Simple steps for search engine optimization for dummies

© 2010 Pat Yuen

In this article, I’ll help you with the basic steps necessary to improve your Goggle page rank without putting your brain into the spin cycle. When possible, I’ll try to give detailed instructions so intermediate to advanced users will have to bear with the extra steps. Remember marketing your content is a constantly evolving job that never ends. If your idea of SEO is some magic pill you can take to get results, read no further. No such magic pill exist unless you count continuous payments to Google for Adwords advertising. Once you optimize your site for SEO, you must constantly maintain and market your content to keep getting traffic and converting that traffic to real results.

Background

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality or volume of site traffic to your web site from search engines. Typically, the higher a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engines like Google. There are a number of tools you can use to check your Google page rank without installing the Google toolbar. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal should not be simply to increase traffic to your site but it should be to increase the right kind of traffic. If your site is for business, the ultimate goal may be to increase revenue or if your site is to convey a message to a specific audience, your goal should be to increase visits from the right audience. It’s pointless and wasteful if the traffic increases come from bots and spammers. So the quality of traffic is more important than the volume of traffic.

A quick analogy

Here’s a quick analogy to bring home the point of traffic conversion. If your site represents a retail store, think of these SEO terms as follows.

  • High page rank = Great store location. A high page rank means you have a very visible storefront but is anyone coming to your store?
  • Click through percentage = potential customers in your parking lot.
  • Bounce rate = percentage of people in your parking lot who leave because your storefront sucks. Or it could be they thought you sold shoes but when they showed up in your parking lot, your sign said you sold purses.
  • Conversion = These are people who found your store, entered and may have even bought something. Even if they didn’t buy anything, they stayed long enough that they may return if they need something in the future.

Before you begin

Make sure your site has been indexed by Google.  Search for your site by entering the entire web address in the Google search bar. If it does not come up and your site is active, your site may have been blacklisted by Google. Consult Google’s webmaster guidelines to make sure you have not violated their guidelines causing your site to be removed from their index. Once you have corrected any violation, you can resubmit your site to Google for re-indexing. Don’t waste money using commercial site submission services. Google does not offer paid inclusions and it’s faster to get your site indexed by Google simply by getting Googlebot to index the site by including a proper sitemap.xml file.