Introduction to Search Engine Optimization

Written by Rich B
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How to create an affiliate website with good search rankings
Free-inclusion search engines are declining a little in importance as various pay models become more popular. That said, they still drive a large proportion of web traffic, and the implicit endorsement they provide by listing you high in the results page is pretty powerful to some visitors. Search Engine Optimization is a career on its own, and you will probably spend quite a bit of time or money or both on Search Engine Optimization for your site.

The absolute best long-term way of improving Search Engine Rankings is content. Always has been, always will be. Our turnkey affiliate websites provide a lot of good content, so you're already several steps ahead of most of the sites out there. However, if you're able to add your own content (it doesn't have to be much, or often, just enough to keep the search engine robots coming back) your rankings will thank you.

But what search engines should I focus on? And how do I do it? In order of priority you should focus on:

1 - Google. No question about it. These guys are the big name in search and submission is free. http://www.google.com/addurl.html Being listed in the open directory project (http://dmoz.org/add.html) still has an effect on your rankings (but not as much as it used it). Still, definitely worth a few minutes to fill out the form. Original content is definitely a plus, so you may want to leave it for a while until you've had time to build up your sites a bit.

2 - MSN. Also free submission, and Microsoft are a pretty big player in just about everything these days. http://beta.search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx many web professionals are using MSN rather than google these days because there are less spammy sites (and the search interface is pretty useful too).

3 - Yahoo. They aren't king of the hill any more, and it costs $300 to be listed in their directory (I'm not sure if the directory worthwhile or not yet - I suspect not), but their web search (free submission) is still used a lot of places. http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request

4 - Other search engines. Ask is increasing their share of the market, and may well deserve their own article in the near future, but for now, other free search engines are nice, but not particularly important to your traffic figures. Anything you do to improve your rankings with the big three will probably help your rankings with the minor players, and if it doesn't, you haven't lost much.

As with everything in life, SEO takes time or money. If you have the time, you can pick up basic SEO skills fairly quickly. If you don't have the time, or want a kickstart, then commercial services like ineedhits.com can be a huge help if you're willing to invest some money. They do just about everything, surprisingly cheaply, and really know their stuff. If you want to do it yourself, the keys for SEO are content and linking. We'll be writing a lot more SEO articles in future to try and condense some of the information that is out there into a useable size.

SEO is a lot of work, and it never stops, but as you slowly climb the search engine rankings, you'll find yourself getting more and more free, and still good quality, visitors, and that is the best sort of traffic.

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