud founded chaosmap.com -- a search marketing firm focusing on SEO, SMM, PPC, client strategy, and implementation.