Yes: do it yourself search engine optimization.

Sure, that's my job - but not everyone has the budget to hire a professional freelance writer.  SEO doesn't have to be difficult if you have a good start, so here you go.

DIY SEO Tip #1: Find the right keywords.

To find the right keywords, think like your target audience.  What's your product?  How would people most likely look for it on the Internet?

If you're selling dog food, and it's meat-based, then maybe 'meat based dog food' should be one of your keywords.  You don't want to only use 'dog food' for two reasons:
  • Adding 'meat based' will bring you more targeted traffic; the people who are searching for plain dog food might find you, but the people searching for meat-based dog food are much more likely to end up on your site.
  • Just plain 'dog food' is a highly competitive keyword - and you don't have just plain dog food; you've got a very special, very specific product.
DIY SEO Tip #2: Write your content first and add keywords later.

Before you worry about keywords, write your site's content.  Describe your products and services accurately and concisely - and you'll probably find that your SEO terms occurred naturally throughout what you wrote.  Make sure it's readable and easy to follow.

DIY SEO Tip #3: Sprinkle (don't douse) your content with keywords.

You've chosen your keywords and written your content.  Now replace some occurrences of non-specific words with your keywords; for example, if your keyword is 'silver-lined coffee mugs,' here's what you'd do:

Our product is Silver-lined coffee mugs are amazing and make drinking coffee a luxury.

Using these silver-lined coffee mugs (or giving them as gifts) will make you the talk of the town.

They Silver-lined coffee mugs are very unique - how many people do you know who have them?

You can also look for more ways to incorporate SEO into your text, like using headlines for separate sections.

DIY SEO Tip #4: Don't be too dense.

If you use too many keywords in your text, search engines will think you're a nasty spammer and will ignore your site completely.  They do this so they can provide the best results... if a search engine provided crappy, useless results, people would stop using them - right?

Calculate your keyword density to make sure you're not overdoing it.  It's generally a good idea to keep keyword density between 3 and 6%, although there is no 'perfect' formula.

DIY SEO Tip #5: Don't be stupid, either.  Keep your hat white.

There are white hat SEO techniques and black hat SEO techniques. 

White hat means you're a good guy and you're using keywords that will help people.  You're only trying to attract traffic who will find your site useful.

Black hat means you're an asshole.  Seriously.  It means you don't care about the people finding your site - you only care about attracting tons of people who will probably find your site useless.

Black hat SEO includes things like hiding keywords on your page by coloring them the same as your background, trying to trick search engines into thinking your content is relevant.  (Big tip: they're onto that and you'll get blacklisted anyway.)  Using keywords that belong to other people (like 'Microsoft Help Desk') is also assholey, as is using keywords that have nothing to do with your site (like when you have AdSense all over the place and you've stolen other people's content to fill up space).

What DIY SEO tips do you have?  Have you discovered a great formula that works every time?  Share your ideas and questions here.


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©2010 Angie Papple Johnston.  Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha.  I've got free time.

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