If the goal is to improve the visibility of a website in search engines, you should consider buying ads with your favorite search engine, (i.e. Google or Bing, etc.) However, before buying ads, make sure the site is optimized for organic search. Optimized sites will have their ads shown more often and pay less for the same keywords than sites that are not optimized.

Here are six quick tips that will improve the visibility of a website in search engines. The tips involve keeping the website itself up to date and making sure that the business is well-represented across the entire internet, not just its own website.

  1. Search engines reward websites that have a lot of current content by listing them higher on the search results page. Feed the content-hungry search engines by adding new information. Remove content that is out of date. The best way to create new content will vary by industry. Popular techniques for business-to-consumer industries include coupons, contests, events, seasonal information and news releases. Professional Service industries generally get best results with high value content. For example, A CPA’s website could contain information about new tax laws written for the average lay person. Not sure how to accomplish this for your industry? The best source of information is to ask some of your best customers.
  2. Make sure that each page of content is rich with the keywords that clients use to search for the products and services that your business offers. Select keywords that are specific rather than general. A general contractor that specializes in restoring brownstones should use such longer keywords. Not sure what search terms a customer is likely to use? Again, the best source of information is your existing customers. Ask them! Also ask employees, vendors and suppliers. Once a list is compiled from these multiple perspectives, use a keyword tool like Wordstream’s Keyword Tool to build out the list.
  3. List your business in the free online directories that service your region and/or are specific to your industry. Make sure you supply as much information as the directory will hold. These directories serve as mini websites, so the content should be polished and professional. Popular regional directories include Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, City Search and Local.com. Directories that serve specific industries are OpenTable and MenuPages (Restaurants), Buzzillions (Online Retailers) InsiderPages (Medical, healthcare, beauty and spa services). If you aren’t aware of industry specific directories for your industry, do an online search online for them.
  4. Most of these directories allow customers to post a review. Encourage your best customers to write reviews for you. (Never write fake reviews yourself, it will backfire.) Monitor reviews to keep your finger on the pulse of customers. Whether or not or how you respond to negative reviews will depend on the circumstances. In general, its a good idea to try to satisfy a disgruntled customer. Just be careful that by responding you aren’t making the customer’s negative experience become larger than life. Consider resolving negative feedback offline and then asking the customer if they would write an updated review or comment.
  5. Ask business associates, (i.e. vendors, suppliers) to link to the company website. It’s best if the text that links to the site is not “Click Here” but rather uses keywords that are important to the company’s business. Links are the internet version of a popularity contest, and search engines reward popular websites by listing them near the top of the search engine page results. Links can be built by trading links with business associates. For example, a retailer that sells a particular brand can post a link to the brand’s web site and ask the brand manager to post a a link to the retailer’s website as an “Authorized Retailer” of the brand. Another method is to post comments on topic-related blog sites and forums. Include a link to your website. As long as the comments you post provides value to the readers, this is perfectly legitimate. Blatant advertisements are not considered legitimate.
  6. Finally, keep track of your website’s ranking with the search engines. Tracking your site’s performance provides valuable information on what works best to improve your site rank. I recommend using Traffic Travis which is free, simple tool for monitoring the popularity and number of page views of your website. Traffic Travis can be downloaded from the cnet.com website at http://cnet.co/1j4Q956