When business owners hear the term "Search Engine Optimization", thoughts of wonder, confusion, and even fear begin to rattle around in their heads. To many, it's a mystery that only Sherlock Holmes could solve. In actuality, there is no reason for this term to stress you out at all. Search Engine Optimization isn't nearly as difficult to learn as you might believe. All you need to do is figure out a starting point and go from there. To get you started, we've compiled a quick Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization that should take some of the mystery out of this fantastic marketing opportunity.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is a technique utilized by a company or individual to help promote their website's presence on various search engines found on the Internet, in addition to improving it for the visitors who land on their site. If utilized correctly, good SEO can bring a large number of potential customers to your site with minimal effort. Plus, it will make your site more useful to the people who visit, which will increase your web traffic even more and keep them coming back.
The Importance of Keywords
Chances are, you've performed a search online in the past few days using a search engine like Google, Bing, etc. When you did this, what did you type in? Some people will type in a full sentence or just a few words, but what is important in your search is the key words that are being used. For example, you may be searching for "dog grooming in Los Angeles" or "Kim Kardashian baby". These words are what bring people to your website, and choosing the wrong words could mean that searchers never have an opportunity to find your site. But use the correctly optimized words and you could find yourself inundated with traffic to your site, which is exactly what we all want.
Choosing the Appropriate Key Words
When choosing which keywords to use on your website, you must learn to think not like a business, but like a consumer ... or, more accurately, like a person searching for something on the Internet. For example, as covered in our 7 Things Your Website Needs to Rock blog, instead of using "Search Engine Optimization" as a keyword, we would use something like "Get my website listed on Google". In many cases, simply breaking down a piece of technical jargon into layman terms will work wonders in improving your SEO. If you're in doubt, the easiest way to figure this out is to do numerous searches yourself for everything from painting your house to tuning up your transmission, and experiment with the keywords that provide you with the most accurate results.
Keywords are Only the Beginning
Although much has been said about keywords, there are other elements that you must focus on if you want your Search Engine Optimization to really kick. Each page of your website must be optimized so that search engines can locate them. This includes optimizing the title of each page and adding alt tags to your images, plus including meta keywords and meta descriptions to each of those keywords. For those who aren't familiar with these terms, don't worry. Alt tags allow for a description of an image, which allows for better SEO, especially for visually impaired searchers. Meta keywords and meta descriptions refer to hidden tags that list all of the keywords relevant to a page's content, along with their descriptions. All of these are designed to further optimize your site.
The above is only the beginning to Search Engine Optimization. While it isn't a difficult concept to grasp, utilizing it effectively and learning the little nuances of it can take a little time. Many successful companies utilize marketing professionals to maximize their exposure and website traffic by successfully integrating SEO into their daily marketing strategy. Once the technique is perfected, your business will become a force to be reckoned with.