What does a business need to know about SEO?
When it comes to starting or building upon your website, it can be very helpful to know a little about SEO (search engine optimization). Most business owners have heard the term, but don’t understand much about what it is, why it matters or how to consider it with regards to their online visibility.While SEO can be a very involved process, we will cover a few of the basics in this article with some simple steps to help build your understanding.
Do I really need to consider SEO when it comes to my website?
Unless your website is a single page with a link easy to remember and very unique, you need to take at least a few minutes to consider search engine optimization. Consider that even if customers know your website link, they will often type it into the search bar instead of the address bar. These individuals will then be provided with what the search engine understands about their request and the pages or articles it finds most relevant.
The resulting list will often have similar named links or pages to sites other than your own. You need to take the time to ensure that even if you aren’t first on the list, you are visible and it is clear that what they were looking for is your page. The description even for your front page needs to be appropriate and informative. Sometimes this requires some manual adjustment… and that’s the foundation of SEO.
Consider this… if you conduct a Google search for “Cocoa Enterprises Florida”, our website can be seen on the first page even though you haven’t entered the proper website name, business name, or clear information. We haven’t developed many articles of interest for this site yet, but it is still prominently displayed. With just some general attention to basics, you can be sure to have your site found as well.
For businesses which have article posts and pages related to their product or service offerings, the issue is magnified 10-fold. You need to be able to improve your visibility above that of many competing advertisements if you are ever to be found.
What are the basics I need to know about SEO?
In a nutshell, search engine optimization is simply making sure that your website and the pages or articles you post are shown on the first few pages when a potential customer searches for something related. Many people are not willing to scroll through dozens or even hundreds of pages of search results and will instead follow the links provided in the first few. It’s also very important to ensure that the excerpt for your page encourages them that it is relevant to their search.
To accomplish effective optimization, you need to think like the website crawler who will be visiting your page or post. These indexers do not understand or care about the colors, pictures, fancy graphics or overall appearance of your site. The aesthetics are up to the human visitor and do nothing by themselves to improve page rank. Web crawlers (bots) can only understand text and index it to determine how relevant your article is based on what the person performing the search has asked for.
The most important thing to consider when writing a blog post or other page content is whether or not the words you choose are consistent and include words you would type into a search box. If your article is “How to optimize your page or post”, be sure to include relevant words in the article more than once. Search engines can understand page content only based on what you say, not what you mean to say.
There are a few additional things you need to think about when writing an article which you would like others to locate and read. A few considerations will not only make your post more “readable”, they will also go a long way toward making it easier for the bots to understand and rank it higher in search results as well.
Simple things to improve your article content
If you plan to write blog posts or develop pages for navigational or informational purposes, there are a great number of things to consider. While complete optimization for website articles involves a great deal of planning, research, and content customization, most website owners have a business to run. You may want to focus on simply writing a post that conveys your passion for something related to your business.
Fortunately, writing an effective article which considers the SEO basics is not as involved as you might fear. There are some great tools which we recommend for the websites developed by Cocoa Enterprises LLC to make article optimization easier. There are also some simple areas to think about whenever you write an article which will help any website owner. Each of the areas involved can be taken into consideration by getting back to basics. Your articles will also have a good foundation to expand on in the future as well should the need arise.
Follow these simple suggestions to get started writing SEO friendly articles:
- Write a clear introduction – The first couple of lines in your page or article is generally used for the excerpt displayed on search results. Be sure it is clear and relevant to the content. Don’t start an article on “How to cook the perfect hamburger” with “My family and I took a long weekend break last year to go to the beach…”. Readers need to see that the article is applicable to their search.
- Structure your content – While indexing bots don’t particularly care about styling, they know that h1, h2, h3…, bold, italicized, etc. text has special meaning. Judicial use of these text styles will help the search engines understand what is important in your article as well as improve the article readability. Remaining consistent with this structure will also allow the bots to often provide multiple other article links within the same search result page.
- Don’t just upload an image – Images can be very powerful if you take the time to do some basics. Not only do they improve article flow or readability, they can also build your preferential page rank.
- Name the image something relevant, not the cimg01234567.jpg or such which it was originally given. This too will be indexed and the bot will understand.
- In your media manager, provide an “Alt Tag” description. This might be something like “perfect hamburger image”. This text displays if the image cannot be downloaded and is indexed as part of the page content.
- There are additional SEO friendly tools which can be utilized for images such as linking the image to relevant content, so be sure to learn more or get in touch with someone familiar with the subject to take full advantage of what images can provide.
- Consider your article length – You need to have enough content to be viewed as a significant resource, but you don’t want to lose your reader. Articles should usually be at least 600 words or more in length, but keep it focused. If you ramble in your article, the keywords it should be found for by the search engines get diluted, and you lose page rank.
Myths and pitfalls when it comes to search engine optimization
Some individuals claim to “have the secret to SEO”. There are numerous “SEO Experts” who will try to tell you that they can push you to the first page of Google in 1 week for all your pages if you only download their miracle plugin, or sign up for their service. Be wary of these claims since they will usually fail and often destroy any page rank you already had. Google, Bing, and all the major search engines are constantly updating their page ranking algorithms to eliminate “Black Hat” and even some “White Hat” (more on that later in another article) tricks.
There simply is no one cure to push your article to front page results and keep it there. You wouldn’t want there to be tricks to do this either. Imagine if everyone could simply hire someone or purchase an application to force irrelevant posts to the front page. We all get frustrated enough that search providers push paid ads to the first and last positions on each and every page. Imagine if the first 10, 20, or more pages had nothing but unrelated articles. We would never use that search engine again. The search engines know this and constantly develop methods to weed out these spam results.
If you stick to relevant content with focus on the search terms you might use to find such an article, your visibility will not only be improved, but shared with others as well. Take some time to improve formatting to help the bots understand your page while you write informative articles for your customers and the results will be long lasting.
Some tips for those who want to go beyond basic article SEO
Those who want to boost their visibility and take a bit more time than just writing clear, optimized content should consider a couple of areas more focused. These areas will often help showcase your site on front pages of search results.
- Record a video and upload to YouTube – Google owns this service now and since it is very likely that there are few if any videos with competing keywords, your video may well be on first page results very quickly. Do some relevant searches and see what videos are displayed. See what titles, text, or other content they included, promote your site by the words or images sewn into your video to drive more website visitors.
- Distinguish yourself as the local resource – Businesses who cater to the local area should write articles which include the local area towns or communities. This will add appropriate keywords for those who search for perhaps “the best hamburger in…” or any local area search. Many search engines have begun providing local search results preferential page rank. They understand that people often want local goods or services and include that consideration for search results.
If you would like to learn how to take advantage of some of the other great tips and tools for SEO, get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.