How are you introducing your organization to the world? Through networking? A brochure? A website? There are 3 main components of introducing your website to the world, Content, Design and Search Engine Optimization. Most of the blog posts I have written this year have been on content and design, but what about SEO?
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization refers to a variety of techniques and strategies for improving the ranking and visibility of websites within search engine listings. If a website owner forgets about SEO, the website won’t work at its optimal level. Why is SEO Important?
•62% of search engine users click on a result within the first page of results.
•90% of users click on a result within the first three pages of results.
•41% of users attempt to refine their search after the first results page if initial search is unsuccessful.
•88% of users attempt to refine their search after the first three pages if initial search is unsuccessful.
•72% of Google users favor organic results over paid listings.
source: iProspect Search Engine User Behavior Study (April 2006)
Search Engines, like Google and Yahoo run automated programs, called “robots” or “spiders” that use the hyperlink structure of the web to “crawl” the pages and documents of websites, looking for new content (usually a blog) and metadata. Once a page has been crawled, its contents can be stored in a giant database of documents that makes up a search engine’s “index”. When a search is conducted, the engine retrieves all the documents from its index that match the query. Once the search engine has determined the matching results, the engine’s algorithm (a mathematical equation used for sorting) determines which answers are most relevant. If you are hands on person with your SEO, here’s what Google wants you (as the website owner) to know and do.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is the backend of your website; what a spider reads and reports back to Google or Yahoo. At VI, we typically use WordPress to create sites and you have SEO options available; you just need to remember to fill in the data. Most importantly, if you only have a small bit of time, the Meta-title tag is the most vital!
Meta-title tag is visible to users and to search engine spiders and it shows the search engines and your visitors what your page is about. For example: Look at the top of this page, above the browser bar. You will see the name of this post and Vivid Image. That is the page title. This is also the title that shows up in Search Engine Results
Meta-description is like a classified ad for your web page. The more relevant it is to the site theme, the more likely it is to encourage the right visitors to click on your site. It’s also important that your meta-description is interesting and gives your visitors a reason to visit your site.
Meta-keywords aren’t visible to your visitors like your meta-titles and meta-descriptions are. Instead, your meta keywords tell the search engine spiders which keywords your site is optimized for. Use a different set of unique and descriptive meta tags for every web page. This increases the probability that your specific web pages will show up in the results for relevant search terms.
Look at the bottom of the page, you will see Filed Under, those are the categories of this post. You will also see Tagged With. Those are keywords and phrases that I use to help the spiders categorize this post when it is indexing the post.
Do your best to employ good uses of SEO, but be realistic about the results you will be able to deliver. For example, say you are a shoe retailer in rural MN. If you think you will rank #1 on Google by using the keyword phrase “running shoe” on Google after you launch your new website, think again. When you Google this term, you are competing against everyone–worldwide and I am sure Google will choose to put Nike at the top of the list. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your content or design, but you may need to pick a different search term or broaden your keyword phrase. Maybe “running shoe+town, MN” would be the phrase where you want to rank #1.
Here’s a quick primer that Steve put together: 5 Easiest Things to Do to Increase Website Results.
When a new site launches, we advise that it takes 14 days on average for your site to be indexed and ranked appropriately by Google.
How does social media fit into SEO? Steve answers: Does Google Use Data From Social Sites in Ranking?
Want to know more? There are additional tips on here and on our site. Contact VI today and we can help build your online presence and increase sales. If you find this information useful, share, via email, Facebook, Twitter and more; we would love an introduction.