All Things oDesk
June 21, 2010 by Brian McDonough

In business, location is everything — and that includes where you are on the Internet. The way people find that online location is through search engines. So, while a pure brick-and-mortar consideration of location involves being on a good street with a highly visible sign, the online version means ranking high when someone does a search to buy what your “store” sells. Search-engine optimization, the art of improving your search rank, isn’t hard, but it’s something a lot of small businesses don’t pay attention to — either because they’re too busy, or because it sounds both technical and scary. We chatted with Amit Bakshi, who oversees oDesk’s SEO efforts, to put together a very basic primer.

SEO Crash Course“It’s mostly about common sense,” he says. The Internet is a crowded, noisy place, and SEO applies a few logical techniques to make your web presence stand out.

“The biggest bottleneck is prioritization,” Bakshi says. “The small business owner has so many things going on, SEO’s not going to be top of the list. But you can quickly become your own SEO expert and educate your team on some basic priorities.”

SEO in a nutshell

All search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, want their users to find the quality websites they are looking for. You need to make a top-notch website, in a way that both human customers and search-engine “spider-bots” can identify. These programs crawl the Web to find sites, and send back information that allows the search engineers to rank the sites through complex algorithms. So SEO is the process of establishing your site as attractive and relevant to these Web crawlers. There are three main steps or considerations: Clean up your site design, create quality content and reach out with links.

Step 1: Designed to Succeed

Your website needs to be both easy to find and easy to read. To make it easy to find, consider what your customers would search for. “The first step is to figure out which keywords you’re likely to be discovered with,” Bakshi says. “The basic terms should be pretty obvious, but later you can augment that with a bit of keyword research.”

If you’re a florist in Boston, the searches you want to top are variations of flower delivery in Boston. Start with the page title, that field in the code that tells search engines what the page is called. “Bob’s Blooms” won’t tell Google anything. “Boston Flower Delivery — Bob’s Blooms,” or “Bob’s Blooms — Boston Florist,” will be more relevant to someone trying to get a fistful of peonies to Beacon Hill. Working with your web designer and/or webmaster, make sure your site is easy for search engines — and humans — to navigate, and make sure the key terms appear prominently.

Step 2: Quality

Wins Google and its competitors spend millions of dollars on search algorithms that have just one purpose: to present the highest-quality websites to users anytime they search for something. An important aspect of rising to the top of a search is to actually be a quality website. Smart, well-written content on the topics close to your heart (and bottom line) will improve your rankings, and it’s an ongoing effort. You or a qualified marketing writer should routinely expand your site with good content on relevant subjects, such as how to preserve fresh-cut flowers in a hot Boston summer, which flowers are the best deals in Boston, season by season, or a feature on arrangements you’ve done to suit various Boston wedding venues.

Step 3: Get Out There

What search engines value most is a site that real humans value, and that appreciation is measured by inbound links. When other sites start pointing to your site, you look more authoritative and rank higher in search engines. As a Boston florist, you’d would probably want to trade links with local wedding planners and party stores, and might comment on forums and blogs about the community or industry, with a link back to your site. There’s considerable etiquette involved in link exchange (check out the resources below), but the basics are: relevance, politeness and quality comments. You can take the time to do this yourself, or delegate it to your linkbuilder.

Don’t be intimidated by SEO. There’s a lot of information online, and the basics are pretty easy to pick up. After all, knowing who your customers are and how to create an appealing storefront were part of your original business plan, right? Bakshi emphasizes that SEO shouldn’t take over your life. At oDesk, he manages customer acquisition, of which SEO is only a small part. “I don’t think about SEO day and night — I can’t,” he says. “I’ve always got five things on my plate at a time, but I do keep a basic SEO strategy in place.”

With a quick education, you and your team can effortlessly incorporate SEO principles into many of your existing tasks. For a deeper look at the topic, here are some high-quality resources.

McDonough - Icon

Brian McDonough has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years, and has written newsletters, case studies and other material for oDesk since 2008.

Brian McDonough

Freelance Writer

Brian McDonough has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years, and has managed teams of in-house and freelance writers for newspapers, magazines and web sites.

  • http://wahegurugifts.com/sikhkara Sikh KARA

    Yes i agree on all the above 3 points. It really help alot.

  • http://www.repfixers.com Business Reputation Management

    Great article very informative!

  • http://www.SikhStock.com Sikh Bana

    SEO: Search Engine Optimization now should be GO: Google Optimization.

  • http://www.SikhStock.com Sikh Chola

    Web and SEO, a great business marketing strategy

  • http://www.Sikhkaras.com Sikh Karas

    Internet and web is a big resource

  • http://www.xcoolx.com ???

    good .
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: Building a Blog: From the Ground Up | oDesk.com()

  • http://excelbrothers.com EXCELBrothers.com

    Thanks for sharing, It is useful to me. I am interesting in researching about SEO.

    But how about the PR factor?

  • Jonathan

    Is there school that train interested people tobecome SEO profesional?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1448991551 Salah Uddin

    I am going to SEO

  • http://www.kafela.org salahuddin

    This topic for SEO is very useful

  • http://www.kafela.org Salahuddin

    My interest on SEO is increased after reading this topic

  • http://ladygonzaga.wordpress.com Stephanie

    This is definitely a helpful post to turn to when you need a refresher on SEO. I’ll definitely keep this in my list of blog posts to read through when improving my copywriting skills.

  • http://www.backboneitgroup.com Hans internet marketing

    If to design to succeed means making your site for the search engines and not your visitors then that success is shallow if you get no conversions because your site is terrible to use and doesn’t read well.

  • Saidur Rahman (Sajda).

    It is nice information oDesk.

  • http://agrfriends.com Rajeev

    great post , thanks for sharing this

  • http://agrfriends.com Rajeev

    Great post
    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Leomar

    I will do my best.. to do some design

  • http://RoderickPughMarketing.com ian

    Thanks for the post Brian. I agree with you when you say

  • http://hiphop94.wordpress.com hiphop

    Worth to read all. Link-Building, SEO work is easy going. But value to the hidden competition that no one knows. For Ranking all struggles. But Smart work can only help.

    -HIPHOP
    SEO Master
    [hphp_hiphop(at)yahoo.com]

  • http://www.sikhkaras.net SIKH KARA

    very nice information thanks guys

  • http://www.aqu8.com jason

    I can appreciate your post but when it comes to SEO and oDesk the use of english with candidates just isn’t good enough. Even the main post here had has issues with the basics of the english language.That is REALLY important to me as a business owner using odesk for SEO.There are some bright technical candidates on here but as for SEO, I as a SB, am forced to take the time to do it myself :(

  • http://www.weddingphotographerblog.com Russell Barton

    Thanks for this guys – I am a new Odesk user and am loving the way it works and little titbits like this is really helpful… I have 2 sites and one in construction – one site is page one the second page 4 and hopefully the new will hit page one once launched !!

  • http://www.ruarylove.blogspot.com Yeng

    I have been hearing about SEO and this went directly to my inbox and answered some of my questions. Big thanks! :D

  • http://www.RelevantMarketing.org Josh Cassel

    Good SEO article. Seems like it’s right on point. I must say though, the newsletter where I clicked the link to get here had a very untrue statement where it said “SEO Doesn’t Come First”. Wrong, wrong and wrong. To have a successful business website, SEO should be the VERY first thing considered. The site should then be designed and written around the primary keywords and content.

    You can create a web design or write copy that is so good it wins awards, but if it isn’t easily found, it is worthless. Oh yea, and it won’t make the business much money either…

  • http://www.wellingtonphotographer.co.nz Neil Mackenzie

    Geat post, I am a photographer in Wellington New Zealand, all the well ranked website in my target market, have very few words(just a min of keywords), but lots of pages 100’s and lots of inbound links 500-1000. which seems to show up well in google. there is one website with lots of good text but is not showing up well on google!

    Neil Mackenzie Wedding & corporate photography http://www.pixs.co.nz

  • http://www.seoforsmall.biz Elge Premeau | eMarekting Strategist

    This is a pretty good summary of SEO. Not an easy thing to do!

    I recently published a free ebook “Higher Rankings in Plain English” that explains these concepts in more detail. You can download it at http://www.seoforsmall.biz.

  • http://popmein.com/ Eric Sawyer

    I really like the bit about relating SEO to a prominent street in the city. That was…. GENIUS!

  • ghulam

    hello every body join me soon

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1135569884 Debkumar Roy

    Yes..nowdays SEO is very important for websites to get famous..and the keywords will also be very accurate by which the search engines can crawl easily.

  • http://bit.ly/aa19IC Fran Aslam

    I read the article and found it good for thos who are starting with SEO and others who are using it already.

    This articles not only shows the ability of the writer but along with that proves the credibility of Odesk.

    Fran Aslam

  • Naveen Verma

    Hi,
    that is the perfect tutorials for the fresh ones and A Big reminder to the experienced ones for SEO that they should focus on simple things rather than going to much technical and decorative.

    Thanks

  • http://www.primegrowthmarketing.com Michael

    Excellent article. I have many years of SEO experience and still love to read about Search Engine Optimization. It really is a fascinating business.

  • http://www.webcyberdesign.com Shailendra Singh

    Good Post,
    I’m doing SEO from last 4 years but still not satisfy with knowledge. It is the filed in which daily updation is going on.

    thanks for sharing this article

  • http://www.onlinedebandbarsha.blogspot.com deb kumar roy

    Yes..nowdays SEO is very important for websites to get famous..and the keywords will also be very accurate by which the search engines can crawl easily

  • http://julesmariano.com jules

    I kind of like the post :) Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114206078 Deejay Playaround

    Just some food for the mind:

    Seo is important but only if you get rankings for relevant keyword phrases. If you get rankings for the wrong keyword phrases (which happens more than often with new websites in competitive markets) you are better of with linkbuilding because these visitors will click on relevant keyword phrases (if you have provided the right keyword rich tag with your link).

    If you need help please feel free to ask for advice ;)

  • http://www.styling-designs.com/search-engine-optimization/freelance-link-building-services.html Styling Designs

    Just some food for the mind:

    Seo is important but only if you get rankings for relevant keyword phrases. If you get rankings for the wrong keyword phrases (which happens more than often with new websites in competitive markets) you are better of with linkbuilding because these visitors will click on relevant keyword phrases (if you have provided the right keyword rich tag with your link).

    If you need help please feel free to ask for advice ;)

  • http://www.availlive.com Joey Wong

    Great post! I am a certified internet marketing virtual assistant but I love the way you classified SEO with web designer, marketing writer and linkbuilder. As a matter of fact, I only have basic knowledge in web design. My main focus for my clients would be mainly linkbuilding because writing is not my specialty, but I do understand the importance of keyword research which is a very important piece of the puzzle. Understanding what people would type in to search for your product or services and the most popular searched keywords makes up a large part of SEO writing.

    Some of the resources you have provided is also what I usually read on a regular basis since the internet is still evolving, updates on trends and technology is very important for SEO service providers.

  • http://www.tiainterweb.com Amit

    Very nice post. Thanks for sharing it.

    • http://gravatar.com/thakurajeet2019 thakurajeet2019

      Congratulation! You have got the back link.

  • http://www.mistisandefur.com/Services/writing-services.html Misti Sandefur, SEO Copywriting Services

    While exchanging links and commenting on blogs and forums will earn you inbound links, there are a few other ways to build your inbound link count as well:

    1) Make guest posts on quality blogs relevant to your website/blog. The blog owner will post a short bio at the beginning or end of your guest post, so in that bio, you’ll want to make sure they link to your site using the text you ask them to use as the anchor text, which will be a keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for.

    2) Submit your website/blog to high quality directories.

    3) Many times if you provide your readers with quality content they’ll refer their readers to your article by linking to it from their website/blog.

    Finally, when you’re linkbuilding by commenting on other blogs and forums relevant to yours, remember not to spam those blogs and forums. Provide comments that add value to the current discussion or post your responding to. Also, when commenting on blogs, it’s best to enter more than just the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank with in the name field. The best way is to enter your name, a comma and then your keyword phrase. For example, Jane Doe, Boston Florist.

  • http://www.johnbatemandesign.com John

    Well written informative post,
    Thanks for sharing,
    John

  • http://www.hhost.in Ajay Jha

    WOW greate post. You have explained every and real ways of SEO. Thanks for nice post.

  • http://www.cebuhousefinder.com Sean

    Very nice article, it was explained in a simple words but the content is so informative. I still learning SEO.. but this help me as well..
    Thanks for sharing..

  • http://www.SEOFastGuide.com Srini

    Hi

    This is an excellent and a very useful article on SEO. Going for the SEO basics and setup should be OK for website owners aspiring to expand their businesses.
    Bakshi has done a great job in making things simple.

    Thanks to oDesk and Bakshi.

    Best Wishes
    -Srini
    SEOFastGuide

  • http://www.seoinstitute.biz Emm Khan

    Great post. No doubt, SEO is emerging as a great skill these days without which businesses of today cannot succeed.

  • http://maddaliena.blogspot.com/ maddalena graziosi

    Hi I have found your post very interesting. I have begun my career as Seo writer, I graduated in linguistic and now I am a Seo expert for the Italian market. What is the best education a Seo should have? This is what I am always asked and being a linguist I know this is one of the best way to improved SEO skills what do you think?

  • http://www.mototote.com Marvin Hankins

    Good article!

    • innovativewebart

      Great post and Very nice article.