Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important things you should learn when setting up a website for your business. Whether you sell exclusively online or you simply have a webpage for your business, knowledge of SEO is necessary in order to bring in new customers and be found online. Essentially, SEO tells search engines what your site is about so that when users search for something you’re offering the search engine will return your website among the results. The higher the search ranking, or the closer to the first slot on the first page of results your website is, the better for you. SEO has four basic components: keywords, content, links, and relevance.
Keywords are essential to good SEO. In a sense, keywords act as the list of ingredients for your website. The amount of keywords you have, the relevance of them, and the frequency with which you use them all play a part in whether or not search engines will find you. Here are some basic things you should know about keywords.
- Make sure that the keywords you use are directly related to what you sell or offer. If you sell insurance, make sure that a good portion of your keywords deal not only with insurance but the specific type you sell.
- Do not engage in keyword stuffing, which simply means the overuse of keywords in an attempt to be found by search engines. Search engines are very smart and they know when you are using words out of context or in unnecessary frequency in order to obtain traffic.
- Try to put the main keyword or keywords pertaining to your website in the first and last paragraph of your content for each page, as the first 180 characters or so are what people will see when they scroll through the returned search results. If you had just one sentence in which to tell someone about the webpage in question, that should be the sentence you use at the top of the page.
Engaging content is extremely important in the world of SEO. You should have several pages on your website that discuss what you do, who you are, and what you offer. However, you should also create relevant content that does not directly sell to the viewer but which offers the viewer helpful information that relates to your business. For instance, if you are in the property and casualty insurance business you might have an article on your website about the top home fire hazards and how to mitigate them. This content still relates to insurance, but it isn’t directly selling your product. Why bother? Because it positions you as an expert in your field and also provides value to the customer, prospective or current, which in turn builds some amount of trust. If a customer can read a website that raves about how wonderful the insurance company is or they can read something that actually helps them and demonstrates that the website owner or associated business is actually knowledgeable in their field and wants to help people, they will choose the latter.
Links are another major part of SEO. Ratings are established partly by how many inbound links a website has. These links are like big arrows pointing to your website. The idea, at its core, is that if people are linking to your site there is something of value on it. If you have blogs, social media accounts, and other places online that you sell or participate in, and you should, always include a link to your website. You can also interlink, or link between your web pages. For instance, on your homepage you might make reference to your products page. Instead of saying “click the link to your left” you can simply make the term “products page” a link in and of itself to that page. This is basic link building, an essential part of SEO.
While relevance is a general term, it is still applicable across all areas of SEO. From your keywords to your content everything on your website must be relevant to the subject at hand. Search engines like to see web pages that deal with one specific topic. If you sell jewelry, have a page for bracelets, a page for necklaces, and a page discussing gemstones, and so on. Having too many subjects or topics on one page can diminish the chances that your page will receive high rankings from search engines. Keep your content, your keywords, your links, and all other aspects of your website relevant to the subject at hand for a better visitor experience and higher search engine rankings.
By understanding these basic segments of SEO you can be well on your way to creating a great website that brings in many new visitors, offers quality content, and results in new business. While SEO is an incredibly vast subject it is important to know some basics before delving into the complexities. By improving your keywords, content, links, and relevance you can significantly improve the quality of your website and increase the visibility of your business as a whole.