Strategy

Search Engine Optimization Best Practices

From Wikipedia, "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the 'natural' or un-paid (' organic ' or 'algorithmic') search results . Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search , local search , video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence ."

 

Strategy


SEO is a crucial and ever-evolving aspect of the quality of a website. Below are some best practices to keep in mind when developing your website and SEO strategies

 

Keywords

Keywords are what search engines use to locate the most relevant websites for users. Because of this, determining the most relevant keywords is the most important step to optimizing your site for search. Your keywords will serve as the foundation for all of your SEO strategy. Below are a few things to think about when trying to determine your keywords.

  • Do lots of research – Utilize the multiple online tools that can help select your keywords:
  • Make keywords closely related to what you are selling.
  • Place your top 3 keywords abundantly throughout your site.

 

Inbound Links

Inbound links or "back links" are links to your site from other sites. The more sites that link to your site the higher your search engine ranking will be. If other sites are referring people to your site, this is a sign of popularity which is a contributing factor for SEO.

  • Most importantly you must have quality reliable content. "If you build it they will come".
  • You can pay to have your site linked to by other sites, but need to use this option cautiously.
    • Use directories like http://dmoz.org or http://dir.yahoo.com to look for reputable sites to host your link.
    • Contact a sites webmaster and negotiate terms to placing your link on their site.
    • Be cautious of who you choose to link to your site. Some sites serve as "link farms". Having your link on these sites hurts your SEO.
    • Opt for free links, as opposed to paid links.
  • Get your site out on as many social forums and blogs as possible.
    • Post a video to You Tube and make your URL a hot link on the video.
    • Create a Facebook page for your company.
    • Create a News Letter.

 

Content

Content that is geared to a specific topic and well written is perhaps the most important aspect of SEO. Although you should always have SEO in mind when creating your content, your end user should be your main focus.

  • First and foremost make your content great. This will naturally draw people to your site.
  • Make use of "Heading Tags" that include your keywords. Weight is given to keywords in this area.
  • Use special text (ie: Bold and Color) to highlight keywords and phrases.
  • Use "in-line text links" throughout your content.
  • Maximize keyword density throughout your content without jeopardizing the content quality.
  • Gear content towards users, not search engines.

 

URLs

Improperly structured URLs can be a major obstacle for a search engines' ability to successfully crawl the content of your online store. Taking the time to optimize your site's URLs can go a long way in helping to avoid many indexing issues pertaining to natural search.

  • Obtain a domain name that contains some of your keywords. Your site will gain preference for keywords that are in your URL.
  • Separate folder and file names with "_" or "-", not spaces.
  • Use a directory structure so users can tell where they are.
  • Use 301 Redirects to redirect users from old store pages to new store content.

 

Images

Images have become an increasingly important aspect to SEO since convenient image search capabilities are now offered by most search engines.

  • Images should be placed in the body of page content.
  • Use "alt text" for each image. This text should use your keyword and be short concise.
  • Use relevant phrases and keywords in image file names.
  • Supply an image site map file.

 

Navigation

A well organized navigation structure helps users easily locate what they are looking for. This is also true for search engines.

  • Use text navigation (not image navigation) so that search engines can search that content.
  • Use keywords in your navigation structure. Weight is given to keywords in this area.
  • Create an HTML site map. This can be extremely valuable with SEO.
  • Use a naturally flowing hierarchy.
  • Customize your 404 error page .
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