Search engine optimization best practices


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The search engine has become the prevailing method to identify product and service vendors. Consequently, ensuring your brand appears high on any relevant search is critical. This whitepaper outlines the best practices that you can follow when trying to optimize your website for high search engine rankings---widely known as “Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)”

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Search engine optimization best practices

  2. 2. Executive SummaryThe search engine has become the prevailing method to identify product and service vendors.Consequently, ensuring your brand appears high on any relevant search is critical. This whitepaperoutlines the best practices that you can follow when trying to optimize your website for high searchengine rankings---widely known as “Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)”SEO Best PracticesWhen optimizing a site for the web, factors to be addressed include: content, images, links, meta-tags, sitemaps, and headings. Additionally, a business should consider tying their website optimization strategies intotheir other marketing efforts. CONTENT - The website content is of prime importance. The content on the website must be relevant to the business’s product/service lines. Also, when creating the content, it is essential to ensure the content is written from the webpage visitor’s point of view. For example, a company may be providing marketing support services, such as the creation of marketing collateral. Its prospects are most likely to search for “flyers” or “brochure creation.” The website should, therefore, contain the words flyers and brochures. These terms are defined as “keywords”— words most likely to be used to seek out relevant websites. It is essential that a website contains keyword-rich content. The following points suggest guidelines for determining appropriate keywords: o Relevance: Any keywords selected must be relevant to the product/service being offered. Always think from the prospect’s perspective when selecting keywords. Also, don’t select less relevant but very popular keywords in hopes of gaining better rankings. It will only attract the wrong prospects, and will hurt search engine rankings in the long run. o Judicious use of keywords: Though keywords help, site designers should guard against indiscriminate use of keywords—also known as keyword stuffing. Keywords should be used judiciously, wherever warranted and where they truly fit in. Search engines can “see” through keyword stuffing. o Dual spelling keywords: Some words can be spelled more than one way. For example, color and colour, fliers and flyers. In such cases, it may be advisable to use both spellings in the content. This will help ensure the page shows up in the top search engine results. However, it may have an impact on consistency and brand image. This is a judgment call that must be made by management.
  3. 3. ALTERNATIVE TEXT FOR IMAGES - While it is great to spruce up the site with images,search engines don’t recognize them until they have ‘Alternative text’ representingthem. Each of the images should have relevant alternative text tags ‘Alt tags’ added tothem. For example, if a book store and has put up images of its latest releases, it’s wiseto use the book names in the alt tags rather than using image 1, 2, etc.TEXT LINKS - While it is great to link images, for a greater search engine visibility, it isbetter to link text as well. For example, the image of a book may be linked to a page thatprovides a book review; the book title can also be linked to the same book review page.DESCRIPTION & KEYWORD METATAGS - Even though the importance of meta-tags isdiminishing, as far as Google is concerned, other popular search engines still use them.Businesses should ensure that description and keyword meta-tags contain relevant,customer-oriented content.SITE MAPS - Just as a roadmap helps you find your way, a site map guides a searchengine through a website site. It offers the engine easy access to all the content. Also,having site maps in the footer of the site are useful to website visitors, especially if thesite contains a lot of pages, tabs, or sub-tabs.EMPHASIZE - It is advisable to emphasize keywords using Bold, Italics, or a larger fontsize. HTML’s ‘Heading’ formatting styles may also be used for emphasis.PAGES - In general, the greater the number of pages in a site, the better the chances ofit being found on the web. All pages should have relevant, keyword rich content.Nonetheless, make sure navigation through the site remains simple, even with all thepages. Ultimately you are targeting prospects, not search engine robots.FLASH - Using Flash applications on the site may make it look nice, but it may not begood from a web-traffic perspective. First, Flash can take time to load, and that candiscourage visitors. Secondly, search engines tend to ignore flash graphics- no matterhow relevant or content-rich. If you must use Flash, then it is recommended that theflash section be allotted a keyword-rich, relevant description.INFORMATION QUALITY - As noted above, websites are for humans, not search enginerobots. Make sure the information, provided on the site, adds value for visitors. The siteshould reflect the latest information about the business and its products and services.Constantly update! And finally, don’t forget the details. The site should be free ofspelling and grammatical errors. A shoddy website hints of a shoddy product. It reflectspoorly on the brand.ENHANCE VISIBILITY - Be sure to add your website address to all other marketing andcorporate communications o Company letter head o Official signature blocks o E-mails o Marketing collateral o Social networking profiles
  4. 4. USE OTHER PLATFORMS TO DRIVE SITE VISITS - Use blogs, videos, case studies and whitepapers on topics that would be of interest to prospects and direct traffic to your website. People visit websites that offer them something of value—be it a free trial or knowledge-enhancing documents.Finally, there are several tools available in the market that can help monitor search engine rankings. These toolsalso offer data clusters that enable the business to see various web metrics like the number of hits, location ofhits, and other valuable visitor data. Such tools enable a business to create profiles of its website visitors.SUMMARY- All of these tools and suggestions can optimize your site rankings, but keep in mind: perseverance isthe key. Search engine optimization is not a one-time effort. It is a continuous process. A business mustrelentlessly continue the optimization process even after seemingly good results are achieved.
  5. 5. For the past 14 years, MindMatrix has been aligning sales and marketingfunctions for over 20,000 sales and marketing professionals across 200companies, from diverse verticals through its innovative sales andmarketing software and solutions.Unique to the industry, MindMatrix offers Ne xt Generation MarketingAutomation software on a single unified platform for Sales and Marketing.Our solutions bring about a seamless integration of the 2 functions helpingour clients derive the maximum benefit from their investment in marketingand sales automation.Contact me today to know more about how MindMatrix solutions can helpyou align your marketing and sales processes for improved results.