These days it’s imperative for your brand to have a virtual presence that resonates with core products and service offerings.  It’s a gateway into prospecting for new customers interested in doing business with you.  Getting the basics down in building a website with proper SEO semantics can be a bit tricky though.  You’ll be amazed at the amount of designers, developers and creatives that’ll swarm your inbox in competition for bidding on the opportunity to get a shot at building your next web presence.  That’s great and all but neither of those truly have a handle on the SEO semantics and logistics as a whole required for a dominant presence in SERPs.  Designers put create a mixed blend of creative and technical as quick as possible, developers have nothing but code on their mind and well, creatives are good at whipping up an aesthetically appealing end product.

Considering SEO Semantics for Your Next Website

Careless website redesigns will easily set you up for virtual failure.  Something that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.  If you’re new to SEO than perhaps this may overwhelm you slightly but I promise, well worth the time investment.  The basics outlined below are the start of building a solid foundation that will contribute to long-term organic visibility and success.  Taking those lightly would indicate lack of seriousness and dedication in succeeding on the web.  Even more so it would be like leaving money on the table for others to take advantage of.

Platform – The Technology Matters

Highly overpriced content management systems aren’t usually the immediate answer to your website building problems.  In fact, those are in need the majority of your technology issues that you need to resolve first prior to doing anything else.  Leveraging the power of Open Source Solutions can serve as a huge asset to your brand.  Applications such as Joomla and WordPress are ideal candidates for building a solid, powerful and fully functional website.  However should you choose to complicate things a bit more than consider alternative paid solutions such as Magento when it comes complex e-commerce needs and enhanced merchant capabilities.  These particular solutions will accommodate the needs of most small to medium-size business owners and perhaps even fulfill the needs of certain enterprise level website needs.  Personally I’ve used all 3 and yet to encounter any unmet needs.

Content Structure & Core Messaging

There’s nothing more disturbing than stumbling across a website that contains poor content structure.  In order to engage with your target audience it’s imperative that individual pages or piece of content are custom tailored and speak to individual products or service offerings.  Visuals are highly encouraged as well in order to establish proper connection with end user.  After all images are worth 1,000 words but content also acts as a supportive element that enforces core meaning.

Meta Data – Titles, Description Tags and Keywords

If this was 20 years ago I’d say that you’re way ahead of the game in optimizing content for search.  However in today’s competitive digital age it’s imperative for your content to consist of proper Meta Data correspondent with on-page context.  Why?  While the search algorithm continues to shift at an unidentified rhythm, the basics still remain a requirement in ensuring proper organic visibility.  Relevance and association with on-page content attributes largely to proper Meta Data that identifies to search engine robots the purpose of each particular page on your website.  When optimizing static pages and blog posts on your website ensure that each contains compliant Meta Data information that will contribute towards increased visibility in SERPs.

URL Structure

When search engines attempt to rank individual pages of your website one of the things they look for closely is the structure of actual url address.  Yes, it’s an element of consideration in search rankings and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  From a frontend perspective all you need to worry about is ensuring that each url address of a page consists of long-tailed term structure.  Separators of individual keywords can be in the form of “-” (preferrably) or “_”.  The 11 best practices for SEF urls blog post on SEOmoz contains great information on how to approach this tactic most effectively.  Contingent upon existing platform structure (see above) you may have limitations that would involve consultation with our webmaster/developer for further fine tuning.

Social Sharing Integration

Social Media provides untapped potential in generating targeted traffic to your domain.  As of 2012 social media efforts account for approximately 16% of search results therefore positioning it as a necessity within your SEO plan.  Consider implementation of social sharing features such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest (if applicable)  that give end-users the ability to share content from your website and essentially enhancing visibility thru exposure within their own community networks.  For WordPress there are various plugins readily available that enable you with access to such features.

Dynamic Content Generation – Use a Blog

Retaining or acquiring organic rankings in SERPs nowadays can be rather challenging and highly competitive dependent upon your industry.  However one effective strategy for staying ahead of the curve remains in publishing of dynamic content that’s relevant to your industry.  The purpose of this particular strategy helps establish thought leadership, educated, communicate with target audience and acquire new leads.  Most of all search engines love fresh content and will award you accordingly for such activities.  A solid blogging strategy will assist with driving additional targeted traffic, lead generation, brand positioning and increased visibility within the SERPs.

Use Robots.txt File

Why you should use a robots.txt file? Search engine robots typically look for certain elements that contribute towards rankings of your pages in SERPs.  One of them consists of having a properly configured robots.txt file which indicates and prohibits access to certain areas of your website.  Read thru the article via link provided above to get a better understanding on how a robots.txt file can contribute to overall effective visibility of your domain.

Search Engine Optimization is an evolving process that takes time, money and patience.  However getting a head start on optimizing your website using proper SEO semantics will ensure better visibility in SERPs, quality traffic, targeted leads and much more.