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Top 5 Legitimate SEO Techniques That Will Help Your Business Get Found

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People have not stopped buying things, so how are they researching and purchasing products since they have made themselves immune to old marketing techniques like banner ads and direct mail?

The answer is with search engines and Google. According to comScore, Americans conducted 11.5 billion searches in June 2008, and Google was used for 61.5% of those searches.

This means it is essential that you make it easy for customers to find you, and one of the most effective ways to do so is search engine optimization (SEO), which focuses on getting your Web site listed in the unpaid, organic search engine results.

Organic listings generate visitors to your site. Moreover, with SEO, you don't pay a per-click "tax" to the search engines, so it usually has a higher ROI than paid-search listings. Finally, if you do SEO right, it can be a competitive advantage, unlike paid search, because anyone can increase their keyword bid to beat you out.

How do you actually get your Web site ranked high in search engines? The answer is quite simple, but getting there can be a bit more difficult.

Search engines use two broad categories of factors to decide which site shows up first in search results:

  1. On-page SEO factors are all the things that happen on your Web page. The good part is that you have complete control over these things. The bad part is they are only about 25% of the reason you will rank for a search term.
  2. Off-page SEO factors are things that happen outside your direct control but are roughly 75% of the reason you rank for a given search. The most important off-Page SEO factor is the number and quality of links into your Web site. Search engines use links as a measure of how interesting your content is, since more interesting content tends to get more links. Search engines also regard links from more-established Web sites as more important than links from less-trustworthy Web sites.

With those basics in mind, here are five useful tips to help guide you through your SEO strategy.

1. Pick good page titles

The page title of each Web page is the most important on-page SEO factor. The page title is the text that appears in the top bar of your browser window and is the first thing a search engine looks at to determine what the page is about.

For instance, the page title of the MarketingProfs home page is "MarketingProfs - Marketing Resources for Marketing Professionals." It does a good job telling search engines about that page, using keywords relevant to the target audience.

The other smart thing Marketing Profs does is that the page title is different on each page of the Web site. Just as in the case of a lottery, you don't bet the same number over and over for the same drawing; you want to use each page of your Web site as a different entry into the SEO lottery, and a unique page title is how to do that.

2. Be smart about URLs

Your URL is how search engines track and manage your company's reputation online. Using a free URL that actually belongs to another company is a bad idea in the world of SEO because you can never change or forward that URL. Using URLs like make it possible for you to build SEO power for, but if you ever want to move or rename your Web site, you have to leave all that power back at the old Web site.

If you have your own domain, like, then you can always move to a new address and forward all the SEO power you have built up.

3. Start a blog

Blogging does two great things that are a huge help with SEO.

First, if you run a blog correctly, you are updating content on a frequent basis. Search engines love fresh content on Web sites. Web pages or articles that have been published recently on an established Web site get an extra boost in the rankings. The second benefit of blogging is that blogs are a magnet for links. The people who do the most linking online are bloggers and writers. They are much more likely to link to an interesting blog article with a unique perspective on an issue than a typical corporate Web site.

If you start a blog and regularly post content that is appealing to your market, you will help your SEO efforts a lot.

4. Leverage your PR program

If you have a public relations program at your company, there are two things you need to do for SEO. First, you should optimize all of your press releases. This basically means adding links into your press releases that lead back to your Web site. Second, as you get coverage of your company in online publications, make sure that there is link within the article back to your company. You would be surprised how many journalists do not automatically link to companies they write about.

For bonus points, for your links in press releases and media coverage, use hyperlinked text with keywords relevant to your business as the link, not just the URL. The search engines key off of these keywords for added clues about the topic of your Web site. For example: you want a link like marketing resources, not

5. Use social media to build links

Many marketers are scared of social media. The trick is to think of it just as an online version of all the business cocktail parties you have attended over the years. And just like at a cocktail party, with social media you should never enter the conversation with a sales pitch. But social media is an excellent way to promote your interesting blog articles or other content, because other bloggers and writers might write about your company and link back to your content. Find online communities, groups, blogs, and networks where your audience hangs out, and start listening and asking questions.

SEO is like a gigantic onion—there is always another layer you can peel off to go deeper, but these are just a few tips to get you started on the most critical first few levels.

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Mike Volpe is the CMO of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company with over 11,500 customers in 70 countries.

LinkedIn: Mike Volpe

Twitter: @mvolpe

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  • by Paul Burani, Clicksharp Marketing Sat Aug 23, 2008 via web

    It's true that visits from organic search (i.e. the fruits of SEO efforts) don't include a cost per click... but be warned that SEO can be a very labor intensive process, requiring time and expertise which itself carries an indirect (or direct) cost. SEO and Pay-Per-Click tend to both be viable strategies, and concurrently can often generate real synergies... but one should be careful about viewing one as 'free' and the other not.

  • by Zee Waqar Tue Aug 26, 2008 via web

    Very nice and compact info about SEO, what about SEO which is not legit?
    Can you give examples.

  • by Mike Volpe Wed Sep 10, 2008 via web

    By contrast, if you are looking for SEO techniques to avoid, read this great article:

  • by Aaron Kahlow Tue Sep 16, 2008 via web

    Mike, we need to chat... give me ring or drop a msg on facebook.


  • by Andy Durban Wed Sep 24, 2008 via web

    I agree with Paul - SEO should stand for Site Effort Optimization. When I tell my clients what they need to do to get their rankings up I get a blank stare. People would rather believe in SEO voodoo leaving them susceptible to scammers.

    Andy Durban

  • by Frank Levert Thu Oct 2, 2008 via web

    I have to agree with Paul that SEO is not free but it is still much more profitable than PPC if you know what you are doing and whether you are using PPC or SEO you still have to pay an employee for managing your campaign.

  • by MarketingTwins-Randy Mon Oct 13, 2008 via web

    This is great stuff - SEO basics!

    When blogging, just to clarify:
    1) change permalinks to list the POSTNAME: my WP blog defaulted to some random numerical title; this puts the title of the post in the title
    2) of course, do use your keywords in your blog post titles - it's easy to say "Today's Tips" but that does nothing - rather, but "Fort Worth Marketing Tips".

    Another SEO friend of mine ( also told me that we should allow the press release links to stand alone - don't link back to the press release on your site - reciprocal links add no value. Is this still the philosophy of the day? At one time, there was debate over one-way vs reciprocal. What do you guys know about this? It's easy to want to, on my site, send readers over to read my press release, but the easiest way to do this is to send them to the HTML version on the press release service's sight. My friend suggested I copy the text from the release onto a page onto my site and let my site benefit from the content; while also letting the press release service link people to my site from the press release.

    Confused? Me too!

  • by David Egerton Wed Oct 22, 2008 via web

    Dear Randy,

    Your friend is mostly right regarding not linking from your page back. You should always aim to have a link from the PR site back to you and ideally control the anchor and link text. What you have to remember with Google, it does not want to show the same article multiple times from different websites - that would make their search not very good to use. Therefore Google deals with the issue of duplicate content by deciding which one to display based on factors such as number of links to that page, its pagerank etc.

    I am sure this is starting to get confusing, but to complicate matters further, each PR site has a pagerank. The higher that pagerank, the greater the value of the link back you your site. There are PR sites with a page rank as low as 1 or 0, because Google sees these sites as lower quality and mostly just selling links, rather than being a quality PR site. So although you have a link back, its true effect is almost zero.

    Also watch out for sites taht say "yes we link to you" but fail to sell you there is a "no follow" on the link. What this measn is that, the link works for visitors, but GoogleBot will not follow and thus pass any link value back to your page.

    At the end of the day, search engines like Google use 100's of metrics these days to determine how a page ranks -If you want to be number one is serps (search engine results), you need to have a website that can justify a high position for the keywords you target. SEO is only part of the work.

    PS. And I agree with Paul's comment - For some of my customers, Adwords is cheaper than paid SEO services but you have to know what your doing or you could go bankrupt

    Hope it helps a little

  • by SEO Company - Widewebway Fri Nov 21, 2008 via web

    There are many process to get rank in SE and also get good Alexa Ranking.
    But how far I experiment on it and found it Social Book marking is one of the best traffic to get high traffic means Alexa Ranking high.

    SEO Company - Search Engine optimization

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