SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. While this topic sends shivers down the spines of those not familiar with it
Why Does My Website Need SEO?
Your website might be positively stunning, with high-quality products offered at affordable prices. But if no one knows about it, what's the use? Yes, it is entirely possible to have a successful website that gains traffic from sources other than search engines (i.e. offline advertising, links from social networks, e-mail marketing, etc.) This is why SEO is merely a subset of marketing; it should not be your entire marketing plan.
That said, SEO can be an excellent way to boost the traffic of any website. More and more people are relying on search engines when interested in purchasing a product or service. Take advantage of this trend, and make a website that shows up when someone searches for your product.SEO is also a terrific way to enhance your brand credibility. Sites that appear in search results are generally considered more trustworthy and reliable than obscure sites that can't easily be found.
How to Attract Spiders
There are many ways to prepare your pages and website for optimal indexing by the search engines. Fortunately, the basic principles of SEO are fairly constant.
Search engines index webpages with robots called "spiders", to understand what that web page is about. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for these spiders to know what your webpage is about. That way, the search engine will "index" your site, and show it to users who search for terms related to your site.
There are 5 basic categories of SEO tactics. You should use a combination of these tactics to optimize your site:
Brainstorm for words or phrases someone would enter into Google to search for your website. These are words related to your site's content, and should not include the name of your business or website. You should have 5-7 main keywords for small to mid-sized sites.Google AdWords and SEO Book Keyword Tool are good freebie tools for keyword research.
Make a Website with Search-Engine Friendly Navigation
Build your site so search engines can easily locate and index your pages. Link your pages to one another with readily visible HTML hyperlinks, and give unique page titles to each page, describing the content on that specific page. Sitemaps, or a page with links to all of your pages, can significantly help search engines (and visitors) navigate your website. Upload a sitemap to your website, and send it to search engines.
You should incorporate your keywords organically into your site's content.Do not pack keywords into your site, and be sure that the surrounding content relates to your keywords. If you're using a free website builder, make sure you have the ability to add keywords to your site's title and meta-description.
Links to your site from other sites can be very powerful in terms of boosting your site's rank in search engines. Link building can be one of the more difficult SEO strategies, but is also one of the most important. There are two kinds of links: outgoing and incoming. Place links to other sites that relate in some way to your products or services. There are many methods of link-building that you can use to win coveted back links from popular websites, that point their visitors (and search engine spiders) toward your site.
Track Your Site Analytics
Determine what's been working and what hasn't and use the information to continue to improve your SEO efforts. See how much traffic you're receiving from search engines and other sources. See what keywords are actually driving traffic to your site, and which are the most popular. Gain this type of information through Google Analytics, an easy tool to set up that gives you all the information you'd need as a budding webmaster to track your site's SEO stats.
If you have yet to make your own website, start brainstorming for words or groups of words that an online user might enter into a search engine, that relate to your site's content.This can help you to define your target market, and can inform decisions you'll make later on about your site's content and site development.
It is vital to realize that SEO is not a one-shot fix. It's not possible to SEO in one day or even a month. It's an ongoing process that takes time to develop. You make the changes you can make, and measure your results. Then you continue to improve your site's performance in search engines.
In addition, remember to make a website for people, and not robots.Google can tell when you're changing your site for its purposes alone - and will hold this against you. Stick to the basics outlined in this article, and don't get too wrapped-up in the details. It's always best to KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
To dive deeper into these concepts, check out SEOMoz and Google's SEO blogs.
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About Author / Additional Info:
I have been in the online marketing industry for over two years and love all things related to e-marketing, writing for the web, SEO and SEM. I've been working for a large company that specializes in web design, and love how dynamic this field is.