Spreading the Word, Part 1: SEO

iStock 000011539488SmallA friend of mine recently asked for some advice about how to make your site known, particularly if you’ve just launched. How to get your site into Google search results and in general what to do for search engine optimization. I’m going to divide my answer into two blog posts, the first about SEO tips and resources, and the second about reaching out and spreading the word manually.

Think About Keywords

Google provides a useful keyword generator. Use the tool to make sure the right keywords are highlighted throughout your site. Here’s a step-by-step guide on using the tool.

Link Exchange

This is probably the most important (and sometimes most difficult) thing you can do. Look for other web sites that are related to your site and try to exchange links. Or, if they have a blog or forum leave a relevant comment and make sure you link to your site. You can’t just add some gibberish though, leave a thoughtful or helpful comment. Try to answer a question, which will help build your reputation as an expert in your field.

SEO Services

Use a service that evaluates your site and makes recommendations. Here are a few to check out:

Be wary of services that claim to give you links all over the place and claim to guarantee placement in the top of Google searches. Research such services before using them, as they can damage your web site’s image.

Create a Sitemap

Connect to Google Webmasters and create a sitemap.xml file to ensure that all your content is indexed in Google. The tool also offers other useful features, like Site Configuration (crawler access, sitelinks, change of address) and Diagnostics (malware, crawler errors, crawl stats).

Getting Into Google News

First of all, you need to be a news source if you want to appear regularly. Here’s a good article about how to get listed in on a regular basis. If you just want to appear as a news snippet, you might want to write a press release (I’ll talk about that more in Part 2).

More SEO Resources

Lunarpages has put together this great list of SEO links, they include guides, tools and more articles.

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