Atleast once a month, I get an email from an SEO company offering to make my site show up on Googles searches. This for a whooping $99 US per month. In my opinion, this number seems high for a service that comes with no guarantee and or explaination of how these results will be achieved. I always wondered, how on earth do these people sell this? Then I realized, just because I ain’t buyin it, does not mean others aren’t. Quite the contrary, people are buying it. And the simple answer to “why are they?” is because they don’t understand what SEO is.
So I am going to break it down in this post. Because I care. And sharing is caring. What is SEO? Do you need it?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. To explain it in one line – the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. At one point in time, the determining factor of how high your site showed in searches depended on “keywords” meta tags. But what eneded up happening was people abusing this feature, by adding invisible web pages that contained all the words and often irrelevant keywords. And so Google shut this down!
Instead of keywords, Google looks at other things. I will list the most important.
Some important things that are not only part of good web design, but also boost your SEO ranking (check the articles published by friendly exerpts from companies like One Thing Marketing
or YEAH! Local
for more details).
- Your site needs to be responsive, so it provides a seamless experience across all technoligies.
- Use text instead of images to display names, content and links. If you absolutely must use an image, be sure to use descriptive words in the alt attribute.
- Optimize your page loading times. Beware of all those huge background images, videos etc. Check your page speed!
- Ensure that your title elements and alt attributes are descriptive, specific, and accurate.
Content is still king. If you provide content that is well written and high quality, you will not only get good results in search rankings, but your visitors will return over and over. Just be sure you are a specialist in the niche (e.g. for a dental service website one should be finding a dental SEO expert
). I find having a blog helpful with this. Share what you know and make it good. If you aren’t the best writer, have a copywriter do it. It is an investment worth trying out.
Is your site Google-friendly?
Yes, there is such a thing. Check out Google’s guidelines on how to make your site Google-friendly.
The first thing they mentions is this,
Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.
Here’s what they also say regarding purchase of SEO services from companies. I feel like there needs to be background music or thunder for this 🙂
Don’t feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to “guarantee” high ranking for your site in Google’s search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.
Want to read the rest? Here’s the link
Links to your site
Having other sites link to yours is also a majoy factor in how you turn up in searches. This is why I always say providing rich content on your site is a good investment of time and money (if you hire a copywriter), as it helps in the overall boost of the site. It also keeps viewers engaged and coming back for more. Want to see the links pointing to your site? Well, Google’s got you coverd yet again! Here’s where you do that
Submit your site to Google
Once you have your site ready and live, submit it to Google for better online search results. This pretty much means you are letting Google know “Hey look at me, check me out. Make me visible online.” This also applies for Apps. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s where you do that
Maybe I should’ve mentioned this from the very beginning but – sign up for Google Webmasters
. Submit your sitemap, so Google bots can scan through all your website pages. It’s awesome and highly informative.
These are just the beginning steps that play an imparitive role from the foundation up. There’s lots more that you can do to furthur your online presence. Check out Google’s SEO guide
to get a better breakdown of things. It’s well put together. Are you following any of these? Have you found them helpful?