SEO 101 – 12 Key Elements For A Top 10 Ranking

There is a lot of myths about how to get a good Search Engine ranking, and a lot of confusing and contradictory information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which leads business owners down the wrong path and could possibly get them in trouble with Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Fact is, the basic elements of good SEO don’t change much and for most local businesses, just focusing on these 12 elements is all they need to do to get a top 10 (front page) listing for local search results.

This question is a prime example of a professional practice owner who has been following bad advice which is not only ineffective, but could also get her in trouble with the search engines.


Is it bad, ineffective or neutral to have a large number of meta keywords on the home page? Including surrounding cities, misspellings and presenting problems I have 125 keywords in the meta data. I read that the suggested number is 45. I know I need to optimize individual pages for particular keywords but I’m afraid to lose any from the home page. Can it hurt me?


Google considers this keyword spamming.  It’s an old ‘blackhat’ trick for gaming search engines.  Bad thing.

Also, you will confuse the search spiders as to what your content relevancy is, which again is a bad thing.  They won’t know when to show your site in the search results.

And, meta tag data is no longer considered to be a critical factor for SEO, but using it the way you are is a red-flag to search engines that you are trying to beat the search engines instead of providing useful content to people searching.

Key SEO Elements For Getting Ranked

There are 12 major factors for SEO ranking.  4 On-Page elements and 8 Off-Page elements

On Page SEO Elements:

  • – Keyword phrase in Page Title
  • – Keyword phrase in URL (webpage address)
  • – Keyword phrase in Description
  • – Keyword phrase in Header Tag (the “H1” tag)

You have full control over each of these elements.  This means it’s your responsibility if they aren’t optimized.  These 4 factors can make or break your site when it comes to getting high rankings in local search results.

Off-Page SEO Elements:

  • Domain Age (how long has your website been around)
  • Page Rank (how important Google thinks your website is)
  • Google Index Count (how many pages from your domain are listed in Google)
  • Domain Back Links (how many links to your domain)
  • Page Back Links (how many links to the individual web page)
  • .EDU or .GOV back links (.edu and .gov back links are hard to get and carry a lot of weight)
  • DMOZ Directory listing (free, but takes time to get in)
  • Yahoo Directory Listing (can be had for $300/year)

You have less control over these elements, but there are some you can influence such as getting back links, making sure your pages are listed in the search engines and directory listings.

Fight these battles only after you have done the on page elements and see what the results are.

The one exception is page listings in Google.  If Google doesn’t know about your page, it can’t show it in search results.  See the Google Webmaster Tools for instructions on how to check on your pages and submit them for indexing.

SEO is important if you are relying on Organic Search as a key source of traffic.

If you are not in the top 10 organic search results, you might as well not exist.  over 80% of people click on the first page of search results (the first 10 results) and never go to the second page.

All local business websites should implement the 4 on-page elements!

Fact is, most sites on the Internet don’t even take care of the 4 on-page elements.  What this means is, with a little knowledge and a little effort you can get a top 10 page ranking for local search results.

In some cases you can even do it for all search results, but you must choose the large scale battles that are winnable.  I don’t recommend a small business owner do this type of SEO work.  If you want to compete on a national or international scale, find an SEO pro to work with.

Use Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads

If you really want to guarantee you are on the front page of results for your keywords… use Pay Per Click!  With Google Adwords you can have your ads up and running in about 20 minutes.

You can restrict your ads to only showing locally, which saves you a ton of money.  So for a few dollars a day you can reach your targeted prospects.  It’s a no-brainer.

And, you can find which keywords are bringing buyers to your website.  Then you can optimize your landing pages for these keywords.  Once you begin appearing in the organic rankings, you can cut back on the PPC ads.

(For the Hypnotists who are members of the NGH, See if you can get a copy of the video of my session on using Adwords from the NGH conference in 2008.)

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