It is important to figure out which keywords to optimize for before you begin your SEO optimization efforts. You will want to pick out two or three keyword phrases that you want your website to rank high for. You can find great keywords by using Google AdWords: Keyword Tool. Just search Google for google keyword tool and enter in the keywords that you are thinking about optimizing for and this program will show you the previous months search volume for those specific keywords. This SEO tool will even provide you with alternative synonymous keywords that you can choose from. I recommend choosing a keyword phrase that has had at least 10,000 searches in the last month. I know you may be thinking why not optimize for the
keyword that has the most searches during the month? Well, the problem with this strategy is that the more searches that keyword phrase gets, the more competitors there are who will be optimizing for them. The more competitors, the harder it will be to rank for those specific keywords. This is why I suggest choosing to optimize for a less competitive keyword phrase at first. Once you have succeeded with this less competitive keyword phrase, your traffic will increase, thus increasing your Google merit, and in turn making it easier for you to rank well for more competitive keywords later.
Step 2: Analyze Your Competitors On-page Optimization.
- You will want to go to Google and do a search for your keyword terms. Make sure you are not logged into Google when you do this search, as it may change the results. On the search results page you will want to analyze your main competitors sites (i.e. the top 5 results). The following is a step by step guide of how to perform this analysis:
- Check the page rank of the webpage that you are trying to outrank. You can find several different page rank checker tools by going to Google and searching for page rank checker. If the page rank of the top 5 websites is below a page rank 5, you may have a good chance of out optimizing them. If the page rank is 6 or above you might want to try optimizing for a different set of keywords, as a page rank of 6 and up is VERY good and will be hard to beat.
- Go to the website that is ranking high for your keywords, start from site 1 and work your way down through site 5. Once on the page, click the view button at the top of your browser and then click Page Source. When this new screen pops up click the edit button and then click find.
- Search for the page's title tags. Once you find them, see if the keywords you are analyzing are included in the competitor's title. If they are, that's ok; you can add them to your page title as well.
- Search for h1. You are looking to see if the site has your targeted keywords in their h1 tags. You may want to try to search for h2 and h3 tags as well. If they don't have the keywords in the h1 tag this is an advantage to you because you can add them to your header tag.
- Now search the page for your keywords. You will want to see how many times the webpage has the keywords listed on it. Make sure to analyze how many times the keywords are listed on the page in regular font, as well as, bold, italics and underlined. Make sure your write all this information down so you can one up your competitor with your on page SEO optimization.
- Check to see if the keywords are listed in the first 25 words of the page and the last 25 words of the page.
- You will want to make sure that your targeted keywords are listed in your title in a way that reads naturally.
- You will want to use your main keyword phrase in your website description 2 times also in a way that sounds natural.
- You will want to include your targeted keywords in your Meta tags.
- You will want to add your main targeted keywords in h1 tags at the top of your web page.
- Make sure to list your keywords once in each paragraph on your site. Also, try and use the keywords once in italics, once in bold, and once underlined throughout the page. - At most, only use your keywords once each paragraph. You don't want to use the keywords too many times as this can result in a negative effect on your SERPS. Google will see this ploy as keyword stuffing.
- Try to make it so your main keywords are listed in the first 25 words of your webpage and the last 25 words of your site. A trick I use to make sure my keywords are in the last 25 words of my site is by adding them to the copyright portion at the bottom of my pages.
Step 3: Analyze Your Competitors Off page Optimization.
Now you will want to check the off page optimization tactics that your competitors are using.
To do this you will want to analyze the number and quality of backlinks that are linking to the your competitor's site. You can search for the number of backlinks a website has by using Yahoo as an SEO tool. Go to yahoo.com and search using this format: Link:http:// www. yourcompetitorswebsite.com. This search will show you how many of the websites pages are indexed by Google, giving you a better idea of how often Google visits the site, as well as, the number of in links or backlinks that the site has pointing to it.
Now for the time consuming part; you will want to determine the quality of the links that are linking back to this site. Here is a list of some things you will want to look at when determining the quality of the sites backlinks:
- The Page rank of the page linking to the site (i.e.www. website.com/pagelinkingtowebsite).
- The page rank of the main URL of the page linking to the site.
- How many times the page uses the targeted keywords in:
- The title of the page (i.e. in between the title tags)
- In any h1, h2, or h3 tags - In the main body of the page
- How many times the keyword shows up on the page in regular font, as well as, in bold, italics, and underlined.
Once you have chosen your targeted link partners you will want get there whois information i.e. who owns the website. You can find this information by going to whois.com and doing a search using the site address.
Once you have the webmasters email, you will want to write them a letter asking them if they might consider exchanging links with you. Make sure that you already have their site link on your website. Provide them the address where they can see their link. Give them some kind of incentive for linking back to you. Be creative, and try to make sure the letter sounds somewhat personalized. There is nothing a webmaster hates more than receiving a letter that is painfully generic.
I will say it again, as it is VERY important. Give the webmaster a reason to link back to you. Emphasize What's in it for them if they link to you (i.e. you believe your site will be a great resource for their users or something of that nature). At first you will get more no's than yes's but don't get discouraged, this is the case for many new web owners and it will get easier as your website ages.
Now, I know this sounds like A LOT to analyze manually, so for anyone that is interested, I would like to introduce an amazing SEO tool that can completely automate this process for you.
This program will provide you with everything you need to analyze your competitors backlinks and facilitate your link building campaign.
Here is a list of some of the options this SEO Tool has to offer:
You can analyze the backlinks of any site. This analysis will show you:
- You can choose to search for prospective backlink partners using different criteria including: using a competitors website to find links, using a keyword to find links, finding link directories with a specific category, and more.
- All of the links pointing to the site, with the exact address of where you can find the link.
- The PR of the page the link is on - The anchor text used - If the link is do follow or no follow
- If the site still has the backlink, sometimes links will show up (especially in the yahoo search) on pages that no longer house the website you are analyzing. This happens because the site may have had the backlink when it was last crawled by Google, but as of right now the link is no longer on the page.
- It will analyze the density of the main keywords used throughout the pages that house the backlinks.
- It gives you the ability to add your own keywords that you want to analyze the backlinks for, the keywords you choose will be analyzed for:
* Link density
* Link prominence
* Keywords in h1 & h2 tags
* Keywords in the Meta tags
- You can do a search that will tell you how many of your pages or a competitors pages are I indexed in the different search engines, indicating how often the Google bot visits the site.
- You can do a search to see where you are ranking for your specific keywords. This feature is especially helpful because a lot of SEO position checkers only check the first 100 results and you may not be listed in the first 100 results during your beginning efforts. This tool will show you exactly what position you are be it number 1 or number 800, which is extremely helpful in monitoring your SEO optimization progress.
- It allows you to search for possible authority websites (meaning high value websites that are specific to your websites category) that you may be able to get a link from.
- They even provide you with an article submission tool that will submit your articles to different article directories automatically.
So, I have covered on page and off page optimization SEO Tools that, if used properly, will help you outrank your competitors. I hope that you have found this page helpful and I wish you the best of luck in your SEO optimization efforts!
I have been researching SEO Optimization strategies online for several years now and have found thousands of strategies and SEO Tools online during this time. However, 99% of these strategies don't work and may actually hurt your SERPS position. I finally found a method that works and it is the only one I use. That is why I have outlined it here, in the hopes of saving at least a few of the new webmasters out there some of the many headaches that these false SEO tactics have caused me and thousands of other webmasters on the web.