Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Since the majority of traffic comes from the first two pages of search results, it pays to optimize your website to increase your chances of being seen by potential customers.
Over the last decade or so, the world of SEO has certainly had its share of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Good SEO tactics have become known as “white hat,” while the bad and the ugly have become known as “gray hat” and “black hat,” respectfully. Search engines are constantly evolving to reward the sites that employ white-hat SEO tactics and penalize the rest. Some so-called SEO specialists might promise fast results, but beware – in general quick fixes do not result in long-term success.
To be clear, we’re not talking about someone Googling your company’s name. It’s pretty safe to say that your site will show up on the first page of results if the exact name of your business is being searched. What we are talking about is searches for terms relevant to your particular business. So if your company supplies energy and electricity to a certain geographical area, you’ll want your website to appear if someone searches for “electricity providers in [insert city/state here].”
Here are some SEO tactics we commonly apply to increase a site’s search engine rankings.
Make it spider-able
One of the first rules to making your site rank well is by making it easy for the search engines to find their way through it. Search engines use “spiders” to crawl the web, reading content and determining which sites are most applicable to a specific search. The use of Flash or other fancy scripts may make your site aesthetically beautiful, but since the spiders can’t read that content, it inhibits the site from obtaining any decent search engine rankings.
Therefore, it’s better to use HTML, CSS, or another simple design code that can be read by the spiders. But if you absolutely must design in Flash, you might want to consider adding an extension to your site in one of these more search-engine-friendly codes. It should not mirror the Flash site, but rather provide additional information that is both valuable to the visitor and easily read by the search engines.
Choose targeted keywords & phrases
Once you’ve designed your site in a friendly code, you’ll need to incorporate title tags, description Meta tags, and optimize the code with your targeted keywords and phrases. But in a highly competitive online landscape, it’s best to zero in on the most targeted keywords for your business. For instance, if you’re in the business of selling phone systems, you might be tempted to optimize your site for the term “phone systems.” But if you actually sell phone systems to small businesses in Kansas, it would be more advantageous for you to optimize your site for “small business phone systems in KS” and related terms.
Offer a rich user experience
Search engines reward the websites that provide visitors with the most valuable experience. That means providing them with useful, relevant information that compels them to remain on your site for longer than a minute or two, and gives them good reason to visit you again. If you provide a legitimate product or a service and do it better than other companies like yours, you’ll have the ability to create valuable, unique content that makes you stand out as an expert in your field.
Establish a good reputation
While it may not seem fair, sites that are being talked about most positively throughout the web are often rewarded with higher search engine rankings. So if people are blogging about their great experience at your healthcare facility, or telling their Facebook friends about the great product they just bought from your company, it can actually boost your site’s rankings.
A blog is a good way to let the web know what’s new and exciting at your business. You can use your blog to write articles that establish your company as an authority in your industry, talk about the latest project you’ve been working on (and show it off with visuals!), or just comment on something you saw or read. For maximum exposure, link your blog to your company’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you don’t have Facebook and Twitter accounts, start them! And have your employees share the company’s blog posts with their LinkedIn communities.
You can even use your blog content to create a monthly e-newsletter that gets sent out to customers and prospects. And don’t forget, the more visitors you attract to your blog and the longer they stay, the higher its organic rankings!
Track your progress
It’s important to track your progress and see if you’re getting closer to reaching your goals. With websites, this means setting up a package such as Google Analytics and monitoring how people get to your site. Take the information you gather from your weekly reports and use it to modify your SEO tactics to ensure continued success.
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