What is SEO or search engine optimization, and why is it so important to your online presence?
SEO is simply how well your website accommodates search engine metrics when an individual searches for your preferred keyword. If your page is utilizes good SEO practices you’ll be rewarded with more targeted unique visitors, a lower bounce rate and a healthier online presence.
SEO is important if you’d like to:
- Increase the amount of unique visitors coming to your site
- Increase your page views
- Increase the number of page views per visit
- Decrease your bounce rate (the number of visitors that exit your site after viewing a single page)
- Convert visitors to customers
- Increase sales on your site
Honestly there are a slew of factors that affect SEO and how your site fares in the rankings, but don’t freak out or feel overwhelmed.
There are a few simple ways to improve the SEO of your website without being a technical guru.
The first thing you should do is set a specific goal for your SEO. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and fall into a specific time period.
An example might look like this: “I’d like to increase the number of unique visitors by 25% to page x over the next 3 months.”
If you already have a site, go ahead and evaluate your current SEO. View your site in different browsers to ensure compatibility. If your site only works in Firefox you’re missing out on the millions of viewers that use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.
Ensure that your site is easy to navigate. If a viewer can’t easily find his or her way around your site, your bounce rate will most likely be higher than it should.
Check your site for broken links. Not only do these reduce the professional appearance of your site, but your SEO suffers because search engines don’t like them either.
Ensure your site is attractive, updated and your content is current and relevant.
Don’t publish content that is too sales oriented. Spammy looking content will instantly turn viewers off to your site and hurt your SEO. You want to provide something of value to your viewers, whether it be how-to’s, honest product reviews, or information on your chosen niche.
If you don’t yet have a site, research several keywords in your chosen niche or business. A great free resource to do this is a Google Adwords account. They provide a great keyword research tool for free that is a must when researching keywords to SEO your site. Just sign up for a google account (sign in if you already have one) and look up adwords in a google search.
When you’re researching keywords for SEO, pick at least 50. Out of those 50, pay attention to the ones that have a high local monthly search volume and low competition. Low competition simply means there aren’t as many other websites out there that are using those same keywords, so you’re site won’t have to compete as hard to reach the top of the search rankings.
After you have your keyword list select just one on which to base the main landing page of your domain.
When you get to the point of choosing your actual domain name make sure this keyword is present in it.
For example, if your keyword is seo, you’d want to pick a short and concise domain name like ‘www.bestseoweb.com’ or something of the sort. You want to be memorable and keep your domain length to around 10 to 12 characters.
After you’ve selected your domain, there are a few different places that you want your SEO keyword to appear:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Page content
- Anchor text
- Image text
Putting your keywords into your title is pretty self explanatory, but you may be wondering what a meta description is, and how to edit it.
The meta description of your page is the description that displays in search results below your page name. It is easily editable if you’re using the wordpress.org content management system. Simply install an SEO plugin and your page meta description will be listed below your main body area. Write a meta description that briefly explains to viewers what your page offers, using your keyword as many times as you can.
When you’re writing your page content you’ll want to do the same. Include your keyword often in your body text, but not so much that it beats your viewers to death.
Anchor text can be inserted into your body content by using the “<a href=”http://www.yourdomainhere.com/” target=”_top”>Your SEO keyword here</a>” html code.
This links to another site or page but displays a clickable anchor text of you choosing. It looks like this - Basic SEO to ensure your site ranks!
If your site offers downloadable files like reports or ebooks, include your keyword in the file name.
If you’d like to get a little more technical you can download the alexa toolbar to scope your competition and evaluate the progress of your SEO. The Alexa toolbar shows the global ranking for the site that you’re visiting, as well as related links and the history of what that particular website looked in the past. Download the toolbar here.
SEO Quake by SEM Rush is an awesome tool which loads a range of SEO metrics dynamically when a site is visited displaying them as either a toolbar or an overlay.
SEO Quake is completely configurable, but offers common metrics like Page Rank, Index (number of pages in the site indexed in major search engines), Links (inbound and outbound) and Statistics (age of domain, whois data, alexa rank, and the estimated value of domain). They also have keyword research tools that measure keyword search volume, competition, search trends, and offer alternate related keywords. SEM Rush offers both free and paid services. Check out SEO Quake and SEM Rush here
This is just the tip of the SEO iceburg, but if you start using these simple tips and tools you’ll have a leg up on your competition.
Another major part of the SEO process is building backlinks into your site. I’ll cover more on backlinking strategies in the near future.
Implement these strategies and measure and track your goals and you’re well on your way to increasing your search visibility and page rank.
If you’re a wordpress user or just starting out with wordpress and you’d like a guide to SEO your site, check out my wordpress SEO article - WordPress SEO Made Easy
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