Last time, I touched on some very basic beginner advice for getting an online poker affiliate marketing site started up in a way that will help you get placed on the top of the search engines. As the online business world well knows, this process is called search engine optimization (SEO), and a whole mini-industry has spring up to provide this service.

But for new affiliates, or those just starting out in online business, it’s a pretty unfamiliar, even intimidating, concept. So I thought it would be helpful to start at the start. This is the second of the “basics” of what you need to know for search engine optimization.

This subject has a lot of room for debate and unique approaches. Some sites have managed to do well with fairly difficult or obscure domain names and content. Other sites with seemingly surefire domains or strategies have crashed and burned. There are a lot of X-factors, in other words. But we can still help you reduce what you need to do to a few basic, very important concepts.

Original content: Write. New. Content! Even if you’re saying what’s been said before, say it in a new way. If you don’t have that ability, seek out a writer who does. Copywriting for SEO has become a very in-demand profession in recent years, and even given all the hacks the Internet will inevitably throw at you, there are still many copywriters out there who can write the kinds of articles you need. There are also many sites and independent writers offering these services. I’m not going to list them here for you and give them free advertising, but a simple Google search will help you find them. (Or you might check out the PokerAffiliatePrograms Marketplace section.)

Some of these writers are great at what they do … some aren’t. Choosing an SEO writer, if you decide you need one, is just one of the business plunges you have to make. However, it’ll help to simply Google terms like “poker content writers” or “poker affiliate SEO writer”, etc. If a writer has the ability to rank high for those kinds of terms, it’s kind of a given that he or she will be able to offer some value to your site regarding original content.

And original content is an absolute necessity for Google rankings. The Google indexing process prefers sites that don’t repeat other sites’ copy. And readers don’t want to read what they’ve already read before. So unique content is your first step. It’s a good idea to build up a library of at least a half dozen articles before you even launch your site.

Title Tags: Ranking up there with the importance of your domain name, which we discussed last time, are your title tags. That’s what you decide to name your main home page. (Or the page you want to rank most highly on search engines; presumably, if your site is devoted to online poker, that’s going to be your home page. But it could also be a sub-page, depending on your strategy.)

This isn’t that hard. It’s relatively easy to load your title tag with SEO terms without having to be too coherent. Just don’t sound TOO spammy. For example, a title tag that reads “Internet Poker Directory: Your Source for Making Money with Poker Online” is okay (but not great); a title tag that says “Internet Poker Money Casino Online Texas Hold’Em Cash Easy Win Big!” has all those golden SEO terms but doesn’t make sense. As a reader and/or poker player, I would be quick to click away.

Meta Tags: Again, somewhat easier than the act of creating site content, but not as easy as it looks. You’ll want to load your pages with tags that are search engine friendly (you’ll have to do your research beforehand to determine what those are, but come on, they’re pretty intuitive), but the tags will be much more effective if the terms actually appear in the content, as well. So this needs to be synced up with the page content, and can’t be done too randomly. It should be written along with site content, and if the two are synced up properly, it’ll go a long way towards catapulting your site to the top of Google.

Natural links: Easier said than done, right? But again, going back to original content, the better your site’s content quality, the more other sites will naturally link back to your post. Google (and search engines in general) love natural links; it gives your site authenticity. (By “natural”, I mean, not paid for, or not obviously some kind of reciprocal advertising; a “natural” link is when another site decides to link to one of your pages because your content is just that awesome and they want to share it with their readers.) In Google’s eyes, if a dozen (or preferably, many more) sites have found your articles worthwhile enough to link to, it means you’re legit, that you’re not just an advertiser or a spammer.

And that underlines the fact that, to make money online, you need to act like a pro, and actually create content people will want to read. You can’t just post up the same old content thousands of others have and expect to get traffic. Take the time to think up something original (or hire someone to do so). The payoff will come when others notice your high-quality articles, and link to them, helping to propel your site up the search engine rankings.

More to come in future posts. What do you think? Any advice or personal stories to share? I know this is basic stuff, and most of the community here has already been down this road. So let us know your stories!


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