This do-it-yourself quick-start guide will help beginning website owners set up their own SEO and increase their website traffic quickly and for free. No history or elaborate explanations will be found here. This article explains a simple, easy to implement, generic way of doing a specific SEO plan yourself. This step-by-step guide will show you how to set up some good, safe, white hat SEO/Traffic on your new or existing website with the least amount of effort in combination with the easiest-to-use free online resources.
1. FIND YOUR KEYWORDS
a. Are you a local business/service or more global?
i. Local examples will be demoed with the following example business:
Mr. Kung Fu’s Karate School in Seattle, WA, USA.
ii. Non-Local examples will be demoed with the following example business:
Susie Smith’s Arts & Crafts Blog
b. Time to think like a potential customer. What word phrase would you expect someone to type into a search engine (like Google) and have your website come up listed on the first page of results?
i. Local businesses owners, be sure to include geographic words. For example, Mr. Kung Fu might use: ‘Seattle Karate’ or ‘Seattle Martial Arts’. He might also use a specific suburb of Seattle instead (like ‘Redmond’ or ‘Duvall’).
ii. Non-Local businesses owners, like Susie Smith, might use: ‘home arts and crafts’, ‘home decorations’, or ‘arts and crafts ideas’.
c. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to help you find the best keyword phrases for you. Pay attention to LOCAL and GLOBAL search volumes that best represent your market. WARNING: The more popular your keyword phrase is, the more competition you will probably have. If it’s too popular, you probably won’t make the first page of any search engine results. Try to use more specific keyword phrases whose search volume is below 40,000 a month.
d. Pick the TOP SIX best keyword phrases for you. Write them down in order of importance. Keep the list handy – you will use them later on in this article.
2. PUT IN YOUR WEBSITE TITLE
a. Find the HTML tags at the top of each of your HTML pages in the HEADER section. Your title will go between these two tags.
b. Enter in your TOP THREE keyword phrases (in order) here separated by the ‘pipe’ character ( | ) and save it. Redundant words only need be used once here. See the example below how the words ‘Seattle’ and ‘Home’ are only used once but apply to other keyword phrases:
1) Mr. Kung Fu: Seattle Karate | Martial Arts | Self Defense
2) Susie Smith: Home Arts And Crafts | Decorations| Ideas
3. PUT IN YOUR WEBSITE KEYWORDS & DESCRIPTION
a. For HTML Websites – Find the HTML tags and at the top of each of your HTML pages in the HEADER section. Your keywords and website description will go between these two tags respectively.
b. Type your SIX keyword phrases into the keyword section. Separate each phrase with a comma. Here it’s OK to have redundant words in your phrases. For example:
1) Mr. Kung Fu would type: Seattle karate, Seattle martial arts, Seattle self defense, etc.
2) Susie Smith would type: home arts and crafts, home decorations, arts and crafts ideas, etc.
d. Type 3-5 sentences into your website description section that describe your business/service. Try and insert the TOP THREE keyword phrases into your description content. Be sure to do so in a way that is readable and natural-looking, otherwise it will look like you are ‘keyword stuffing’.
4. CREATING YOUR HOME PAGE (LANDING PAGE) CONTENT
a. Without diving too much into how to create an effective landing page design let’s just focus on the SEO aspect of the landing page. Your landing page is your most important page, so we need to include your keyword phrases here in your content. Your top three keyword phrases should be included more than once. Insert your keyword phrase in a readable and natural-looking way to avoid looking like you are “keyword stuffing”. Try and do so with the least amount of content you can. If you insert more of your keyword phrases than what I recommend, you run the risk of getting penalized, so don’t do any more than what is listed here. Insert them the following way:
i. Your #1 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 4 different places.
ii. Your #2 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 3 different places.
iii. Your #3 Keyword Phrase – insert it in 2 different places.
iv. Your #4, #5, & #6 Keyword Phrase – insert once.
b. Content Ideas – You might find it hard to come up with enough content to insert your keyword phrases naturally. It is a delicate balancing act. If you create too much content, new users to your website will leave (nobody really wants to read all that stuff). But then again, you need some content for SEO purposes. Here are some valid content ideas that will help you get your SEO keyword phrases in without overfilling your landing page with useless babble.
i. Write a brief description of what your business/service does. When someone first comes to your website, you need to let them know right up front what you do and how you can help them with their needs. A general description of your business/products/services is useful to new visitors to your website as well as a great place to sprinkle in some SEO keyword phrases. Again, don’t go overboard. Keep it simple.
ii. Insert a few images – Images are a great way to break up the monotony of large amounts of content as well as get a few keywords in. Every image you insert into your content area allows for a TITLE and an ALT tag description. Slap one of your keyword phrases in. Use the same phrase for both tags. Make the image a clickable anchor linking back to your landing page.
iii. Testimonials – Testimonials are great. Get a few from some of your clients/customers and add them to your landing page. “Tweak” them slightly to include your keyword phrases (if your client/customer doesn’t mind). Try not to go overboard on these. Include too many and people will get bored and leave.
iv. Awards/Articles – Show off any awards and/or articles you may have about your business/service. Write in a few quotes from them into your content. ‘Tweak’ them to accommodate some of your keyword phrases. Be careful not to alter them too much… they are quotes after all. If you misquote an article, you might get some backlash from the writer. Make sure any changes you make are very subtle and don’t alter the author’s intended message.
5. PUT KEYWORDS IN YOUR WEBSITE’S FOOTER
a. There are a thousand ways to implement internal links, but to keep things simple, just create three links in your website’s footer using the TOP THREE keyword phrases to point back to your lading page. With most website builder tools, the footer is ‘static’ and will appear on every page, so these links will be on all your pages. Here is the keyword phrase that our examples might put in their footer. Remember, these would be set up as three separate links pointing back to the landing page:
1) Mr. Kung Fu: Seattle Karate | Seattle Martial Arts | Seattle Self Defense
2) Susie Smith: Home Arts And Crafts | Home Decorations| Arts And Crafts Ideas
6. ADDING YOUR WEBSITE TO FREE DIRECTORIES
a. Free directories are pretty much worthless. Don’t waste your time. Some paid directories are worth it, but they are NOT free. This article is about FREE SEO. There is only one free directory that is worth submitting your URL to DMOZ (dmoz.org/add.html). Be sure to drill down into the LOWEST category you think your website falls under, THEN click on the ‘Suggest URL’ link at the top. Unfortunately, they are so overloaded that it may take months before they list your website. But… if/when they do, it’s very good SEO points for you!
7. EXTERNAL LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE
a. Links from other websites to your website is the best way to help with SEO. If you have any friends or acquaintances that have a quality website you trust, ask them if you can put a link to your website on theirs. Be sure to use one of your TOP THREE keyword phrases as the link phrase that points to your website landing page.
b. If you don’t know of anyone who has a website, then don’t worry about it. Skip down to the next step. DON’T GO LOOKING FOR LINK EXCHANGES WITH STRANGERS. If you go looking for websites you don’t know to post your link on, you will probably hurt your SEO more than help it. Because you are a newbie to SEO, people will take advantage of you. SEO is a complex thing to learn and you probably don’t have the time to master it. It’s best you just avoid trying something like this all together.
8. SOCIAL BOOKMARKING
a. There are hundreds of social bookmarking websites. For the sake of simplicity, we will only submit your website URL to 5 of the better ones. You will need to create an account on each of these (if you do not have one already). You might want to add their ‘bookmark button’ to your browser toolbar as well for future ease of use.
i. Digg ( digg.com )
ii. Del.icio.us ( delicious.com )
iii. StumbleUpon ( stumbleupon.com )
iv. Reddit ( reddit.com )
v. Propeller ( propeller.com )
b. Look for the ‘submit link’ or ‘submit website’ link/button once you are logged into each of these website. Submitting your website link to each of these will usually consists of providing the following information:
i. URL – The ‘www’ address that people type in the address bar of their browser to get to your website.
ii. Title – Your website’s title.
iii. Description – A brief description of your website. You might want to use the same description you created earlier for your website’s Description Meta Tag.
iv. Keywords – Use your SIX keyword phrases here, separated by a ‘comma ‘or a ‘space’. Look at the label on the form, it should tell you how to separate word phrases.
9. JOIN LINKED-IN
a. There are thousands of social/professional networking groups/forums you can join, but to make things simple, we are just going to join this one: Link-In ( linkedin.com ). Create an account with them (if you have not done so already). Be sure to include a link to your website in your profile. Put as much valid information into your profile about your business/services as you can. The more professional you make your profile, the better.
b. Login and search for groups to join. This is what makes Linked-In such a great tool. Look for other groups of people that have the same business interests as you and join their groups. There will probably be lots of groups to pick from. Try and go with the ones that have the most relevance and/or members. Don’t overdo it. To begin with, let’s just stick to around 5 groups. If you feel you can handle more later, then you can join some more then. When searching for groups, try and think beyond just what your business focuses on. For example, Mr. Kung Fu would probably search for ‘karate’ groups or ‘martial arts’ groups first. But he might also want to look for ‘small business’ groups.
c. Wait for your group invitation to be accepted. Once you request to join a group, it might take hours or days before you get accepted. Be patient.
d. Look for friends and associates to link to. You can search for people you know and send requests to them to join your network of contacts. This is a great way to find old friends and business acquaintances. Tell them about your new website! Find out what groups they have joined. You might want to join the same groups!
e. Post an introduction of yourself to each group you get accepted to. As you get accepted into each group, go to the ‘Discussions’ page and add a discussion introducing yourself and what it is you do. Then ask for a website review of your new website and post a link to it (be sure to include the ‘http’ at the beginning of your link – this will make it clickable). This is completely legit and a very acceptable thing to do. Just don’t go overboard on your intro. Keep it to only a few sentences. Here is an example what Mr. Kung Fu might post as his first discussion:
Introduction and Website Review
Post: Hello, my name is Mr. Kung Fu and I just wanted to introduce myself. I own a small martial arts school in Seattle, WA. I have about 35 students and have been in business for about 14 years. I look forward to discussing martial arts and karate with everyone in the group. I just created my first website and would appreciate any feedback you could provide. Here is the link: http://….. Thanks!
10. JOIN YAHOO! ANSWERS
a. Join Yahoo! Answers ( answers.yahoo.com ) if you have not done so already. You will be answering people’s questions that relate to your website/business.
b. Do an ‘Advanced’ search. Fill in each section of the advanced search as follows:
i. Keywords – Enter in keywords that relate to what your website/business is about. Make sure the ‘Search for keyword match in’ is set to ‘Questions’.
ii. Category – Pick the category that relates to what your website/business is about. If you can’t find a good category, just select ‘All’.
iii. Filter – pick the one that fits your needs.
iv. Question Status – select ‘Open Questions – Best answer has not been chosen’.
v. Date Submitted – Set to ‘Anytime’.
c. Submit your search. If no results come back, keep modifying your keywords till you start getting results that you feel comfortable answering.
d. Answer 5-10 questions. In the form you fill out for the answer, there is a ‘What’s your source?’ textbox. Put the URL to your website here. Make sure to include the ‘http://’ in your URL. This makes it ‘clickable’. Don’t worry about having the perfect answer (or even the correct answer for that matter!). All answers are just opinions for the most part.
11. WRITE AN ARTICLE
a. Article websites are a place where people provide information to others on how to do things. There are hundreds of article websites you can submit articles to. For the sake of simplicity, we will use just one: EzineArticles ( EzineArticles.com ). Join this website if you have not done so already. Fill out all your PROFILE information. Upload a professional looking photo of yourself if you feel comfortable doing so.
b. In your Profile admin page, under the ‘Profile Manager’ menu, click on the ‘Edit Author Resource Boxes’. Here is where you put links to your website and write a brief resource description about your website/company.
i. Watch the ‘Learn How to Create the Perfect Resource Box’ video on this page.
ii. Include your TOP TWO keyword phrases (no more than this) that link back to your website sprinkled in with your Resource description.
iii. You will have to write the links as ANCHOR CODE. In the following examples, I will use ‘brackets’ to indicate what keyword phrases would be converted to anchors linking back to their respective websites:
1. Mr. Kung Fu – Mr. Kung Fu is owner of a [Seattle Karate] school called ‘Mr. Kung Fu’s Martial Arts’. He has been in business teaching [Seattle Martial Arts] for over 14 years. He has a 5th Degree Black Belt in Kung Fu.
2. Susie Smith – Susie Smith is the owner of the [Home Arts And Crafts] website called ‘Susie Smith’s Online Crafts’. Her website is an excellent resource for [Home Decoration] ideas as well as other arts and crafts.
c. Now write an article relating to your website/business. It has to be at least 250 words long (that’s not very long). You don’t need to be an expert to submit an article. Most, if not all, articles are just people’s opinions on how to do things. Write something that relates to what your website/business is about. For example:
i. Mr. Kung Fu might write about the ‘Benefits of Martial Arts Training’ or ‘Top 5 Reasons to Get Your Children into Martial Arts’.
ii. Susie Smith might write about ‘Family Fun Making Homemade Christmas Ornaments’ or ‘Top 5 Craft Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day’.
d. DO NOT put links to your website in your Article content. They will be removed from your article content or even worse, your article may not get published at all. Your links will be displayed in your ‘Resources’ section you completed earlier.
e. Submit your article and wait. It might be a few days before they approve it. Be patient.
12. CONVERT YOUR ARTICLE TO A BLOG POST
a. Many website builders have a Blog built into their websites. Other users will need to find a blogging website to join.
b. Copy your article content and paste it into your first blog post. Here you have more flexibility creating links, so you go ahead and ‘tweak’ your content to include the TOP TWO keyword phrase as anchors linking back to your website landing page.
13. MASS EMAIL EVERYONE
a. Send out a mass email to everyone in your email address book(s) announcing the opening of your new website with a link to it. Ask them to send it to other friends and/or family members they know of that might be interested in it. Word of mouth sometimes does wonders.
14. DONE! SIT BACK, RELAX, AND WAIT
a. It can take a few days for all of this info to get digested by search engines and users. Be patient and wait. If you did everything I listed here, your website will be well recognized by ALL search engines and you will start to see traffic flowing in. Be proud of yourself! You just did hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars worth of SEO work on your website… for FREE! Depending upon which SEO company you might use, everything you just did could easily cost someone a few thousand dollars.
b. SEO is an ongoing exercise, however. You cannot just do what I have listed here once and then be done with SEO forever. If you want your traffic to increase and grow, you will need to continue doing some things. Lucky for you, everything you need to continue growing your SEO is already set up! See the next section below on how to maintain your website’s SEO.
MAINTAINING YOUR WEBSITE’S SEO
1. FOLLOW UP ON ITEM #7 (EXTERNAL LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE)
a. Always keep an eye open for external link opportunities from other websites or web services you know and trust. If a new opportunity arises where you can get a link to your website from one of them, implement it ASAP. Always be sure to use one of your TOP THREE keyword phrases as the text for the link to your website’s landing page.
a. Outside of external links to your website, blogging is the next best way to increase traffic & SEO to your website, especially if your Blog is part of your website. Try to post a blog entry at least once a week if you can, no less than once month. Write about broader subjects outside of your smaller website community. Post things that thousands (if not millions) of people might relate to in your industry or that they might be interested in knowing. Make sure it relates to your website. In your blog posts, work in ONE keyword phase of the SIX you created. Try and use the TOP THREE keywords most of the time… but not all of the time. Make that ONE keyword phrase an anchor linking back to your website’s landing page. Try and make it the only link in your post if you can, and place it near the top of the post. Make it look natural and not like you are ‘keyword stuffing’.
3. SOCIAL BOOKMARK YOUR NEW BLOG POST
a. If your blog post is something that might interest others outside of your local network, you should Social Bookmark it (see item #8 above). Instead of putting in your website landing page as the URL, put in the link to your blog post. Do this for all 5 social bookmark websites listed above. If you have more time to kill and want to expand your SEO, try using Social Marker ( socialmarker.com ) to submit your blog post URLs to 50+ social bookmarking websites.
4. USE LINKED-IN TO POST LINKS BACK TO YOUR NEW BLOG POST
a. Login to Linked-In (see item #9) and post a new discussion in each of the groups you joined telling people to check out your new blog post. Make sure it is relevant to the group and something they might be interested in. If it is not, then don’t post it. Also, don’t forget to add the ‘HTTP://’ to the beginning of your link to make sure it is clickable.
5. CONVERT YOUR NEW BLOG POST TO AN ARTICLE
a. This is a flip on what you did for item #12. Instead of converting your article to a blog post, you will do just the opposite: Convert your new blog post to an article. Login to your article website (see item #11) and submit your blog post to it. Again, be sure that it is relevant to something that people might want to read an article about. If it is not, then don’t submit it. For instance, if Mr. Kung Fu posted a blog post about his team winning a local tournament in Seattle, you would NOT want to post this as an article. However, if Mr. Kung Fu wrote a blog post about ‘How to prepare For a Karate Tournament’ that would be something that would interest readers outside of his local community and he could post to an article website. Use good judgment to figure out if you should submit your post as an article.
6. ANSWER MORE ‘YAHOO! ANSWERS’ QUESTIONS.
a. Once a week try to answer 5 – 10 Yahoo Questions (see Item #10 above). Add a link back to your website’s landing page in the ‘What’s your source?’ text area. Be sure to always include the ‘HTTP://’ at the beginning of the link to make it clickable.