SEO for beginners

3 07 2008

Let me begin this post by stating that I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, consider myself an authority on search engine optimization (SEO). I do, however, feel somewhat qualified to write this post because 1. I am a beginner and 2. my site ClimbPoint is second on Google for a couple key searches.

Those who are well versed in SEO probably do not measure success only by their ranking on Google, but I do 🙂 Anyway, here are a few things that I think have helped me get on Google’s front page:

Write a blog
I know, I know, blogging consistently can sometimes seem like work — but it can also be fun and can serve a couple purposes. First, it can get your site associated with keywords in your industry (assuming that you’re blogging about industry-related topics, which I recommend). Second, Google seems to love websites that are updated frequently, thus it loves blogs (especially WordPress, it seems). Finally blogging can connect you with others who share your interests, and you never know where those connections could lead.

Be smart with your wording
This goes along with the first point, but also applies to your commercial website (assuming that your blog and website are separate). There are a number of articles on seo and keywords, but here is an inadequate summary: titles are important, use headings and links, and format as appropriate. If you’re blogging you can also tag and categorize your posts. This helps your ratings because WordPress tends to create index pages for popular tags, and your posts can show up on these pages, driving traffic to your site.

Show some link love
There are blogs out there that obviously only exist to post links on some topic like insurance or drugs to cure impotence. This is not the kind of link love I’m talking about here. By linking to relevant sites and articles you’ll both increase your site’s authority in Google’s eyes, increase the chances of someone linking to you, and possibly get a few visitors if the sites you link to show pingbacks.

Give it some time
Lastly, even though Google will soon be ruling the world it can still take a few weeks or even a couple months for them to update their indexes of the entire interweb. This means that those blog entries with carefully chosen keywords and well titled pages will take some time to make it into Google’s index. In the meantime, just keep writing — and take note of the sites that are listed on the front page for the search terms you’re interested in.

Again, I’m by no means an authority, but I felt I could offer some advice because of my success to date. It’s probably the case that the keywords that I was interested in weren’t that popular (only 237,000 pages on climbing wall software as of this writing). Hopefully though this post has given you a few ideas. Feel free to post other links and resources in the comments!