Let me guess…You probably want to be ranked number one on search engines? Me too. It’s not easy. No matter what anyone tells you, there’s no “quick” way to become number one. The reality is that search engine optimization is a process that takes a lot of time and effort. To get you started, it’s probably good to have general knowledge about how search engines work.
Web Crawlers and Indexing
A Web crawler is a computer program that browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner or in an orderly fashion. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches. (Wikipedia – Web Crawler).
Underneath every webpage display is what’s called Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML. When you goto a website, your web browser reads the HTML of the page and renders what you see. Basically, a web crawler will visit your website, “crawl” (read each line of) the HTML and content of your page and index what it gathers.
Since a web crawler has to read every line of code and content on your website to determine what is important, it’s imperative to have clean, valid HTML code. If your code isn’t valid and is used improperly, the web crawler will have a hard time making it through your web page to find important information that you want it to index.
Effective Keyword Targeting
Web crawlers primarily index your website by what are called keywords. In short, a keyword is a “search term” that web surfers use within a search engine to find web pages of interest.
Although search engines take into consideration a lot of other factors, effective keyword targeting is very important to help improve your rankings. One of the major misconceptions of keyword targeting is the fact that most people try to use the most common keywords for their website in order to attract attention. The problem with this technique is that if you’re trying to target a common keyword in a users search, chances are that you’re not alone. More than likely there are hundreds of thousands of other websites out there targeting the same keywords as you. This creates competition. It’ll be very unlikely that you’ll be number one on the search engines results if you have to compete against hundreds of thousands of other websites.
The conclusion: Sometimes it’s more effective to target keywords that receive hundreds of hits a month as opposed to keywords that receive hundreds of thousands of hits a month mainly because you will be competing against a much smaller pool of websites, thus increasing your chances to be higher ranked in the search engine results and ultimately generating more natural traffic to your website.
Keyword Tips and Resources
- Utilize tools such as Google Insights for Search to help analyze current search trends on the internet. This resource, among others, will help you to understand what keywords work well for a particular segment within your industry.
- Include Primary Keywords on high priority areas (Home Page, Title Tags, Image Tags, the first 200 words of content, etc.)
- Improve keyword density without making the content of your website look tailored. What this means is, if you are targeting the keyword “search engine”, don’t spam it 300 times at the top of your website over and over. Search engine crawlers will recognize this as abuse and it will actually effect your ranking negatively. Sometimes this abuse can be against a search engines terms of service agreement which can ultimately get you banned from searches.
- Using valid HTML code and using certain tags such as h1, h2, h3 help to weight “keyword” content on the website heavier for a web crawler.
To learn more about effective key word targeting, check out this resource: The 5 Essential Elements of Search Engine Keyword Research.
Link bait is any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website. (Wikipedia – Link Bait). Link Baiting is a technique used to lure other websites into linking to your website organically. You do this by creating useful or compelling content that will be naturally used as a resource by other people.
In short, the more websites that link to you for your content, the higher you will rank on search engines. If a website links to yours, consider it a new gateway of opportunity because now all the people viewing that external website have a chance to navigate over to yours. Not only does it open a new channel of traffic opportunity, it also tells web crawlers that your website is relevant to the content that it’s being cited on. When a web crawler is crawling an external website and stumbles across your “referenced” site, the web crawler takes this into consideration and indexes your website as a useful or relevant resource to the sites content that it’s referenced on. Again, the more people that reference your website and its content, the higher ranking your website will be on search engines.
Types of Link Bait
There are a few ways to utilize Link Baiting. Some techniques include Resource Link Bait, Widget Link Bait, Incentive Link Bait, Humor Link Bait and News Link Bait. Confused? Below are some descriptions of what all these techniques really are.
- Resource Link Bait – Creating resourceful content or tools that visitors will link to for their own use as well as their own reader’s benefits. Resources tend to attract target customers that can convert to traffic and sales as well as links, and tend to strengthen brand recognition
- Widget & Extensions Link Bait – Create a custom widget or extension for things such as a blogs and other CMS frameworks that users would find useful or beneficial to enhance their website. This helps to increase exposure.
- Incentive Link Bait – Incentives such as contests, secret sales, promotional offers and awards are used to deliver something special beyond the content on the page, typically in exchange for personal information or promotion of some type. These types of incentives generally are enough to entice a blogger or social network user to link or spread the word for you. Small campaigns like these can be quickly and easily thrown together or repackaged from other marketing channels.
- Humor Link Bait – Who doesn’t like to laugh? And if you find something funny online, you generally want to share it with your friends or family members right? What better way to share these things than through a social media network? This type of bait is self-explanatory. Write something funny or discover something funny and share it with the world. In return, the people that discover it will share it with their friends and family and viral marketing will take its course. Be careful though, sometimes humor can result in a negative reflection of a companies professionalism.
- News Link Bait – Be the first to report a breaking topic and more than likely people will find your resource and share it.