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When building a website, this is the question that you should be asking yourself and understand the full implications of how it can affect your chances of running a successful business. – so what is Search Engine Optimization For and why is it so important for online businesses?
The first course of action is to understand what SEO is?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, and is getting your website as attractive as possible to all the major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Your concentration should be on all search engines although Google still has the lion share of the market.
There are two parts of SEO, On page and Off page.
Let’s Start with …
On Page SEO
On Page SEO is getting your page set up with the correct settings so that it is optimized for search engines.
Below I set out the most important on Page SEO points you should concentrate on:
The most important SEO factor is top quality fresh content.
Adding new quality content on a regularly is so important to keep your site up to date and fresh. You should be looking to add content at least once a week.
(image size, proper image names, use of ALT tag)
For good image optimization, you need to be choosing a suitable graphic compression format, ie GIF, JPEG and PNG. to help search engine spiders understand the significance of the image.
Images should have names and also a description in the Alt tag to help search engine spiders understand the significance of the image. This, in turn, leads to.
Fast Loading Pages
The time it takes to actually download a site to the browser is very important to keep surfers on your site.
Surfers expect a site to load within 2/3 seconds and for every second after that results in a 7% reduction in sales.
Optimized titles and descriptions
Titles and descriptions of your page should be kept within the parameters that search engines layout to make sure the user can see and understand the message you are trying to get across.
In most cases Google wants your title to be in the region of no more than 60 characters and your description no more than 160 characters.
Proper URL Structures
The URL of a web post/page should be as descriptive and brief as possible.
It should contain the keyword for that particular article and be as short as possible without losing impact so that a visitor who sees only the URL could have a good idea of what the page/article is all about.
To let viewers navigate your site with ease, a user-friendly menu has to be in place.
Do not overcrowd the navigation bar.
Instead use as few headings as possible and then subheadings. This leads to a cleaner looking header.
Optimized internal links
Internal links are links from any given post/page to another post/page on your website.
This becomes important for making the search engine aware of hidden pages that may not appear in your navigation ie posts or articles.
This gives the search engines more content to crawl giving your site more authority.
Text Formatting (use of H1,H2,Bold etc)
Surfers should be able to read your content with ease. This paramount for viewers to surf your page.
You should use a font size that is easy on the eyes, normally most copy would be written in 12-16 Font size.
To break up your content into sections is where the H tags come into use.
H standing for Heading, you would use H1 for your main heading.
H2 for the subheading of H1 and H3 the subheading of H2 etc.
With most themes, the title of your post/page will default to H1.
Google and your viewers will love this as it becomes easier to scan through.
User-friendly 404 pages
What are Error 404 pages? They can occur by:
These should be fixed.
There is no better way of losing viewers than them not being able to get to the page or post that they have searched for.
You can fix them by making a custom 404 page that redirects back to your homepage or there is a simpler solution with a WordPress Plugin a 404 redirect. This does the job just as efficiently
Google verification for all pages
Making sure Google recognises your website by verifying it.
This is done via Google Webmaster Tools
External links (Make sure there are no broken links to external sites)
Checking all external links (these are links that point away from your site) are working correctly.
It is always advisable to have external links to open in a new tab, at least then the viewer will not lose your site if the link is broken without your knowledge.
Off-page SEO are activities a webmaster performs away from his website. The important ones to concentrate on are:
Why Off-Page SEO is important?
Search engines have an obligation to find the best ways to give surfers the most relevant answers for their search.
There are a few factors they take into consideration and two of these are the on-site SEO factors (as described above), and Off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO will give them some sort of indication how other websites and users perceive a particular website and how useful that website was to them.
What are the benefits of ‘off-site SEO’ to your website?
If you can produce a successful off-page SEO strategy it will produce the following benefits to your website:
You will see an increase in rankings – Your website will rank higher in the SERPs ( Search Engine Results Page) which in turn will increase traffic.
There will be an increase in PageRank – Page rank is an important algorithm that Google gives in the ranking system. Pages are ranked with a number between 0 and 10 and the higher the number the more important the website in the eyes of Google, and the relevance of search results.
There are over 200 factors that Google use in their ranking algorithms and Page rank is only one of them.
Getting more exposure – Obviously, the higher a site ranks the greater the chance of getting more visitors. With more visitors to your site the better chance of conversions.
To put it in a nutshell by building external links to your website, what you are in effect trying to do is let the search engines know that your site is popular. Site popularity helps you significantly rank higher.
Social interaction such as from Facebook likes and shares, Twitter followers and tweets that are linking to your site and pages and Google+ circles, reviews and links are all picked up by the search engine bots, and help contribute positive SEO juice to your site.
Websites like Digg.com, reddit.com, del.icio.us, and stumbleupon.com allow you to promote your content, within your niche category and under certain rules.
What is Social Bookmarking?
Users of a Social bookmarking system will store links to a web page that they find interesting and want to share with other members of the Bookmarking site.
With these bookmarks being made public so that other members can view them, gives an added route for quality traffic.
The majority of social bookmark services are organised by users attaching keywords or tags to content on a Web site.
This way another user can view bookmarks that are associated with their chosen tag, and see information about the number of users who have bookmarked them.
Will Social Bookmarking help my website show up in SERPs?
- Getting a listing on a social bookmarking site will definitely give you quality traffic to your site because people who find your site from a social bookmarking are interested in the topics your site is all about.
- There may also be a case though that some of the social bookmarking sites will mark links out to other sites as “no follow” this tells the search engines to ignore that link and so you won’t gain any benefit from those links.
- Another opportunity of getting your site listed on any bookmarking site enhances your chances of showing up in the SERPs.
- Adding social bookmark links to your website makes it easy for readers to save and share your content enabling others to find it. Another great way to increase traffic to your site.
So To Round Up
What Is Search Engine Optimization For?
SEO is to tell the search engines that your website is alive and well, to show them the quality of the content you have put together and to get authority within your niche, enabling your website to gain top page ranking and make a success out of the business you are establishing.
If your site doesn’t rank well in search engines it is like having a brick and mortar shop hidden away up a side street. You know you’re there, your existing customers know you are there, but new customers won’t find you.
Getting ranked on Google will enable people to find your site on purpose, not by accident.
Please Leave Any Questions Or Comments You May Have In The Comments Box Below And I Will Be Happy To Discuss Them With You.