SEO and why it makes me nuts

This may not be so much ‘newsworthy’ as it is a set of tips and tricks and rants about SEO – Search Engine Optimization. I hope you’ll find something useful within.

SEO is one of those buzzwords that makes me cringe slightly. You’ve been told that it’s something that your website needs, but you’re not sure what it is or how to ‘get it’ without paying a lot of money to some SEO group that promises you top search results around the world. Sure, there’s a place for those SEO folks – mostly because if you really are serious about being around the world and top notch (or as much as you can be…) in every internet user’s search results, you wouldn’t have time to do what it takes while running your business, too.

You don’t have to pay a mint to optimize your website for search engines, and you don’t need to buy a giant book about it. You just have to do a few things the right way the first time around, and be honest. Dishonest practices like spamming keywords will just get you in trouble with search engines in the long run.

Here’s a quick list of things that can help you with SEO on your website:

  • Edit your title tags!
    Make sure each page has a descriptive and consistent title tag. In other words, the browser window in the top left corner shouldn’t say “New Page 1″ when it’s viewed. It should say something like “My Company – Home Page or brief description”. Remember, this is the text that will make up the link that internet searchers click on to come to your website, so make a good first impression.
  • Use Meta Data!
    These little pieces of code will help search engines display more information about you to potential customers. Don’t go on forever in your description, because search engines won’t absorb everything past a certain point. When using descriptions or keywords, it’s the same case – put the words that matter most at the beginning.
  • Sign Up for Google Analytics and use it!
    It’s free and it’ll get your site indexed within a couple of days, along with providing you valuable feedback on where your customers are coming from, to get to you.
  • Participate & Link!
    If your website contains information that might be useful to members of any online forums you participate in, add your website link to your signature. It’s a quick way to get some traffic from people who are involved in the same thing you are. If there’s something that your website provides that is a good resource, it may be linked from major sites like Wikipedia.
  • Don’t just sit there!
    Don’t wait for traffic to come to you. You have to get your name out there, whether through online marketing campaigns, buying adspace on relevant websites, using free ad credits that come with your hosting account,
    your business cards, local fliers, event calendars and news papers. There’s loads of ways to have new customers find you.

Remember – you know your business and your know your customers. Use that knowledge to your advantage to get your name and website in front of them and to draw in potential clients.

More to come…

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