If you’re looking to boost your cheap hosting web site’s visitor count, you cannot ignore search engine optimization (SEO). It is highly important these days, ensuring the people who would most benefit from your product or information can see it listed on that first page of results in the search engine.
But what, exactly, assures you make that coveted first page? Is there a way you can develop your website that will make both customers and search engines happy? And really, how important is SEO to the profits of your business, anyway?
SEO: Most Important
Carolyn Shelby, director of SEO for the Chicago Tribune/435 Digital, stressed the importance of SEO during an Introduction to SEO session at SES New York. She told attendees just how much more valuable SEO is to your site: “Skipping the basics and spending all your time and money on social and ‘fancy stuff’ is the same as skipping brushing your teeth and showering, but buying white strips and wearing expensive cologne.”
This session was meant for newcomers to the industry, but anyone, even the best SEO professional, can gain something from her tips. Let’s look at SEO, and how to make it work for your site.
What Is SEO?
The goal of SEO is to not only show your content is relevant for certain searches thus moving it up in the search engine, it is to offer an incredible website experience to your customers to keep them coming back. Shelby likens your website to a cake: the icing may be social media, paid search, and links, but the content, CMS, infrastructure, and information architecture is the sugar within the cake itself. If you choose to skip the sugar, how good will that cake taste? Disgusting.
What, Exactly, Does The Search Engine Want?
The search engine strives to bring users the most relevant and useful websites as possible. How does it know what is relevant and what isn’t?
- Content : It determines content by analyzing all text on the page, titles, descriptions, and even themes.
- Performance : It looks at how speedy the site is, and if links are functional.
- Authority : Are other sites linking to your content, especially the good ones?
- User Experience : Is the site pleasing to users? Is it easy to find the content you are looking for? Is it save, and does it have a high bounce rate?
What Doesn’t The Search Engine Want?
- Keyword Stuffing : Don’t use those keywords too many times in the same article or on the homepage, or else you’ll find the search engine lowering your rank.
- Purchased Links : Don’t think that buying links will improve SEO. It won’t.
- Poor Performance : Your site should be easy to navigate and ads should be at a minimum. Otherwise, your bounce rate will increase due to users having a hard time finding what it is they are looking for, impacting SEO in a negative way.
Identify Your Business’ Goals
Seems straightforward enough, but you’d be surprised at how many people go gung-ho into building a website without taking the time to think about their goals. What are your assets, and conversely, your liabilities? What, to you, is a conversion? Are you looking to get a lot of link clicks, or are you just looking for impressions?
Yes, you should be optimizing the content of your site, but it is equally important to optimize your off-site assets as well. Whether Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, the radio, or Twitter, you should be striving for consistency in keywords across all platforms.
Consistent Domain Names
Best practice naming involves sub-directory root domains rather than sub-domains. Example: use mypage.com/rocks rather than mypage.rocks.com. Keep it all consistent, buy old domains if possible (as long as everything about the old domain is on the up-and-up), and attempt to use keywords in your domain if you can.
Optimize For Multiple Platforms
Yes, you want your web page to display well on a desktop or laptop, but what about mobile devices like phones and tablets? Videos are another great idea, increasing SEO more easily than just text.
SEO should be the first thing you think about in terms of reeling in more visitors. If you ignore it, your site won’t grow as quickly as it could!
Do you have a plan in place for your site’s SEO?