Jun 7, 2016
SEO- what is it and why should I care? Grab your latte and let's get right into it!
1) SEO stands for…?
SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization.” In basic terms, it refers to techniques and strategies that you can use to increase your visibility on search engines (such as Google and Bing) by ranking higher in the search results page.
2) Why Search Engine Optimization is important
When you type a query into Google Search, which website do you usually click on first in the search results? According to research, users choose from the top 3 websites listed. If your website is at the bottom of the page, or, heaven forbid, buried on page 3 of results, chances are high that your website is going to remain neglected.
3) Be aware of search engine crawlers, but create primarily for users
Search engines primarily use search engine crawlers to look at your website and determine how to index your site. While Google and Bing are constantly working on making their crawlers “smarter” at understanding human behaviour, it is still important to be aware of their limitations and how they view your site. An important thing to remember is that crawlers primarily look at text, which means that flash sites and images cannot be seen by them (for the most part). This means that while your dazzling, media-rich site may look amazing to you and your friends, it may look empty and content-less to search engines.
The solution? Add text descriptions to your images so that crawlers know what the image is about. Avoid using Flash (which for Website.com users is not a problem- sites are easily read by search engine crawlers! Hooray!).
Being aware of how search engine crawlers work is important, but it is even more important to create your site for users! Create a valuable, user friendly website that users will love to explore and stick around on. The way users interact with your site is much more valuable to your overall SEO performance in the long haul.
4) Keywords- the basics and the myths
Find out what keywords you want your website to be ranked for. For example, if you own a cupcake company in Chicago, it would be great if your website was one of the first to be listed if users searched for “cupcakes in Chicago.”
Understand the difference between broad and niche keywords. While it may seem that broad keywords are searched more regularly and will bring in more traffic, the competition for these terms will likely be high, making it more difficult to rank higher.
Niche keywords are more specific, which can work to your advantage! A more specific keyword phrase = less competition on the search results page and a higher chance to rank in one of the top spots, if you play your SEO game right. Furthermore, research shows that users who make more specific searches, such as “blue Adidas tank top” are more likely to make a purchase, as they are searching for a specific item rather than just browsing.
Be strategic with the way you insert keywords into your titles and content! Add keywords organically, in a way that can be read naturally: remember that you need to design for users, not search robots! Incorporate keywords in page titles and 2-3 times in your body content.
Avoid keyword stuffing! While it is commonly thought that incorporating more keywords on your website will make it seem more relevant to that keyword, there is no evidence to support this and may even get your website marked as spam. The key is to use keywords organically and in a way that flows.
5) Keep your website fresh
Static and outdated sites are not looked favorably upon by search engines! Make updates to your site regularly, or create a blog so that you can easily add new content at anytime. Website.com users: you can easily add a blog right within your website! Just choose Add > Blog to create a page
6) Links - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Links can tell a search engine crawler how popular and trustworthy your website is. Having more websites that link to your website isn’t always helpful. Being linked by a more popular and credible website (such as a College or University) can carry more weight than being linked by Joe Blow’s pineapple stand. Furthermore, links can even damage your reputation if you are linked to a spam site (and vice versa).
Have any comments to add? Let us know what your SEO strategies are!
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