It’s time to get my mind back on making money, so it can be spent on more travel and lifestyle. Planning a trip to Santa Catarina to experience the great beaches of Southern Brazil and visit the city of Florianópolis, for sometime in February, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, it’s time once again to analyze and then improve the search engine rankings of my sites an blogs. Search engine marketing is not my favorite task but it’s very important, so much so that it could, or maybe should, be a full-time occupation. I’ll review some of my tips for search engine marketing.
Without decent website visitor tracking and reporting software you’ll have no way to measure your success or evaluate your short-comings. I recommend Urchin, which if you can’t install on your server, then you can take advantage of Google Analytics which uses Urchin. The difference is that with the Google version of Urchin it’s necessary to install a small Java script and code on each and every page that you’re tracking, whereas the enterprise suite of software installed on a server provides reporting from the User Log files. Both are excellent. I have the enterprise suite of software and was also a Beta tester with Google when they first introduced Analytics, so on several sites I have both and they jive.
Nowadays it’s an absolute must, if you want to excel on the search engine, to have a good “site map” strategy. This means both an HTML page on your site, with a simple layout of every page on the site, this will also be useful to your visitors and you’ll find that it’s often handy for finding things yourself. I have one for Silicon Palms (see: www.siliconpalms.com/sitemap.php). Also, you’ll need to make XML sitemaps and how, where, and why to submit them to Google, this makes a big difference for the spiders and robots that come to your site to bring back information to the place in the search engines.
For the sitemap strategy to work effectively you’ll also need to develop a ROBOTS.txt which is basically a list of pages and directories not to be crawled by the robots and spiders ie. /images (who cares what images you have in a folder on your site?). To learn more about this topic go to Google Webmaster Tools.
A good free service to determine where you stand in terms of search engine saturation is www.marketleap.com there’s also several other reports provided there that will shed some light on where your search engine strategy may need improvement. You can compare a list of “search terms” from an Urchin report against the results of a Market Leap report to get even more insight.
Meta Tags are critical because they contain the keywords that provide your pages with directions on where you want the search engine to place your site. There’s excellent software available now for analyzing your meta tags and comparing against your competition. Amongst the best software I’ve seen, which performs a bunch of important Search Engine related tasks is “Internet Business Promoter” (or IBP), it’s not cheap but it’ll take you from soup-to-nuts on everything you’ll need to know about search engine marketing.
Submitting to the search engines doesn’t need to be done as frequently as in days gone by, however it’s still important in my opinion, and all new websites have to be submitted or they might not show up on the search engines for a long time. Also, you MUST submit by hand to Google and Yahoo and it’s probably a good idea with many of the others. I’ve been using a service since 1997 called Self Promotion and highly recommend paying a small yearly fee to join.
There are volumes more that can be said and written about Search Engine Marketing but I’ll leave that to the experts, of which there are many. Just put “search engine marketing” in your favorite search engine and you’ll find a massive list.