What is SEO? and how will it benefit my website?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the attempt to get your website in front of the most people who are searching for a site like yours.
The biggest search engine (or SE), by far, is Google. You may have also heard of Bing, Ask, Yahoo, etc…. These are sites where you put in a search term (known as key words or key phrases) and the engine finds the best sites that seem to fit the key words or phrases in your request.
How do Search Engines choose “The Best” sites?
For each search term you put into a Search Engine, there are potentially thousands or millions of websites that the SE could recommend. Even by finding unique keywords or longer, more specific key phrases SE will more than likely have a couple of hundred websites to suggest.
Search Engines organize the search results for you using a complex rating system. This rating system is a closely guarded secret by most SE’s, but, it is commonly known that a website will get a higher rating with:
- Website age is older than other similar sites
- Having lots of visitors
- Having well designed pages with few or no errors
- Having other sites link to your site – especially when:
- They include articles about your content
- Specialize in your area
- Area directories
- The referring site is also a highly rated site
An important issue is that most visitors will only visit the first 5 to 10 websites listed in the results of any search. Thus, being at the top of the Search Engines’ result list is really important to get visitor traffic. And the more visitor traffic, the higher the rating for your website. Also higher traffic leads to better conversion ( see conversion).
How does my website become a “Best” website?
There are 3 general parts to good SEO:
- On Page Optimization
- Off Page Optimization
Keywords – What words or phrases should we optimize for?
One of the more difficult analyses is the keyword analysis – finding the best key words or phrases that will have a combination of a lot of traffic (people entering those keywords as a search request) and few other websites to compete with.
I recently did an analysis for a neighborhood development company. The analysis came back with the top opportunity to be: “new houses in sale” -The competition was only 3 websites, so we could pretty much guarantee to be on the first page. Unfortunately, the number of people looking with this phrase was only 22 the previous month, and this key phrase would make it difficult to include into articles and pages because of the bad grammar.
Other suggested key phrases were:
- “new house plans” – we don’t have specific house plans, so this phrase was out
- “houses for sale” - which had over 2 million visitors, but also had 145 million competing websites.
- “Website for houses for sale” – not only is this bad English, but, traffic was only 72 visitors a month
- “multi listings” – had good traffic and low competition, but would be difficult to include in a website the multiple times necessary for good on page SEO
- “new home developments” – this was fairly low down on our list, but, it had good traffic with over 2 thousand visitors a month and with 249 thousand competing websites – which we can reduce with area specific tag lines – it was a good fit for the client.
Note: the more competing websites a phrase has, the more the top websites are currently working to stay at the top.
On Site Optimization
Now that we have identified the keywords for our website, we can optimize our content on each page so that 3% to 5% of the content includes the chosen phrase. For each landing page we can have a different phrase. A landing page is a page that visitors may go to first and have a lot of content that you control… pages that are not generally considered landing pages are:
- contact pages
- photo galleries
- data request pages
After the content is optimized, each page is coded and optimized for Google analytics – making sure that all of the links work and link to real pages, that each page has a header, a unique title, an H1 tag (on -page title), etc…
Off site Optimization
The final step is off site optimization. This process takes time to work – generally 2 to 3 months before you see results. This can also be something that needs to be monitored – especially if you want to stay at the top of a specific SE result. This process includes:
- Directory submissions
- Article submissions
- Social Bookmarking
- Search Engine submissions
- Permanent Directory Listings
- Blog reviews
- DMOZ submission
- Squido Lens Creation
- Press Releases
Many of these are multiple submissions… and each submission should not be quite the same, and should be submitted over a period of time for best results.
Note: JPByDesign outsources off site optimization