Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is tricky to get right, but once done it will improve your page ranking and therefore lead to more business and customers. Done wrong, it can damage your site and reputation which as you know can be very hard to fix.

So why does your company even need SEO?

The majority of web traffic is still driven by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. If your site cannot be found by search engines, you miss out on an incredible opportunity. If you can't be found on the internet, then for many you won't exist. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that you will be found.

SEO essentials

There are many factors that influence whether a particular web site appears in web search results and in what ranking. Some factors play a big roll, others a small and some you can't even influence. But let's have look at what you can and should do.

Backlinks

Backlinks are external links to your site. The more you have, the better. But make sure they are only on decent websites or it could damage your reputation. As true in real life, good acquaintances will bring you further but bad ones will most likely cause more damage than good.

Accessibiltiy

All your pages should be easy to access by humans and by the robots (also knows as spiders) from search engines. It may even be useful to think of search engines as users with substantial constraints. They can't read text in images or interpret JavaScript or Flash content. Therefore make sure all your pages are accessible by at least one static link and that you fill in the attributes.

META tags

META tags are HTML codes that will help search engines understand, catalog and categorize your web page and are often not directly visible to your visitors. Your META tags should be configured right but they are not the "magic bullet" that will skyrocket your site to the top of all search page listings as you might have been told before.

Keywords

Choose the right keywords. For instance, if you have a site about cats, do not try and optimize for the keyword “cat”. Instead, focus on keywords like “ragdoll kitten for sale”, “homemade cat food” or “cat training facility”. Think about what words your potential customers might type into the search bar to find your services and use them. To succeed on a very popular one-word keyword is very difficult. Instead, focus on less competitive and more specific keywords.

Content

Write for the human users first. Google and Co.'s robots will crawl your site and it’s important that they find what you want them to. But they will not buy anything form you, sign-up for a newsletter or pick up the phone to call you about your services. Humans do those things, so make sure you write for them first. Also, content which is different from the content on other sites is a real boost for your site's rankings and if you regularly add new content it will make it even better.

Blog

Start a blog. Search engines love blogs for the fresh and highly structured data. Beyond that, there’s no better way to interact with your customers and community.

Code

Make sure your web site is written in valid HTML code. Search engines have to parse the HTML code of your web site to find the relevant content. If you HTML code contains errors, search engines might not be able to find the content on the page, which will end your SEO efforts right there.

Headings

When you write your web site copy make sure you use correct headings (h1, h2, h3, ...). Heading tags label your headlines so that search engines will recognize it as "important" and make it easy for them to determine what your web site is all about. When writing your headings, try to include your main keywords.

Social Media

The use of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social platforms can be extremely helpful in getting a better page ranking. The problem is, it's a lot of work and if you don't have a proper marketing plan in place it might not be worth the time and money. On top of that, Social Media is very fast changing environment. And with the new Google+, 1 more big player has joined the game. We will provide more about Social Media Marketing in a separate blog post.

Hosting

Downtime of your website can lead to vastly decreased performance in organic search. A reliable hosting service is very important to your SEO and should not be underestimated. Good hosting service is always worth the money.

A few more tips & trick that will help your page ranking

Look

Build a beautiful web site. If you want to show up on the first page of search results make sure your site is looking good and easy to navigate. If your site is unattractive or if they can’t find what they are looking for, even the best SEO will not be of much value to you.

Commitment

Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one time event, it requires a long-term outlook and commitment.

Patience

Be patient. SEO isn’t about instant glory. Results often take months to see. This is especially true if you are a small and new company.

And finally, here are a few myths about Search Engine Optimization

Submission

In the late 1990’s search engine had “submission” forms. You would “submit” your site to make sure it would be crawled by the varies search engines. You can still see submission pages for Google, Bing, Yahoo and Co but these are remains of time long past. This is something you don't have to worry about anymore. In fact, if you hear a pitch from an SEO expert offering “search engine submission” services, run as fast as you can.

Adsense

Adsense might boost your income but Google will not give you a ranking bonus because of hosting ads.

Adwords

Adwords done right will bring more traffic to your site but this will not affect your ranking on search engines in any way.

Summary

SEO plays a very important part in your online appearance but remember that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google, Bing or other search engines. But get the SEO essentials right and you will have a much more effective website.