A Quick Guide - Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
By Kyle Blue
Getting Started What is SEO and why use it?
We all use search engines every day. We don't even think about it. Using websites like Google to find everything from a holiday destination to an emergency dentist has become our second nature.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of getting your website listed on the search engines in a position that new clients will be able to find you. If your business has a website investing a few hours a month into optimizing your website could turn out to be the best business business decision you ever made. The following is some quick tips on how to brush up on your website's SEO.
- Choosing Keywords vs Phrases Don't start too big when picking your key phrases
When picking keywords or key phrases the most important thing is to focus on the specifics. Don't go for terms that are too generic like "stationery" but go instead for the specifics you offer like "hard plastic binders". It's far better to be on the 1st page for "hard plastic binders" than it is to be on page 100 for "stationery". "Stationery" might get typed in a lot more but if you're on page 100 you'll never get found as your buried too deep in.
- Website Standards Make sure your website is coded with the latest web standards
When making a website, web designers will often only consider how the end product will look. The invisible source code may not be pretty as long as the end user will have an aesthetically pleasing page to look at. Unfortunately the search engines cannot "look" at a website like you or I can. A search engine only sees the normally invisible code. An SEO specialist will consider how the website looks to the search engines as well as how it looks to the customer. Always using professional web design software such as Adobe Dreamweaver will help ensure that some of this is done for you, however it won't do everything so always be sure to make sure that you get it checked by a web design pro.
- Image Text Always be sure to remember to include image text
As discussed in the Web Standards section of this article, search engines don't see what the user sees. Today it's more and more popular for websites to use lots of dynamic content and images. However search engines can't see these images and instead we have to include an alternative text (image text). This tells the user what the image is when they hover over it with the cursor. For a search engine the image text is the only information the website has on what the picture contains so including image text is vital.
Professional web design software allows you to add these image texts with ease but web designers often forget to do it. An SEO expert will not only remember to include the text but to place the websites key words and phrases inside of it.
- Link Building Build up your back links to boost your rating
In order to prevail on page 1 with the most competitive keywords and phrases you will need to build up your back links. This means getting more sites to link back to you. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use the number of other websites that link to your website to guess how relevant your site is.
A great way to start is to post links for the website you want to optimize on every website you own. Posting on blogs, free directories and social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace is a great place to start.
Without owning hundreds of websites the best way to develop a large number of back links is to buy space on link farms. SEO specialists let out large numbers of links on directories often called "link farms". The quality of the link farms is determined by how well optimized those farm sites are. The best link farms are owned by SEO professionals.
- Get the pros The quickest way to see results is to hire an expert
There are literally thousands of web design companies and internet marketing companies that offer search engine optimization. Even experienced web developers will often out source Search Engine Optimization to outside companies.
SEO is a fine art rather than just a science and getting a little help from a fresh perspective is always helpful. Sometimes in the day to day rush of life in the workplace we just don't have time to sit down and give SEO the time in deserves.
South African internet marketing company Search recently optimized two of my websites. The process was refreshingly easy and pain free. I outlined to them what my needs were as a customer and they were able to get to work right away. Within weeks there was a very noticeable improvement and within a couple of months I found the traffic to my site had more than tripled.
I'd recommend them to a novice who hasn't got a large budget. I'd also recommend them to more experienced web designers like myself who simply hasn't got the time to make all the changes that optimization entails.
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