The world of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can seem to be inordinately complex to the layman. First of all the search engines themselves change the rules of what their algorithms are looking for when they serve up your page. Add to that the number of search engines out there and the nuances of what they may be looking for compared with the others. And oh, by the way, you have a day job. Unless you are a webmaster, you probably don’t have the time or skill to continuously work on your site.
So What’s the Big Deal?
SEO is the technique that helps search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., find and rank your online presence ahead of other sites in response to a search question. When a prospect types in “plumbers” and you are the owner of a plumbing business, you want your site to come up above the guy across town. Why? Because statistics show that 42% of people do not go beyond page 1 of search results. Show up on page 4 or beyond – forget being found. Over 90% of people that have access to a computer use search engines rather than other tools to find what they are looking for.
Hide and Seek
Probably the biggest bang comes from leveraging analytics to identify keywords and search phrases for the top landing pages. You also need to do research on where you currently rank to assess your starting point and make sure your efforts have returned the desired results. If your business is strictly local, you will want to be cognizant of geographic or region based key word phrases.
Test, Test, Test
The old carpenters’ adage of measure twice, cut once is relevant for more than woodworking. For any marketing effort, you would be well served to test your changes to see if you are getting the desired results. Research your competitors and see what they are doing to improve their ranking. Make sure you redirect your old URLs so that your audience doesn’t get the dreaded error page from old bookmarks.
And don’t overwrite the robots.txt file when you move from your staging or testing environment into production. This will essentially ensure you won’t be found since it blocks search engines.
A Picture Isn’t Worth a Thousand Words
In the world of search engine spiders, heavy graphics and images don’t help unless you add captions, appropriate text or descriptions. That’s because spiders/robots crawl text. While images are going to make your site visually more appealing, you will want to supplement them with descriptors that are applicable to your keywords
Keep It Fresh
Updating your website regularly, keeping the content current and fresh will help you with those pesky spiders.
Hire a Pro
You do have a day job, remember? SEO is one area that you may want to invest your marketing dollars vs. spending your time trying to keep up. Of course, this is a shameless plug for Cybertary – we can help you design and maintain your online presence so you can spend your time on addressing all of those new inquiries that will flood into your site.