The days of the Yellow Pages and newspaper classified sections are long gone. Today’s customers search for you via online search engines, so it’s important to make sure that your website has strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that it will appear in relevant search results. As opposed to Search Engine Marketing, where you buy keywords and pay to show up at the top of search results, SEO will help your website rise on the page in the ranks of natural (which means free!) search results.
The finer points of SEO change all the time as the search engines change their algorithms, but the basic principles remain the same. Here are the major best practices you need to make sure you’ve implemented on your website.
On Page Optimization: A lot of whether or not your site comes up in the results of a search depends on what you put on the actual pages of your site. The #1 rule is to make sure you’re publishing engaging, relevant content. This will entice visitors to stay longer and click around, which search engines value. It shows you have a quality site. Next, make sure your page URL is short and descriptive (e.g. JohnsFlowers.com/summer-wedding-flowers.aspx). Make sure your title tags and headers are short and relevant. Use relevant keywords whenever possible in tags and in the content itself.
Keyword Research: How do you know which keywords to use? First take a look at the words you’re already using on your website. Which ones stand out as core to what you do? Next, check your traffic reporting system (e.g. Google Analytics) to see what keywords users are searching to find your website currently. To find out similar, popular keywords, start a google search and see which keywords automatically appear as you start typing. Once you have an idea of the keywords you want to rank higher for, use those keywords in your URLs, header tags, and content. Tweak your strategy over time and watch your traffic grow!