Search Engine Optimization
First of all you will need to know how Google or other search engines find your website. For the purposes of this page, I will refer to Google, as it is the worlds largest and most used search engine. When your site is published and goes live on the internet, eventually it will get found by the search engine “bot”, little robots that travel the web, looking for new websites or new content on existing sites. When these little bots get to your site they will go through your code and your content to get to know what your site is all about. This is known as “indexing your site”. If your site is not built well architecturally, the bots will have a difficult time reading your content. Many of the cheaper, Do-It-Yourself websites are bloated with codes and scripts that make it nearly impossible to index. This is where WordPress sites excel. With a WordPress site, the foundation is built in such a way that the bots can easily read through your content.
Search Engine Optimization relies heavily on the use of good keywords or key phrases. When you are online and searching something, you are entering “keywords” into the search engines. For example, this website could use the keyword “websites” or variations or phrases, like “web sites, website design, web site design” etc. When the search bots go through your site they look for these keywords. If I have properly used keywords, then when people enter these words, my site should appear. And it does.
However, like most things, that’s not all there is to it. Having good content is one thing, but in this example, searching for “Website design” would bring up every web designer in the world. Of course, if I wanted to offer services in my own town only (Nanaimo, BC), I could use keyword phrases like “Nanaimo website design”. That would certainly narrow it down, but there may be 50 or 100 other website designers in my town, so I still might only be found on page 10 of the results.
How to rank higher you ask? Well, still dealing with the on-site content, there are little tricks that need to happen. For example, each and every image needs to be tagged with what is known as an “alt tag”. Google gives you extra points for using these tags as they help site visitors that are visually impaired “read” your site. Should the visually impaired visitor have “accessibility tools installed or turned on, their computer would speak to them. For example, the image on this page has the alt tag of “Search Engine Optimization Image“. Should a visually impaired user mouse over this image, their computer would read out the words contained in the alt tag.
One of the most important areas, and most over-looked are the page titles. This is one of the first pieces of code that the search bot sees and a properly formatted and unique title helps to properly index your site and tell Google what this page is all about.
Thus far I have only been speaking of “On Page Search Engine Optimization“. The other area is called “Off Page Search Engine Optimization“. This is where you may have a daily blog somewhere and make reference your website by adding a link. Google loves when sites link to yours and there are extra points earned every time this happens. Of course the “weight” of this is determined if Google considers the link to be from a high-authority site (A site which already ranks high with Google). How do you get high authority sites to link to you? Well, if ranking is really important to you and if your keywords are highly competitive, you may want to consider posting on “Article Sites“. Some good examples are seen here. Ideally you post an article on 5o to 100 sites a month, but who has time for that? Especially since each article needs to be unique? Google does not like duplicate content and will penalize you for it. Most people that go this route hire a writer who specializes in this, but this is typically done by larger corporations or those with a large budget. Of course social media also can play a large part in helping your site rank.
If you find you are just not ranking high enough and don’t have the time or money to invest in OFF PAGE Search Engine Optimization, then you may want to consider some advertising using Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising. This way you can set your own budget and have more time to run your business. If you are interested in a SEO Package, Google Adwords or a Facebook ad or just have some questions, please feel free to contact me. Or, give it a go yourself by visiting the Google Adwords page.