Getting more visitors to your website is almost always one of the main goals of having a website. More visitors usually means more customers, leads, or sales. An unused website is of little benefit to it’s owner. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. This is the definition in WikiPedia. This process involves many things and is never ending. I’d like to talk about some basic things that will help your website get more traffic.
There are two main categories of search engine optimization. The first is on page optimization. The second is off page optimization which is largely made up of link building.
On page optimization helps the search engines better understand your website as well as helping it easily index the website pages. Good website design involves good on site optimization for search. Some of the most important methods to optimize your website and help it rank higher are discussed here.
Unique, keyword rich title tags. The title tag is the text that shows above the browser address bar on each web page. It also shows on the search engine results pages after a search is performed. This may be the single most powerful item in terms of search optimization. Each page in your website should have a unique title page. If two or more pages within your website have the same title page the search engine will pick only one to display in search results making the other two pages much less effective.
Website content is getting more and more important as time goes by. To rank high in search results a website must have good content. The search engines are getting better at figuring out which websites should rank high and which should not.
Website content that consists of text and images as well as video is what you need. What is written must be unique and it must be worth reading. Generating website content is not easy an easy task for many people. It simply takes a lot of effort and hard work. The text should be on topic. It should contain links to other pages within the same website. These links should point to other pages that are related to the topic. Images should be used within the page with the “alt” tag containing relevant, on topic descriptions. Links to off site web pages that are important and authoritative should be used as well.
Website content should be places on pages that are within one or two clicks from any website page. This is to ensure that the search engines find and index them.
Each web page within your website should be known by only one URL. For example, your about page might have this URL: http://www.mydomain.com/about. It should be accessible without the www prefix but it should be redirected to the www name. You can try this by typing those two URLs into your browser address bar. WordPress websites take care of this automatically. But make sure you handle this scenario. Otherwise the search engines may have more than one copy of the same page. This can hurt your position in the rankings.
Keyword research should be done before adding website content. You should know which words people use most often when searching for your website content. Wordtracker offers a free version of their keyword tool. Google offers a completely free keyword tool for researching the popularity of keywords (search terms).
Your chosen keywords should include a relatively short list of about a dozen words or phrases. A keyword can be one word or more. Many people will type in a long phrase. These phrases are called long tail keywords. The keyword list that you are targeting should include keywords that are only a few words long at most. Single word keywords are extremely difficult to rank high for. Geographically filtered keywords such as “dentist Dallas TX” are much easier to rank high for.
Everything discussed so far involves changes to your own website. It’s very doable but certainly can be a lot of work. The second category of search engine optimization involves things that are done outside of your website. This category is made up of link building. Link building means acquiring links from other websites that point to your website. You can get those links by advertising on other sites. If you are a member of your local chamber of commerce you will likely have the option of getting a link from their website to yours. When you sign up for online directories such as yellow pages online you will probably have an option to have a link pointing to your website from theirs.
A link on another website that points to your website is called a back link. You want as many high quality back links as possible. many sites have thousands or even hundreds of thousands of back links. Quantity counts but the quality counts too. In fact the quality of your back links is more important than it ever has been. Quality back links are links that exist in content that is relevant to your website content. For example, if you have a back link on a golfing website that points to your article on your website that talks about golfing, that is a relevant link. It’s a good link. On the other hand, if you have a link to your golfing article from a website that contains personal ads for people in China, that’s not very relevant and is not a good back link for you.
Content on other websites that contains links to your website should also have back links. This strengthens the value of the back links and helps your website rank higher.
Getting website traffic is not easy. But it should not be easy. Think about it from the visitors point of view. Why should they come to your website if it’s not worthwhile. Create valuable content and give visitors a reason to visit!
By Jeff Meland