Search engines determine their rankings based on two things:
1) Is your site relevant? (Optimized for certain keywords)
2) Is your site important? (Many links back to your site from other sites)
Only when you address both of these considerations are you guaranteed of making an impact. Your degree of success depends on how hard you try and how many other people you're competing against (and how hard they're trying).
Optimizing your site for keywords is the easy part. (See http://www.divinewrite.com/seocopy.htm for more information on SEO copy.) Generating links back to your site is much more challenging ñ and time consuming (especially considering Googleís dampening link filter ñ see http://www.divinewrite.com/googlelinkfilter.htm). But it can be done; and you donít need a huge budget.
The key to topping Google on a budget is writing articles.
Hereís how it worksÖ
STEP 1) Youíre an expert in your field so you possess knowledge that other people want.
STEP 2) You write a helpful article ñ sharing your hard-earned knowledge and expertise.
STEP 3) You submit your article to recognized ìArticle Submitî sites on the Internet.
STEP 4) Publishers of online newsletters, ezines, etc. gather content from these sites for free.
STEP 5) Helpful, well written articles are snapped up by thousands of publishers from all around the world.
STEP 6) The only condition is that they must publish the article with a functioning link to your site.
STEP 7) 300 people publish your article ñ you get 300 links back to your site.
Below are some FAQs about article writing that will help you write your articles and manage your campaign.
Q) What should I write about?
A) Write about what you know. Make sure itís related to your business (so you can use the keywords you want to rank with) and helpful (so it gets published). For example, if youíre a manufacturer of industrial plastics, you might write an article - or series of articles - on how best to handle teflon tubing prior to installation. Once you get thinking about it, you'll probably find there are hundreds of articles you could write that are helpful. You may even have some of them partly written already in your instruction manuals or installation guides, etc. Another good idea is to think of all the questions you get asked by customers and potential customers. These questions show you what people are interested in. If you write an article answering every one of these questions, you'll get published, and you'll also show yourself to be a credible expert. (You may even cut down phone support time!)
Q) How long should my article be?
A) The best articles are only as long as they need to be. Keep it short and sweet ñ thereís nothing wrong with a 400 word article. By the same token, if you need 1500 words to say all you need to say, thatís fine as well.
Q) What kind of writing should I use?
A) Simply write in a style that your audience will be comfortable with. If theyíre from the old school, donít write like I am. Donít use contractions, donít end sentences with prepositions, and donít start sentences with ìandî or ìbutî. But if theyíre not old school, just use conversational English. In fact, the more of yourself you include in the article, the more engaging it will be. The key is to make it readable.
Q) Should I focus on keywords?
A) Yes! Yes! Yes! Any SEO website copywriter will tell you that just as you need to optimize your website for specific keywords, so too should you optimize your articles. If possible, turn keywords into links back to your site. And always try to include keywords in the headline and byline of your article. And donít worry about being seen as Spam; if your article provides good quality information and guidance, it won't be seen as spam by the search engines even when itís very keyword rich.
Q) Where should I submit my article?
A) There are hundreds, if not thousands, of submit sites on the Internet. Too many to include here. Do a search for ìarticle submitî and just find the ones that are most applicable to your industry and offer the most subscribers. Alternatively, you can purchase a list.
Q) Who will publish my article?
A) Generally people publish pre-written articles because they want ìeyes on paperî. In other words, they want to generate traffic to their site. Helpful articles are one way of doing that. It also sets them up as credible authorities on a particular subject. And it develops customer loyalty. There are hundreds of thousands of companies (maybe even millions) publishing online newsletters, ezines, and article pages. No matter what your industry, youíre bound to find quite a few who are interested in what you have to say. In fact, once a few publishers recognise you as a good source of content, they keep coming back looking for more (and even email you asking if you can send them directly).
Q) How will I know when my article has been published?
A) As one of the conditions of publications, you can request that the publisher notifies you when they use your article. Of course, most donít bother to do this, so it's a good idea to set up a Google Alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) which notifies you when your URL has been published on a web page. Google doesn't pick them all up, but it picks up a lot. Whenever you receive an alert, you make sure the article in unchanged and the link back to your site is functioning.
Q) Will the publisher change my article?
A) No, generally not. Changing articles is just extra work. In fact, thatís why publishers like good articles and consistent content providers ñ because that means they donít have to do any extra work. Iíve had many articles published, and donít recall a single instance of an article being changed without my permission. If youíre worried about it, you can include an instruction not to change the article in your conditions of publication.
Q) Can I get an SEO copywriter to write and submit my articles?
A) Yes. Any SEO copywriter should be able to write keyword rich articles and submit them to a number of high traffic article submit sites.
Q) What kind of information would I need to supply an SEO copywriter to write my article?
A) Youíd need to tell your SEO copywriter something like, "We want to write an article which helps people install teflon tubing. The kinds of people who'd be doing it are... They'd be doing it because... The benefits of our tubing are... The difficulties they'd face are... Here are the key steps to successful installation..." Using this information, your SEO copywriter should be able to put together a very readable article which would be bound to get published.
Q) Will my reputation suffer if my article appears on a dodgy site?
A) It shouldnít. Most dodgy sites will be either unrelated or have very low traffic. If the site is unrelated, the publisher wonít go to the effort of publishing your article. If itís related but has very low traffic, very few people will see your article there anyway. And besides, even if your article appears on a dodgy site, it probably wonít be changed because ñ dodgy or not ñ publishers donít create extra work for themselves. So your original presentation, content, and intent will be unaffected. Write a good article, and it always reflects well on you, no matter where it's published.
Q) How long will it take for my ranking to increase?
A) There are no guarantees in SEO. It all takes time. For a start, the search engines can take up to 2 months to update their index of pages. And a single inbound link generally wonít have much impact. Depending on how much competition youíre facing for keywords, and where the links are coming from, 100 inbound links may not make much of a difference. (Links from high PageRank sites are more beneficial to your ranking ñ see http://www.divinewrite.com/seotradesecrets.htm for more information on PR.) So donít expect anything to happen too quickly. But if youíre dedicated, and youíre prepared to write quite a few articles, youíll definitely see results within a few months.