SEO 101

SEO is how your site visitors find you for free through search engines.  Keyword analysis and usage is just one component of SEO 101.  All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. If your site has not been optimised to be found by search engines, visitors would need to already know your web address (URL).  So it is imperative that you follow basis SEO rules to allow you to be found ‘organically’.  SEO affects only organic search results, not paid or “sponsored” results such as Google Adwords.

Search Engine Optimisation is time consuming and complex, so here is the shortcut method to help you understand and use keywords successfully to improve your page ranking. Page ranking can be your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, SlideShare, in-fact all social media.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is any word or short phrase that describes a website topic or page. - The more a keyword is used by searchers and websites the more attraction power it has.

Google’s search engines look not only at the title of a page but how frequently the keyword appears throughout the content of the site/document/post.  The more relevant the keyword is to the sites topic, the higher your site will rank in an Organic Search on Google.

To get the best results you need to do your research on what type of phrases people are searching with to then click through to your website.

The simplest way to do a keyword analysis is to use Google’s Keyword Tool.  This will give you an idea of how often the keyword or key phrase is used in Google searches and also how competitive the keyword or phrase is.

Tags: Titles & Meta Descriptions

When your site appears in search results, its position is based on a complex formula or algorithm utilised by Google.  Google searches by what you include in the Title of your page & the Meta Description.

It pays to create unique, accurate page titles specific to each page.  The title you choose should effectively communicate the topic of each individual pages’ content. Using different page titles for each page provides more opportunity for each relevant page to appear in the search results as opposed to one page because they all have the same basic page title.  Google may not differentiate between them.

Description Mega Tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages (the blurb that is directly under your page title in a search result).  We say might because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if does a good job of matching up with a user’s query.

Simple URL’s

Creating descriptive filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you to keep your site better organised, but it could also lead to better ‘crawling’ of your documents by search engines.  Also, it can create easier, friendlier URL’s for those that want to link to your content. Very long and cryptic URL’s are off-putting, difficult to remember and may be shortened by a user if it doesn’t make sense. So always use words in URL’s, not unrecognisable codes that only make sense to you.

Navigation

Some websites are poorly structured and navigating them is like walking through a maze. If you make it difficult for a visitor to locate what they are looking for on your site, they will give up and move on to one of your competitors. By planning out your pages from the Home Page down (on a whiteboard helps), you will be more likely to have a logical structure that is easy to navigate.

  • Create a naturally flowing hierarchy
  • Use mostly text for navigation rather than images or buttons (some devices might not handle Flash or JavaScript)

Content is King

Creating compelling and useful content will influence your sites success more than anything else. SEO will get visitors to your site, but without quality content, they will leave pretty quick. When you have good content users are more likely to share it either by directing others to it or via social media.

Consider the keywords that users may search on to find you.  Those that have knowledge of the topic may use different keywords to those new to the topic. Anticipating these differences in search behaviour and accounting for them when writing your content (using a good mix of keywords) could produce positive results.

Don’t forget to build high ranking keywords into your content to boost your search engine page ranking.

Adwords provides a handy keyword tool that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword.  http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/

Optimising Images

Have you ever visited a site whose images weren’t visible?  They usually appear as a box with an x in the corner.  Whilst the broken link is an issue for the webmaster, it can be annoying to a visitor.  Optimising your images not only provides a description to the user of what the image is (if not visible), but also adds to SEO results.

All images have a distinct filename and ‘alt’ attribute. The ‘alt’ attribute allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it cannot be displayed for some reason.  Optimising your images makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand and list your images. Which may add yet another listing to a search result.

Promotion

Most links to your site will be gained gradually over time, however effectively promoting your new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject.  Add your site information to Google Places which will assist users looking for a product or service by location. http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter

Further reading:

Google Analytics – Find the source of your visitors & what they’re viewing.

Google Web Optimiser – Run experiments on your pages to see what will work.