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Search Engine Optimization Methods


How to bring free traffic
to your website


Search engine optimization is the art and science of trying to please the search engines so they will place your website at the top of the results list.

When you search on the internet for information, the search engine returns the results as a list of websites. This list is in order of page rank, where the search engine determines the order of the list according to criteria which, for the most part, is secret.

While the actual formulas used to calculate page ranks are known only by a very few key employees of each search engine, the search engines do openly state that they love theme-based websites, keyword-focused content pages, and in-pointing links to a website.


Theme-Based Websites

The search engines developed theme-based website ranking to counter the many sneaky tricks that were being used to try to get better rankings.

Theme-based ranking means that the search engines like to see all the pages of a website related to a common topic.

Here is an example of theme-based ranking power when focused on a niche:

Our website is about Ireland and all things Irish but mostly focused on the Irish food niche. Our best-ranked pages are the recipes pages.

All of our recipe pages are on the first page of Google and most are #1 page rank. At this point, probably any page we add where the keyword contains “Irish recipes” will debut with a top 10 page rank.

The lesson is that you should not only have a theme-based website but focus on a niche within that theme:
"Irish" too broad a theme
"Irish Food" a good theme but there is a lot of competition.
"Irish Food Recipes" a nice niche within a theme.

The narrower the niche the easier it will be to get high page ranks and the less competition you will have. It is crucial to the success of your site that you do your research on finding the correct niche before you build your site - enough demand, but not too much competition.


Keyword-Focused Content Pages

Here is how to use keyword-focused content pages for search engine optimization. This is so important, and very very few websites actually do this.

If your web page keyword is “fine art portraits”, you should use the keyword in the title, filename, ALT & META tags, page heading, image file name, and in a text link like this:

1. The filename should be Fine-Art-Portraits.html
2. The heading at the top of the page in the <H1> tag should contain “Fine Art Portraits”.
3. The META description tag should contain the phrase "Fine-Art-Portraits".
4. The META keywords tag should have “Fine Art Portraits" as the first keyword in the list.
5. The phrase "Fine Art Portraits" should be in the first 90 characters of body text (not counting the heading), and also used again at the bottom of the page at least once for a short page. For longer pages you would want to use it more but not too much. See the information on keyword density below.
6. If possible, "Fine Art Portraits" should also be used in a text link, either to another site or another page on the same site.
7. At least one image on the page should have a filename and ALT tag containing “Fine Art Portraits”.

Click here to see a diagram of the keyword optimization
strategy in one of our top ranked web pages.


Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to how often you should use the keyword on a page. Use it too little and the search engines will not get a clear picture of what your page is about. Use it too much and the search engines might think you are trying to manipulate them.

You should aim for a keyword density of 3-5%. A good rule of thumb for keyword density is to use the keyword just a little bit more than you normally would in your writing.

Here is a free keyword analysis tool you can use to check keyword density:


Off-Page Search Engine Optimization Methods

Off-Page Search Engine Optimization Methods are ways to improve your website ranking by adding content to other sites.

The most common methods are creating web pages, writing articles and submitting bookmark links, all with the goal of creating more links pointing to your website.

Bookmark Sites, like and, are collections of favorite web sites. These are the easiest to join and submit your site to.

Free Web Page Sites, like and, allow you to create a single web page about anything you like and, of course, add a link to your web site as well.

Free Article Sites, like and, allow you to submit short articles and add your web page link.

Free Directory Sites, like, are like specialty search engines that hand-pick their content. You have to submit your site for review but, if accepted, a link from the top free directories will really help your page ranks.


Search Engine Submittal

Search Engine Submittal is the process of notifying the search engines about changes to your website so they will know to add the new information to their index.

There are a variety of ways to do submittals. You can manually notify the search engines one at a time, or upload a website map that lists all the pages of your site.

You can hire a service to do this for you. Usually, after you set up a website, you will get a letter in the postal mail from a submittal company offering a one-time service to submit your site to 300 search engines for around $50.

While these are all better than nothing, you really want the search engines to know about any changes or new pages as you make them. Ideally, you want your hosting service to automatically handle the submittals for you on a daily basis. The two best hosting companies that include search engine submittals as part of their basic service are Bluehost and Site Build It!.


Assorted Search Engine Optimization Tips

There are a lot of little do’s and don'ts with SEO. For example, it is understood that search engines don’t like web pages with lots of links. A page that is nothing but a long list of links is even worse. These are called “link farms” and they can really hurt your page rank.

The rule of thumb is to not have more than 6 links to different websites on any page. You can have a large list of links without hurting your ranking if you tell the search engines to ignore that page with a NOINDEX tag.

You need to have at least 125 words on each page to be regarded as a real content page. If you have any less, you should also use the NOINDEX tag.

Other things that may hurt your ranking are broken links, duplicate content, HTML errors, linking to poor quality sites, and “orphan pages” that have no links from the other website pages to them.


More About Search Engine Optimization

This is just the briefest possible overview of search engine optimization. If you want to read about SEO in greater detail check out the Traffic volume of this free e-book 'Make Your Site Sell' by Ken Evoy.

The SBI Action Guide contains a detailed 10 step process for researching and building a website with the most effective SEO techniques. The SBI hosting system provides all of the research, site building & traffic generation tools needed to work with the Action Guide.


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Do you have a comment or question about the search engine optimization information on this page? Use the Contact form to let us know.


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