The Blue Collar Approach to SEO

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This day in age, everyone wants to make a quick and easy living. While that approach has led to some great inventions for us all to enjoy, successful search engine marketing requires principals, conventions — and a little elbow grease.

Simply stated, if you want quality SEO results, you will need to work for them.

On-Site Optimization Efforts

The first step to successful search engine optimization is a thorough review and revision process of your pages and coding. It is critical here to develop a themed approach and stick to it while offering content.

We know that the major search engines want to promote unique content. Many times though, we cut corners by using ready made articles, copied text with little revisions, etc. The challenge then becomes to efficiently create content that strikes the engines as being appealing. If you're passionate about your site's topic and focus, this is a great way to actually motivate yourself for long term success.

There is one simple rule you can use: Be sure to create adequate content to accomplish your goal. An about us page doesn't need to be three pages long. If its quality content that speaks to the topic of the page don't worry — the engines will be fine with it.

Now that you're in the habit of taking your time to write the content, it's time to get to the most important elements! First off, create logical, unique and keyword relevant page titles. They will be the single most effective element in on page optimization, so take your time and stick to the underlying theme and plan. It's really important here to write page titles that use your major keyword phrases and targets — but also does so logically. Search engines are developing a deeper understanding of language, so creating titles that make no sense will result in little impact on your results.

Next, go back and format your content to match your page titles. Using headings (H1 through H3's) to logically break up content is one great way to develop a page's optimization. Beyond that, use elements creatively, like unordered lists and forms. Search engines have taken major steps forward to develop their algorithms, and one major area of focus was a deeper knowledge and consideration to HTML coding.

Finally, when it comes to HTML coding — make sure that your rendered pages are valid. This will cover things that you'll need for third tier search engine success — like ALT tags, section 508 compliancy, META tags, etc.

Off-Page Optimization

While this may sound contradicting — you need to be considerate of others while not holding back with your site marketing. Let's dive into that, shall we?

First — it's time to be considerate. You need to gather as many inbound links as possible without coming across as being too fraudulent or spammy. Too many times we see site owners using a cut and paste, mass email effort to any and all site owners hoping to get a few inbound links. That's junk, and the results are junk. If nothing else, you'll end up aggravating others to the point that they'll never be willing to provide a link to you.

So how can you get some inbound links that are of value without breaking the bank? First, identify the sites you want links from. Behind every web site is at least one person willing to provide a link — but you need to cater to their needs and desires. It's true that many people are ego driven, so why not use that to your advantage?

Do your best to identify with the one person you need to be in touch with. Don't become complacent and rely on email as your only means of communication. Become proactive, pick up the phone, and let people know that you value their site and audience so much, you'd like to develop a partnership. Using this as leverage you can easily achieve what you're after — and in many cases much more.

Now, let's get aggressive and market your site on your own.

With the advancements of the whole Web 2.0 movement, social networking opportunities are tremendous. From major communities like MySpace and Friendster, to niche tools like MyBlogLog and Digg — you can do a lot and earn some great exposure if you are willing to put in the time.

Start by adding a blog to your site if you have not already done so. This opens the doors up to use social bookmarking services like Digg, and others.

Every time you write a new blog post or add another page, be sure to submit it to these services yourself and encourage others to do the same. This proactive approach may seem daunting — but the number of visitors you gain can be invaluable.

Long-Term SEO Success

The final component to your search engine success will rely on your ability to always put your best foot forward. A one time optimization effort is good, but far from great. A willingness to adapt to trends demonstrated by the engines is critical. And here, when we say “engines”, we're really only discussing Google and Yahoo. You should never go out of your way to tailor your optimization efforts for a particular engine if it cannot help support your site.

So, over the course of time — be sure to update your site by continuously adding new content. Be proactive, exchange links and work to develop a solid web site jam packed with unique content. In the end, your efforts will certainly be rewarded.

Above all else, remember to be reluctant when it comes to automated tools. Any tool or service that takes the work out of the equation is likely to also cost results. If you're serious about your site's optimization — put the time in and do it right.

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