Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing a site’s rankings in the search engine results page. The SEO industry is constantly changing and the learning curve is steep. But here are some simple suggestions for getting to the top.
Being at the top of the search engine results is of huge importance. Even if you are ranked #11 (the first result on the second page), you will only get 3% of the clicks for that keyword phrase. If you were in the top 3, you would get 70%! Imagine that 1,000 search for your phrase every month. If you only get 3% of them, that is 30 visitors to your site. If your conversion rate is 2% (which is the high side of average for the internet), then you would get .06 of a sale. Basically, every two months, you would sell one item (product, service, widget, etc). Now imagine you were in the top 3. Every month 700 visitors would come to your site. Assuming the same conversion rate, you would sell 14 widgets per month. Now think about if you were ranking in the top 3 for 10 keyword phrases and they all had ~1000 searches a month. You would now be selling 140 widgets EVERY MONTH. For just having a website. Not doing any other kind of advertising. And that’s not factoring in repeat business, word of mouth, etc.
So what are the most important techniques every search engine optimizer should use to maximize results for time and effort?
1. Title tags should be written so they are attention grabbing and easily readable for the visitor. There is no point in being at the top of the results if your site looks spammy. Make sure to work your keyword phrase into the title but do it in a way that sounds normal to the average reader. Make sure each page has its own optimized title tag. Each page should focus on one keyword. This technique also applies to meta descriptions. Make sure they are readable, catchy, and include that page’s keyword phrase.
2. Fill in the img alt tags. Search engine crawlers cannot read or see images so you need to include a title and description for each image included on the page. Obviously, the page’s keyword should be worked in here. You can also use a variation of the keyword phrase or a more general version to avoid keyword density issues. Which leads to:
3. Keyword Density. It was an old technique in the days of the wild, wild SEO to do “keyword stuffing”. Basically this meant throwing your keyword onto the site as much as possible. You would even see some sites with the keyword repeated over and over in small text in the footer. Those days are over and now websites will be penalized for doing this. Make sure your keyword to text ratio is around 1-3%. More than that and you may get punished
4.Speed is important to the search engines because if the visitor has to wait more than 5-10 seconds, they are likely to try another result. Even if that page was exactly what they were looking for. So be sure to cache your site and take off any animations or images that slow down the load time if possible.
5. Update content frequently. The freshness of a site is directly linked to their rankings. A website that hasn’t been updated in a year is less likely to have relevant content on it and more likely to have errors, viruses, broken links, etc. So update often. Once or twice a week is a good goal.
6. Make the site’s design attractive to the viewer. The visitor should be your first concern. Again, it is pointless being the first result in a search if no one stays on your site long enough to buy anything.
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