SEO week: #4 – Improve your search rankings, without spending a dime

This week, I’m trying something new. Each day, I’ll write about a topic that I’ve been studying. This week’s topic: search engine optimization (or SEO, for short). Check back each day for a new post, or why not just subscribe to the RSS feed?

Many of the factors relating to page rank rely on the talent of your web developer, web designer and/or copy writer. Hiring these professionals requires a budget — but there are things you can do on your own, for free, to help your site’s page rank.

On Tuesday, I shared some tips and resources about how to improve your rank, which included the importance of inbound links. You can ask other sites to link to you, ideally with keyword specific text as the hyperlink, but you really don’t have any control over whether or not that site will actually link to you or how they’ll do it. So, how do you get inbound links?

You can create (some of) them yourself.

  1. Create business profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Biznik, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc. and fill out the profile information. Include a link to your business.
  2. Publish articles anywhere and everywhere you can. A site like Biznik is a great place to get published. Demonstrate your expertise by writing a helpful article, with an extended byline linking back to your website.
  3. Create an HTML signature to use in Web-based discussion forums that uses your name (or business name) as a link to your web site. Every message you post becomes a link to your site that search engines can index.

These tips alone aren’t guaranteed to move you to the top of a search — but they are especially great for increasing the page rank for your name or business name.

Other tips to drive traffic

These won’t necessarily help your page rank, but it will help drive visitors to your site, which will hopefully result in conversions (see Monday’s post).

  1. Include links in your email signature. Don’t forget your signature from your Blackberry /iPhone/Smartphone. You send out 300 emails a day? That’s 300 opportunities to share a link.
  2. Comment on other people’s blogs. People feel like they need to have a blog or “a Twitter” because “everyone has one.” I have a journalism background and I like to write — but I’ll be the first to say that maintaining a blog is challenging and time consuming. Reap some of the same benefits, with less effort. Read blogs that your prospects read and leave comments. Most comment forms ask you to fill in your web address, which becomes a link back to your site when you comment.

Up next:

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share some additional SEO resources. Don’t miss it: subscribe to the RSS feed.

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