Many of my friends with small businesses tell me that they want their site to be Search Engine Optimizaed (SEO) enabled. Out of curiosity when I ask them what they mean about it, I hear different thoughts around it:
- More visitors to their sites
- Convert visitors to customers (by selling products or services)
- Improve the engagement of visitors on their site (spend more time on their site)
- Be recognized on the internet for the product or services they provide
Always have a goal in mind about why you want your website to be SEO enabled. This will help in driving your energies and efforts toward it. Other things that you need to think about is how much time do you (or somebody else) want to spend on the efforts, how much money do you want to spend, how much information are you ready to share about your product or service.
Why is SEO important?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important because that is the way websites, virtual people and content are recognizable in the internet.
Let us imagine you own a beautiful home in the middle of mountains, rivers and greenery with little or no roads to it. One of your friends also has a beautiful home in a similar area but he has ensured to build roads, directions and information to his home.
If you both were to have visitors, which house would be easier to locate and appreciate by the visitors? Without doubt the one that has information, roads and directions to it.
A beautiful home is important (A website with great content, awesome design and layout, beautiful colors)
If your home has no road to it, how do you expect people to find it (A website with more links is easier to reach by visitors)
If information about your home is not easily available from the main road (sites with a lot of links), visitors will find it difficult to reach your home and would prefer to visit your friend’s home (remember to include meta tags and alt attributes to your site and its images)
Best practices for SEO
- When you create pages, make the content on the pages for your users. The more people like the content on your site, the better your site will become in SEO
- All sites should have clear hierarchy and text links. Make sure that every page is reachable from a static text link
- Make sure your tag and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate
- Use keywords to create descriptive, human friendly URL’s.
- Provide one version of a URL to reach a document, using 301 redirects or rel=canonical element to address duplicate content
- Don’t put text you want indexed inside images
What is your website about? What are your users looking for?
- Performing an action – Doing an ecommerce transaction, watching a movie
- Information gathering – Searching for information like programming questions, holiday destination
- Reaching a destination – Seeking an online destination like Facebook.com, Microsoft.com
Position on Search Results page
- If your page shows up in position 1, on Google receive an average of 18.2% click through traffic and on Bing receive an average of 9.66% click through traffic
- The second position on Google receives a 10.1% followed by 7.2% in the third position
Issues with websites
- Search engines cannot index content behind a login/cms system
- Poor link structures lead to failure of search engines indexing pages that are not reachable
- Images/Videos/audio/plug-in format are difficult for search engines to parse
- SEO is not just about getting the best website up. It is about making it more discoverable