Get your site found on the web: keywords & backlink building

On 16/12/2010

In SEO - search engines

Search engine submissionsOur last look at getting your site found on the web focused on search engines, and how to ensure they find and list your site in results pages. If you’ve just begun to make a website, you’ll need to figure out the kinds of search terms your potential visitors will use when looking for your website.

Understanding how your visitors think and preparing your site as a consequence will go a long way towards improving your site’s visibility – and potential success – on the web.

A few words on ... key words

Getting your site listed in search engine databases means the real work can begin on making sure people find it when searching the web. Key words are the terms people use on a search engine to find something. When choosing which key words are right for your website, it’s important to think about what it contains, and who it would interest. Understanding your site content - and your visitors - will help you to choose the right key words for your website.

Getting your choice of key words right means figuring out who would be interested by your site content, and selecting the search terms they are most likely to use to find it. Here’s a concrete example to help you with thinking about – and choosing – your site key words:

If you want to create a website to present your bed and breakfast in Bath, UK, your potential visitors would be people looking for that kind of accommodation in that particular location. They’ll most likely search for sites by combining words like “accommodation”, “guesthouse”, “bnb”, and “bed and breakfast”, with location- specific words like “bath”. Search terms they might use would be “bath bnb”, “accommodation bath”, “bed and breakfast bath”, so these are the kinds of key words you’ll need to focus on to get relevant search engine results.

There are some great free tools you can use to help you find key words for your website. Start with Google’s keyword tool to compile a list of potential key words, then use GoogleTrends to rank them according to their real-word use and frequency. You’ll also find out more on making key word decisions in this article about choosing keywords for websites.

When adding content to your website, try to put those terms to work for you by including them in your site text. For ideas on how to go about it, the following article will help you with using keywords when adding content to your site.

Search engines are designed to provide impartial results

Getting links, and making them count

Adding backlinks to other sites that point to yours help search engines and potential visitors find your site. They also play a key role in ensuring your website figures prominently in the list of search engine results for your chosen key words: the more backlinks your site has, the more likely search engines will make an association between your website and your chosen key words.

It’s important to ensure those external links are meaningful and relevant, as search engine algorithms evaluate the quality of backlinks. They do so by weighting each one according to a series of criteria, which include the popularity of the linking site, and the semantic relevance of its content to yours.

One of the ways to begin building backlinks is to ask for them. Start by compiling a list of websites whose content is related to yours. Contact the sites’ webmasters and offer to exchange links. A link exchange involves placing a backlink on your website that points to their site – in exchange, they’ll add a backlink to your site from theirs. It doesn’t usually matter where the link is located on your website, though some webmasters will specify a particular location, like your site’s home page. If they don’t, you can add the link to any of your site pages, menus or editable zones. You can also enable the Links add-on in your site manager, and use it to automatically add and publish links to partner websites.

Links matter a lot to search engines, and are important for ensuring your website will be found by potential site visitors. We’ll take a look at just how important they are in the next article, as well as some different kinds of link-building techniques you can adopt when you create a website.