“Search is the ultimate expression of the power of the individual, using a computer, looking at the world, and finding exactly what they want.” – Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

What good is it to have a website – one built with profits in mind – if potential customers can’t find it? Sure, you can drive Web traffic to your site in any number of ways… with e-mail, banners, and print ads, to name just a few.

But, if you think about it, there’s no better way to score online customer prospects than by reeling in people who:

  • Reveal what they’re interested in
  • Request information on it, and
  • Visit your website at zero, or nominal, advertising cost

That’s where search engines come in.

Search engine marketing is the ultimate low-cost, high-return form of targeted advertising. And, by the way, it’s all quantifiable.

You see, opportunities for profit still abound on the Internet. And make no mistake… there’s no better way of getting traffic to your website, and staking your claim in the online industry, than by employing the sound practices of search engine marketing.

Tens of thousands of websites hang their entire businesses on it.

In fact, one of the most appealing aspects of search engine marketing is the level playing field this medium affords. Small players can compete with the Big Suits – and win – by outmaneuvering them.

But you can bet that those who’ve already figured out how to get their websites to the top of Google’s, Yahoo’s, and MSN’s search results would prefer to keep their competitors in the dark.

You see, there’s no shortage of information out there on how to win in the search engine wars. While some of these resources can be accurate and helpful, much of it tends to be outright misleading… which could prove disastrous for your website’s search rankings.

The best information – the secret sauce producing big profits for leading websites – is largely held under lock and key by those who possess this knowledge.

Today, I’m going to give you the pivotal first step – a simple strategy overlooked by the majority of website owners. You can employ it right now to propel your site to “organic” search success. (And keep in mind that getting a top “organic” – as opposed to pay-per-click – search ranking for your website doesn’t cost you a thing.)

The #1 most important first step to getting your website to the top of the search engines is this: Give every webpage on your site a “searchable” Page Title.

Search engines rank webpages by sending automated “bots” or “spiders” all over the Internet to determine which ones are most relevant and useful to the reader (relative to his/her search query).

The first thing these bots look for as they scan every webpage?

The Page Title!

The Page Title is the first clue for the search engines as to what a webpage is about. So, if your webpage content focuses on, let’s say, “dashboard hula dancers,” you’d be doing yourself a disservice to make your Page Title anything but that.

The trick, then, is knowing what “keywords” your potential customers are searching for. Keywords are the cornerstone and starting point of every search marketing strategy. Understand that keyword research is never a one-and-done deal. Rather, it’s an ongoing process of finding every possible permutation of your core keywords, as well as your “long tail” keywords… each of them an opportunity for a sale or a conversion.

Here’s how to go about doing keyword research for your site…

Go to Wordtracker.com. For about $30 a week, or a yearly $299 subscription, you can discover the keywords people are using to find websites in your industry. Simply type in the keywords that come to mind, and the software returns a series of related keywords, along with estimates of how many times per day searches for those keywords occur.

Wordtracker offers a complimentary trial run of its keyword service, too. You can find the same free (yet limited) results with it, plus additional keyword results from Yahoo/Overture’s pay-per-click database (on digitalpoint.com/tools) via the Keyword Suggestion link.

An item of note when crafting your Page Titles…

The Page Title is actually two things:

  1. It’s the title you type in at the top of each webpage, advisedly in big, bold letters to distinguish it from the page’s main body copy.
  2. It’s also the title you type into each webpage’s meta title tag, within the html code. Very easy, and hardly technical.

Using a keyword-oriented Page Title is a simple way to get your website ranked at the top of the search engines and ultimately bring more traffic – and more motivated buyers – to your site.

If you’ve only just green-lighted a killer idea for a site but haven’t yet cleared the hurdles for launching it – consider the money you’ll be leaving on the table by not employing search engine marketing techniques from the get-go.

[Ed. Note: With over 10 years in the trenches, John Phillips is recognized as a leading expert in search engine and Web marketing. His work has resulted in millions of dollars in new revenue for websites in multiple industries. Learn more from John about how you can use search engine marketing to fuel your own online business this fall at ETR’s Info Marketing Bootcamp – Making a Fast Fortune on the “Other Side” of the Internet.]

SEO Expert John first cut his teeth in online marketing back in 1996, when he figured out he could use search engines to convert tens of thousands of people looking for credit card debt relief into new credit counseling customers. Since then, John has worked directly and consulted for major clients in the wireless/ telecom, non-profit, and financial publishing sectors, including the last 3 years at Agora Publishing and The Oxford Club, where he beat out the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Motley Fool to secure the # 1 rank on Google, Yahoo and MSN for the coveted keyword, “investment advice.”
He is expert in organic search, pay per click search, and social media strategies, and specializes in acquiring, converting and monetizing web traffic for his clients.