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DIY Beginner SEO (Part 1 of 2)

5 January 2012 19 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw
Dear Sarah,
 
We currently sell mostly through Amazon and SkyMall, but have recently launched our own website. How do we increase our own website visibility?  I have heard various tips on search engine optimization, but I am unclear as to what SEO really means and what I can do to have more of a presence on the web.
 
Thanks so much,
Jennifer  The GLO Bag
 
 
Dear Jennifer,
 
I reached out to my friend Lauren to answer this as she is really the specialist!  This is her simple DIY first baby step!
 
SEO is easier than you think and easier than many SEO professionals want you to believe. You'll hear a lot of talk about keywords, but so long as the content on your site makes sense and is appropriate for your topic, you should have all the keywords you need.

The first, and most important step is getting links to your website. Google's search algorithm works like a big popularity contest. Each link to your site from someone else is a vote of confidence. The more votes you get, the more relevant Google thinks your site is, and the higher up you appear in search engines. The kinds of sites that link to you matter too (of course). Sites that are similar to yours in subject matter count “more” than sites that are unrelated. Likewise, links from sites that are poplar and have lot of links coming in to their website, are more valuable than links from obscure sites that no one visits.

So how do you get links? That’s where your inner salesman comes in. The best way, in the eyes of Google, is to do it entirely naturally and “organically” by putting out content that others want to link to. Unfortunately, if your site doesn’t get a lot of traffic, the odds of someone willing to give you a link are slim. Instead, you may need to find websites and communities that you want to link exchange with, and reach out to them.  Reach out via Twitter, Facebook, or by email, whichever feels more genuine to you. Remember, you’re essentially asking them for an endorsement of you, your brand and your website, so take the time to build a relationship with them, and see what you can do to entice them. Do this enough and you’ll be on top of Google in no-time.

Lauren Fairbanks is partner at Stunt & Gimmick's – a digital marketing firm that specializes in content and SEO.
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19 Comments »

  • Dr Tom Potisk said:

    Thanks for the simplistic tip. I have a holistic health and wellness blog. If anyone out there would like to exchange links just let me know – tpotisk@aol.com.

  • Lani Osborn said:

    Thank you for this great article look forward to linking with someone soon!

  • Colette said:

    Thanks for the nice tip. I had better get busy linking up!

  • Linda Nagamine said:

    Your insight on SEO is so helpful. Your explanation is easy to understand and I don’t need a web master to implement any of your suggestions. THANK YOU !

  • Suzy Mac said:

    Great information!

    I, too, am interested in “exchanging” links (email me at suzymac@shapewear-lingerie.com).

    My question is this…I had heard once that doing link-exchanges can be “frowned” upon if engaged in too much (and I would love to know what the “limit” would be, if there is one).

    Thanks!

    Suzy Mac
    President,
    Who’s Your Mommy, llc
    http://www.ShapewearfortheBedroom.com

  • Kelly Frohnauer said:

    Great tip! I have known this for a little while now and have tried to link up with others…it’s harder than you’d think! No one seems to want to take the time to exchange links anymore. Well, if anyone reading this is in the same boat, I would like to exchange links. I sell skin care products and have some information on taking care of your skin. Please contact me via my website: http://www.nfbotanicals.com

    We’ll see each other at the top! :)

    Thanks! Kelly

  • Angie Higa said:

    Thank you for the great information.

  • Tony said:

    At the end of the day, as long as you have a good Title Tag and get quality links, you will be fine. There is this myth that seo “changes” over time, which it does, to an extent, but it’s still all about a steady stream of quality links.

  • Trees Houston said:

    Tony, you are not entirely correct. SEO does change over time. A few months ago (before Google Panda update), all you needed were a few good quality links and good tags. Now, it goes beyond that. Besides the aforementioned links and tags, you need fresh articles (be they blog posting, comment posting like this one or other forms of content; video, photos etc). SEO is not that simple…everyone will be doing it if it were…

  • Kelly Frohnauer said:

    I have a question….
    Do the links have to be “visible” on the page or can they be hard-coded into the website name text? What I mean is, should the active link say the actual .com name that it is linking to or can it say just, for example, Entreprenette Gazette and have the actual webpage link embedded in that text?

  • Amy said:

    does comments on blogs etc. count as a link if your website can be access when someone clicks on your name??…hope this make sense… :)

  • Lauren Fairbanks said:

    @SuzyMac – Sending out mass emails asking for links when your content isn’t at all relevant to the site you want to get a link from is frowned upon. When you’re in the beginning stages of link building, it’s important to target a few sites or companies that are similar in nature to your own, so that you can ask for a link – or another good way to build links is to offer to guest blog on another high ranking blog or company website, and link back to your own website somewhere in the post.

    @Kelly – Great website! A perfect option for you would be to reach out to beauty bloggers that have a strong following and offer to write a blog post about beauty tips, or have them review one of your products and link back to your website. You can get creative with link building without sending out generic emails that get no responses. It does take time and persistence, though.

    @Tony – SEO does change over time – pretty frequently actually. Google is constantly updating their search algorithm and no one actually knows the exact formula for ranking at the top. What we do know, however, is that high quality links play a very major role. Relevant keywords and phrases, fresh content on a regular basis, and correct meta tags are also very important, but link building is the crux of it.

    @Trees Houston – you’re right. If SEO were easy, we’d all be on the first page of Google for our respective keywords. There are many levels of SEO – this tidbit is great for small biz owners who don’t have an SEO or SEM budget, but still want to try a few simple tips themselves. An SEO firm (like ours) uses a combination of strategies, including link building, directory submissions, content generation, ongoing keyword research and implementation, and website tagging. Doing all of the above will get the best results, but if you had to choose one thing to focus on, link building is your best bet.

    @Kelly – Great question. Having links in your content, embedded in text, is actually better than just having them in a blogroll somewhere on the website. For instance, mentioning a similar website’s blog post, and linking to it within the content. It’s more organic. Linking a url in text that’s a relevant keyword is the most ideal option. Ex: “[Lotion.com]-(linked) is offering 10% off their next order.” isn’t as good as “[Online beauty store]-linked, Lotion.com, is offering 10% off their next order.”

  • Julian Barkat said:

    Great article Sarah and great first piece of advice from Lauren.

    Kelly, assuming you’re talking about anchor link text, the answer is…it depends. it depends on what term/phrase you’re trying to build rankings on. For your site, you may want to have anchor text focused on terms/phrases like “skincare”, “botanical skincare products”, etc.

    The other thing to keep in mind when looking for links is if the other site nofollow’s links. If they do nofollow links, then no “link juice” is being passed on to your site and you don’t get to fully benefit from that link.

  • Denise Duffield-Thomas said:

    This is great – SEO can seem so confusing, esp to new entrepreneurs. To my clients who are newbies to business, I just say – start blogging regularly on a topic you enjoy writing about. Worry about that other stuff later.

    Now I’ve been blogging for a while, I’ll generally check out google’s free keyword tool, in case there’s a better phrase I can use (there usually is) – it has improved my traffic but the best thing I’ve done is simply a weekly article NO MATTER WHAT.

  • Trip said:

    @Trees Houston – I’ll take a link from the homepage of time.com or facebook.com (or any other highly important, respected site) over some fresh blog content any day my friend. Obviously getting links like those are going to be next to impossible, but they would have a MUCH greater impact on your rankings and general trust rank than pumping out blogs and getting low quality links. Quality links are still the single most important factor in SEO because they cannot be easily manipulated.

  • Suzie Kane said:

    I find that user activity is important, too. Like: a low bounce rate, multiple page views, longer time on site, etc. The age of site helps,too, along with solid, unique content.

  • Daniel Frank said:

    With link exchanges a good piece of advice I was given was to forget about SEO and think about whether your site is a useful resource for the audience of the other site and vice versa. So for @SuzyMac a website looking at make-up would be a good match because you are mutually useful. Another lingerie site would look odd because you are natural competitors and an SEO agency would look weird because it would be totally irrelevant.

  • Jacob said:

    Hi therе! Do you know if they maκe any ρlugins to assist with SЕO?

    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m
    not seeing ѵеry gоod гeѕultѕ.
    If you know οf anу рleaѕe share.
    Mаny thanks!

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    The best way to get organic SEO is to blog……:O)

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