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Search Engine Optimisation - The basics
by Startacus Admin
A few weeks ago we wrote an article on the advertising options that are available for your Website , however speaking of advertising options on your website is only relevant if you are driving traffic to your site in the first place. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves - let's start with a self observation. We ain’t no self -professed SEO experts! There’s still plenty we need to learn and do, before we could give ourselves such an acclaimed title. However over the last while we have written hundreds of articles and during this period have been learning much of the basics about Search Engine Optimisation. Therefore, since Startacus is all about sharing knowledge, skills and information to help all us self-starters along the way, we thought it only fair to pass on some of the basics that we have learnt on website SEO - and we repeat basics! Check out our pointers below and if you spot any glaring gaps - please do comment via the forum!
What is SEO? (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of trying the improve the chances of your website/s pages, and content being found by ‘visitors’ - visitors in this sense being people searching online and finding your website. Search Engine Optimisation is important to pretty much all businesses as irrespective of whether you have a product or service to sell, you will want your website to be found and also be found as much as possible. Understand? Nope? Ok, imagine it like this - You are a spider and the more web (get it) that you spin and the stronger and grander that web gets, the more chance that you will catch flies - and flies feed you and your business. (winging it at this point perhaps!)
Why is it important?
Well, without quoting facts and figures, it would be fair to assume that generally people use the internet to find things, services, products, and information and that generally people don’t tend to go to page 5+ of the search engine results to find what they are looking for. Therefore it is important because without an understanding of SEO or a respect for the processes used to improve your SEO the chances of you appearing further up those search engine results and thereby catching more than just a few flies (visitors) from searching traffic is slim.
So how do you improve your SEO?
It's great obviously to have a good looking and functional website, however if you aim to drive lots of traffic to your site and don’t have a massive budget, providing new content for that website is key - providing articles, a blog and news stories that are relevant to your target audience will certainly help your site SEO. There are hundreds of things you can do that will make an impact, but some of the below are certainly helpful points when it comes to adding content to your site.
Back in the day, I had some wonderful titles for any articles that I wrote for a website. For example this article would have been probably called “Catching flies - The tale of an internet Spider”! However as lovely as that may sound, the chances of said article being found via someone searching the net for basic tips on SEO would be very slim! Therefore, if you want your content to be found, a good title is a useful way of driving traffic. Make sure that your article title is appropriate to the type of key words that people are likely to search for, hence the reason for “Search Engine Optimisation - The basics”, being used as the title for this article.
Without being overly spam-like, it is worth using key words in your content that are both popular in terms of being regionally or globally searched for. It is worth populating your article with at least a few of those key words and at least a few times so that those key words are picked up on by the search engine itself. To find out how popular and how often your proposed keywords are searched for you should aim to use Google Keyword Tool via Google Adwords.
Write original content and often
If you have a lovely looking website but don’t populate it with any substance it doesn’t really help in driving traffic via search engines to your site. A blog or regular news updates or articles of note are essential. The key however to writing good content and also driving traffic to your site is considering what you want to do with these people once they are there! Each article that you write must have a purpose or a call to action that you ask your traffic to respond to. Whether it be to share the article, sign up to a newsletter, buy a product or at least spread the word, all of your content must be for a reason.
Link your articles
Where relevant and appropriate you should aim to internally link your articles with each other. Note at the top of this article the link to a previous article on advertising options for your website. Internal linking of articles or blog posts will strengthen the power of each article and also strengthen your site as a whole.
It takes time!
Expecting to suddenly be on page 1 (or even page 10) of google takes a lot of effort and time. Don’t expect immediate results, but the more you get to grips with the basics and continue to work at it, the better it should hopefully be. One of your first basic steps too should be to sign up to Google Webmaster and submit your site url and a site map. This all helps when google trawls the internet and maps content to build and update its index.
Hopefully these basic tips on Search Engine Optimisation will help any beginners out there and also act as a useful reminder to the rest! Also if you like blogging and can see the impact it can have on SEO - why not check out our previous article on blogging successfully.
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