When starting the site I was considering using a couple of forms of paid advertising (such as Google AdWords) to gain visibility for the site. After playing around a bit with words and phrases (AdWords have a nice (free) feature that you can actually have a look and “estimate” potential impressions and costs) it turned out to be a bit pricey for what we were trying to accomplish. The next step was to put in effort to get the site noticed and recognised by google and organically obtain a high rank on searches.
One of the approaches is to use google’s webmaster tools to give google a “deeper” insight into the site.
Step one is to expose a “robots.txt” on your site to “hide” areas that you want to hide and to give googlebot the go ahead to check out everything else.
Step two, point google in the direction of a decent site map. The problem I faced with this is that google is not too happy with any format for this site map. After some trial and error I eventually found that the plain text version worked perfectly (go here to generate a quick version to start off with).
So now that google can see into your site we revised a lot of wording to emphasise words and phrases that we would like to be found on. You might have noticed “Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server” being repeated on the various pages a couple of times.
Now finally we tried to get other sites linking to Team Foundation once again in an attempt to get the “web presence” increased. So we looked around at the popular business listing sites and started listing on the free, no-catch sites we could find.
All this has brought us to be top of the list when searching on google in South Africa for phrases such as “TFS consulting”. All this without spending a cent!