Few things are more frustrating than working all the hours the good Lord sends- only to find that your website is ranked somewhere on another planet. You have optimised your site, got all your keywords into all the correct SEO friendly positions, sent out a number of press releases, worked like a madwoman to write a huge amount of the highest quality content…. Still the visitors don’t come. The sales are non-existent.
GET MORE VISITORS!
The answer is being more visible to prospective visitors. You’ve heard plenty of people say it already in various ways. This is the cutting to the chase method: It is all about getting more links from other sites. Period.
Simply put, the more high quality links you get, the higher your SERPS (search engine ranking position). A site that links to you is effectively giving your own site their vote of confidence. The more of these votes you get the more trustworthy your site appears to the search engines which then naturally translates into higher rankings for your site.
With the search engines, it's also the link anchor; the clickable part of the link that really is important. What this means is that to rank for a keyword such as ‘personalised stationery’ you will need more links with “personalised stationery’ in this clickable part. Here is a good example (a friend’s site):
If only it were so easy, I hear you saying. I guess now you are asking yourself where on earth to start. Where to nab those lots of high quality links I so breezily referred to and how many you need to get on the front page of Google. I am guessing I am not far from the truth, particularly if you are a start-up/small business with little or no interest in Internet Marketing.
Good news. You can do it. The evidence of small businesses with next to no budgets making it big is plentiful. This is what I can tell you now: You can begin to transform your business by analysing the competitors in your niche who are already ranking well.
It makes perfect sense. If you want to nab the top spot for “personalised stationery” you will have to outrank your “personalised stationery” competition, and if they are already doing well ‘thank you very much’ in the search engines they are doing something very right indeed in terms of their marketing/seo strategy. Your task now is to find their blueprint of success and emulate! It’s about working smarter, not harder.
SEO is not for You?
If you are thinking “SEO is not for me” or “I don’t have time for analysing loads of competitors”, hey, I’m human, I have the T-Shirt, I understand. My current blog is just a few months old so I am doing this myself. Very slowly. Be reassured: I like easy. I like simple. My mission with ihubbusiness is to find the friendliest, lowest budget (ideally zero budget) strategies, tools and resources out there that will make small business internet marketing a breeze. Why? So that this position of ‘not for me’ cannot be defendable if you want to succeed online, particularly with what I am about to tell you now…
Cool SEO Tools
The first of these is SEO Spyglass which is an incredible free tool I discovered from the brilliant, Ana Hoffman of the ‘Traffic Generation Café’ which helps you easily create a link building campaign that works in next to no time. This great tool will let you know in minutes why your high ranking competitors rank well. The tool will also give you information such as
SEOQuake is a Firefox and Chrome plugin which will enable you to view the page rank, domain age, links and alexia ranking of your competitors. Some people find it slightly annoying as it can somewhat ‘clutter’ the appearance of your search page, but this is a means to an end. You can easily disable the tool when you want.
Then pop over to Google. Search for your keyword and pick out the top ten ranked sites for your keyword or phrase. Do not pick big brands like Amazon. It is also a good idea to avoid high page rank sites- eg 5 or above as it could well be that their page rank is contributing more to the ranking position than anything else (if that makes sense!)
· Some of the sites that come up will have high page ranks but when you pop over to visit them you notice that they are highly branded with heavy internal linking; not worth your time. Do not dismiss pages with page ranks of 0; if they are highly listed it would suggest they have good backlinks but you would have to take a deeper look to verify this. Make a note of your top ten sites and go and have a look at their link building opportunities.
· Once you have made a list of the sites you want to target, head over to SEOMoz to use their OpenSiteExplorer.org tool, a free to use link analysis tool. Open site explorer gives you, for each site, information which includes Page Authority, Domain Authority, and the total number of links, the anchor text and linking page URL.
· I subscribe to the KISS principle of life (Keep It Short and Simple), so all you need to know with metrics such as the Domain and page authority is that the higher the number, the better. Visit each of the links displayed and take a quick look, noting in particular opportunities for commenting, forums, guest posting. Be sure to respect the rules of engagement of each site you visit.
· If you have not already done so download Google Analytics to your site which has an easy to follow interface: http://www.google.com/analytics. You could also download and use the Alexa toolbar which will give you an indication of the amount of traffic you are getting. All you need to know is that the lower your Alexa number the better!
· When you are using the OpenSiteExplorer tool it is also a good idea to look at the bigger picture and see if there are any common domains or links that are more prevalent than others- for example you might notice that a large number of links come from one particular site. If you discover that the said site is a directory then you may want to be listed there yourself.
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