Getting listed number 1 on Google seems to be the Holy Grail for most website owners. If you’ve heard or read any of my past rants about this, you’ll know that I think there are better uses of your marketing time than worrying about search engine placement. This is due largely to the fact that most sites get their traffic from direct entry or in-bound links, not from search engines. This is what makes you popular on the Internet, and only after you are already popular will you start to rank well with Google.

I basically own the first 2 pages of Google for a search on my name “Greg Jameson“. Still, I think SEO, or search engine optimization, is an expense that can be easily avoided if you follow my 10 simple steps that I’ve outlined below. Organic search results should be just that – if you do your job well, the search engines will take care of themselves.

Consider this simplified example. If you have 3 pages of content about a particular subject and your competition has 10 pages about the same subject, most likely your competition will rank above you. It makes sense that your competitor’s site will appear to Google to be the authority on the topic, doesn’t it?

Of course there are many variables that Google uses to determine which site is the most authoritative. If your competitor’s site has been in existence for 5 years and you just started yours, then that also gives them more credibility.

If all the information on your website is sales copy and the information on your competitor?s website is more informational, then again, your competitor’s website will likely outperform yours. The platform you are using doesn’t really matter, it’s the content that is important. Remember, people come to the Internet looking for information, so give it to them! Comprehensive descriptions with personal opinions are better than minimal descriptions. This serves another purpose as well: When you provide people with engaging content, they will stick around longer on your site to consume it, which reduces your bounce rate. This also gives you more credibility with Google.

If important facts are buried in hard to find corners of your website or perhaps in PDF form or Flash, and your competitor’s information is front and center, again, your competitor will outrank you. And most importantly, if don’t have any in-bound links that include your main keywords, you will never rank well. Each link is like a vote for your site, and the more votes you get, the higher you rank. The good news is you can vote for yourself! Here then are my 10 simple steps to give you a leg up with your internet marketing:

Greg’s simplified steps to Internet marketing:

   1. Write a description of what you offer, telling a story “as you see it”. Do NOT use a canned description (if you must use a canned description, include your own commentary as well).
   2. Come up with a list of 5-10 keywords that you think someone would use to search for your product or service.
   3. Go to Google Adwords / keyword selector tool and enter each of the search terms you came up with.
   4. See which words and related topics are actually driving traffic and make a note of them. Try to get additional domain names that contain the keywords.
   5. Review content from competing websites to see how they are incorporating the keywords into their site. Are they including keywords in file names and Alt-tags? You should too.
   6. Using this revised keyword list, re-write your copy to include each keyword at least twice within the description. For example:

These properties in the Colorado Mountains offer spectacular views with numerous great building sites on each lot. Join this secure, gated community in the Colorado Mountains and find the property of your dreams!

   7. Have another set of eyes look at the revised copy to make sure that it still sounds like it was written for a person and not Google.
   8. Create a YouTube video. Since YouTube is owned by Google, they give well-documented videos lots of importance. Add your keywords into the meta tags for the video. Include a description that contains the keywords at least twice as shown above. Put in a link to the desired webpage (not necessarily the home page), with the full url:  http://www.mywebsite.com/featured_page
   9. Write various posts to your blog and Facebook page / press releases / articles / classifieds / coupons / directory listings etc. that use the keyword as the anchor text to link back to your site. For example: Colorado Mountain Property (which of course links to the desired page). This is the most important step and must be an ongoing effort – you are voting for yourself for the selected keywords every time you do this!
  10. Check your analytics in about a week. If you are not getting the desired results, repeat step 9. If you still don’t see results after about 3-4 weeks, tweak your copy (and continue doing step 9).

Doing these 10 steps will put you way ahead of what most people are doing with their websites. Let me know your results and other suggestions in the comments area.