Search Engine Optimization SEO Made Easy

SEO is a never ending battle!

So is SEO over-rated? I don't think it is. Some say that Google's automated PageRank? system and Alexa's Traffic Rank system are losing ground. This may be may be true to some point but the fact still remains that we want at the top of the search results. And to achieve this we need to educate ourselves and do the work or hire someone else to the work for us.

Search Engine Optimization "SEO" is a term we see all over the net. For those of you that are unsure exactly what is meant by SEO, it's simply adjusting many characteristics of your website to conform with what the major search engines deem important. That's where the simple stops. It's complicated only because no one other than the developers themselves know all the rules and even then the rules are constantly changing.

What I'll try to do here is cover the basics that have fairly consistent lately. Keep in mind however there will always be inconsistencies when it comes SEO. For example, I recently read an e-book that said to imbed a few of your primary keywords in the "alt" tag of your logo graphic. The same day, I was reading an online article of equal quality and this author cautioned against such a tactic due to possible penalties by the search engines. So which did I do? See for yourself by hovering your mouse over the logo. I don't mind a little risk as long as the risk is low and there may be nice benefits, but don't get carried away. We certainly don't want to get banned by any search engines. I get the heebie-jeebies just saying it. That would simply end many of us. Because Google's PageRank? and Alexa's Traffic Rank systems are really two different animals, I will focus primarily on Google's PageRank? system for now.

So lets get started in no particular order.

Link Popularity: I guess we can start with the hardest part of search engine optimization. Link popularity. The ultimate goal here is to gain the respect of the search engines. And how we do that is by who we know or at least associate with in the spiders eyes. We want as many quality incoming links as possible with as few low-ranked outbound links as possible. We need to consider several factors when we approach any site to request a link exchange.

1. First of all, we want to focus only on sites that compliment ours. By that I mean directly on indirectly are in the same category or field or relating field as our site without necessarily competing with our site. I say not-necessarily because personally I have no problem linking to competitors site as long as we both mutually agree benefits. Some fear they'll lose some of their site visitors but I feel the best way to keep visitors on your site and get them to return is by providing a high quality site with great original content.

2. Second we want to pay attention to their Google page rank. To do this if you haven't already done so, download Google free toolbar http://toolbar.google.com/ Once installed, you can see the PageRank? of any site you go to. You want as many sites as possible with high PR's. Set a goal of getting a few PR6 or PR7 sites. This will do wonders to your rank. In fact one PR7 might do more for you than hundreds on no or very low PR sites.

3. Third, the engines like to see incoming links from what they consider on authoritative site. So aggressively go after well established, high ranking sites that share the some focus as your site.

4. Fourth on our list are the sites to stay away from. Sites that generate artificially created links. Link farms and even huge link exchange sites can even get your site banned. I don't mean to make anyone nervous here. The fact is, if you are generally doing the right thing for the right reasons, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you find yourself trying to hide something or hoping an search engine doesn't catch something, then you may want to re-evaluate your strategies.

Requesting a link. The first thing you should do when requesting a link exchange is little research. Glance over the site in question and consider where your site link might hold the most relevance one their site.

This will benefit both parties. And then don't be afraid to offer the suggestions when you contact the site administrator. I have had sites accept my link on a suggested page even though they have a section designed just for outside links. I have even accepted links that I would have normally rejected because the fit would have seemed wrong if they hadn't shown a better fit.

Always add their link to your site before you make the request and include the page url of the link when making contact. Keep track of the contacts you've made and if you haven't received a reply. Do a simple search on there site to see if they added your link and forgot to reply. At most, send one more request and be sure to include the words link exchange in the subject line so they don't delete your mail as spam. Then if you still don't get a reply within a week simply remove theirs from your site and move on. Don't send any more mail. Consider the lack of response as a rejection and accept it. Don't take things personal and send a negative e-mail. I have actually received a couple of these and there's really no point. If you do get a reply and a link send a short thank you note.

Always include the exact text of the link you want on their site. Again, before you do this it helps if you look at other links on their site. If they have a 3 or 4 word description with each link, you don't want to send a whole paragraph in your links description. What you do want to do is include your best key words. In fact, a short description with the right key words can benefit you far better than a watered down version. Keep it short and sweet.

Make things as easy as possible for the webmaster. Include the html code of your link so he/she can just copy and paste if they decide to.

Sample Link Exchange Request Letter

Hi, I am the administrator and site owner of YourSiteHere.com
I would like to apply for a link exchange with your site.
I have already linked to your site, you can view it at:
http://reciprocal.YourSiteHere.com/

Basic exchange information
Site name:

Extreme Site Promotions
URL:

http://www.YourSiteHere.com
Site Description:

Extreme sit promotion techniques for internet marketing campaigns, site promotion and internet advertising.
Category:

Internet marketing/Web promotion
Where our site reciprocates:

http://reciprocal.YourSiteHere.com.com/

Contact information
Name:

Your Name
Email address:

[email protected]

Extreme promotions techniques for internet marketing campaigns. Site promotion andinternet advertising. Feel Free to download the supplied graphics located at http://www.YourSiteHere.com/graphics and use them to link back to our home page. Our site can only reciprocate with a text link.

Link/ Resource Page- If you decide to dedicate a page or two to link exchanges, stay with the over all theme of your site. And the best way to create a links page is by doing it manually. An automated system can be less affective and can even get you in trouble if not maintained closely.

Organize your links into categories and set a limit of about 50 links or so to a page.

Include on your links page an example of the link you want used linking back to your site. Again, use your key words. It might also be nice to offer a few graphics or banners in case a site would prefer to use a graphic linked back to you. Give them permission to download the images and use them to link to your site. I always include a comment such as,

"Feel Free to download the supplied graphics located at www.YourSiteHere.com/graphics and use them to link back to our home page. Our site can only reciprocate with a text link."

I think it's better to provide a link to the graphic page rather than sending attachments. In today's age of viruses, you risk you email getting deleted right away if it contains an attachment.

I have learned from experience that many sites aren't going to play fair, and even more of them are not keeping their sites updated. I have a nice link exchange program that I've built over a many month period and a couple months ago, a friend of mine let me in on a new link tag: content="noindex,nofollow" He suggested that I use it for links such as affiliate links and other non-reciprocating links. Why let these sites suck up my page rank with nothing in return? As I was adding the tags, I went to my links page and began checking each site for a reciprocal link. To my amazement, over 50% had no link back to my site. This means that most of the 50% had removed the link after a short period and maybe a few had squeaked by me without ever adding one. Another reason I was surprised by this is that about 75% of the links on that site were requested by the other party. So what can you do? Ireined my system. I added a note at the top of the page and I began making these changes:

For every site that I couldn't find a like from, I added the word "pending" and I also added the content="noindex,nofollow" tag. This would reduce one sided benefit until I notify each site and give them a chance to ad mine. I could have deleted these links but this method is better for a few reasons. First, it relays a message to future exchange sites that we're paying attention. Second, it's possible that I made a mistake and the link is there. And lastly, they may have a mistake themselves. so each site will be contacted individually before they are removed. A huge project that I'm not looking forward to but it has to be done.

As for the sites that did reciprocate, they get a double benefit. They get the word "confirmed" next to their link with a second link to their site going directly to the page where our links resides. This will make life much easier in the future when it comes to re-checking reciprocal links. All I'll have to do is click on the 'confirmed' link and it should be there.

Brian Hawkins - Entrepreneur, Internet Marketer, Online business consultant, Author. Site owner and administrator of several sites including: http://www.extremesitepromotions.com/ and http://www.csc4u.com/

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