Everyone knows the importance of a website for business these days. Any company without a website is going to make it easy for their competition to beat them. Unfortunately, a website is just the tip of the iceberg. Without the traffic necessary to make that website a success, it’s as good as if that company never had a web presence at all. Continue reading if you’d like to learn about the steps your company needs to take to earn that invaluable traffic.
If you’ve spent any time researching web traffic, you’ve probably stumbled upon all kinds of information regarding Search Engine Optimization. While there is no shortage of companies who can handle this process for you, it’s important you first understand the basics yourself.
Put simply, Search Engine Optimization is a broad term for the steps you need to take to make your website attractive to search engines like Google. This is extremely important as search engines are how the majority of your new customers will find your website. Unless you want to rely solely on word of mouth, you need search engines to tell their users that your website is the destination they’re looking for. There are two kinds of SEO: on-page and off-page.
On-page Search Engine Optimization refers to all the steps you can take within your own website to drive traffic to it. While there is plenty that can be done outside of your website, on-page deals solely with what can be done to the site itself to grab a search engine’s attention.
One of the most basic forms of on-page SEO is also the easiest to implement for most and, fortunately, the most important. The copy you use on your site will have the biggest impact on how search engines index it. When a search engine evaluates your website, it sends “spiders” across it, reading from left-to-right and looking for words that tell it what your website is about. If it meets certain criteria, it will report back to its user that your website is what they’re looking for.
Nowadays, the best copy is the most helpful. There was a time when you could simply stuff your copy full of the right keywords (words search engines value heavily for a given search) and search engines would assume that meant your site was best. Naturally, many companies made deplorable copy, but received traffic because search engines saw such a prevalence of keywords. That has been corrected, however, and today your best bet is to use keywords about twice per hundred words in order to get traffic. Search engines have also become smart enough to value copy that is pleasant to the reader’s eye.
There are other on-page factors as well. Using HTML, each page needs a title tag, which summarizes what the page is about. Search engines read these much like copy. Title tags should be no longer than seventy characters though.
Your URL is read much the same way and also has an impact on how search engines see your website. Every webpage should have a descriptive URL, for example: www.AWebsiteAboutFishing/Gear/FishingPoles/ACertainFishingPole.
Off-page SEO refers to that which happens off your website and which you have less control over. The biggest factor here is called link building.
One of the ways a search engine decides if you’re a valuable site is by looking at what other websites think. It does this by looking at what sites and how many link back to yours. This is why Amazon and Wikipedia are so often the first two results for your searches. So many websites link to them that search engines know they must have valuable content.
While you have less control over this, you’re certainly not without options. First, you want to get linked from websites that themselves have high ranks in search engines. That is to say, not every website is equal in a search engine’s eyes and they take that into consideration when valuing the links your page gets. For example, you could start a brand new website today and link to your existing one 1,000 times. But that brand new website has very little weight to a search engine right now. So you’d be better off working to get a backlink (a link that links back to your site) from a reputable blog in your industry.
There’s no specific art to gaining these backlinks (though there are plenty of less-respectable methods). Much of it will come down to networking and providing quality content others will actually want to link to from their website.
Search Engine Optimization is a simple concept that has an array of principles involved. This article will get you started on the right foot though. Spend some time playing with these ideas and if you find yourself in need of more help, consider hiring a professional.