Are you looking to get more “web traffic“ to your online business, but don’t have a large advertising budget? If your answer is yes, then you should take the time to learn about search engine optimization or aka “SEO.”
In this web traffic guide I will share with you what is search engine optimization is… and how it works. I will also share with you how the most popular search engine Google determines its search results.
Get More Web Traffic with SEO
People use the internet to search for information on a daily basis. The internet is part of our everyday life because it is highly accessible through laptops, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. All businesses must have a website in order to compete in today’s marketplace because essentially websites are virtual store-fronts.
The most popular way for customers to find websites online is by means of search engines. The most popular search engine Google processes over 1 billion search queries each day from people around the world in 181 countries and 146 languages. As a result, website owners should focus their marketing efforts on getting ranked on search engines because it can be a great resource for providing free web traffic.
Ranking high on search results is important because the majority of people click on the top results of the keyword research. Thus, in order for your website to be seen it must rank among the top ten websites on search query results. Any lower and the odds of visitors to a website decreases rapidly.
“Whenever Google displays a page of results relating to a particular keyword, a high percentage of people will choose to explore the #1 ranked website. A smaller percentage of people will choose to explore the #2 ranked website and so on. The average breakdown of these percentages is as follows.” – Dr. Anthony Fernando
- The number 1 ranked website receives 42% of clicks
- The number 2 ranked website receives 12% of clicks
- The number 3 ranked website receives 8% of clicks
- The number 4 ranked website receives 6% of clicks
- The number 5 ranked website receives 5% of clicks
- The number 6 ranked website receives 4% of clicks
Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), is the page that is returned to you whenever you use a search engine. The goal of search engine optimization is to improve your web page’s ranking amongst the other “organic” listings in the SERPs. The reason it is called “organic” is because the search rankings cannot be purchased it happens naturally. Here is an example of a SERP for the keyword phrase “Doritos Chips.”
Essentially having a higher search ranking will provide more traffic to a website. More traffic to a website can lead to more customers, revenue and profit. SEO is an important aspect of an online marketing campaign because it can help improve search engine ranking. Web businesses can benefit from SEO because it provides a cost-effective way to get advertisements. It’s a relatively low-cost way to increase traffic and generate revenue. A small firm with good SEO skills can rank higher in the search results than larger competitors.
How do Search Engines Work?
In order for web business owners to understand how SEO works, they need to first understand how search engines work. As explained before, the user enters a search query, clicks the Search button, and then waits for the site to display a list of matching results. The search results take less than a second to load because the searches take place on the search engine sites own web server.
Most people think that when they search on search engines they are researching the entire web. Instead they are actually just searching the search engine’s stored server database. So searching Google or another search engine really means searching the index to that sites in-house database of web pages – not the web itself. Some search engines have databases that hold billions of individual web pages.
Search engines find pages on the web using special software. This software automatically scans the web looking for new and updated web pages. The terminology commonly used for this software is “search engine spiders” or “crawlers.” Since the web is so massive it may take a couple weeks before the crawlers can complete their cycle of scanning the web.
When a search engine spider encounters a page it will follow all the links it encounters and copy the pages it finds into the search engine database. The pages that are copied in the search engine databases are indexed into stored files. Thus, when a person searches a keyword on a search engine it will search its indexed databases and find the most relevant webpages to match the keywords that are searched.
The web pages that are the best match are returned as search results ranked from top to bottom identifying the most relevant web page at the top. Each search engine has its own method of determining rankings for their websites.
Most Popular Search Engines
Google’s algorithm for ranking websites is a closely kept secret but it has three main components that are commonly referred to: Keyword Analysis, Text Links, and Page Rank.
Keyword Analysis: Google queries its results based off relevance of keywords. Google also examines how the keywords are used in its content. Google examines font size, frequency of keyword usage, proximity, etc.
Text Links: Google also ranks pages based of how pages are linked amongst each other. The more pages that are linked to your website in terms of relevance will result in higher rankings as well.
Page Rank: Google also has its own unique Page Rank technology that determines importance and popularity among users. Page Rank determines a page’s importance by counting the number of other pages that link to that page. The more pages that link to a page, the higher that page’s Page Rank.
The second biggest search engine is Yahoo. Yahoo has been around longer than Google but lost its number one ranking to its major competitor. Yahoo!’s search market share is in the 17% range and declining slightly, which makes it the number-two player to the Google juggernaut.
Yahoo determines its search ranking results based mainly on website text content. For users who want to rank well on Yahoo they must focus their efforts in including exact keywords and phrases within their text.
The third biggest search engine is Bing. Bing is Microsoft’s own version of the search engine. Bing’s market share is about 12% and is still growing. Bing’s search results are based off of text links and keywords.
Web business owners are best served by trying to rank high on Google as it focuses on keyword analysis and text linking which will result in high rankings on Yahoo and Bing.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO = “Search Engine Optimization.” This is a set of techniques and processes used to improve your website’s rankings in the search engines for a particular set of keywords, or keyword phrases.
Search engine optimization focuses on increasing the organic, or natural, traffic that you receive based on your ranking within the search engines.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to ensure your website appeals to search engine crawlers, or bots. The search engines will take note of your site and its content, categorizing it in a way that will allow it to show up in the search engine results pages when certain keywords are typed.
Of course, the real goal is to increase targeted website traffic in hopes of generating new business. It’s just that this is achieved through better search engine rankings.
Search engine optimization is achieved through a wide variety of methods. Many webmasters or SEO professionals will focus on proper keyword research, clarity in the setup of your website’s headers, tags, file names and descriptions, external back-linking, internal cross linking, and quality content creation.
While each search engine uses its own algorithm for determining the ranking of every page that is indexed, it is possible to increase your rankings by making your site informative and visible via both on-page and off-page techniques. Sites that are designed with ease-of-use and quality information in mind tend to do better than those built sloppily and without a solid plan.
- A – The top three ads in the shaded area are paid ads. They have been created through Google’s Adwords program and are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads.
- B – As I conducted a “local search,” Google is showing me a Google Map relevant to my search. The red drops, lettered “A-G,” represent the businesses that have claimed their Google Places listings.
- C – These ads are also paid ads created through Adwords.
- D – This is an “organic” listing that can be manipulated through SEO. You can see that this business has created/claimed their Google Places listing as the “A” tear drop appears in their listing.
- E – These two listings are standard “organic” listings… the kind most are familiar with
Importance of Keyword Research for SEO
Search engines are designed to have people type in keywords or phrases that best describe what they are looking for. Search engines pull query results from their database which are indexed by keywords. Major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing all share the same commonality when it comes to ranking well on their search engines: Keyword Analysis. In order to rank well on search engines you have to be able to identify the right keywords that are going to provide the best results for your website. When businesses fail to properly research the best keywords that will provide them the most traffic they will waste time optimizing their website.
“In our experience, the main reason people fail is that they do not spend the time up front to do the market research necessary to check if their business idea is viable. Instead they rush in, select a random niche, target random keywords or worse – they don’t target keywords at all and then they just hope for the best. This is usually a recipe for disaster. The people who succeed online take a very different approach. They research markets carefully, they identify profitable niches. They target specific keywords and they follow a proven plan” – Dr. Fernando
Market Samurai is a keyword research tool designed by Noble Samurai Design Company. Market Samurai was developed in 2008 to help improve keyword research analysis. Noble Samurai created a research tool that takes all of Google’s analytical systems and combines them into one software application. This provides users the ability to research keywords from one source. The creators of Market Samurai determined that there are:
“Four Golden Rules of Keyword Research”
- High Relevance
- Good Traffic
- Acceptable Competition
- High Commerciality
1. High Relevance: Relevance to a particular niche or business cannot be overlooked. Obtaining high rankings for a keyword that has no relevance to a business or to the searcher will result in people leaving the website.
“The fact of the matter is that if you target irrelevant keywords you may obtain a top ranking in Google and you may even generate a lot of traffic to your website. However, if the content of your website is not relevant to the keywords you’ve targeted, then the people who visit your site will probably not be interested in what they find” – Dr. Anthony Fernando
Website owners need to target keywords that are relevant to their product or service as well as relevant to what customers are looking for.
2. Good Traffic: Some keywords can generate lots of traffic while others will result in lower levels of traffic. It is important to determine which keywords are searched the most on search engines so that websites can be optimized towards those specific keyword phrases.
“Many people are surprised to learn that in most niches over 90% of all keywords have insignificant levels of traffic and are not really worth spending a lot of time and effort on. Unfortunately, when a lot of people start their Internet business, they target keywords at random and are then disappointed to find that they receive little or no traffic to their website” – Dr. Anthony Fernando
When performing keyword research website owners need to validate that the keywords they are targeting have strong levels of traffic based off of quantitative data.
3. Acceptable Competition: Google’s top search web page rankings result in the most traffic. Particularly the top 5 web pages on the front page of Google will receive majority of the traffic. The only problem with this is that there are only 5 positions available which results in competition with millions of other webpages for a particular keyword query.
It is important to identify keywords that have high relevance, provide good traffic but have low levels of competition. When businesses try to rank for a keyword with a high level of competition they run the risk of not having their website seen at all.
“Most online business owners fail online because they just climb into a niche market blindly and start creating content. They then hope that Google will somehow find their site and magically give them a front page ranking” – Dr. Anthony Fernando
4. High Commerciality: Another unique aspect of Market Samurai is that it helps you research the potential profit levels of your keyword. They use the data based off Google Adwords research tool. Google Adwords is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising methodology. PPC advertising provides small text ads that are placed on the side of webpages.
Google displays these PPC ads on their front pages. Commerciality is based off of how much advertisers typically will pay to post their ads for a particular keyword using PPC. The more money advertisers are willing to spend for PPC will typically determine that there is a high level of commerciality for a keyword phrase.
Targeting the right keywords in SEO is vital to websites success on the search engines. Targeting the wrong keywords will result in low levels of traffic to a website. Low levels of traffic will result in lower conversions and ultimately less profit for business owners. Simple Google SEO Strategies
First, you must understand that each and every page of your website needs to be SEO’d. This will not pose too much difficulty if your website is rather small but if you have dozens (or hundreds) of pages, the work to be done will be substantial.
Your “meta title” information is added to the page source (i.e. your website coding). This may be done manually by your Content Management System (aka CMS). On some dynamic platforms, the meta title is created automatically as soon as the page is published.
Generally speaking, your meta title should be kept relatively short (no more than 60-80 characters) and should include the two-to-three keyword phrases you are specifically trying to optimize the page for.
Meta Page Description
Some may argue how much this affects SEO but there are other benefits to writing a good meta page description as well. Google will only display the first 156 characters (including spaces) of your page description so it’s best to use that as your maximum length.
Your page description text should read well, include your primary keyword phrase at minimum and be somewhat exciting.
The page description will generally be shown to searchers just beneath the clickable title. If your description tells of a benefit or evokes curiosity in the reader, you will enhance your ability to get visitors.
Most will tell you that meta keywords are worthless when it comes to SEO and I would tend to agree. However, if you are going to add meta keyword information I would recommend that you keep the amount to no more than about five terms in total.
It is poor practice to add dozens of meta keywords to each page and you may actually get penalized for doing so.
Your on page content should be unique to your website if at all possible and should also include the keyword phrases you are targeting. You don’t need to worry about the specific “keyword density” anymore as that is mostly a thing of the past.
However, it does help to include the terms you are specifically targeting at least once within the title of the headline, once within the first paragraph, and later in the body or final paragraph.
Your Web Page URL or Domain Name
If your website architecture allows you to control the name of each page, it’s best to see that it includes your primary keyword phrase. If you were targeting the term, “power supply repair,” for example, you might create a domain to be powersupplyrepair.net
Internal Text Links
As discussed another aspect to rank on Google is to focus on text links. Links are basically words that are bolded or underlined on your text content. When a person visiting a site clicks on that highlighted word it will upload another website. The more webpages that are linked to a website will allow search engine crawlers to index the site and store pages on their database.
When creating links it is important to have target keyword be the text link. In the example above one of the text links is also a target keyword Power Supply Repair Pricing. When a customer clicks on that link it will send them to another webpage. In this example, the web viewer is redirected to the following page.
Internal linking is when a link is redirected to another webpage within a website. The goal is to have an online visitor spend as much time on the website as possible. If a viewer finds a website useful and easy to navigate it will entice them to learn more about the business.
The Importance of Building Quality Backlinks
Backlinks – defining backlinks is a challenge only because there are a variety of other terms that mean basically the same thing. You may also hear them referred to as text links, anchor text links, hypertext links, one-way links or contextual links.
A backlink occurs whenever another site links to yours. The link could come from an image or banner type graphic or it could be a linked piece of text.
For SEO purposes, the text links are of primary importance with the goal being to get links that include the keyword phrases you are optimizing for.
The best links are those that are “one-way,” meaning that a site links to you but you do not link back to them. It can be beneficial to “trade links” (called reciprocal linking) with another webmaster for the purpose of gaining website traffic but it’s not a strategy that will improve your search engine rankings or SEO.
When you have a lot of backlinks it shows the search engines that the website is popular amongst other websites and that its content is relevant to a particular niche. Other website owners will be more inclined to send links to a website when that site has valuable content that they want their readers to reference.
This is a basic guide on how to use search engines to gain more web traffic.