What Is SEO?Natural Search andNatural TrafficBefore we explain exactly whatSEO is, first we need to take aminute to remind you what natural search and natural traffic are: • Natural search is the process of generating search engine results based on their supposed relevance to a search term, or keyword, entered by a web visitor. • Natural traffic, in turn, is traffic delivered to a website via those search engine results.Now it should be clear when we say that search engine optimization, or SEO, is the art andscience of adapting websites to increase natural traffic to those sites fromsearch engines. Primarily, this means getting sites to rank higher in thesearch engines when Internet users search for particular terms, or“keywords.”Why Is SEO So Important?Why is SEO so important for affiliate marketers like yourself? Because itcan help you cut through the clutter.Barring the invention of a completely new and totally revolutionary product, youre certainlygoing to have competition in your niche. Simply put, youll lose business to competitors unlessyou can find a way to rank higher than those competitors in the search engine results for yourkeyword(s). And the only way to achieve a higher ranking is through SEO. By mastering the latest and most effective strategies for optimizing your site, you can ensure that a larger number of the customers interested in your niche are clicking through from the search engine results to your website instead of your competitors website.
OptimizationThere are two types of SEO — on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Letsdiscuss these in detail here.On-Page SEOOn-page SEO refers to changes thatare made to the text content of awebsite in order to make the site rank higher in search engines.Why Is On-Page SEO Important?If you want your site to be easy to find, its better to appear higher in the search rankings. So ifyou want your site to appear as high as possible, it’s extremely important that you optimize yoursite for your chosen keywords (usually three to four keywords). Without this, your competitorswebsites will likely rank much higher than yours when searches are performed for yourkeywords.How Do You Optimize Your Site?You can do this by ensuring that elements of your web page — such as your URL, title andheading tags, links, and the body text — include your keywords in the proper density in order tomake the site favorable to search engines. On-page SEO also includes certain elements ofcleaning up your HTML code to make it more search engine friendly.Some examples of on-site SEO include selecting a URL that contains your keywords, andcreating a page title that uses keywords as well. So, if you were selling rare books in Boston, asan example, you might select a URL like http://www.BostonRareBookstore.com and your pagetitle tag might look like this: <TITLE>Boston Rare Books</TITLE>.You should always make sure that your page has a title that is relevant to the keywords. Also,you should try to use your keywords in H1 tags. Video Lesson: Your Site’s SEO and Image Tags
Can Video and Picture Indexing Affect SEO?Yes it can, and because of the ever-increasing integration of image and video with searchengines, it is becoming more important all the time to give them their due in your SEO efforts.Be sure to use the alt tags (the tags used to describe images) to describe your images in akeyword-relevant way, as well as in a way that references your site directly so they are seen bysearch engines.Things to Keep in Mind While CodingWhen youre coding your HTML web page, here are two more things that will be helpfulfor SEO. • Semantic coding is always a good idea. This means reducing as much needless code as possible and, instead, concentrating on text that is readable by humans — i.e., instead of creating a list by using the <br> tag to put each item on a separate line, it would be more productive to just contain the list within the <ul>, or unordered list, tag. • Meta tags used to be a more important part of the coding of a page for optimization than they are currently. Meta tags may provide slight benefits to your SEO, so check out the online tool on the following site to check your meta tags:http://www.seocentro.com.Off-Page SEOOff-page SEO is one of the most important elements of SEO. It is given high weight in thesearch algorithms (which determines your site’s ranking). Off-page SEO refers to any actiontaken on any site other than your own in order to increase the results of your page for its chosenkeywords.Why Is Off-Page SEO Important?Although you cant ignore on-page SEO altogether — doing so, in fact,would be a mistake — you have to realize that, because website ownersexploited the way search engines evaluated their on-page characteristics,more weight has instead been given to off-page SEO.This means that, if you want your site to do well, you really have to putsome time and energy into methods of optimizing your site that originateoutside of your own web page.Here are some great ways to improve your off-page SEO: • Title Tags: Your title tag is one of the best ways to improve your ranking. Make sure that you include relevant keywords within that title tag. Also, it never hurts to include your business name in that title tag as well. • Link Exchanges: Try to link only to related websites. This will help others interested in your niche to easily link to your site to find more information.
• Article Submission: Putting your keywords in the anchor text (containing your URL) in the bio area should help to build relevant links to your site, ultimately improving your ranking. It also gives you an opportunity to be known as one of the foremost authorities in your niche. • Blogging: Commenting on blogs that discuss things relevant to your site can also provide you with visitors. You can insert a link to your site along with your comment. • Posting in Forums: Forum posting is another way to encourage links. If you utilize the signature and plug in your anchor text and site link, you can generate more visitors. If the site is relevant to your own, you will also likely build your rank with the search engines. • Directory Submission: Sending your site to directories is one more way to help build your off-site optimization. These submission directories, provided they aren’t link farms, will help to increase your ranking.How Does Off-Page SEO Work?Off-page SEO relies on things like building incoming links from other sites to your own and increating links with your keywords as anchor text. There are countless different ways of achievingthis.It is important to realize that not all links are created equal, and that links from certain sites aregoing to count for more than from others, and that links from related sites are going to actually help your page more than from a random link placed in a dead page that people rarely visit. The emphasis should always be on creating high-quality links from high-quality websites, as well as any steps you can take to increase the visibility of your site. Dont forget that anchor text is also important. Anchor text is the text within an <a> tag that appears as the link. So going back to our rare books store, thewords “Boston’s Best Rare Books” are the anchor text of <ahref="http://www.bostonrarebookstore.com">Bostons Best Rare Books</a>.Examples of Off-Page SEOBecause anything that promotes your site online will likely have a link to it, almost anything youdo to raise awareness of your page can be considered off-page SEO. This includes intenselypopular activities like blogging and social networking, which can be excellent tools for creatingvaluable links to your website.Other tools also are frequently used by webmasters (owners of websites) to drive high-qualitytraffic to sites, such as issuing press releases and article marketing.Other methods include link exchanges and forum posting, which can also help to bring traffic tothe page.
Types of SEOWhat Is the Differencebetween PPC Advertisingand SEO?Typically speaking, SEO refers to theefforts you make in order to haveyour site appear higher in therankings when someone searches for keywords associated with your site. You can also purchasead space from the search engine to achieve the same purpose.Known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you have a search engine place your ad on the results page when someone searches for related keywords, and you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. Both SEO and PPC have their advantages and can be used most effectively in conjunction with each other. The easiest way to illustrate the point is with Google, although most other search engines use a similar process. When you search for any given keyword, you will see both the natural search listings and some ads at the top and sides of the screen. Those ads, placed through the Google AdWords system, are PPC ads. Other examples could include purchasing banner advertising with smaller niche search engines.What Is Black Hat SEO?Black hat SEO is any method of trying to improve your site’s rankings in the search engines thatviolates the terms of service of submission to those engines.Many people attempt to get a higher ranking fast by performing unethical quick fixes. Thesefixes might drive traffic in the short term, but will ultimately result in the site being banned oreven removed by an ISP.Any method that violates any outlined rule could be construed as "black hat" and should beavoided. The long-term penalties will far outweigh any short-term benefits.The following are black hat SEO methods: • Cloaking • Mirror websites • URL redirection • Content spam, such as: o Keyword stuffing o Hidden text o Scraper sites
o Doorway pages • Meta tag stuffing • Link spam, such as: o Hidden links o Page hijacking o Link farms o Spam blogsWhat Is White Hat SEO?"White hat" is the term used to describe methods of optimizing your site for the search enginesthrough approved methods. By using these methods, you work with theengines rather than try to circumvent or break their rules.In the long run, this approach will reap far greater benefits for your site.White hat methods work within the established parameters of the searchengines and with how the search engines want to index your sites.The following are white hat (legitimate) SEO methods: • Proper coding • Relevant keywords • Onsite optimization strategies • Link building • Offsite promotion • Page titles • URL choice • Blogs • Press releases • Social media
What Is PageRank?PageRank is just one of the manyparts of the Google search formula,but its an important one.At its most basic level, PageRank(PR) is simply the amount ofrelevance that Google assigns toyour site.Be sure you don’t confuse PageRank with “page ranking.” PageRank is a trademarked term thatrefers to Google’s algorithm. Page ranking is a more generic term that describes how high yourwebsite will appear in search results.PageRank is extremely important because it provides a measure of how Google values thecontent on your web page.It’s important to check your PR as you progress with your SEO efforts at a site likehttp://www.whatsmypagerank.com/. That way you can see if your efforts to improve your PRare working. Here is a screenshot showing the site submission page at What’s My PageRank?(http://www.whatsmypagerank.com).
How to Improve Your PageRank with Link BuildingLink building is the process of building incoming links to your website. Thiscan be done by a variety of methods. You can link build by creating a blog,becoming active in social networking pages, creating linkbait (valuablecontent that others can post in exchange for a link back to your page),issuing press releases, and many other methods. All of these links will helpto improve your overall PR, especially if they are coming from highly popularsites themselves.Here are a few suggestions to improve your PageRank using link-building techniques: • Links/backlinks on related websites. You can contact the webmaster of the desired site(s) to discuss this option. • Make sure your content is up to date and polished for grammar and sentence structure. This helps to retain current viewers, and they will be happy to forward your link to others. • Submit your site to directories. Some are free, while others require an out-of-pocket expense. But it can help your rank. • Create a blog. • Comment on the blog posts of others and include a link. • Issue press releases. • If you have other sites, cross-link. • Get involved in social media. • Post in forums. • Article submission.Demystifying Google’s PageRank Algorithm The basic theory of the original algorithm was to assign a rank to a page based on the likelihood that someone could arrive at that page. The algorithm was and is fairly complex, but basically it uses a variety of factors to assess the likelihood of anyone arriving on a given relevant page and is, in fact, an expression of probability in mathematical terms. Thus, the more links coming to your page from sites that are more popular themselves, the more likely that someone on the Internet will arrive at your page.
Some of the factors used to assess page rank are: • Keyword presence in: o URL/Domain name o Title tag o Meta tags (although it is commonly believed that Google no longer uses meta keywords in their algorithm) o Content o Anchor text o Header font tags • Keyword density • Keyword order • Keyword font and size • Keyword proximity • Internal links • External links • Updated contentWhere to Learn about PageRankOur great PageRank tools can show you see how you stack up against your competition andothers in your field. Just go to Page Rank in the Affiliate Classroom tools menu and just enterany website — youll find its Google PageRank and its Alexa ranking.
SEO and KeywordsWhy Are Keywords SoImportant?Keywords are vital to your SEOefforts because almost everythingyou do from an SEO standpoint is, toone degree or another, going to becentered on those keywords.Keywords are simply the text that someone will enter into a search engine in order to find whatthey are looking for. Your on-page tags and naming strategies should be based on specifickeywords, your anchor text should use them, and any content you create should focus on themas well.This is why selecting the proper keywords is an integral part of your SEO campaign’s success.How to Find SEO Competitors’ KeywordsAs we mentioned earlier in this course, no matter what niche you do business in, you will havecompetition. And in any marketing or promotional medium, it is vital that you understand yourcompetition in SEO. Knowing what their keywords are is a crucial part of business intelligence.As with any business intelligence, you can use information on competitors to help you find a newangle for yourself, to obtain constructive hints, and to get the edge on your competition. Neverjust copy their keywords, as you want to surpass and not just match the competition.There are tools online for finding out your competitors’ keywords, such as SEODigger,SpyFu, Keyword Spy, and Keyword Remix, any of which might be worth investigating.The Long-Tail Concept Applied to KeywordsUsually, people focus only on the top 10-20 keywords, believing that they provide the majorityof their traffic. However, it is important to recognize that a large volume of traffic can come frompotentially hundreds of keywords, even without the site being consciously optimized for thembeforehand.Being aware of all these other keywords and tracking how people are arriving at your site canallow you to start harnessing the power of the long-tail keyword. A long-tail keyword is akeyword not commonly, in relative terms, searched for; few sites optimize for long-tailkeywords, making them easy for you to conquer. A Closer Look at Keyword Density Keyword density refers to how often your keywords are repeated within the text of your page. This helps search engines to understand how relevant your page might be to that particular term.
However, it is important to not overpopulate your page with keyword terms (known as keywordstuffing) as this is considered spam-like and unethical in the realm of SEO. Instead, you shouldattempt a good sprinkling of your keywords, while keeping your content relevant and readable.You can check your keyword density with online tools such as Key Density(http://www.keydensity.com) or Keyword Density Analyzer (http://www.keyworddensity.com).Always remember, keyword stuffing is NOT a good idea! How Do Keywords Relate to Backlinking? A backlink is basically any link coming in to your site from another website, directory, blog, etc. By having links to your site that include your keywords in their anchor text, you can help to improve the relevance of your site to those particular keywords in the search engine ranking algorithms.A Recommendation for Keyword Research ToolsKeyword research tools are programs that are used to help determinewhat the most popular words or phrases are in search engine queries.Ultimately, these programs will deliver a set of keywords for you to use.A huge number of keyword research tools are available online, and theyall have varying degrees of usefulness. Some are free, and some are not.One of the most commonly utilized keyword tools for beginners is theGoogle AdWords Keyword Tool (along with other Google tools), which is free to use.Once your site and keyword list is in place, you’ll want to use Affiliate Classroom’s suite ofkeyword research tools, which can help you develop a more effective keyword list. Check themout by clicking the Tools tab above.
SEO MistakesSEO Scams to AvoidThere are many unethical,untrustworthy, and downrightdishonest people out there claimingto be SEO experts. You have towatch out for anyone who promisesinstant results.A guarantee of being on the first page of Google within two weeks is highly likely to part youwith your money without giving you much in return. Sites that promise massive amounts ofcustomers receiving emails with links to your site for almost no money are likely not complyingwith spam regulations.Also, be sure to do your research and see if you can find others that have used SEO providers,or if they themselves appear well in the search engines, as these are positive indicators of acompany you might want to do business with. Dont bother with anything that promisessubmissions to thousands of search engines, either; the vast majority of those will never bringyou any relevant traffic.A Further Reminder on Black Hat SEO Any or all of these tactics could be deemed black hat SEO, and you always need to keep in mind that those tactics will punish you in the long run. Anyone who engages in link spamming, cloaking, or keyword stuffing may have the opportunity to incur some kind of short-term gains; but ultimately, their site will be banned or shut down. So, in order to build a real and profitable business, it is most effective to stick with white hat SEO.
Let’s ReviewBefore you move forward, let’sreview some of the most importantinformation from this course.SummaryThere are many ways to improve thesearch engine optimization for yoursite. These include using social networking sites and blogs as well as making changes to yourown site. Good SEO techniques can help you gain a better page ranking in the search enginesand drive more traffic to your site.Quick Tips • Without SEO, your competition’s websites will likely rank much higher than your own in the results for your best keywords. • Make sure your site includes keywords with the proper keyword density. • Having a URL that contains your keywords is highly advantageous. • Write your meta tag description as persuasive copy. (Your meta tag description is the description that appears below your site name in natural searches. Having a description that gets Google visitors to click to your site improves your site’s natural click-through rate; Google then believes your site is more relevant to their visitors and, therefore, improves your ranking.) • Make sure you include relevant keywords within your title tag. • Submit your site to directories. Some are free and others require an out of pocket expense but it does help your rank. • Create a blog. • Online tools for finding out your competitors’ keywords include SEODigger, SpyFu, Keyword Spy, and Keyword Remix. • A guarantee of being on the first page of Google within two weeks is highly likely to part you with your money, without much in return.Glossary Backlink — Basically, any link coming in to your site from a website, directory, blog, etc. Black Hat SEO — Any method of trying to improve your site’s rankings in the search engines that violates the terms of service of submission to those engines. Keyword — Text that Internet users enter into a search engine to find what theyre looking for.
Keyword Density — Refers to how often your keywords are repeated withinthe text of your page.Link Building — The obtaining of incoming links to your website.Off-Page SEO — This refers to any action taken on any site other than yourown in order to increase the results of your page for its chosen keywords.On-Page SEO — Refers to changes that are made to the content of the siteitself in order to make it rank higher in the search engines.PageRank (PR) — The amount of popularity or relevance that Google assigns to your site.Pay Per Click — A form of online advertising in which you pay a certain fee to have your adappear on a search engine site when someone searches for related keywords. This fee isassessed every time someone clicks on your ad.SEO — An acronym for search engine optimization, the practice of optimizing your website toimprove your results in search engines.White Hat SEO — The term used to describe methods of optimizing your site for the searchengines, which uses any methods of optimization that are approved of by the search engines.Action Steps __ Do your keyword research and identify the keywords you want people to associate with your site. __ Check out the keywords your competitors are using by using tools like SEODigger or SpyFu. __ Optimize your on-page SEO by incorporating keywords in your content and meta tags. __ Optimize your off-page SEO by using other sites like social networking sites and directories to link back to your site. __ Know the difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO and practice only white hat SEO. __ Check your page rank on a site like http://www.whatismypagerank.com and work on improving it.__ Don’t fall for SEO scams. Remember that SEO takes time.Resource LinksMeta tag checking tool — http://www.seocentro.com.What’s My PageRank — http://www.whatsmypagerank.com/Key Density—vhttp://www.keydensity.comKeyword Density Analyzer —http://www.keyworddensity.com