During the past few years, the internet has expanded greatly, and many of us have begun to spend an increasing part of our lives on the web. This growth of the internet, to the average user, means that there are now far more things for us to do online, but to businesses, this growth means that they have to be online. Today, every business, no matter how large or small needs a website, and given that the primary goal of most websites is to make the business more visible and accessible to existing and potential customers, and the fact that most web traffic (over 70%) originates from a search engine, it is vital for every web site to utilize the best practices of SEO (search engine optimization).
What is SEO?
SEO (simply put) is the science of getting your website to rank in search engines for your keywords (for example, if you are a contractor in Arizona, you may want to rank in search engines for the keyword “Home remodeling Phoenix”), and there are many SEO companies around that can work with you to help you get your website to rank, although depending on how competitive your keywords are, and your budget, as well as your computer savvy/desire to learn, there are many simple on page and off page SEO tweaks that you can make to your website on your own, here I will discuss a few of these tweaks.
On Page SEO:
The first thing that I would like to discuss is on page SEO (this refers to things that you do on your site to make the site more visible to search engines). One of the most important on page things that you can do is to make sure that each page on your site contains a clear H1 tag (also known as a title tag), this tag denotes to search engines what the page is about and is the primary text that will appear in search results when that page comes up. Another crucial on page tweak is the internal linking structure of your site (this is important both for the way that search engines view your site as well as the way that your site is seen by actual visitors), it is vital for you to make sure that all pages on your site are linked to each other (if you create a page that is not linked to any other page, neither search engines or visitors will ever find that page). One method by which to greatly improve your internal linking structure is to create an HTML header/footer. Having a header/footer can greatly increase the navigability of your site b/c it will allow users to easily go from one page to the next; additionally, an HTML header/footer that lists all of your top pages will ensure that search engines are able to fully crawl each page on your site.
Off Page SEO:
When it comes to off page optimization (everything that you do to promote your site and build your sites’ reputation off page) there are many things that you should do, (backlinking, social media, social bookmarks, forum posts…) but for the sake of time and low hanging fruit I will only discuss one off page SEO technique here, local search. Local search is something that most search engines use today and is a great way for you to get your site in front of local customers eyes (If you are a bridal shop located in New Jersey it is beneficial for you to appear in Google, along with directions to your location, when someone in NJ does a search for “Wedding Dresses NJ”) and adding your listing to Google local can help ensure that you will appear when such a search is done. Adding yourself to Google local, Yahoo local, Bing local… is very simple and consists of completing an online form and verifying your identity, and is something that most website owners can do on their own, and the best thing is that submitting your site to local search is free!
There are many other tips and tricks that I can talk about that relate to getting your site to rank in top search engines, but given that this post is already too long I will reserve these for a later blog post.