SEO is an acronym that stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” There are two items that generally affect your websites rankings in the search engine. On-Page Optimization and Off-Page Optimization.
On page are any tweaks that a webmaster makes to a website than will positively affect organic search engine listings. They may not seem significant but when combined with a solid-off page SEO strategy, they can make a huge difference.
Any changes that are made to a website should be done with the customer in mind. Do not sacrifice rankings for customers. What we want are targeted web visitors. Visitors that are looking for the business you provide are likely to turn into customers.
We could make any site rank first in Google for “10 pound yellow bananas” but how many customers will you get? Our goal, along with any great SEO company is to optimize your business to show the search engines and your potential new customers, the best you have to offer.
Here are some on-page optimization tips you can take advantage of now to help your search rankings:
- Create unique and accurate title pages. The title tells search engines what that page is about. Listings in the search engines will usually include this title tag. The home page title tag will describe your business in a few words. Deeper pages often have your business name and a short description of the information on that page.
- Fully make use of the pages Meta title tags. These tags are beneath the main title page and describe more about the page. You should write a few sentences for the search engines to better tell what you have to offer.Avoid just using keywords or repeating Meta tags from other pages. You want the search engines and new customers to be able to find your business.
- Create nice looking URL’s. The URL of a web page is its address. No one wants to click on a link that is way to0 long and contains strange letter formations and numbers. Change your URL’s to reflect the information on that page. This will help the search engines and customers click through to your site.
- Make your site easy to navigate. Is your site easy to get lost in? Can you get back to the home page or find the information a new customer would likely need? Making your site easier to navigate and cleaner in simple terms helps build your business and allows search engines to find your content and get it listed high in the results.
- Examine your sites content. Does all of the content (articles, products, and services) have a common theme? Or are you trying to offer too many services and items to too many people. Is your content unique or did you copy from your competition?Keeping your site focused with what a customer would expect to see and having fresh, unique content builds new business and is what the search engines also expect to see and reward with higher rankings.
- Use relevant anchor text. Anchor text is that highlighted text that tells users to click here to view more about a topic. Search engines also use this to tell what information lies behind that link. Anchor text should use keywords relevant to your products, not just CLICK HERE which does nothing to help the user or the search engines.
- Use header tags correctly. Head tags are headings for a section on your websites page. A large header tells the user what they will find below. Just as newspapers use large headlines to attract readers. You should do the same to tell visitors and the search engines what is below and add to its importance.
- Optimize your pictures. There may not seem like much you can do with pictures on your site but they can be optimized to help search engines learn more about what you are offering. Tags for pictures are called ‘alt’ attributes. This helps users who are surfing on platforms that do not support pictures and will allow your site to show up in rankings for image search engines like Google Image. This is great for online retailers.
All of these on-site tweaks and changes should be done whether you have an existing site or are building one from the ground up. Ask your web developer or designer if they are making use of these SEO factors that will affect your rankings and ultimately your checking account.
Even with a well optimized site, it still may be hard to get visitors and new customers from the search engines if you are facing a lot of competition. Here are some off-site SEO tips that are easy enough for the beginner to accomplish and see results with.
- Start a blog. Adding a blog to your website allows new content to be continually added to your site for the search engines to crawl and rank your site with. You don’t have to go crazy, just even a new article or short paragraph about a new product or promotion will help.Blogs can also be syndicated, allowing your new content to be shuttled off across hundreds of sites immediately through RSS feeds. This is free and will allow the search engines to find links back to your site all across the web.
- Promote your Web address. Do your business cards and marketing material display your website. This is an easy way to let customers know they can go online and learn more about your services and products. More new customers will like to research more about you before first contact and this allows just that. We are sure you can think of at least 20 places to add your web address to right now. From newsletters, advertising and local BBB directories.
- Get active in social media promotion. Social media sites, or Web 2.0 are where people gather to learn about the newest, latest or greatest of the internet. Taking advantage of social media allows potential customers to view your site and information in a social media platform that is targeted to your audience.
- Search Engine business listings- Gone are the days of paying to be listed in the yellow pages. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo have free business listings. It is easy to submit your business and details for inclusion and it is free.
- Get involved in Internet communities. There are websites and forums for every topic imaginable. Find these forums and online communities to promote your company and contribute with your area of expertise. This is another easy and free way to gain new customers.
- Use and know how to examine the results from Google Analytics and Webmaster tools. Google provides these free tools to help web site owners examine their visitors. You will know where they came from, how they got there and what they did inside of your site. This information is highly valuable and can help you make changes to your on and off-site optimization to gain new business and increase your sales from existing customers.
You don’t have to be an expert to make these changes and the results you will see can happen very quickly. Even if you already have a site, go through these steps and make sure you are taking advantage of them. If you need help, Creative Grey Matter is as always, only a phone call or email away.
Next week we will talk about what to look for in a SEO company and common pitfalls business owners make when hiring a company to increase their search engine rankings.
Source: SEO Starter Guide for Business Owners by Ryan Farrell @ Creative! Gray Matter