How to Set Up Your Small Business Website for SEO
When consumers use the Internet to learn more about something they’re interested in, they typically start at a search engine like Google or a directory like Yahoo! Your goal is for the consumer to see a link to your Web site before they see one for your competitor. Optimizing your Web site for search engines is a complex, imprecise procedure, but one you can learn how to do if you're willing to take the time. Below is a 10-step process to get you started with SEO.
Step 1: Assess the Competition
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to optimizing your Web site, a certain amount of imitation can also make good business sense. Visit all the key search engines and directories and use them as your customers would. Enter search words; navigate directories; make a note of the businesses that are well-placed in your categories, and then visit their Web sites. Look at the words they use to describe their business; examine their HTML code and create a list of the keywords and META tags they use.
Step 2: Create Your Keyword List
A keyword list contains the most important words that describe your business. Building a good keyword list is vital for good search engine placement but will have little effect on your placement in directories. When building your list, think of the words that customers use when looking for your business, products, or services. Consider including any applicable keywords that your successful competitors are using.
Step 3: Create META Tags
HTML includes a set of META tags that are used to describe the contents of each page on your Web site. META tags are one of the things that search engines look at when categorizing and ranking your Web site, so proper use of META tags is important to optimizing your ranking. The three most important META tags are TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and KEYWORD.
The TITLE tag identifies the contents of the Web page; the TITLE should be accurate and unique for each page of your site and should incorporate one or two of your most relevant keywords.
The DESCRIPTION tag contains a lengthier description of the contents of your Web page; some search engines display the contents of this tag with a customer’s search results (other search engines use an HTML remarks line, if it is present). Each page’s DESCRIPTION should be unique and include relevant keywords.
The KEYWORD tag is a list of your keywords and phrases, each separated by a comma. Do not use the same word more than twice–some search engines consider this spamming and will lower your sites ranking accordingly.
Step 4: Build Great Content
No matter what other techniques you use to improve your Web site’s ranking, they will be ineffective in the long run if you don’t have great content. The content of your Web site should be unique, high-quality, and relevant to your products and services. This is especially true for obtaining a good ranking in directories, because human-beings–not algorithms–are assessing your Web site.
Be sure to use your keywords in the headings and text of your site’s homepage. This is especially important for a good ranking in search engines.
Your content should also be fresh and frequently updated. This is important in determining your initial ranking in directories, and it is vital to your continued ranking in search engines because they spider the same sites repeatedly, and updated content helps you establish credibility.
Ensure that each page of your Web site is unique. If you reuse the same text from page to page, search engines may interpret this as an attempt to artificially improve your ranking, which will result in lowering your ranking.
In part two of this series, we'll discuss link building, and how to register your site with directories and search engines.
Article Source: Verio