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What is SEO?

While the abbreviation SEO is not new, it is something we are all hearing about, learning or about to be introduced to it within this article.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or web page in search engines like Google. In summary, the higher you’re ranked (closer to the top) on a search result, the more visitors you will get.

The idea of SEO is creating web pages that are picked by the search engines through optimising your content for search engine attractiveness and visibility.

There are many search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, etc; but Google is really your target with 80.76% market share as of March 2012.

SEO is important as is drives potential business to your website. You can pay for listings; but it’s the non-paid listings that we are talking about and they are the most important.

Your website is really like a product. When selling a product you need to think about who the target market is. Build the website to focus on that audience. Are you the best car mechanic on the Southside of Brisbane? If so, then promote it, tell the audience why, and have case studies showing the results. Good content on a website is a key part of a successful website.

What do you need to consider when building a webpage

When building a page, several key factors need to be considered.

    1. Title

Very important part of SEO, each page should have a unique title. This is limited to 70 characters.

    1. Page heading and subheadings

These are the next most important feature after the title. Many people use graphs in place of text based headings, but remember spiders can’t read graphics!

    1. Abstract

This is the first 200 words of the body text and is essential.It should explain/describe what the page is about. Make this section keyword rich to please the search engine spiders and website viewers. This is very important and will also be used in the SERP (Search Engine Results Position).

    1. Words in bold and italics

Words in bold and italics will influence your ranking, so make sure the emphasised words are keyword rich.

    1. Meta Description

The meta description tag is also viewed in a SERP when a person views a search result. This is limited to 156 characters.

    1. Focus Keyword

This is the main keyword or key phrase the page should be found for.

  1. Hyperlinks

Use keywords and link these keywords to other pages in your site.

Information about Google

The first step is to add your website and sitemap to Google (especially if it’s a new site). The URL for this is: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl

This process does not mean you will have a good ranking, but does make Google aware of the site. Remember it is best to spend time on making the website search engine friendly rather than spending time and money on trying to get it listed in the search engines.

How does google work?
The Google ranking algorithm is kept pretty secretly. Below are some of the known factors:

  • Google’s spider only views the visible text on the page
  • Google indexes the following file types: Adobe Flash, Adobe Portable Document Format, Adobe PostScript, Autodesk Design Web Format, Google Earth, GPS eXchange Format, Hancom Hanword, HTML, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoimt, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Presentation, OpenOffice Spreadsheet, OpenOffice Text, Rich Text, Scalable Vector Graphics, Text, Tex/Latex, Wireless Markup Language and XML
  • Google gets the main results from a crawler that spiders the internet
  • The Google index is created with an emphasis on page content and link popularity
  • Google claims that its results are determined by more than 100 factors

These deter people from scamming the search engines, Google is constantly tweaking and developing its ranking and algorithm.

Keywords

Keywords are words used to describe your products, services and the industry. They are NOT words you should use to describe your business. Think about them as words people would use every day to talk about or source your products and services.

Check your ranking

Like any business activity, you need to monitor and tweak as required. As products, technology, and people evolve, so does your website.

If you don’t find your page listed in the first 3 pages (top 30 results); then consider it needs improvement on the content and keywords.

Google Analytics is the tool to use for ranking. The url for this is http://www.google.com/analytics/

What else affects the Google ranking?
  • Links, links links. You need to be linked to important web directories (as previously mentioned, Yahoo, business.com etc)
  • Check for broken links and missing pages on your site
  • Do not use redirects – these are treated suspiciously by Google
  • Do not use URL parameters – that means URLs that are too long or have too many numbers in them
  • Minimise use of Flash – Google simply can’t read it
  • Do not overdo keywords on your site – known as keyword stuffing
  • Get in the press – getting a story in the press and online can improve your rank
  • Write ‘expert opinion pieces’ and articles about the stuff you know – and publish on your website and at article websites – they want content, you want rankings, it’s a win-win relationship
  • Change the content on your site and add new content as much as you can. News articles, opinion pieces, how-tos, tips and tricks etc – it all helps.

Remember, the best way to rank highly is to develop a good site that has wanted content and does not rely on taking advantage of ranking algorithm loopholes.

Sometimes you drop in ranking as other companies do their SEO, so you have to keep trying, tweaking, modifying, listing with more directories, building more links, writing more articles, getting in the press more and adding more content. It is a never-ending task, but one that can be rewarding.

Once you nail this, the next step and challenge is social media!

Thank you to my friends at Happen Business (www.happen.biz) for the education and training on SEO. While this process is most likely best left to the experts, next time you chat with your web developer and they talk SEO; your face won’t look so blank. We are not SEO experts at TechPath, so please do your own homework and research on the topic.