Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) tends to be somewhat of a mystery to most website owners. But in reality we can boil down SEO to four basic things:

#1 Website Structure

For customers to find you the search engines first need to have indexed your site.  Engines will have easier time finding and indexing your page if :

  1. your site has good and simple website structure, no complicated deep linking,
  2. your site has good page description and relevant page titles in the meta tags,
  3. has been submitted to all major search engines

#2 Content and Keywords

This is where you will spend most of your time.  The content on your website drives your keywords and the keywords help you keep relevant content.

Unlike in previous years, meta tags’ keywords are not as important.  As search engine robots get more sophisticated, they look for the keywords in the content itself.  But don’t over do it. The search engines will mark you down if you “word stuff”.  Optimizing for two phrases per page is a good SEO guide to follow.

Analyze each of your primary pages, especially the ones you use for landing pages to ensure you got everything covered.  Don’t forget about your pictures, each should have a description or keywords associated with it.

Tip - Search engines are more likely to give higher ranking  to your home page so give extra emphasis on optimizing your main page using your primary key words.

#3 Link-backs

How many links point to your website? Linking is a core algorithm in determining ranking.

The number of quality links tell engines how popular your site is. Links can come from various places:

  • natural links from people that enjoy your site
  • bartered links
  • link exchanges
  • paid links

But not all links are good links. Engines will know if you use link farms to try to artificially inflate your link power.  So it’s important to provide quality inbound links that relate to your content.

Tip - look at your competitors to figure out which links are high quality and where they link to and from.

#4 Maintenance

Rinse and Repeat. Optimizing your website is not something that you do once and forget.  It’s an ongoing process.

  • Keep the engines and your visitors engaged by providing fresh content.
  • refine your keywords monthly
  • keep on top of your competitors, check on what they’re doing
  • keep close watch on the analytics and what the data is telling you.

There have volumes written on the topic, so this is by no means the complete list, however these are the bare basic and as most fundamentals go, very important.

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