Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO 101: Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, constantly crawl the web, storing/indexing the content they find. When a person performs a “search,” the results that come back simply come from that company’s own index. As the search engines find pages and links that are no longer in service, these pages are removed from the company’s index.
Search engines work very hard to provide each user with the most accurate search results possible. Because the more accurate the results are, the more likely you are to use their search service in the future… and the more likely you are to click the advertisements.
That said, let’s get you on Google:
- The first step is to make sure that your web pages contain the specific words and phrases that your customers are looking for. In other words, if you know that your customer searches Google for “custom cookie cutter designs” then make sure your web page contains the exact phrase “custom cookie cutter designs.” In some cases, these key phrases should be set to bold.
- The next step (really part B of the step above) is to make sure that each web page contains original content. In other words, the “flower” page should really only discuss flowers, while the “trees” page should stay on point with trees alone. The less duplication you have between pages, the easier it is for Google to send a person to the correct page they are looking for. And Google likes “easy” which helps you up the results ladder.
- Next, be sure that your page Titles are accurate to the page content, and contain the appropriate key words associated with the page content. So, if you are a plant seller in Boston, Mass., rather than using the plain page title “Trees,” try incorporating your key words and use a title like “Trees for sale in Boston with free delivery.” The benefit is two-fold: 1) Search engines pick up on better key words, improving your search results, and 2) The search results provide a more descriptive (and persuasive) title for the customer to click on.
- Be sure that your web site is not developed with images alone. Some designers have a bad habit of turning the words into actual images. While companies like Google are working hard to be able to recognized imaged words, it’s not by any means perfect. Stick to plain text, and Google will stick to you. When you do use images, make an effort to assign an accurate “alt” descriptive tag to each image.
- Once all of your pages are in place, make sure that your site map reflects links to each of those pages. Better yet, provide a digital site map to the search engines. If you are using a content management system like WordPress, much of this work is already done for you. Pages that link from the navigation, and articles that link from the main blog area, will easily be picked up by Google.
- Links TO your site can help, but be careful. While we do not encourage you to get involved in link-exchange schemes, some links are good. The good links are those coming FROM other, popular, relevant web sites TO your site. So if you are in the computer business, it would be great if IBM, APPLE, or DELL linked to your site. But a link from “The Pizza Shack” across the street would make you look less relevant in the computer industry.
- Add to your site as often as you can, by frequently writing relevant articles, blog entries, thoughts, customer stories, etc. As long as it’s valuable information that is closely tied to your company, then it’s great food for the search engines to chew on… leading even more folks to your site.
- Finally, follow your results with free analytics, then make changes to your web site as necessary.
- Set up your free Google Places business page, your Facebook business page, and Twitter business page.
Use SEO to maximize your online exposure, and target your marketing area. We do not charge ongoing SEO fees. Call Faith in Marketing at (858) 877-3733.