16 ways to help search engines find your website

search enginesGoogle, Bing and other search engines use a variety of ways to rank websites. Knowing some of these methods, can help you ensure your website rises in the ranks and doesn’t remain stagnant or fall.

1. Word count

While lesser amounts are acceptable, 300 words or more is recommended on each page. You can boost the search engine optimization (SEO) by other methods, but 300 words is the sweet spot.

2. Original content

Use your own original words. Do not plagiarize! Plagiarizing has a negative effect on your ranking. You can quote another site or person, but be sure to credit them.

3. Site design

Simple, clean designs rank better than complicated and confusing sites. A site map can help people navigate if you have a lot of pages. Choose fonts that are easy to read without a busy background.

4. Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that people might use when searching for your product or services. For example, a restaurant might use the words “Baltimore restaurant” or “Chinese food.” Don’t overdo it. In the past people were encouraged to overuse keywords which made reading a website horrible. Sometimes sentences didn’t make any sense because the keywords were used repeatedly. That is called keyword stuffing and it now counts against you by search engines.

5. Citations

A citation is a mention on another website, not necessarily a link to your page, but a mention with your business name, address, phone number or other pertinent information.

6. Backlinks

A backlink is when another site links back to your site. A few years back, it didn’t matter what websites linked back to you, it was all good. Search engines are more savvy now and backlinks that make sense are a plus.

7. Internal links

Linking to pages within your site is also encouraged. If you mention an older blog in your current blog, link back to the older one. 

8. Time

The more time someone spends viewing your site, the better. Those internal links can help encourage people to spend more time with your website.

9. External links

Outgoing links are good too. If you mention a product you like in a blog, a link to where you can purchase that product is nice for the reader. Be sure that when you create an external link, it opens in a new window or tab so that the viewer still has your site open and they don’t lose their place when looking at the other page.

10. Keywords near links

Try to place keywords next to your outbound links. Don’t do it randomly. It needs to be a logical placement.

11. Working links

All of your links must work. Spend a few minutes every week or two and check the links on your site. Non-working links have a negative effect.

12. Page name

Use a keyword or phrase in the name of your page.

13. Location

More people use mobile devices than desktop computers these days. Your proximity to the person doing the search has become important. Make sure your location, at least the city if you don’t use an actual address, is listed in your keywords and on your pages.

14. Mobile ready

It is amazing how many businesses have sites that do not work correctly on a mobile device. Having a mobile ready site is essential to having your site indexed at all. When choosing a template for your website, be sure it’s mobile ready. Check it and make sure all menus work on cell phones and tablets.

15. Reviews

The more reviews you have, the better! Hopefully the reviews are good for other reasons, but for SEO it doesn’t matter. Reviews are a type of citation (#5 on the list).

16. Spread the word

Link your page to your social sites. If you have a guest blogger, ask them to promote it on their social media pages too. The more people who share your info, the more potential for new people to see it.

Bonus Tip: Your email signature

Put your website in your email signature. No one is going to click on your link if you don’t provide it.

If this list is making your head hurt, Social Squids is here to help.

Affiliate marketing with blog and websites

What is affiliate marketing?

Have you ever seen ads on the side of someone’s blog? Or, ads on someone’s website? That is usually not paid advertising, but affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you put ads on your site and are paid a commission if someone clicks on the ad, goes to the site and then buys something. Much less often, you get paid per click or site visit. If you get paid per click, it is usually pennies rather than dollars.

If you use affiliate marketing on your site, you now have a way to generate income, hopefully at least enough to pay for the site. Most social media, especially Facebook, frowns upon affiliate marketing because they don’t make any money from it – you do!

Here are a couple sites that I recently started with affiliate marketing:

www.PetSaver.info

www.ExtremeCuteness.com

I started them on a whim, just for fun really. I purchased the domains from Namecheap.com, which is – you guessed it – really cheap! Most sites are about $3-10 a year. I know I used to pay at least $35 for each site before I transferred all my names to them. Namecheap also does hosting.

Once I set up the sites, I wanted to get some affiliate marketing on them. ChaCha’s affiliate program offers lots of links, quizzes and other fun things. They pay per click, between 1.5¢ to about 4¢ per click. It depends on what the topic is how much they pay. ChaCha is a website where you type in a question and a real person answers you, like a human Google. You will not get rich with this type of affiliate program unless you get a crazy amount of hits per day on your site. ChaCha’s affiliate program adds several new links every day, so you have to check it on a regular basis. There are links in a lot of different topics.

Amazon is another company that has a really popular affiliate program. They have a variety of ads you can use. Some of them even have a search feature so people can look for what they want to buy. You cannot change the size of their ads, which is one reason they have so many versions available.

Many companies have affiliate programs, but if you want to have several ads from different companies on your blog or site, you should go with a company that serves many affiliates. I went with Commission Junction. There are tons of affiliates listed on this site. There are credit card companies, cell phone companies, dog food, magazines – anything that might interest you. Most of them make you apply to them if you want to put their ads on your site. Some accept right away, others might take a week or two to give you an answer.

The reason that I originally discovered Commission Junction was that I wanted to use Vista Print, the popular online printing company, on my site. When I looked on their site, they sent me to Commission Junction. Unfortunately, they turned me down. But I found a lot of other companies that wanted to work with me. The database is very sophisticated on their site. Each advertiser has lots of ads that are in a bunch of different sizes to fit on just about any website. Most of the time, you have to accept the ad the way it is, although some can be sized to fit.

When someone clicks on the ad, you can set it up so that it opens in a new tab on the user’s browser, which I recommend because that way the browser still has your page on display too. You can also have it just go to the advertiser’s page without opening a new tab.

Clickbank is another affiliate marketing program. They give you a QR code that can be used as a link to the ad. We’ll save QR codes for another day, but they come in very handy as you can scan it into your smart phone and avoid typing the web address.

With all of the affiliate programs, they hold on to your cash until you reach a certain threshold. For most it is $50. Then you can withdraw the money and have it go to your PayPal account.

Is this totally over your head? If you are not well versed in web design, you might want to pass along the affiliate marketing information to your designer. You need to cut and paste code and that can be confusing for some people who are used to the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) type of designing – where there is no code knowledge needed.