There no easy answer to Search Engine Optimization.  The fundamentals can be boiled down to the following:

  • Build sites that people want to see
  • Keep content original and fresh
  • Monitor your competition to see what is working for them
  • Incorporate social media to help build a following
  • Cultivate links from external sites to increase popularity
  • Create traffic to attract search engine  traffic

The following guide to search engine optimization is built on eight sections:

  1. How Search Engines work
  2. Site building basics
  3. Keyword basics
  4. Link building
  5. Competitive research
  6. Social factors
  7. Tools of the trade
  8. Help with SEO

Section 1 – How Search Engines Work

Search engines provide the answers their searchers are looking for.

The better your site answers specific questions, the more likely traffic will be sent to your site.

Rating factors include:

  • Time people spend on your site
  • How many external sites link to your website
  • What kind of links send people to your site
  • Traffic your site receives
  • Do searchers repeat their search after visiting your site
  • If a person repeats a search after being directed to your site, it lets the search engine know that your site did not answer their question.

Page Authority

Each page of every website is designated with a Page Authority.  The algorithm used to determine Page Authority is kept secret but many inferences and educated guesses can be made.


Is part of Google’s Page Authority ranking system.  It is said to measure site popularity more than anything else, but it is one of the only ranking factors that is openly shared by Google.  High PageRank sites tend to be listed before lower ranked sites.   PageRank can be determined through many third party add-ons.

PageRank is passed from one site to another through outgoing links.  To a website owner these backlinks are one of the best ways to increase traffic to their site.

Section 2 – Site Building Basics

Search engines prefer that websites are organized well in order to facilitate crawling and browsing.

Crawling is how search engines explore and index your page

What do search engines look for?

Organized site (Pyramid Structure):

One Home Page

Limited Categories

Multiple Sub categories for each category

Detail pages that are grouped by sub and main categories


ORIGINAL CONTENT – Duplicated and repeated content is usually ignored and sometimes penalized.

Content Freshness – Content written years ago will be less likely to attract traffic than content written recently

Keywords – The words and phrases repeated on your site tell search engines what your site is about.

Keywords in URLs – Websites should include keywords in their domain names and page names

Broken Links – Broken links tell a search engine that you are not serious.  Established sites will resolve broken links quickly.

Domain Age – Older domains attract more search engine traffic.  The older the better.

XML Sitemaps – Provide search engines with a type of road map that helps them index your site.


Section 3 – Keyword Basics

Google defines a keyword as a significant word or phrase relevant to the web page or document in question.

  • Keywords are an important factor that draws traffic to your website
  • Industry keywords also allow search engines to determine your industry and the relevance of incoming links

Keyword Selection:

  • Determine what your potential customer will search for to find you or your competitors
  • Create a list of the main keywords that your business focuses on
  • Remember, for local business, your location is a crucial keyword
Section 4 -Link Building

Adding quality links to your site will increase your PageRank and optimize your business visibility online by acting as a type of reference to your site.

  • Search Engines determine your industry and weather the sites that link into your site have the same focus you do
  • Industry keywords also allow search engines to determine your industry and the relevance of incoming links
  • .GOV and .EDU sites pass the most PageRank to your site
  • Buying links and other Black Hat techniques only serve to damage your credibility with search engines and will cost you traffic in the long run.

Backlink Equivalents

1 backlink from a PR 6 site =
3 backlinks from a PR 5 site =
18 backlinks from a PR 4 site =
101 backlinks from a PR 3 site =
555 backlinks from a PR 2 site =
3,055 backlinks from a PR 1 site

Industry related sites pass more PageRank than unrelated sites.  For the example above, one backlink from a veterinarian site is better than many backlinks from restaurants.


Section 5 – Competitive Research

Enter your main keyword into Google and see how you rank.

  • If your competitors outrank you, examine what they have done
  • Use a backlink checker to view how many they have
  • Use a keyword analyzer to see what other keywords they focus on
  • Find your competitors high PageRank backlinks and get them to link to you as well
Section 6 – Social Factors


  • Is a great way to create and maintain a buzz around your business
  • Use it to keep people informed on specials, deals, events and more
  • Make sure that the call to action on Facebook activities encourages more traffic to your site


  • Integral to local businesses, yelp reviews are consistently on top of the search engine rankings
  • Getting listed with yelp can give you instant first page visibility


  • Owned by Google is the second most used search engine
  • Google provides front page visibility with selected search results
  • Video optimization strategies exist to help individual ranking results


  • Have always been the ideal way to introduce fresh content to your website
  • With the introduction of Google’s new Freshness Algorithm it is more important now than ever before
  • Blogging attracts frequent visits to your site, which encourages search engines to send more traffic to your site
Section 7 – Tools of the Trade


Google search is the best tool, AND ITS FREE!

  • What keywords do you rank for
  • Who are your competitors in search engine results


  • Free Toolbar shows PageRank, domain age, internal and external links, keyword density


  • Starts at $99 per month but very powerful
  • Calculates Page Authority, Domain Authority, link data and much more
  • The full version is expensive, but perhaps the best for small business is to take advantage of their 30 Day Free Trial and cancel before incurring any costs.


Section 8 – Help with SEO
  • ABD Promotions can create a “to-do” list for you.  Our SEO LaunchPage™ is a list completely customized for your individual business.  This is not a cookie-cutter solution!  Our list of tasks, when completed will maximize your SEO impact.
  • Updated monthly, our step by step guide will walk you through the best steps to increase visibility for your website
  • Full service SEO plans are also available.