There are people who make their living doing Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. Here are some basics you can do yourself.

The most important step to building a popular website:
Make sure you have quality content.

If possible, make your content unique, perhaps with new insights on your subject, or a new form of presentation. If you’re not an expert on 13th Century Chinese porcelain, don’t create a website on 13th Century Chinese porcelain, unless it’s a subjective or fictional description of your own experiences with Chinese porcelain.

If you can, update the information often and add more interesting content.

Optimize Your Pages

Make sure your pages are search engine friendly. You need to make sure the <head> of each page has a title tag and metatags for description and keywords. Metatags are tags embedded in web pages, not visible to the visitor, that some search engines use to categorize your site. Not all search engines use these metatags, but enough do to make it worth your while. Definitely add a different title to each page, and a description tag. The title should be about 65 characters long, and the description about 150 characters. If you are using a DIY site such as BigCommerce or a DIY tool like RapidWeave, they will have fields to fill in for each page that will be translated into metatags. Don’t ignore them or leave them blank! Here’s a brief tutorial on creating metatags. Scrub the Web offers a metatag analyzer tool to evaluate metatags.

Then make sure your pages really talk about what you want to be listed under. For example, this site is about setting up a website. The phrase appears several times, in several variations, on the home page — not in a spammy way, just embedded in the text. But also, the whole website is dedicated to that subject. A website that offers discussion and free site SEO analysis tools SEO Chat.

If you find you need help in accomplishing this and other SEO tasks, you may wish to sign up with a Search Engine Optimization Firm. The best way to find one is to Google the phrase “SEO.” If they’re number 1 in Google, they know their business.

Create a sitemap

A sitemap can be a simple web page listing links to each your pages. It’s not only helpful for visitors, it also helps search engines find all the pages on your site. There’s a free tool to generate a sitemap in the format Google wants it at xml-sitemaps.com or at Sitemap Generator . Google offers a section on troubleshooting sitemaps to make sure your site map conforms to their standards.

Publicize offline

Add your URL to all your preprinted materials, including

  • billing statements
  • letterhead
  • business cards
  • brochures
  • fliers
  • print newsletters
  • print, radio or TV ads

Send out announcements

A new or revamped website is a good excuse to send a mailing to customers and prospects. Mail out a postcard or flyer announcing your URL. Offer special incentives to people who go to the site.

Send out “internet only” special sale mailings

Or offer a free item, such as a pen or a Tshirt to people who visit the site. Here is a good example of using free items to attract people to your website

Talk about your website.

Let people know it’s there. Frequently, it’s easier to remember a URL than a phone number. Tell people they can find your address or phone number on the website (and make sure it’s there!) Use it in your ads. Instead of repeating your phone number three times and hoping people listening to your radio ad will memorize it, give your URL.