You hear the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization used when talking about setting up a website and having your site found on search engines. What does SEO really mean? The term SEO can be thought of as an umbrella term used to covers the way your site is viewed by search engines. There are four focal areas in SEO, on site optimization, off page optimization – this includes back link building, search engine visibility and social media traffic.
All four areas have different aspects to them. To create the best search results for you site you want to start off with a great foundation. In this article I’m covering the basics of building the foundation.
What is on-site optimization?
On-site optimization has to do with how your site content is structured. It is the foundation for all the SEO work to be done on your site. There are multiple things that need to be taken into account when doing on-site optimization.
Constant site updates where new fresh content is added to your site consistently.
Structure of page content needs to include appropriate headings and paragraph structures.
Search engine descriptions – Meta tags need to be aligned around a focus keyword phrase or what Google calls a long tail keyword.
Images with optimized image descriptions (alt tags).
Images should have descriptive names like artist-painting.jpg NOT image1234.jpg
Internal linking – using links to connect keywords to specific pages.
User friendly page names. Do not use stop words like the, a, is, etc. in page names.
Have links to other related content as a resource to other sites.
The thing to remember when developing content for you site is to keep it focused on relevant information. Search engines look at your content and judges relevance of your sites information based on the entire scope of what you cover on your site. For example if you are an electrical contractor who specialized in new construction you may also want to include information on electrical work in remodels because it’s one aspect of electrical work while you may not do the work search engines like to show sites that they see as an authority on a search term. That means a site that covers both new and remodeling electrical work is more likely to show higher in search results that only covers new construction electrical work in a limited way. Content in King so the more relevant content you have the better your chances of ranking for a keyword phrase is better.
What is off page SEO?
The phrase off page SEO deals with all aspects of how other sites reference your site as being an authority in an area. If you’re an electrical contractor and you have other sites that link to a page on your site as a reference search engines will give you a bump for being a resource. There is a term for this which is back link building. This is a subject that can be a little contentious because search engines will penalize you for the quality of your back links. There was a major crack down on buying back links, buying back links is bad and Google black listed a lot of sites because they were using blackhat methods of trying to build back links. So having sites link to your site is important but more important is how those links are developed.
Search Engine Visibility
Search engine visibility deals with how you let search engines know you are there. Just building a website doesn’t guarantee your site will be found or indexed by search engines properly. You need to create webmaster accounts at major search engines like Google and Bing then add their verification and tracking code to your site as a first step in search engine visibility.
Another aspect of search engine visibility making sure your site doesn’t have broken links or any of your page code is broken. Search engines can penalize your site for having lots of broken links so how you add and remove pages is important. When you remove a page you need to let search engines know where to go with a 301 redirect so they don’t end up in Nowheresville looking for a page that isn’t there any longer, no one wants to be in Nowheresville.
Social Media Traffic
The last but not least of search engine optimization is developing your website Social Media presence. Today if you’re a commuter you know how much time people spend on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. I recommend at a minimum you have those two and depending on your business adding things like Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and others to your online identity.
You want to optimize your site to leverage the additional reach having a social network on each of these mediums provides.