Clients often ask about SEO, how it works…does it work? How do we do it? Is it difficult?
Well, here’s a brief summary.
The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to make it easy for your website to be found when people search the Internet for your kinds of products and services. This is no small feat and SEO is an octopus with many tentacles, but in fact, it boils down to a very simple concept: Planting the right words in the right places on the Internet.
Google considers many variables in determining where to rank your site in their results for a given search term. At Nexxite, we seek to master as many of these variables as possible, but for a popular search term, like “digital photography,” there are tens of millions of web pages that have that phrase somewhere, so the competition can be insurmountable. And no matter how many factors we address, it may not get you to the first page of Google. But there is hope.
What can be done?
One important thing we do is narrow the search topically and geographically as much as possible. It is much better to compete for the phrase “digital landscape photography in Montana” than “digital photography.” So, the number one priority is coming up with the right specific keyword phrases where the competition is less, but where there is still search traffic.
How we do it – on your website
We (or you) set up your website to be optimized for the right keywords. The following is a list of website optimization tasks:
- Identify web pages to optimize. The right pages to optimize are those relating to your specific products and services that people might search for. There is no need to optimize a contact page or a page of testimonials, for example.
- For each of these distinct pages you wish to optimize, identify a “universe” of plausible search terms, up to five for each area.
- Research the phrases to identify first and second best choices for each practice area. Google Webmaster Tools contains an application to help with this research. Good phrases have significant search volume and not too much competition with other websites.
- Create separate web pages for each separate topic or category with meaningful URLs. In other words, don’t simply create a web page with the file name web_gallery_2.html. Instead name it something like montana_mountain_landscape_gallery.html.
- Create and insert title tags, description tags, and keyword lists in meta tags for each page.
- Create new visible text on each page, incorporating keywords for each page. At a minimum, the dominant keyword phrase for each page should appear as the first readable text on the page in an H1 tag.
- Create internal links from keyword phrases on other pages in the site back to the main page where the subject is presented.
- Create and insert ALT tags for any graphics on these same pages. Use keywords in the tags wherever possible.
- Submit the site to the major search engines.
- Monitor results over subsequent months and adjust keywords as needed
Elsewhere on the Internet
And that’s just for the on-page SEO. Then there is the rest of the Internet. A key variable is the number and quality of links to your site from elsewhere (other websites, blogs, articles, etc.). It is easy to link within your own website, but how do you get links from other locations on the Internet? Wherever possible, you want appearances in other appropriate and reputable websites with keyword links back to your website. Again, this can be a challenge. You have to give people a reason to want to link to your website.
Here are some things you can do:
- Write or call owners or webmasters of other relevant websites (the bigger and more important the other website, the better) and ask them to link to your site. You may have to offer a reciprocal link back or a link to a specific useful article you have on your site or blog.
- Write comments or articles that appear on other people’s blogs
- Write articles for online publications in your field. Always insert a link back to your site, from a keyword(s) in the article.
- Become active with your own Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts (Similarly, insert links back to your site.)
- Issue press releases, news, success stories and other announcements online.
- Try to get published in local papers and magazines that also have an online presence.
- Create and promote a video. Post it on YouTube with relevant keywords and post it on your own site.
Remember, for all the above, it is critical to link back to your website.
Those are some basic ideas. There are many more things you can do (or we can do for you). They all take work, but if you want more people to see your website, these steps can make a big difference.