Tips for Search Engine Optimization

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization” which is a process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines, thus increasing traffic to your website.  Did you know that most people think as soon as they have a website, they will automatically be found through search engines? This is simply not true. Search Engines such as Goggle, MSN, and Yahoo (to name a few of the leading search engines) look for many different things such as titles, descriptions, keywords and other Meta tags that require to be read and indexed. This tells people and search engines what a website is about.

Follow these simple rules

Create unique page titles by using title tags for each page. Title tags tell both the search engine and the user what topic the page is. The title for your homepage for example, can list your website; include bits of important information such as the location of the business or main focus of your website. If the title does not contain keywords relevant to the page content, it most likely will not show up when searched. The text of your title tag should be less than 70 characters long as Google will cut tags that are more than 70 characters long. Use brief but descriptive titles and avoid using extremely lengthy titles that are unneeded keyword in your title tags. Page titles are an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization.

Describing the page contents by choosing a title the best communicate the topic of the page. Avoid using content that has no relation to the page.  Avoid using default values like “New Page” or “Untitled”.

Summarize the page’s content accurately. Write a description that would inform your user what the page is all about. It also gives the search engine a summary of what the page is all about. Avoid generic descriptions like “This is a webpage”.  Avoid copying the entire content of the description in the Meta tag.

Build quality links by using categories words like ‘webdesign’ rather than using unrecognizable parameters or complicated long descriptive URLs such as deep nested sub-directories. Long and unrecognizable URLs can be very confusing and unfriendly.  Use words that are relevant to your website’s content.

Making your website navigation easy to navigate is it not only important for search engines, but for your visitors as well. It helps your visitors find content quickly, and allows for search engines to understand what content is important. Plan your navigation based on your homepage.

It is recommended that you create two sitemaps: one for search engines (XML Sitemap) and one for your users (site map HTML). An XML Sitemap is a file in which you can submit to the search engine for indexing. This makes it easier for the search engines to ‘crawl’ and discover your pages on your web site. A sitemap on your website links to all the pages on your website.

Create your websites content for your users and visitor’s needs rather than building content for search engines. Making sure your website is easily accessible to search engines usually produces positive results. Remember, ‘content is king’, therefore creating new content will not only keep your visitors coming back but may even attract new visitors.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Does your website include the beneficial language in search results to attract customers?

Providing an information-rich site by writing pages clearly and accurately to describe your topic. Think about words that users would type to find pages. In other words, provide a high quality content on your pages and include them on your site or homepage. This will intern attract many visitors and entice webmasters link to your site.

Are all your links relevant to other sites?

Links help search engine crawlers find your site to give your site greater viability when search engines display pages.

Does your site contain a network of quality back links?

The quickest way to get your web on a search engines is by getting a link through another quality site, especially if it’s a high ranking site. Links from a high ranking site is golden, as high page ranking sites indicates higher trust, so back links will carry more weight.

Are all your images described for visually impaired visitors and search engines?

Using ALT attributes help supply a text-version of the image. A visually impaired reader will hear the alt text in place of the image, where as a text browser, such as Lynx will only display the alt text instead of the image. If the browser is a graphical browser, the image will appear and show the images properties. Alt tags will also help crawlers find a relevant descriptions of the image thus returning results when searched. It is also the text used in the link pointing of your site.

Does your website contain a robots file?

Robots or Web Robots, also known as spiders and crawlers are programs that ‘crawl’ the Web automatically. They help site owners restrict access to some of your site and can instruct robots not crawl and index certain files, directories within your site, or not at all.

Does your website contain Canonical Url?

Your website can exist at two different URL’s because many URL’s can be written differently. For example, some of your audience may choose to type www.mysite.com while others may leave out the www and choose mysite.com This is a problem when you want your homepages to be ranked higher. Search engines will see two pages on your site with the same content, which is a good indication of low quality.

Are you obsessed with Page Rank?

No matter what the ranking is, you should really consider one thing… your audience and your customers. It is imperative that you target your audience. It’s just part of the ranking algorithm. A site with a lower page rank can actually outrank on with a higher page ranked site.

Do you have unique, keyword focused title tags on all your web pages?

The keywords used in your title and description tells your targeted audience the page is what they are looking for. Users searching for a particular word will examine page titles, then they turn to the most relevant page description. The title and description tags should always be specific to the page they are on and contain they key words or phrases also found in the page heading, and the first one to two paragraphs of that page.

Does your site have social media platforms?

Boosting your SEO with Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Search Engines started using social mentions to help with ranking website’s in 2010. Because people on social media platforms have followers and friends of their own, getting mentions in a conversation means you you’ll be seen by lots of people, leaving you a reputation and messages that have the potential to spread far and wide.

Does your site contain a lot of Flash?

Search Engines cannot read a full Flash website because the code is embedded within the web page. Search engine robots cannot detect the embedded content, therefore the Flash website will greatly hinder your search engine rankings and completely destroy your rankings.

Should I hire an SEO service?

An SEO specialist will do all the research and write the content for you, however, this can be very expensive. Do not feel obligated to purchase an SEO service. Your web designer should index your site by submitting your URL to the major search engines. Some companies “guarantee’ high page ranking, but nobody can do that. All they can do is help drive your traffic thus giving you direct hits. You need to know that search engines do not visit sites everyday, sometimes it could take several months, because nobody can control the bots. Once your site is indexed, the spiders will periodically crawl to your site. Resubmitting your website’s URL will tell spiders they can re-index your site. This will help bring it back closer to top of the search engines results page. Most business owners and small-business marketers aren’t SEO experts, and often do not have the budgets to hire an SEO firm.