SEO or search engine optimization is all about driving traffic to your website. You want as much traffic as possible in order to increase your hits and if you intend on making money through your site (most people do) then you will increase revenues too. Cha-chinnnng.
In order to enhance SEO for your site you need to work closely with keyword phrases.
Images are an important part of SEO so its always a good plan to include them in your site.
The site layout you choose is an essential part of creating your online presence as a consultant or a small company.
Keyword phrases are crucial in your website. They signal search engines like a flag, waving them down and catching their attention. The more of the same keyword phrases in your site the better the chances your site will generate a hit. Let’s say you are a violinist and you are offering your musical services to performance troupes or venues of some sort. Clearly “ violinist ” and “ musician ” are two strong keywords for your site. There are many others but it only makes sense to use about 10 since most search engines will not read more than that anway.
Choose your 10 crucial keywords and then get ready to use them in a pseudo-scientific manner in your site.
Keyword Research Tools How do you figure out effective keywords to use in your website? I am so glad you asked! There are free keyword research sites available just like there are free sites and blogs. They don’t come with all the bells and whistles perhaps that a “purchased” research tool might but small business owners and entrepreneurs usually don’t need anything more than the basics anyway. Here are 3 you can access sans paid membership. Trellian Free Search Term Suggestion Tool I am seriously not kidding, that’s the name of it. However it is a pretty awesome tool. You don’t have to register if you don’t feel like it. Type in a keyword or keyword phrase, hit enter and it will bring up a list of the top 100 words or phrases from highest to lowest that are googled worldwide the most often so you can make those keywords into your very own, maximizing your site traffic. If you decide to purchase a membership you can find the most common spelling mistakes of your keyword to add to the settings on your site. Amazing. Google Adwords Keywords This one’s a bit odd. Google offers you the average number of searches for a keyword or phrase but it doesn’t specify the number. They display it visually for you in a bar graph. Well perhaps knowing you are in the ballpark is helpful. SEOBook.com A cool option right here. This site offers a free SEO training series via email. It suggests other tracking tools you can look into however these don’t appear to be free since they offer a “free trial”. It offers alternative keywords than whatever you typed in in order to maximize your success.
There exists a 3-click rule for visitors to your website. Most people will stop searching your site after 3clicks if the word/s they googled aren’t anywhere to be seen, or not often enough. In fact many people don’t bother to stay in a site after only 1 click so make sure you are keyword-crazy.
Close on the heels of the 3-click rule is your site’s usability. Okay so this isn’t truly SEO optimization but it does keep people on your page once they’ve entered. A clean, attractive site that is easy to understand and navigate is going to produce a far better result than a site that’s too busy or highly technical. You have to appeal to the masses unless you are truly interested in targeting a very specific niche and then you have to ask yourself if that’s a wise move.
White or light backgrounds with a dark text are easier on the eyes for most people.
Don’t overdo font formatting and try to start headers near the top centre of each page. It’s easier for search engines to find it and flag it.
Use bulleted text on your main page. Readers aren’t patient with long-winded paragraphs (take note of how I’ve set out these pages. Okay so this is a slide show and not a site. Still the pages in a slideshow presentation are designed in a fairly similar manner).
Sometimes sites list links at the bottom of their site, or on the last page or they attach them via a little button. Usually those links have a visible URL that you can see on the page eg. http://www.wix.com/lisalahey/lisalahey2 That’s a good way to link up to blogs and other websites. But there is another effective way to add URLs to your site. Websites usually come equipped with a settings page or some kind of little menu that gives you the option of adding links via images or text that you write as a header, or a sub-header or just ordinary text in your site. ( Click on the header ).
Why do you want to do that? Well if you have a blog located outside of your site it’s common sense to add a link to it so people can read current information about your business or whatever else you believe people should associate with your website. Let me emphasize that last bit carefully. Whatever you believe people should associate with your website.
If you’re going to blog then make sure whatever you blog about is professional. If you intend to use a blog just to post personal pics and chat with personal contacts then you might want to privatize your blog and only let specific people view it online. Ever.
If you are quite observant and I know you are, you have noted that I linked you to both my blog and my site on this page in order to increase traffic for my own self-serving purposes. See how the PR o n that one works?
Images An image is just a picture or a photograph of some sort that fancies up your website and makes it look pretty. Visuals are very important so do use them. People like to see stuff. An attractive or graphic image on your main page compels people to keep reading and checking out your site. Images that do things can be very effective, like the images that litter this slideshow. Aren’t they cool? Search engines don’t see images but they read them, increasing your website traffic. Images are another great place to add keyword phrases so if you can hook them up to some text then by all means do so.
Not everyone aspires to be Stephen King or even Lisa Lahey (that’s me! Yes I write novels too by the way – click my name! Or the text line to your left). We don’t all want to be authors but you will not be able to get around the fact that your website NEEDS text and the more the better. At least 400 words should grace your main page giving people all sorts of relevant, professionally worded information that they need to see up front. What might that include you ask?
Well if you are hiring people they want to know about you and your organization so they can impress you during an interview. That means you ought to throw them a bone and include an About Us section. If you are offering services or products of course you need to include pricing. If you don’t want to make your prices publicly known for competitive reasons then at least tell people to contact you for a quote. Tell them something or they will think you charge an astronomically unfair amount for whatever it is you offer.
Hint: If you aren’t the best writer in the world get a friend or a professional to do the text for you. Don’t forget to add links to your text wherever you find it relevant and/or creative.
And here we are with a sub-header to our header. See how nicely it organizes the page and indicates precisely what our content is about? Litter your text here with more of your keyword phrases if you can.
Another nice little sub-header here I’m sure you noticed. Now see how the end of my sentences in each section of this page pretty much line up together ? Make yours do the same. It looks better. It’s easier to read. It’s more professional. Just think of how your resume looks and try to copy that style (if your resume looks good that is).
Your main page header is your title but you can still have a header on each new page of your website, in fact it’s recommended.
Or perhaps variety in your website layout and text isn’t the spice you want. If you have more than one page you may want to switch up the layout a bit.
Then again there is nothing wrong with continuity and sameness since it shows consistency and probably looks more thematic and serious. Artsy-fartsy types get away with being more creative than traditional business sites so keep that in mind. (Artsy fartsy types get away with everything, don’t they? Beginning to feel like you missed out perhaps?)
Do be careful with your fonts however. You don’t want too many different fonts on one page or throughout your site. That tends to look a bit silly.
And That’s All She Wrote That’s all the basics you need to get you started with creating a website that has better odds of being found on the internet via use of SEO and thereby gaining more traffic. Oh my did you see that? I just repeated the theme of this presentation and used another traffic graphic. Nothing like continuity and using keyword phrases is there? There are lots of great articles about SEO optimization and how to incorporate these techniques into your site and blog. Check out a few of these links to get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization http://seo-optimization.org/ http://webdesign.about.com/od/seo/a/seo_basics.htm http://www.webconfs.com/seo-tutorial/introduction-to-seo.php