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Website SEO 101

(SEO) or in other words, Search Engine Optimization.  The objective here is to increase your website's traffic, and ultimately convert that traffic into some kind of goal you have set for your website. The goal you have set being met is also known as a conversion.  Often that is a sale of some kind.  However, you might be trying to attract new members, get donations, inform the public of an important issue, etc.  In all cases what is called a "conversion" is met when you achieve the goal you have set for the website.

Optimizing your website results in ranking very high in searches results for keywords that you want your website to be listed in.  More specifically well done search engine optimization positions your website rank higher than it's competitors in certain searches or at the very least on the same page.  This is often accomplished by re-working, very often by re-writing the content of your website to be more relevant than your competitors in certain search queries.

Search engine optimization is often thought to be an effort to rank top choice for every single keyword or search term you have for your website.   That isn't the case.  The effort here is to rank high in many keywords and search terms.  You can't always be at the top of all search results.  That would be an unrealistic goal at best.  Being realistic, you can rank very high in many searches relevant to you.  Sometimes you will be number one, not always.  I am going to explain each area of website or web page optimization a little in order to help you understand the basic concepts behind Search Engine Webpage Optimization.

  1. My first piece of advice actually has to do with what should be the last step.  I am going to mention it first only because most people I have spoken with got this wrong from the very start.  The very last step in optimizing your website is the submission of your website to search engines.  The last thing you want to do is get indexed as a page under construction.  That doesn't help your search placement any.  In fact that hurts your website's positioning or search engine rankings.  A website under construction is of no use to web surfers looking for information or to someone looking to buy something.  Therefore, a website under construction is of no use to search engines.  Search engines want to display results.  The more accurate the search engine's response is to a surfers query is, the more likely that surfer is to use that search engine again in the future.  For this reason a search engine is not going to want to list a website that will waste someone's time.

  2. The real first step in optimizing your website is to pick out your domain name.  This is the first opportunity you will have to use a keyword and or phrase for your website's subject matter or content.  Often people will say to me that they want the same domain name as the name of their business or organization.  This is of course very understandable and expected as well.  However, some website names have nothing to do with the subject matter they are in.  A good example of this are the number of business's that use a persons first name or a phrase that brings about an image for them they relate to.  The problem with these types of business names is that they either carry no relevance to the industry or website at all or the expected impression that people get is not always the case.   Impressions are personal and dependant on personal experiences.  You need something more sure to work.   Find domain names that are relevant to your industry.  If you are a baker, then something with the word baker or bakery.  What you don't want is something like, "FranksPlace.com"

    When looking for your domain name search the internet to see if the domain name you want already exists.  You can use any "Domain Name Registrar" to find out if the domain name you want is available.  Make sure the domain name extension is correct for the type of website it is. 

    Like it not there are times when you know the domain name isn't very relevant but for some reason like branding or Trademarks you have to use this name.  In those cases try to also purchase another domain name that is "Completely Free" and has relevance to your website's subject matter.  By completely free I mean the domain name and all the extensions to that name are available.  Examples of these are .com, .bis, .co, etc.  You don't want traffic going the wrong way due to a typo.  You should buy as many domain extensions as you can afford.  Even if you don't use them.  Otherwise someone else might!  Forward all the other domains your not using to the name you are using. 

    You can also use the second industry related domain name as well as the one you already have.  You could create another website altogether using this new domain name and connect to your original existing website.  Or like I said above you can forward the new domain name to the existing website you have up now.  When you forward a domain name you forward  it with or without meta tag information.  I advise that you use the meta tags to describe your business using different key words than you did on the original website.  This way you will pick up traffic that you might of missed with the other original description. 

    Remember the person looking for a "baker" who makes donuts and the person looking for a "bakery" who makes donuts are both your potential customers.  Their just using different words to find you. 

  3. The next step in search engine positioning, placement or ranking advice that I would give you is to build a "rich text" content  website. This step is probably the most missed and yet I think it is the most important step of all.  Many people put up a website that has little or no real subject content.  These websites are not helping anyone.  That fact alone usually keeps that type of website from being anything notable.

    Often I see websites with a lot of images but no text content.  That is a common error.  Yet another common content error is to put up the exact same information available on many other websites.  If you don't add anything new or change things around, put your personal touches into the content, you will be seen as "repeated information" and not as an original resource.  Why would a search engine want to list a bunch of website with the same information on them?  How much would that help a web surfer with a search engine query?

  4. The last initial step is to watch out for what type of content you have on your website.  With today's web it is very easy to get a feed, blog, column, etc, from somewhere else and display it on your website.   This type of content unless it stems from you is actually considered repetitive content and not original content.  While this by itself does not hurt you, you still need original content.  When writing the text for the website keep content keywords in mind.  See the explanation of content keywords in the following sections below.

The Nuts, Bolts & Screws Behind Web Page Optimization

There are many methods to optimizing your web pages.  I will go into each search engine optimizing method in more detail.  There are Structured Data, Meta Tags, Content Keywords, Search Terms, Phrases, and Expressions, Combinations of keywords, Page Titles, Hyper-Links, Link Text, Link Titles, Image Alternative Text, Image Title Fields, Long Tail Traffic. It is better to work on all of these areas and score well in many searches because your website is well balanced within all of these areas.  You don't want to do well in only one area.  That is too limiting no matter what it is your website is for or about.