seo

by David Bayer

Most search engines provide two different unpaid areas where your business can appear: local business listings and web page results. Having a search engine optimization strategy that gets your business exposure in both of these areas will help you maximize your internet marketing efforts.  Here are the top five no-nonsense ways to get you there:

1. Domain Name

Your domain name is your little piece of web real estate. Choosing a local domain name, such as www.chicagomortgage.com will provide tremendous value in your ability to rank in search engines for highly searched key phrases.

If you already have a domain name that is not a highly searched term, you can still give your site a boost by purchasing local domain names launching microsites that represent your business, product or service.  You will find that with just a few pages of content and few high quality inbound links, these local microsites will rank at the top of search engines and create even more inbound leads for your business.

Example: If your current web address is MichaelScottMortgage.com and you are located just outside of Orlando, you can increase your visibility by purchasing AltamonteSpringsMortgage.com or MortgageWinterPark.com, launching a blog, and writing a few blog posts each month. 

2. Keyword Optimization: Learn to Think Like the Searcher

One of the most important factors to consider when adding content to your website or blog is the keywords you will be using throughout the body of your articles. Search engines that crawl your website look for specific keyword phrases and eventually rank your site according to the type of content you provide.

Google Keyword Tool External  and Google Search-based Keyword Tool will provide you with keyword ideas based on actual searches. If you’re just not going to use SEO tools, there’s still a common-sense approach to keep in mind when creating your online content. ‘Think like the searcher ‘ and you’ll be able to satisfy both types of clients; local and national. What does ‘think like the searcher’ mean? Basically, if you were looking for mortgage information, what keyword phrase would you type into the Google search box? By answering that question, you’ll have your list of keywords that should be used on your website.

The local searcher: Typically, the local searcher is going to want to visit your location in person. Their keyword terms will include phrases such as: Orlando mortgage, Winter Park mortgage broker, mortgage broker Orlando area, etc. You’ll want to write these down and include them naturally in the body of your articles and blog posts.

The information searcher: On a national level, there will be searchers who are looking for information or an answer to a specific question or problem they are having. You can lead these searchers to your site by including key terms they might use: refinancing 2009, first time home buyer IRS credit, current mortgage rates, etc.

By thinking like the searcher, you can easily compile a list of hot keywords to use throughout your site. These will be picked up by the search engines and your site will eventually join the ranks of Google’s top sites.

3. Linking Strategies

Learn to link up popularly searched words in your content to the pages on your site that represent that topic.  This is much more important than you may think, and it just makes good sense because it will lead your visitors deeper into your site.

While you are creating an article or blog post, look for opportunities to link to other articles within your site. If you are writing a post about ‘reverse mortgages’ and mention the keyword phrase,  ‘mortgage rates,’  link that phrase to your ‘mortgage rates’ page.  Using the keyword phrase ‘mortgage rates’ as your anchor text and linking it to you ‘mortgage rates’ article will give you an extra boost with the search engines.

4. Submitting to Local Guides

In order to gain traffic at the local level, you’ll need to submit your business name, physical address, and services information to the local guides across the Web. Google maps currently displays the top seven most popular businesses along with location points. In order to end up on this ‘lucky seven’ list, be sure your business appears on the following:

The sites listed above are some of the major players in the local search world. Once your business is listed with them, you’ll have a better chance of appearing on Google’s top seven list as well.

5. Become a Trusted Expert

Getting your name out there as a trusted expert in your field is an excellent way to gain credibility and become more visible on the web. Build a profile on sites like MortgageNewsDaily.com or ActiveRain.com  and submit valuable content with links that lead back to your own site. These links will not only drive traffic to your site, but help your Google rankings as well.

Another way to get your content out there is to network with complimentary, but non-competing sites and offer to guest blog on their site with links back to your own. Popular real estate agencies with established blogs, home builders, and investment blogs are good sites to target.

On a final note, remember to add content to your own site often. Continue to look at your own home page, optimizing it for hot, relevant keywords and making sure you don’t have broken links or outdated information. Keep your site valuable, fresh, and search engine friendly and the traffic will naturally follow.