Hey all, I've been doing a bunch of research on SEO (search engine optimization) and thought I'd share what I've learned. A little background, I own a landscape construction company called Merlin Construction. Instead of plowing in the winter I am a web developer so I have a little background in this sort of thing. First let me say that SEO is not the end of internet marketing, there are a whole bunch of companies out their thriving on PPC ads and other things. For now I will talk about backlinks because it is where i started with SEO and I think it is a great place to start. Backlinks are links from another website to your own. Google loves these, it tells the big G 'hey this site is important somebody likes it and it is relevant.' Backlinks are good but quality backlinks are better. What makes a back link quality though? Well there are a few factors... #1 PR of the link page PR stands for page rank and it's kinda how important G thinks your site is. This has become less the case in the past years but it is still important. You can check the PR of pages HERE So with that said a link from a site with a higher PR is a more quality link. #2 Type of link There are two types of links, dofollow links and nofollow links. Dofollow links are links that tell G to pass on some of the PR to the linked page. Nofollow links don't allow any link juice to flow. So a more quality link is a dofollow link with a high PR. #3 Anchor Text of the link The anchor text of a link is the actual clickable word that is shown. G reads these and associates the anchor text with your website. A good example of this i saw recently was for a website called Trusted Transitions. They started to build backlinks but all of their anchor text was the webmasters name. So when you searched the webmasters name the trusted transitions website came up. Pretty random. Tip: Look where your competition is getting backlinks and see if you can grab one as well. Here or Here That being said keywords are key... haha The great thing about back links are that you can trade and exchange them with other people. The problem is that G knows when site A links to site B and site B links back to A. So G assigns no link value. To get around this 3 way link exchanges are better or ever 4 way. You guys have a huge network here to use to your advantage... When you trade links it is best if the links appear in text and not just at the bottom of your page or on the side. G can associate the keywords in the text with your link and know that they are related. Kinda creepy. So when exchanging links it's common practice for one person to write an article with a high keyword density and a couple links and give it to another person to post on their website. Keyword density is how often your keywords appear in the text. Don't over do it, it's called keyword stuffing and G hates it. Wrong: Go to my landscaping website it's here Better: Check out my landscaping website More on Keywords in Text First thing is research without research you have no basis for comparison. The Google Keyword Tool is a great place to start. Keyword Tool Here So go to the tool and select 'website' content and enter a URL of a competitor that ranks well for one of your keywords. The tool will spit out a bunch of keyword suggestions. The next thing to think about is your ROI. It takes time a money to rank on the first page for any given keyword. Ask yourself will this keyword produce the ROI that I desire. If not move on. A guy I talked to once said that driving traffic to your website it the goal but driving targeted traffic is the ultimate goal. What does this mean? Well it means that the more specific your keyword the more likely the person finding your site through it will convert for you. Example: "landscaping" is bad but "retaining walls toronto" is better but "roman pisa retaining wall" will be even better because the person vising your site already knows what they want. So once you have your keywords you have to use them. Lets use a few examples. Old: Check out our services New: You will love out landscaping services Better: Landscaping backyards is what we do best Thats all for now if you have any questions feel free to post or PM me. My apologies for the length of this post and the readability.