This is a follow up to the article I wrote on Making Sense of AdSense, Content and SEO. I recently received my first AdSense check from Google a few months ago for $100. That took me nearly 2 years to get to the $100 for payout. Now just 2 months after that payout I'm only $20 shy of getting my 2nd $100 payment from Google.
Why the change you ask? SEO and good content on my website has drawn new traffic to my site and kept visitors there longer resulting in more clicks on the ads. I recently reviewed the website statistics provided by my hosting company 1and1.com. The trend was that visits to the site had increased each year and then took off this spring. I used the website tool Google Analytic installed on my site and checked the period of 6/01/2008-9/20/2008 vs. the same period last year for my sites statistics and showed 1660 vs. 651 visits for an increase of 154.99 percent. Page visits for the same period grew from 997 to 3739 for an increase of 275 percent. My studies of Search Engine Optimization started earlier this year by reading the book Search Engine Optimization - An Hour a Day by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin.
Organic Search Results
There are 2 types of results when doing a search on sites like Google, Yahoo, Live and other search engines. PPC or Pay per Click allows you to bid on keywords and have more control where your site ranks. When someone clicks on your sponsored ad you pay depending on the value of the keyword that produced your search results. Depending on the amount of clicks this can be quite costly for those with a limited budget. That's why I've taken the time to learn about SEO because there's no expense involved in landing on the top of an organic search result. By reading the book I mentioned above and researching online I can now see the benefits.
Do some footwork and check out what your competitors are doing online. Do a search using keywords related to your product or service to see who ranks near the top. I took the keywords "Volunteer Software" and searched Google and found out my site ranks 19th out of 411,000 results. Not bad considering that you want to land on page 3 or less on a search engine search result. Most lookers aren't going to go much further than that when looking for a product or service online. When searching for "Volunteer Management Software" the results are even better and the site lands on page one and ranks 4th out of 332,000 results. Not bad when you consider that I didn't have to pay anyone to get my website ranked high. There are several places to check your keywords for popularity.
Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool
Google Keyword Tool
Try. Try. Try and Try again
With your research behind you try and apply what you've learned to your website. Keep in mind that changes in ranking don't happen overnight and can sometimes take months. But it's your job to consistently be refining your site until you get the right results. It's a good idea to review your site daily even after you start ranking higher because a good ranking is never guaranteed.
I would suggest that besides your home page that you try creating a few landing pages with different keywords. Then monitor your visitor trends using something like Google Analytic to see which page draws the most visits to your site. Keep in mind that you want to use powerful keywords and repeat them on your page in a logical pattern. I have used the keywords "Volunteer Management Software" in several different areas of the home page of my site. Make sure you don't overdo it otherwise you might risk getting penalized by the search engines.
SEO doesn't mean your site will move to the first page of a search results overnight but eventually you might be there. I suggest check a local community college for possible classes in Internet Marketing and SEO. I've always learned web development by reading books, studying online and reading forms on the subject. Please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or would like to contribute what has worked best for you.
Dennis J. Smith