How to Make Search Engines Work for Your Website and Business via SEO
The difference between the right word and the almost-right word, American author Mark Twain once said, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. So it is with SEO.
Twain, who started his career as a typesetter in the 1850s, knew plenty about using words, as he proved by writing books and short stories that are still taught in our schools today. But he probably would have been overwhelmed by all the social media tools now available to us, and especially by the concept of SEO, which demands that businesses use exactly the right words to attract customers and get results.
If you’re not familiar with SEO, or if you wonder if you’re utilizing it to its fullest potential, we can help.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a technique you can use to make it easier for search engines like Google or Yahoo! to find your website. You can also employ SEO to help your site rank higher in popularity and influence, and thus appear in searches more often, than literally millions of other sites. To get the most out of SEO, you have to use the right words on your site—that is, the words that your customers or clients use when they’re searching online for your business, product, or service.
If you don’t know the right words to use for SEO, you’ll need to do some research and learn your customers’ language. If you’re selling mattresses, for example, and your market research shows that your customers prefer hard-as-a-rock bedding, you’ll want to write copy that matches the terms they’ll type into a search engine. They may search for “firm support,” but also for terms like “back pain” and “sleep comfort,” and “back ache.”
Search engines have been matching up queries with the content on Web pages since the early days of the Internet. But they’ve evolved, just like the Web itself, becoming much more sophisticated, and now use complex algorithms to generate results.
You don’t have to be an engineering genius to develop and maintain a site that draws a lot of traffic and get results (although it might help). Instead, try our tips to improve your site’s ranking and jump ahead of the competition:
- Even though we’re talking about SEO and using words that search engines will pick up, remember that your first priority is to your customers. Give them valuable content that they can really use, with information-rich pages and helpful links.
- Make sure your company name and address are visible in the copy on your Web page. If your contact info is only shown in an image or in your business logo, it won’t be indexed—that is, it won’t be added to a database that search engines can easily find. You want your customers to be able to locate you, and to be able to find you if they search only by your company name or location.
- Keep your Web pages down to a reasonable size. The Bing engineers at Microsoft recommend no more than one topic per page, and no more than 150kb per HTML page without images.
- Work on getting other sites to link to yours. Yahoo! engineers say that you’ll improve your ranking by getting links to a lot of other sites.
- Make your titles, headlines, and captions clear and to-the-point. Using a title about Rapunzel and her long braids may be catchy, but you’ll miss customers who are simply searching for a haircut.
Sound complicated? Frankly, it can be, and SEO practices continue to change. Keep updated using great resources like the SEOMOZ.org one listed below. Or you can let our savvy social media experts here at Professional Mojo help you maximize your Web presence. Regardless if you are a DIYer or one who needs a little guidance, we hope to see you at the top of the results very soon.
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