Search Engine Optimization refers to a process of improving the organic visibility of your domain in major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing to name a few. A process that has been refined and perfected since the days of AltaVista being one of the top search engines in its days. The unique combination of elements that play significant roles in indexing content from your website within the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) are a part of a unique algorithmic formula that has been long tried to be manipulated. There are many SEO experts and internet marketing specialists that will claim they’ve mastered this formula and will assure you top rankings in major search engines which will yield targeted organic traffic to your domain.
Exercise caution when dealing with these types of individuals in particular if you’re new to Search Engine Optimization services. As a newcomer and beginner with SEO i would highly suggest that you become acquainted with the process and understand the basics before making any irrational decisions. There are valid reasons why you should do your homework first or perhaps even try optimizing your website yourself. Below I’ve outlined a few helpful tips and information to assist you in better understanding what Search Engine Optimization is all about and how to best approach it as a beginner.
Paid vs Non-Paid (Organic) Traffic in Search Engines
Each individual search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have what’s referred to as Paid and Non-Paid search results. As a newcomer & beginner to SEO you don’t have the slightest clue what that means. Hold your horses, i’m getting to it! After performing a query on a keyword term in your favorite search engine you will be presented with a list of results. The returned results should look something like this on your screen (See Below)
Now pay close attention to the next few sentences in order to get a clear understanding. Most people tend to get lost in this part (Ugh, I can’t help it) so read closely. If you notice on the screenshot above there are two sections of search engine results that you see.
- Non-Paid (Organic) Results – the middle section in the screenshot are the natural search results from websites that are indexed by a search engine crawler or also known as robot. This consists of various domains out there in the virtual world that provide relative information to your search query term. Now read even closer…the post you’re reading explains and gives suggestions on how you can get started with optimizing your website organically to appear in this particular section of Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Each search engine mentioned is structured identically.
- Paid Results -this is the right hand side column of the screenshot above often referred to as Sponsored Links. These appear here from Search Engine Marketing platforms such as Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions, and Microsoft Advertising. Advertisers from around the world pay a certain CPC (Cost-Per-Click) each time someone clicks on their ad. Your website will not appear in this section simply because you’re not an advertiser!
SEO 101: Getting Started with Search Engine Optimization
You’re fresh off the boat on this one and have no clue how to get started. There’s plenty that you can do on your own to ensure that your website has at least a basic Search Engine Optimization elements implemented into it.
- Rich Content – one of the biggest problems that most people have is being able to fit their website with useful information. As a rule of thumb know this that “content is king” on the web any way you look at it. On static pages of your website ensure that you have plenty of content which discusses your products or services. Typically you can limit it to around 600 words and be as descriptive as possible. Keep industry jargon to minimum considering that your average user isn’t keen on it and they simply need to know more about your products or services without getting lost in the terminology.
- Navigation – I can’t count the number of websites that I’ve come across in the past that have caused me frustration due to poor navigational structure. It’s important that your website visitors are able to access your pages within one to two clicks from entering the domain itself. Ensure that you have clear top and footer navigation on all pages of your website to provide easier access to content.
- Layout – Mickey Mouse backgrounds or a picture from your family vacation last year simply aren’t going to cut it. You need an aesthetically appealing website that will be inviting and easy on the eyes. Stick to the dark or light background colors and ensure that text is readable. Escape the usage of fancy fonts, flash, scrolling text, or any other special effects that may increase the loading time of each page on your website. The overall goal here is to provide a pleasant browsing experience for your visitors without causing frustration or getting them lost in the process.
- Speed – this ties into layout a little bit although slightly different. One of the recent changes in algorithm for ranking websites was the speed factor. Your website pages need to load within 4 seconds of entrance by visitors. On average a an internet user will spend 15 seconds or less on a web page prior to parting permanently. Ensure that your pages load fast on major browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, or Internet Explorer just to name a few.
- Meta Data – while this element will require further optimization and nurturing in the long run there are a few things that you can do. Ensure that each page of your website has Meta field within the code structure that consists of a Title Tag, Description Tag, and Keyword Tag fields. If you’re unsure on how to go about this find affordable search engine optimization services or an experienced internet marketing specialist to assist you further. These tags should consist of relevant information which compliments the content of that particular page. Each field tag is used by a search engine crawler for contextual targeting purposes and identification of content on your pages. It’s important that you have something here rather than leaving it blank (What a surprise!)
Please keep in mind that these are just some basic SEO 101 steps that you can take towards the improvement of your website visibility. By no means it will get you to the top of Google in a matter of a day or month to say the least. As an experienced internet marketing specialist with prior experience in SEO and search engine optimization services I’d be happy to discuss your website needs.