Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is basically making sure that your site is as easy to find as possible using search engines. This is paramount to the survival of your business, as the traffic that comes to your site can become is often the lifeblood of your company. Buying things online is fast becoming the only way to go for a lot of people, and the main method people use to find what they need are search engines. What this means is that you need to be on the very first page when people Google your product because if you’re not, some other company will be, which means less business for your company. Hence, you need to optimize your website for search engines.
There are several ways to do this. First and foremost, remember that search engines search for keywords, so you need to have as many of these on your site as possible. If you sell phones, have the text on your website say “smartphone”, “cellphone”, “phone” and brand names of phones as much as possible. This will make you more likely to be found by a search engine. Think of what keywords you would put in to describe your content and use them. However, be subtle in your use of keywords. Overdoing it could make you look like a spammer, and search engines often ignore sites that have too many keywords in them.
Use web analytics while applying your SEO techniques so that you can see what methods are working and which ones aren’t. You can hire an SEO company if you have the budget for it, and take note of their successful methods by using web analytics. Reach out to other, similar companies as well and ask them what they do to maximise their search engine potential. Most companies would be glad to help, having gone through similar ordeals themselves earlier on in.
If you want to take an active role in optimizing your search engine potential, search for dead links on Wikipedia. You can find links to companies in the Wikipedia page about your particular product and, if they are dead, replace them with your own links. This will direct a lot of traffic to your site as a lot of people go to Wikipedia for information. Visit forums that discuss your product (reddit is a great, all purpose example) and search for words that are commonly used in the discussions. These words can become keywords for your website, because if people are using these words on reddit, they’re using them on Google too.
Create and maintain a sitemap. Once you’ve created a page that connects your entire site, i.e. a directory of all the major pages on your website you will be more likely that web crawler will index your site for a search engine. It will also reduce the number of clicks it takes for a user to get to where they need to go, and the less clicks it takes for users to get information, the more receptive they will be to it. Remember that web crawlers can only search text itself. Text in images does not count, so use your descriptors mainly in the text portion around your image to make sure that your page is indexed. Add ALT tags to your images so that you can provide the images on your sites with descriptions, and use as many keywords as possible in these descriptions.
Also, keep all of the URLs short. Too many query parameters in your URLs are off putting, as are dynamic URLs, even if they have normal words in them. Similarly, having an absolutely URL is not enough. The URL needs to be easily understandable. Try to use layman language, for example: www.guitars.com/fender/clapton rather than a classification used within your own company like www.guitar.com/8189/fc81.htm
Try to avoid Flash and frames, as using them means you will not be able to link to a single page. Frames should be avoided completely, but if you must use Flash use it sparingly. From an SEO viewpoint, it is an unnecessary burden on your search engine efficiency. However, if it is imperative that you make your website Flash heavy, use a lot of meta keywords and descriptors for your website, and put navigation links right beneath the fold, no more than a short scroll away.
Keep updating your content. Search engines love this, so it will make you more likely to get indexed and can ensure a top spot in a search. However, whenever you make new content remember to make the anchor text on the page as searchable as possible, put relevant words and keywords in, and always remember to provide an easily visible link that can take users back to the archive page. Don’t add so much content that your site can no longer be navigated, and if you have to add a lot of content, make sure that your users can get around with as few clicks as possible.
All throughout your SEO efforts, keep an eye on where you stand in the internet hierarchy. Use tools like Alexa to see what rank your web site is at, and you can use this rank to monitor your progress. Keep using web analytics to monitor your progress, and conduct a site audit every year to monitor overall progress, whether you use Alexa’s own site audit feature, a free site audit tool or, if you really want your money’s worth, hire somebody to provide you with a detailed report on what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t think too much. Most of this stuff is common sense. Keep in mind that basically all you need is a noticeable presence on the internet, and a website that has an appropriate amount of well researched keywords, uses Flash sensibly, is easily navigable and is optimized for indexing will bring you all the traffic you need. Just don’t think of this as a one-time thing, SEO is a constant process, and you should continuously focus on it if you want to keep your site visible.