When we launched The Stampede Secret in 2004 and I started to consult with clients on their site’s RSS Feeds, I was shocked at the number of website owners who were happy to spend $97 on an ebook, but who had never done any basic search engine optimization on their websites – namely keyword research and creating a strategy based on those findings!

It’s been one of my pet peeves for years, as far back as 2000, when one of my clients asked me to optimize his site for a term that no one ever typed into the search engines. I told him there was little sense in me performing the work since no one ever searched for that term and provided him with a list of viable options. But he wouldn’t budge. He wanted to come up #1 for the most obscure keyword phrase, so I fired him. (Have you ever fired a client? It’s a very enlightening stance, “I won’t take your money anymore because the work you want me to do is futile.”

Shortly after I fired all my $/hour clients and started out on my own and never looked back. The money’s been rolling in ever since at a much higher rate, and I’m never tied to my work. I do still work a lot, but it’s ‘my’ work, on my terms and the time I invest in other website owners are humanitarian reasons – never at a billable rate.

But I’ve side-tracked here…

Today is about the very basics of a search engine strategy.

If you don’t know these, then you won’t be going very far with your website.

Keywords, tags, phrases – are used in all marketing whether you’re paying for clicks, soliciting higher ranks on the search engines, or performing some very creative marketing on video, network, or bookmarking sites. Once you have these basics down, the world is your oyster.

I once read a series of blog posts from a highly respected, website traffic expert. He was optimizing her site for a three word keyphrase. I wondered why on earth he was after that particular phrase and performed some preliminary research of the term. Guess what? No one was looking for that phrase either!

He did make it to #1 in the king of the search engines (google), but so what? No one was ever going to land on that search page in google!

Be very careful who you take advice from. For all intents and purposes, the writer above seemed on target. Hooray #1!

Who would know that all his time and trouble was a complete waste of time? Who would know not to follow those strategies?

I’m hoping that you will know, now that you’re investing some serious time into your online marketing training.

All caveat emptors aside, there is a small group of marketers who are teaching the basics, past the content on this page, and they’re doing it for free by email. I’ve give you that link at the bottom of this page. For six days you must invest 10 minutes of your time reading and thinking about what you’ve just learned. At the end of it you will need to apply an hour or so of your time to apply what you have gleaned. Got two hours to invest if it will make a world of difference to your traffic, rank and sales figures? I hope so…

Back to Search Engine Basics

Search engines are the first stop for most internet surfers looking for information, products or services.

Your website needs to be in the top results.

If your website is on page 6 or higher of the results, the chances of ever seeing that visitor is right next to never.

It gets worse. Even once you have a high search engine position, you can’t rest on your laurels. You must keep track and ensure that keep the high ranking you worked so hard to achieve.

How to Get Top Rankings

I may talk about this in future posts, I may not. I’m not in the business of giving away my success secrets for free to all. On any of my blogs I let out only a few of my best ranking, and most of the sites I operate are registered under a different name. I have found that anytime I talk about my personal success someone reads my strategy and results, uncovers my domain names and niches and moves into my market. I’ve learned the hard way.

“Never re-invent the wheel,” my father taught me. So if you want to learn how to get high rankings by taking that free course, follow the instructions at the end of this post.

Right now, I want to talk about search engine strategy…

A strategy to monitor your search engine positions – the climb, staying at the top, and recognizing when you’re slipping.

Strategy is a crucial component to the success of any marketing event. Since top positions are crucial for your business, then letting them slip would be a horrendous mistake. Stay on top of it. A #1-40 is money in the bank.

Search Engine Strategy

At the beginning of your search engine campaign you should see a continual upward climb. Then you’ll plateau and find your toughest competition just above you. At this point you’ll need to dig into your next bag of tricks – the second stage of your strategy (at this point, and only this point, it is time to drop cash on training ebooks to take you to the next level – you should not be sinking $97 over and over again into a business that hasn’t been able to generate some of it’s own based on sweat equity).

Once you’ve reached your plateau based on research and work, you’ll want to protect your achievement while striving for something higher. As you work on your site and follow the advice in the high end traffic trainings of trusted writers, the climb will be natural. Your actual search engine focus during this stage is simply monitoring the results – that in itself is ongoing and a part of your strategy that is revisited monthly.

Be aware and fore-warned that some fluctuation is normal. Moving up and down 2 or 3 positions over the course of a few months happens. What you do want to watch for is the long-term (4-6 month) changes – especially if the change is downward!

If and when you start slipping, you’ve got to get back in the game – analyzing keywords again, employing a new strategy, learning the latest algorithms and techniques. It’s your business, you’ve got to work at it if you want to stay on top.

If you’re not, or haven’t, stayed on top of it and you slip to obscurity in ranks (and yes it has happened to me) it’s time to get a system into place to monitor your progress and positions monthly. Set up a chart or spreadsheet to keep track of your pages, your page rank, your keywords and your positions. Begin the climb again and stay in the ‘know’ this time.

What’s A Search Engine Algorithm

A few readers have said “HUNH?” when I mention the word algorithm. They think it’s something new and hard to figure out. They don’t want to know about all that geeky stuff and the geeky words that go with it. Okay. See ya.

For those who want to know what an algorithm is, without getting into the nitty-gritty, here goes…

Every search engine uses a mathematical formula to determine web page rankings. Each search engine’s algorithm differs. That’s why you can have a #1 in google but only a #32 in yahoo.

Algorithms may or may not contain statements (equations) regarding:

  • percentage of keywords in the content,
  • length of content,
  • theme of site related to the page’s content,
  • semantic (related) words within the content,
  • originality of content,
  • number of related sites linking to the page,
  • meta tags employed,
  • spelling errors found,
  • IP address,
  • trouble free coding,
  • dynamic urls,
  • number of parameters used in a dynamic url,
  • and so on, and so on.

Don’t be dismayed by that list. You don’t have to labor every point in an algorithm. But you should be aware of some or most of the statements on an on-going basis.

I know I’ve said on-going enough times here. I’m just trying to get the point across that you cannot just create a website, get it to number one and then forget it altogether. You cannot just learn what worked for 2004 and get good results and then expect everything to look after itself for years to come.

Life doesn’t work that way.

Real business doesn’t work that way.

Web business doesn’t work that way.

And certainly search engine positions don’t work that way!

Here’s the main reason why…

Search engines are rewriting their algorithms all the time! When a search engine changes the formula, your ranking will likely change.

It gets worse. Some search engines have a variety of formulas that they rotate and rewrite. So depending on which formula is being used, your search engine position will likely change.

Did I say keep learning, check your ranks monthly, and apply what you learned? Good. That’s strategy.

Your search engine marketing strategy is an investment into your business. It’s continual. It costs you time and money continually.

To your ongoing success,

Laura Childs

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