What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is defined as the process of increasing how a web page ranks within the natural, organic or unpaid results returned when an individual searches in a search engine for a keyword or phrase.
What are the basic Search Engine Optimization techniques I can use now?
Natural or organic Search Engine Optimization encompasses the use of elements like keywords, images, videos, and links.
One of the first techniques you need to understand is keyword or better yet key-phrases.
There are a lot of places that you can tuck these keys throughout your website, and the first place should be right in your domain name and URL extensions.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer in Las Vegas a great domain name would be www.freelancelasvegas.com. Also, as you name the other pages in your website think about your target audience and the message you’re trying to relay.
Meaning you should name a page about copy writing something like www.freelancelasvegas.com/las-vegas-copywriting.
Next it’s time to move on to your page title and description. These elements are at the beginning of your websites html code and look like this:
<title>This appears on the top of the visitors web browser. Naturally fit a keyword here.</title>
<meta name="description" content="Here is where you write your keyword/key-phrase description of your website to be displayed on the search engine">
While your title is a required part of your website your description is not. But, if you don’t include one, then the search engines will write one for you.
Here are three things you can do with your description that they might not:
- Give the most accurate description of your website.
- Entice a searcher to select your website over the others offered.
- Include the keywords and key-phrases you want your targets to find.
Another note about descriptions that needs to be addresses relates to your images and videos. You need to be sure you include your keywords in the “alt-tags” as well as in the “title” tag like this:
<img src="http:// www.freelancelasvegas.com/logo.gif" alt="Las Vegas freelance writer logo" title=" Las Vegas freelance writer">
This is particularly important to remember for videos because they are given a special consideration by the engines and rank higher when a relevant search is submitted by a searcher.
Finally, we get to the keywords and phrases you need to use within the body of your website. This includes two main elements, plain text and links.
With all the theories out there on how frequently you should include keywords in your text, there is no one definitive answer. You want your text to be clear. It shouldn’t be a keyword stuffed mess that turns the reader off.
As far as the links on your menu and those plugged throughout your text at relevant points, they should not only contain a keyword when it’s appropriate but linking to something relevant will weigh heavier.
Finding the “key” keywords
Now that you know the basic locations to insert your keywords it’s time to discover what your best keywords are. There is a statistical approach to discovering your most popular terms. You can use one of the free web-based keyword tools available or choose the one provided by Google AdWords.
How it works is you enter a keyword or phrase and the tool will return how many searches have been done and suggest other related terms. One benefit of using the Google AdWords tool is that it also returns a rating based on the competition for that term.
Finding the “links” to success
Another element to SEO is linking. The natural approach to linking can be achieved through internal linking, strategic partnerships, guest blogs, link baiting, press releases, or through a link exchange service.
Internal linking is simply the linking of your web pages to one another. For starters it lets the search engine spiders crawl your website and find all your content. Second, it’s the one element of SEO that you have complete control over.
With strategic partners, you can “exchange links” as a way of showing loyalty. Most of the time this “exchange” would come in the form of a guest blog that you’d write for a partner’s website in exchange for one they’d write to post on your website.
Link baiting is the creation of popular content that others want to share. When they reference it in an article, send it to friends via social media, or link to it directly from their website, you’ve essentially “baited” them to link to you.
Writing press releases that are distributed through online PR companies is an other great way to rack up links. Especially if what your release is something interesting and unique.
Finally, you can invest in paid link exchange services although it’s not suggested. Honestly, these types of services get uncovered all the time and those links will quickly lose value.
Submitting to the Engines
While there are a ton of search engine submission services out there willing to submit your website for free, unfortunately you’ll find most of them are truly ineffective.
You should focus on the big three: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Are there any tricks I use for Google Search Engine Optimization?
Google has always had the intention to integrate their products and services with one another. Translation: If you use Google products and services you’ll probably see a difference in how high and quickly you rise up the ranks.
This doesn’t mean you’ll be penalized if you don’t use Google products. Just that they seem to weigh heavily toward the home-team advantage. Even if you just create a website on Google Sites, a blog on Blogger, and accounts for Google Plus and YouTube and link those to your main website, you could see an improvement.
For example, we mentioned earlier relevant videos rank higher in searches. That means your YouTube videos will be given special consideration on Google.
So does Social Media help?
One of the things that get weighed heavily in Search Engine Optimization is fresh content. If you are regularly updating your website with new content, it gives the search engine spiders a reason to re-crawl you website and improve your rankings.
With social media and widgets you can constantly be updating fresh content. Every time you post a tweet to Twitter, update your status on Facebook, post a blog, or upload a new video to YouTube, that can trigger a series of interconnected events.
This can not only increase immediate traffic, but also build up your inbound links from any of those targets that find your content linkable.
Isn’t there SEO Software I can use?
What you need to look for in your SEO software is that it provides:
- The ability to analyze and suggest changes that optimizing your website
- The ability for keyword analysis so you get the best possible keywords
- The ability to do the search engine submissions for you
- A viable solution to link building
- Analytics/Visitor analysis and comprehensive reporting
Our SEO product, SEO Tutor, is a great resource for understanding and improving your website's SEO. All of the most successful businesses operating in the ecommerce realm are using some form of SEO software or service to manage their websites optimization. So when it becomes practical for your business, do the same thing and put the responsibility in the hands of the professionals.