Now that you have a web site, now that you have placed key words all over your site, your topic is well described, how come you’re getting zero hits?! Getting listed on Google is about so much more than placing Keywords on your site. The process, called Search Engine Optimization, is about being linked to by other sites, both in and outside of your industry. How do you accomplish this? If you’re a big business, you may turn to an Optimizer like myself who cycle through link directories in our sleep, BUT if you’re willing to do your research you can optimize your web site without paying anyone a dime.
The first step in any optimization campaign is research. What is the competition doing? What is working? What can you easily do? Start your campaign by finding your biggest competition, and putting their web site URL through Backlink Watch (www.BacklinkWatch.com). You’re probably not sure what you’re looking at, so I’ll explain. Each site you see in a Backlink Search is a site that links to the web site you entered, in this case your competition. Every directory they are posted in, every friendly site that links to them, or maybe even a blogger who liked their service (or was paid to say they liked it) linked to them. Every link to your competition raises their Page Rank in the eyes of a Search Engine like Google, so building your own backlinks is step one in bumping them off page one.
How do I get linked to? The number one most ethical most tried and true method of getting your site linked to is by simply creating compelling content, and creating it often. If you post a blog article about your business, about working in your industry, and you do this twice a week you can create content that when found will be shared and linked to by bloggers and in social networks. Now, don’t misunderstand me, compelling content is not an announcement of an upcoming sale or some other kind of advertisment. Internet users are savvy folk, they’re looking for insight into your business, your team, not your marketing spiel.
But I don’t blog, will people still link to me? The best way to gain easy backlinks is through Web Directories. An example of a Web Directory is Best of the Web, which is one of the oldest and most indexed directories on the internet. Submission to Best of the Web involves a yearly or lifetime fee, but because of its size and the frequency that Google and other engines index them, this is the one site I’d recomend paying for a listing. Do you remember the backlinking tool, BacklinkWatch? Take a look at your competition, are they listed in directories? Why not go ahead and submit yourself to those directories and even the playing field.
Is your business listed in the Google Local Business Center? Does your business have a Facebook Page? Have you posted to Yelp? Are you active enough online to micro-blog via Twitter? These are all excellent ways to generate references to your business online without spending any money at all. When I first arrived in San Antonio I utilized these methods for Image Freedom and quickly became the #3 local hit on Google, and shortly after my competition started copying these methods and I’ve had to stay on top of the game. Do a search for “San Antonio SEO” and you’ll see a handful of businesses only listed as “San Antonio SEO” in Google Local because it worked for me.
I’d wager in a month or two all of my competition will be similarly listed, because I passed them having only been in town for a few months. That’s page one placement, and I haven’t spent a dime on paid listings, advertisements, or text links. So in the end, you get what you put into your optimization campaign. Professional SEO is always the sure fire way to gain page rank, but on a budget, there are plenty of steps you can take without a professional to elevate your web site to online success.