UPDATE 4/20/2011: DUE TO GOOGLE’S “PANDA” RELEASE (CHANGE TO THE “RECIPE” OF WHO APPEARS ON TOP), THIS METHOD BELOW HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED FROM ~ 8/10 EFFECTIVENESS TO ABOUT 2/10 AS LOW-GRADE CONTENT (INCLUDING EZINE ARTICLES) HAS BEEN REDUCED BY 86% OVERALL SEO “VALUE”. THIS TECHNIQUE STILL WORKS FOR NICHE OR LOCAL-ONLY SEARCHES AND HELPS OVERALL, BUT IS UNLIKELY TO GET YOU TO THE TOP ON ITS OWN FOR MEDIUM OR HIGH COMPETITION KEYWORDS. [end editor’s update]

Every single day people ask how to increase their search engine position.

To teach this is like asking to learn brain surgery in an afternoon – BUT – there is one great way you can do it yourself. For most entrepreneurs and sales professionals, I strongly recommend that you write the content yourself. You can outsource it to writers, but it’ll come off as fluffy and possibly disingenuous. Backlinking is easy to outsource, but as they say, Content is King, and your head full of knowledge is your chance to show off while drawing more people to you.

So, with that said, here is one tried and true method you can do yourself in under an hour per page.

Part 1 of 3: Identify your keyphrases (Using Google’s Keyword Tool HERE)

Note on Keyword Research: Say you want “Long Beach Real Estate”. See Google’s official help file for more info.

  • Broad means [Estate Beach Long Duck Keyword Real sunny extrawords] will show up / be counted. Any combination of the words is allowed. In this case “Long Beach” is totally different than “Beach Long”, so you’d want to be sure to use phrase or exact.
  • Phrase means extra words are allowed, but the phrase has to be required [long beach real estate for sale] will count, but not [real estate in long beach]. Note this could get you undesirable keywords like [long beach real estate scams] or [free junk foreclosure long beach real estate]
  • Exact means only [“Long Beach Real Estate”] will show up, nothing else, verbatim. It has the fewest searches, but the highest conversion.

TIP: You might want to give some thought to keywords that convert – “buying signal” phrases, like “cheap macbook” (someone entering “cheap” is probably planning to buy now) vs. “macbook vs. windows laptop”; this searcher has clearly not decided yet what to get. Also beware of phrases that in PPC you’d use as a “negative word” i.e. blacklist word, like “free” so “free graphic software” is probably not a searcher willing to spend money.

Part 2 of 3: Write one article per keyphrase.

UPDATE: Perfect alignment of keywords isn’t very good any more, as real humans don’t write that way, and therefore Google has detected that perfect alignment is more likely to be manipulated and therefore spammy; so a bit of variation can help i.e. “real estate in long beach” vs. 100% “long beach real estate”.

Update: This is more important than ever; Google “Caffeine” means the web (and SERP, or Search Engine Rank Position) is constantly changing, down to the hour – so articles written by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about will over time, win over fluffy outsourced keyword articles.

Part 3 of 3: Backlink the article.

Rinse & Repeat!

Some notes:

  1. Start with less-traffic, less competition keywords so you build on success. If you aim for “Real Estate” as a phrase, you’re competing with 1,670,000,000 other pages (actual number as of July 2010!). If you write an article for “Long Beach Real Estate”, you’re competing with 373,000 other pages – perfect. You can outrank those easily, but when just starting out, aim for even lower and as you see some success, you’ll understand more and get more advanced with your tactics. This is SEO 101 here.