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Affiliate Search Engine Optimization

The Importance of Search Engines

It is the search engines that can give you a boost in traffic and get your website noticed by your prospective customers. When a word or combination of words is searched for, almost immediately the search engine will sift through the millions of pages it has indexed then it'll present you with ones that match your topic. The searched matches are also ranked, so that the most relevant ones come first at the top of the page.

Just like you, most people will focus their attention (and clicks) on the topmost listings so your site rating as high on the search engines results page is important. Depending on the search engine itself the actual position of your listing on the page could vary and in some cases it'll show up through one search engine but not another. Since Google and Bing (a combination of the old MS Search and Yahoo) are the two big players in town, these are the search engines you want to be concerned with.

Designing a search engine friendly site is key. The keywords in your web page content play an important role when it comes to your listing position. I'm not talking about keyword stuffing where a person loads their page with keywords with hopes of getting a higher listing (Google recommends you do not do this), I'm talking about naturally occurring use and placement of the word. All search engines employ a ranking algorithm and one of the main rules in a ranking algorithm is to check the location and frequency of keywords on a web page. Some of these formula's also give weight to your link popularity (how many web pages link to your site).

When a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant evaluates your site they will check keywords, inbound links, meta tags and more. When this service is performed by a qualified and experienced SEO expert you can expect an increase your sites search results listing position. Of course you'll pay for this service so keep this in mind.

If you're new to online marketing you might not yet have the funds to hire an SEO consultant, that's OK since there are still many things you can do to increase your traffic through better search results positions. You already know that a major source of traffic for most sites are the search engines so your goal is to give these search engines "what they want" when they visit your site.

The major search engines use programs called robots (some call them crawlers) that constantly roam the internet collecting information and sending it back to the search engine... what is the content, has it changed, are there new links to follow, what is new here, what are the keywords, where does this site link to, who is linking to this site and list goes on. It's a never ending quest by the robots to collect information on your site and send it back to the search engine database for use later when someone does a search.

Something to remember is that if you want to make your site to be indexed easily by the robots, you should avoid using frames on your website. frames are pieces of code which tell a particular area of your page to go to another page and pull its content from there. If you think of a web page as a piece of paper, we'll call it page 1 and then you cut a perfect window in the middle of it. On a second piece of paper called page 2 you draw a picture in the middle of the page. When you hold page 2 behind page 1 and look at it from the front, it seems that it's one page of information when in reality page one is in front of page 2. So, whew... when the search engine visits page 1 that particular frame content is NOT on page 1 so it does not see it. In some cases this will confuse the robot and it'll simply leave.

Also, if you're going to have flash movies on your site that's fine, however you don't want to put a majority of your content in there as the search engines will never see it. It's best to use flash movies to highlight a point you're making or as a way to compliment your main page content which was written in text. Learning point - Robots can only see and read text on your page so if you provide important words and text in a flash movie rather than in text form your search engine position could be affected dramatically and for the worse.

Although some of the search engines now completely ignore meta tags, for those search engines that still rely on them you want o make they're in order on your page. Use meta tags accordingly on each and every page of your site so that these search engine robots know at first glance what that particular page is about and whether or not to index it. By using meta tags, you are making the search engine robot's job easier so they will crawl and index your site more frequently.

Us CSS (cascading style sheets) if you can. Using tags in your source code such as many HTML tags like <font> to style your page take up room, make the page more complicated to edit and they are slower to load. Use CSS since it's more effective and efficient and by using CSS, you can eliminate all those redundant HTML tags and make your pages much lighter and faster to load.

Here's a biggie - You should always use keywords in page titles itself, words that relate directly to your page content. Whatever text is placed in the title tag (between the <title> and </title> portions) will appear in the title bar of browsers when your visitors view the web page. The actual text you use in the title tag is one of the most important factors in how a search engines may decide to rank your web page. In addition, all major web crawlers will use the text of your title tag as the text they use for the title of your page in your listings. In other words what you use in your title is what somebody on a search results page will see. Think of it as an ad, you want your title tag to not only match your content you also want to alert the searcher what is on your page.

If you've designed your website with many individual linked pages as many sites are (and not just a single home page), remember that each page of your site must be optimized for the search engines. The title of the pages, key words, meta tags and page content will be different so the search engines see them as such and treat them as individual within the search results.

The key here is that your site is then made of diffent pages of content, each catering to a certain search term, and each bringing in traffic targeted to that keyword. Looking at our site you'll see that there are specific areas for the visitors such as the free hosting or free traffic section and though designed primarily for the visitors, they also cater to the search engines since they each have specific and unique content containing words, phrases and combination of words that will attract visitors using various search terms.

One of the most common mistakes made by small business owners when they first design their website is to place their business name or firm name in every title of every page. Actually most of your prospective visitors and potential customers are not so much concerned with the title of your page as much as whether you can help them solve a problem. The page titles then can benefit you much more then using the the titles to tell your customer who you are.

So, while you might want your business name in the title of the home page, it is a waste of valuable keywords and space to put it in the title line of every page on your site. I'd recommend you include your business name where most webmasters out it... in the upper top of your page graphic normally called the header. Yea, it'll look nice and you can add a little information blurb like we do, you know "Earn from Your Blog or Website" and include a graphic that relates to your site. Our of course is the hands with a growing plant - yep, similar to you growing your business.

What is the importance of search engine optimized content?

Wow, it's right there at the top, content always is and when it comes to the search engine you gotta have good and unique content. I define "good" as information that is valuable to your visitor. If you visited a site that said "welcome" followed by row upon row of advertisings banners but no actual content that would be a bad site. As far as unique content think of it this way... There's aren't that many ways to slice an apple, you put the apple on the counter, get the knife, put it on the apple and push. Imagine if every web site said the same thing, boring yes, unique, no.

So to become "unique" take that same subject and find an angle on your content such as famous people slicing apples, photo's of apple slicing machines, apple slicing and knife accidents, how to slice an apple then make 14 varieties of apple pie, how not to slice apples, slicing apples in the commercial production world, slice an apple then breakdown its chemical components. OK, well you get the point. Making another site about how to slice an apple with a knife puts you in the group of people with ho-hum content, so think outside the content box and do something unique.

Is our site unique, no, not completely. There are many "affiliate" related sites out there where hard core guru affiliates can tweak what they're currently doing to "increase" their current income. Our site on the other hand caters mainly to the newer affiliate that possibly hasn't started in the affiliate world yet. It's also possible a majority of our visitors have recently gotten into affiliate marketing but might be doing something wrong and they aren't making the kind of money they'd like to. Many want to know "how do I get started for little to no outlay of cash" hence our areas on free hosting, free affiliate programs, free hosting etc.

A little off track but I hope my example helps when you hear the term "good and unique" content here on our site or at anytime in the future.

Effective SEO does not have to be expensive.

Although hiring an SEO consultant or expert to evaluate your website and then report back the recommended changes will cost you, in many cases it'll be worth it, especially if you site is not listing as it should in the result pages. I'd caution you on the company you choose as there are always those that are there just to scam you. Do you really need a 16 year old in Malaysia (that built a heck of an impressive SEO website) tell you to improve your content, use better title tags, and use CSS? And this "after" you've already paid him $300 by PayPal. Research your potential company well and make sure you're going to get your money's worth.

Beyond paying for SEO, there are many other things you can do that were not mentioned above when I was talking about titles, meta's and content. Some of these are covered in our free traffic area, some of them are covered right here:

1. Link exchanges

One inexpensive SEO method is through link exchanges or linking to and from other web sites. Some link exchanges will help you as long as you realize that you should link to other sites that have similar content. The problem with some of these link trading sites is that search engines generally know that their purpose is to trade links for traffic and ratings and so they give little credit for the trades. Trading with another similar site is a better idea since it's "one on one" between two sites and is what the search engines would expect between two people having something in common, their content in this case. Each of you has recommended each other's sites to the visitors and the search engines see this as a sincere or real link trade.

2. Write or acquire key word rich articles

Hmmmmmm, isn't that what I'm doing here. Writing truly informative and keyword rich articles is one surefire way to make your Internet business more visible than ever. The search engines pick up your content, list it in the search results page and people visit you, nice. Remember one thing though, you don't want to keyword stuff your articles and turn off the search engines or you readers so make sure you don't overdo it as you write. If you don't want to write your articles you can hire many of the goods writers out there to put together a series of articles for you that you can upload to your website like we have here. You tell them how many articles, what subjects (keywords) to cover, how many words in each article and then agree on a price.

3. A Relevant Domain Name

Though you might be much more proud proclaiming to the word your names such as www.davidandmargie.com, it would make better business sense to choose a domain name that better describes what product or service you provide. We decided on www.affiliatecompanylist.com because besides the other freebies and the affiliate information our site provides "an affiliate company list" to those looking for companies to join. So be proud of your name and include it in the upper header or on your about page, but choose your domain name carefully and with thought.

4. Site navigation for the search engines

Having graphic menu buttons that link to the pages in your site are fine and they'll work great in getting your visitor to the appropriate page. To ensure the robots can see everything you have to offer, be sure to link deep into your site from the home page if you can in a way that makes sense. You'll note from our home page we link directly to our success stories at the top of the page, to one of the articles at the middle of the page, and then to any other pages at the bottom of the page. When a robot shows it's sure to be able to find everything here.

5. Having a sitemap to steer the way for the robots

In the old school days a site map was primarily a single page called "Site Map" where visitors and robots could go to find all the pages within a site. To further streamline the hard coded visual site map web page, sitemaps evolved into pages of information that were not visible to the visitors but were visible to the search engines. In fact these days it's recommend you build a site map and then submit it to the search engine so it knows exactly which pages it is to go to and check out the content on. This is the free sitemap software we use here to capture our site pages before submission to Google. There is no registration required, this is not trial software and there is no "upgrade" available. You pretty much go there, get it and then use it just like we do. Lastly, to learn more about the Google sitemaps you can visit the Webmaster Central area of Google to learn more.

OK, now it's time for you to get to your own search engine optimization and start getting more visitors!

Credit: This article written by Whitney Jacqueline, V.P. of Jasco Network. For questions please contact her at: Whitney Jaqueline, main team core website: Lotto Magic Network

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