What good is a website or a blog if no one comes to it? You can spend thousands of dollars in hiring a professional designer to create a beautiful website, but if your website is not optimized to be found on search engines, then your investment is a waste. Good web design can only carry you so far. A crappy website can generate more traffic if it is found by Google easier than your site, and being found means money!
Search engine optimization, SEO, is a buzz word in web 2.0 today that means your web properties are utilizing techniques that Google, Bing, and other search engines depend on when generating a list of search results. Obviously, the goal is to be at the top of the list when people search for terms relevant to your company or organization. Try it right now. Try a specific search, say, “Bargain Dealio.” You’ll find this Seattle-based website fill up five to seven of the top listings. That’s great for a small website that isn’t getting much publicity (or trying to). But if we expand that search to “web bargains” or “web deals,” we’ll quickly see Bargain Dealio drops out of the running for the top listings. This is bad news for Bargain Dealio and potential visitors it would hope to bring to its website. There is hope though!
Here are three simple tips you can do for your website now to boost your search results that require NO programming or coding skills:
1. Keywords in your title
This is CRUCIAL! This is the first place Google indexes and refers back to when crawling for the top search results. Use keywords that accurately define what your website is about. In Bargain Dealio’s example, it used to say “The Website That Saves You Money.” While it does save you money by showing you the best deals, the title wasn’t fully accurate. Bargain Dealio actually provides you the best deals and bargains on the web, so you spend money, not save it! So now our title is “The Web’s Best Bargains and Deals.”
Pick keywords that the average person would use when searching for a product or service related to your company. If you are a lawyer, have your title say what your expertise is. If you blog about being a mom, highlight your passion in your title. Title’s cannot be long though nor should they be filled with random words you hope Google will like (ie “Bart’s Law Office | drunk driving, legal advice, pick me google, bananas, traffic court). Make your keywords flow out of who you are.
2. Homepage Description
Google looks for a description in your homepage that tells us who you are. A good SEO plug-in for your website or web developer should be able to direct you to where you fill in this information. This description is one of the other first places Google will look when generating web results. Like mentioned above, be wise with the keywords you use, but do not overdo it. Make your description define your mission. You typically have 150 characters, so like a smart tweet, you can say a lot without needing to say much. Bargain Dealio’s homepage description above highlights some of the deals you can find if you visit its site.
3. Canonical URLs
Strange term. I didn’t even know what it meant so let me highlight how a Google expert defined it:
Canonicalization is the process of picking the best url when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. For example, most people would consider these the same urls: * www.example.com * example.com/ * www.example.com/index.html * example.com/home.asp But technically all of these urls are different. A web server could return completely different content for all the urls above. When Google “canonicalizes” a url, we try to pick the url that seems like the best representative from that set.
Credit to the above comment to Matt.
Simply, when you type a blog post or create a new page on your website, what does that white box, also known as the address bar, say? If your post is about really cool widgets that fly, shoot lasers, and can fry an egg in a minute, but the address bar says www.yourwebsite.com/post/2/11/11/ then no one will find out about your extra-talented widgets and I want one! Instead, your URL should say www.yourwebsite.com/post/widgets-that-fly-sh0ot-lasers-and-fry-eggs or something to that degree. Now, when Jack from New Mexico is in dire need of a laser-shooting, egg-frying widget and goes searching for one, he can actually find it! Before, Jack would have been bemoaning the disappoint that such a widget does not exist, like I am now.
These tips are simple, easy to do, and crucial to your website or blog’s discoverability. In fact, stop reading and go make some changes now.
And I feel personally responsible to make sure you don’t become a flame-site like this guy talks about, so listen to his advice too.
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