Most small businesses have some idea of the potential for new business from the internet and in particular, from search engines. There’s abundant advice on the web covering topics ranging from “meta tags” to getting other sites to link to yours.
However, people get busy and don’t always have time to implement all the site optimization tactics they should or could. Sure enough, while the task of “optimizing the web site” sits on a checklist somewhere, changes happen with the way search engines work. A lack of improvement often motivates the hiring of an outside SEO company or a renewed interest in doing it in-house.
What many web site owners could benefit from is a tried and true SEO check list. Something that will persist in it’s usefulness despite changing algorithms and search functionality. If you’re one of those people, then read on:
Search engines discover web pages by “crawling” a list of web site addresses, following links from those pages to find updated content as well as new content, saving copies along the way. The information from the saved web page text is analyzed by sophisticated algorithms that assign values for categorization and ranking. Additionally, the linking relationship of the indexed site is compared to similar sites and communities of sites.
Basically, search engines determine the keywords associated with each page and also consider the links related to that page as one of hundreds of factors used to determine which pages are the best answers for the searches we do.
Even though there are many variations in types of web sites and search engines are constantly refining their ranking methodologies, there are a common set of rules to follow for better search engine placement.
You can gain important insight into what types of phrases customers use to find the kind of content that exists on your web site with keyword research tools. Wordtracker.com and KeywordDiscovery.com are subscription based services and there are several free tools including the SEOBook Keyword Tool for this purpose. Use these research tools to create lists of keyword phrases that are relevant to the content published on your web site. As you categorize and create content, look up phrases in the keyword glossary that contain the most positive ratio of popularity and relevance.
Adding the keywords that more customers are searching for as well as being relevant will lead to increased traffic and sales.
Title Your Tags
The title tag is critical for a search engine to understand and rank a page. Make sure each page of your web site includes a unique, keyword-rich, descriptive and readable title tag of 8 – 10 words. Example: “XYZ Company Widgets – Blue, Green & Black widgets in all sizes”. The title tag appears in the blue bar at the top of your browser. It’s also used as the descriptive text in search results as well as with browser and social bookmark services. Write title tags to inform and motivate a click through, not just to rank.