Nobody reads the Yellow Pages anymore, people use computers and search engines to find who they are looking for.
So you have a big problem if you do not score well in search engines. Of course, you can advertise with Google and pay lots of money for paid traffic,
but it’s much better to make sure your site comes in the ‘normal’ search results. To do this you need to optimize your website for search engines.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures that your website gets a high position in search results. At Google, it is about the results in the middle of the page. You need to build your website with SEO in mind.
This way when someone searches for a keyword that you want to rank for, your website or blog will show up in the search results.
And if you are good enough, you will even show up in the top ten, or maybe even first. A general rule of thumb is the higher ranked your website is, the more traffic it will get.
There are many factors to consider when you are talking about SEO. Here are some of them.
Step 1: Look to see if your site is ranking in search engines.
Key in a few relevant terms in Google and look at what position your website is in. Want to improve? Then you can hire an SEO agency or you can learn how to do it yourself.
Step 2: Search engines, Google, and other sites
For SEO, three things are important:
– Is your site technically sound, is your website readable for search engines. Are there errors?
– How do you tell the search engine what your website is about, are you using keywords, meta-tags, title, and description? Are they all using your keywords?
– How popular is your website? How many backlinks do you have? How popular are those sites linking to you, and what is their PR?
Step 3: Choose the right keywords
Choose up to three terms from which you want to be found. This is just a good starting point. With only three keywords you can put all of your focus and energy towards just those three.
Take sufficient time for this step because this is very important. Are you a plumber, for example, it may be tempting to choose the word “plumber”, but that’s a lot harder to rank for than the phrase “plumber in Atlanta”. Do not use your own language, but the words that the people searching may use.
Step 4: Optimize!
Google has very useful tools that allow you to see what keywords are popular at the moment (Google Keyword Tool). You can also view with which keywords people ended up on your website (Google Analytics).
These two tools are awesome and everyone should have them on every website they have. They are both free and you should go get and install them right now. I will have a tutorial for that very soon.
Checklist for optimizing for SEO
– Make sure your keywords are in your titles, meta tags, and the content of your pages.
– Create strong and unique content. The keywords should be mainly in the first 200 words. Note, do not overuse the keywords either. Google will mark this as spam and knock you down the list for that.
– Give all of your pages good titles and descriptions. The title is reflected in the search results. The description should make clear what that page is about but doing this in a way to draw them in and click on your link.
– Use metatags. A tag is a code in the HTML that provides information on a page. Meta tags are in the source code of your site and are generally not seen by users. But these search engines use meta tags on your website every time they index them.
– Check to make sure there are no bad links on your site. Ensure that both internal and external links to the pages lead to where they are supposed to.
– Make sure the web pages properly “read” for search engines.
If it takes a long time for your pages to load then there may be some code that is incorrect or has errors. The search engine struggled to “crawl” and can see this in the search results.