Where to start? I always struggle with SEO

This might sound a little silly, but I have always struggled with SEO.

I understand the concepts, the need to build link backs, the need to ensure good HTML, good content, good keywords and make good use of meta tags… but I still struggle with it.

The biggest problem is that nowadays it is nearly impossible to get a good number of links back to your site, especially in the early days. Back in the day you could just put your site in your signature of the forums you frequented and you would get thousands of links over night (depending on how many old posts you have). Nowadays most forums do not allow signatures, so that option is gone.

Basically, I have a website that provides services for parents involved in education / school appeals. Some services are free and some cost money. I have an excellent URL which is essentially the exact words you would type if you were looking for my sort of service, and the site will clean and well designed. I will probably be looking at running some small adsense adverts (probably link units) because my visitors will be highly targeted and therefore more likely to click. However, this is not intended to be the main revenue stream for the website. I should add… I am a professional that works in the education industry, so the services I offer are genuine and not simply an attempt to “cash in”.

It is a very new site (only a few days old) and has yet to appear on google. However, I am really unsure how to go about increasing traffic from search engines. I know that a good ranking does not happen overnight and that it will take a long time to build up a good search position. In the meantime I will probably be running a small advertising campaign - probably with googles adwords…

But beyond this… I don’t really know how to increase my search ranking position. I am a member of many forums full of people interested in my services… but links and signatures are not allowed. Posting such content will simply result in the post being deleted and a warning.

I have obviously submitted my site to google, added it to my google webmaster and analytics account and made sure the standard things like sitemaps, metatags etc are all good.

So… what should I be looking at doing? Remember… this is a service based website - not content driven. It is not a case of simply “writing articles”.

Any help would be appreciated.

I look at SEO this way… it’s like fame.

High competition keywords are like national fame, long-tails are like local fame.

Getting to the top 10 is like being famous.

Not everyone gets to be famous.

You can try to “buy” fame, like Paris Hilton, but that only rarely works out.

Keep being creative. You’ll catch on to something. :slight_smile:

Actually quite a good analogy…

SEO is not helping much to get ranking… since few years working with SEO, building quality BL, working with HTML, meta tags etc… but not much improvement… Found many of other sites with less BL and un formated HTML in top position… At last I forget SEO… only working with site content… Updating frequently with unique and rich content… now feeling cool and getting promotion slowly…So my advice is make the site for the visitors and fill quality content…and let it grow gradually… do not disturb by SEO…

Are you working in a particular geographic area, or is it aimed nationwide?

A good way to start is to search for relevant phrases, and see what comes up near the top of the search pages. In the UK there are lots of sites run by parents for parents (Mumsnet is one of the most well known), and if you write to the site owners, you may be able to persuade them to do a feature on your site, or at least to link to it. Find forums where people are asking questions and where your services would answer them, and suggest they visit your site. When you’re doing that, your best bet is honesty - don’t just drop your link into the discussion, but give a bit of explanation about what your site offers and why you think it will answer their problem. That won’t necessarily help your SEO, but it gives you a better chance of having your message and link accepted, which will hopefully lead to targeted direct traffic, and that might lead to those people recommending the page and linking to it elsewhere.

Thanks. Just targeting the UK. As such have a .co.uk domain.

Yeah, the forums you mention are good places to drum up interest, although as I mentioned they have VERY strict rules about posting links, even to free services. I do genuinely think honesty is the best policy when posting links.

A “trick” I learned a long time ago that might apply to your site… if there are a large number of non-commercially-owned sites in your market (orgs, individuals, blogs, etc.), link exchange is usually an easy approach to getting your site highly ranked, as non-commercial sites are more likely to link to you than commercial sites. Just put together a well-devised communication strategy and don’t go with a spammy-sounding automated link-exchange platform.

I used this strategy recently to rank a site top-10 (and hopefully soon top 3) for a highly competitive keyphrase (600,000+ US monthly searches)

Well you can start with long tail keywords on forums signatures and post some articles on good and high profile article sites, this will help you alot :slight_smile:

First you must make a clear idea about the website that you are going to do SEO.

Some steps :

  • Website Analysis (Basic study about the nature of the website. Note the alexa rank of you website and the number of backlinks in yahoo also. Because at the end you can find the improvement. Also you can use websitegrader.com)

  • Keyword Research (Basic study about the keywords that is used in your site, and find the keyword density. For doing keyword research you can use some free tools like Google Keyword tool).

  • ON page optimization (Meta tags, 404 error page, find all broken links, make URLs SEO friendly, sitemap creation, make easy navigation)

  • OFF page optimization (Directory submission, Social bookmarking, blog commenting, Article submission, forum posting)

  • Create a final report.

Are reciprocal links / link exchages still good for SEO? I thought this is a thing of the past.

I’m sure I remember seeing on one of the Matt Cutts videos on YouTube that reciprocal links were regarded by Google as giving less of a “vote of confidence” than one-way links.

I don’t bother chasing reciprocal links now!

It’s the time that content should be the major part of seo,back links are considered the assistant to it,qulitity and valueable content on the sites is the thing we should word for,while useful stuff appear on sites,the BL will increase automaticaly.

This is good advice. It’s what Google want you to do anyway so if you can’t figure out how to fake it, do it for real.

Nope… reciprocal links with “real” websites are still a very good thing. :slight_smile:

There is no trick to be on top! Someone have already said “Content is king” slowly, gradually you will earn reputation. SEO, Link building & social media are helping tools but content is important. Unique, rich & fresh content will win the race.

I agree with you. But you can still get planty of back links easily from free sources. You can do following to get free backlinks.
-Forum posting
-Blog commenting
-Guest blogging
-Press release submission
-Article submission
-Social media submission

You need to find quality sites for every method.

Also don’t focus on link building only. Unique contents can bring huge traffic to your website. Try to upload new contents every day.

Also don’t forget about on-page SEO.

Try out Web 2.0 Sites, Blogging, Inter linking your web sites, Use web 2.0 site for Link wheel, Never do content duplication.
This simple point will really help you to get ranking.


I think you need to go for on page SEO.As first step you need to find your keyword that you are willing to target and to rank on the SERPs. One should always try putting some keywords related to the content in his title.The titles should be unique to each page as the content of each page is unique too.Use ALT tags if you use a picture,give variations of your keyword format,Provide a link on your keywords(internal linking),give LSI keywords,meta tag optimization,link optimization.
For link building you can go for social bookmarking and networking,Article submission,Press release,blog commenting,guest blogging,video submission,e.t.c.