It seems there is some mystery to how search engine optimization works, despite it being fairly basic. Whether this is intentionally propagated by SEO companies looking to convince potential customers they are better off hiring someone to do the job for them, or just a general lack of website owners wanting to take a hands on approach and do a little homework – it’s hard to say.
Regardless there are just a few very basic things to understand in order to help improve ANY websites standing in search engine results. It is my hope to clarify a few of these items in order to help educate those interested in learning search engine optimization for themselves.
There are three main things that will largely determine your search engine visibility: Age of Your Domain, Keyword Density, and Backlinks.
Age of your domain:
Sadly, not a lot you can do about this one if you are new. Believe it or not the search engines do give a little ‘grandfathering’ powers to sites just for being around for a longer time.
This is the number of times a keyword appears in your sites content. Your keywords should be focused on your target market, so if you sell shoes in Boise for instance good keywords would be things like “boise shoes”, “shoes in boise”, “boise footwear”. Search engines look for these keywords in your site code and text as well as in the URL itself – and even seem to give a little extra edge to sites which have their keywords in the domain name itself.
A word of caution: stuffing is only good at Thanksgiving, and that includes keywords. Make sure you don’t OVER saturate your site with keywords to the point that it becomes illegible to human readers. Keyword stuffing can eventually harm your search engine position as much as not having those keywords at all.
These are links from other websites pointed to you essentially saying you are a credible source for what you claim to be. I often use the analogy of the sign waver guys you see on the corner – essentially a link from another website to yours is like a sign waver on the internet saying “GO Here for This Service”. Search engines see that and give you better placement for it.
Those are the “Top 3” of factors that will effect your standing in search results. Secondary factors include things like how many other sites are competing against yours, website page count (internal links), and frequency of updates.
There are any number of keyword research and density tools online, as well as tools which allow you to see how many backlinks your site has; I encourage those interested in doing their own SEO to make use of these largely free online tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and others.
Some simple tips for improving your sites SEO:
Make your main keyword prominent in the top portion of your website, preferably in the meta-data and by using “H tags” near the top of the site. Search engines read sites from the top down, so it is always best to have keywords at the top even if nowhere else on the site.
Be sure to make at least a couple of the keywords found on your site BOLD. It’s a small thing but some search engines still give bolded keywords a little extra relevance.
Make the links within your site use a keyword instead of “click here” for anchor text. So if you have a page on your site you are linking to for “Boise Homes” make the text the user clicks reads BOISE HOMES instead of Click Here (this same rule applies for creating links to your site from external websites). Read more about Building Better Backlinks here…
Link to other sites, but more importantly get other sites to link to you. The internet, and seo success, is all about being interconnected. Request owners of websites in your industry in other states to link to you. Comment on blogs and websites and include your website link. Add your website to online directories. Establish profiles on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help expand your overall web presence.
ANY of these things will help your websites search engine position if done correctly. It’s not some arcane magic, it generally comes down to putting in the time to do some research, a lot of typing, and either maintaining your website code or working with an experienced web developer who understands SEO.
There are myriad other details and subtle techniques to really harness the power of the web to boost your business, but just starting with these very basic items is key to better search engine placement.
Interested in learning more? Stay tuned to this blog, or connect with me on any of my social portals. Generally I am as easy to find as typing Hinsel into a search engine.
Don’t have time, or don’t care to handle SEO for your website on your own? I can offer exceptional organic search engine optimization for established websites or create an search engine friendly design for you from scratch. Contact me to get started!