Search Engine Optimization Primer
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to increasing traffic to a website. Gaining high page rank—listing at the top of page one of the search results—isn’t easy, but well worth the time and effort.
Search engines—primarily Google, Yahoo, and Bing—use software knows as “spiders” to crawl your site and index the text and links it finds on each page. When a prospective customer types their query, the search engine scans its database to find and display the page descriptions and links that best match the search terms. The result of the search is a listing of pages based on relevance—repetition of keywords—and page popularity, so having the right keywords on your page is important. We’ll deal with other factors—like popularity—in a future post.
Keyword Research: To properly perform search engine optimization, you must carefully analyze a number of sources that will help you build a list of keywords; phrases that your prospects are thinking when they search for your site. These sources include:
- The content on your website
- Previous and current website statistics, e.g. Google Analytics
- Audience preferences and perceptions about your business
- The websites of your strongest competition
- Keyword suggestion tools
Keyword dictionary: The list of words and phrases you create as a result from doing this research constitutes a dictionary that you’ll use as a resource for optimizing your static web pages, your blog and your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
Optimize: This keyword dictionary isn’t everything you need to optimize. You’ll also know how and where to optimize. SEO requires knowledge of how and where add these keywords. Here’s a list of the primary places to put your keywords:
- Page Meta title—the title that appears at the very top of the browser window—known as the title bar
- Page meta description—the description that shows up in the search engines
- The web page file name, e.g. “keyword-placment.html”
- Titles and sub-titles in the body of the page text
- The body text, of course, but it’s best to put most of your keywords near the top of your body copy
- Links to other pages
- Image titles, e.g. keyword-placement-graphic.jpg”
- Alt tags—the a text description you can assign to the graphics on the page, e.g. “graphic that shows where to add keywords”
Optimizing your site is only the beginning. Upcoming posts will cover in-bound links and social media for SEO.