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Guru-Free SEO

As a cartoonist, I do not get asked too many questions regarding the world of website SEO. As an Internet consultant who studied business at Western Governor's University, I get asked questions daily. And it really is not much of a surprise. A great many web owners do not know SEO. There are others who think they know SEO, and "learned from experts", only to find out within a few weeks or months that their site has been removed from Google for using backdoor or bad methods of marketing. The sad thing is that most of them did not have a clue they were doing it unethically. They simply downloaded an eBook that they paid way to much money for and followed the instructions.

What they fail to realize is that most of the time, the author of that ebook has downloaded another ebook before writing his / or hers and simply plagiarized most of it, thinking, "If I bought it on the Internet, and from a guru, chances are it's good information.

I do not write or sell Ebooks at this time. Why? Because I do not consider myself a guru or an expert. A lot of people should not who do. I am very good at it, and I am one of the few who has SEO'd my own cartoon website into the Alexa Top 100,000 websites (as low as 65,000), but that still does not make me an expert. I am pursuing more education before I use that word to describe me. Let's just say, for the most part, I believe I know what I'm doing, and people pay me to do it, generally before they pay "an expert". And there is a reason. I research, I read, I double read, and I triple read, not just sites on the Internet, but scholarly books in our university library.

I guess the most asked questions are, "What should I do, PPC Advertising, article marketing, blogging, link exchange, keyword optimization, or what?

The question is not the same for everyone, though a few of the basics apply to all sites.

The first thing I usually tell them is that once their website is complete, look at it as a desert island and a large hotel chain has an option to build a hotel there which will attract millions of happy visitors.
Your job is to make sure that hotel gets built, the word gets out about it, and people not only visit but purchase from you while staying at the hotel. After all, you have built a shop or shops very close to the upcoming four star hotel.

Can it be done overnight? Sure, if you want to get kicked off most of the major web engines. You simply start spamming and spamming is a numbers game. The problem is spamming is bad netiquette and even illegal in some states. And you will be spinning your wheels. That is not just email spamming but blog spamming, article spamming and any other kind.

The first key is patience and to take things one thing at a time. Keywords are a basic. Overture and others offer keyword services. Find out what the most appropriate keywords are for your tags and metatag and use them. Do not overdo it. Simply use the most targeted ones.

Get a blog, preferably a blog within your own domain. Remember you are also branding your product or service and you want it to be your blog, not Myspace, or Facebook. When you blog with them, which is okay for meeting people, socializing etc., you are helping brand them. If you feel so charitable then do so. I have blogs at many different sites, but I use my main blog with my company's name on it the most often. That is my "focus blog". I go to pinging services like Pingoat and make

certain they update the blog at least twice a week. This sends it out to other blogs that might be interested in the story.

If you are a good writer, article marketing is king. But it is a slow process. You will not get a following from it overnight. There are hundreds of thousands of article directories on the Internet. You want to make sure you are at least on the top one, EzineArticles and if you do not mind paying, also Usnare.

There are others that are very popular and lists of them. You do not want to submit to every single one out there; as many of them do not have topics that pertain to your product or service.

There is good article submission software and services that prevent spamming, and can write and rewrite your article and allow you to use targeted keywords that prevent it from pinging unwanted blogs.

Be careful though, when using these softwares and services and make sure they do what they say they do. A good place to start is Tucows or Download and read some of the reviews. Cnet offers a good many reviews as well.

Again, be patient. You will have written at least fifty articles, probably, before you notice a change in your ranking and dramatic increase in visitors. Also, in article marketing, as in any other kind of SEO, "Its a jungle out there" or even a war, and everyone is vying for the top position. So for heaven's sake do not just write an article and put your link. Google is on to that and can see through it pretty fast. Write something of value and substance that people can and will use.

PPC Advertising often comes up in conversations. I use it, and so should you. But before using it, read the tutorial or knowledge page that the service offers. I have used most of them and find
Google AdWords to be the easiest interface and most flexible. MSN Adsense, though not as
big, offers some fun surprises too. Both offer quality hits.

There are many second-tier PPC services and I tend to stay away from them. They bring in a lot of traffic but it tends to be low quality curiosity-seeking untargeted surfers. It is more economic but one gets what one pays for.

There are many other things to know, and a lot of them I am currently learning. I will share them as I research and find them to be true. I know proper SEO works in my own Londons Times Cartoon stores, and I have seven of them. If I did not use it, I would simply have seven desert islands with seven unbuilt hotels.