13 August 2012
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SEO Basics
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The basics of Search Engine Optimisation

Almost everyone in today’s world uses the internet or has access to it, which means the amount of information floating around the web is astounding. Sticking out from the crowded knowledge market is essential to the success of your site, and drawing customers to you is the key to making it all work.

Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is when you add key words to your site, article or blog to get more hits when people search for related information. The more hits your site has, the better your page ranking on various search engines, which means your website will quickly end up at the top of the list when people type in what they’re looking for.

This is an efficient way to drive traffic to your site, but in order to maximize your SEO reach you need to start from the very beginning and incorporate SEO-friendly architecture into the site itself as it is being built. Follow these 8 steps and you’ll quickly be on your way to reaching your full website potential.

URL Structure and Wording – How your URL’s look when people pull up your site is important, as you want them to be able to easily know what type of content your page is about. This is a great time to use your SEO keywords to draw attention to your website from both search engines and page visitors alike.

 Keep the wording short, sweet and to the point, making sure to use dashes between words in your URL so Google can easily index your site for their search engines. Try to avoid using numbers or phrases that are relevant only to you; this will make it harder for people to pull up the appropriate page on your site when they search the internet.

 

Site Navigation – Have you ever visited a website and found it hard to find what you’re looking for? You think, wow – this is just poorly designed and I don’t want to come back here again. Don’t be that website! Typical navigation bars are generally on the top of the page horizontally, or vertically down the left hand side. This is what users immediately look for on most pages, so keep it straightforward.

Another good rule of thumb is to keep the things on your navigation menu to a minimum, no more than six or seven things at a time to avoid overwhelming visitors with a cluster of information. If you need to make another menu elsewhere or combine topics to make navigation easier, do it. Users appreciate a streamlined way to find what they’re looking for.

 

Website Responsiveness – As more people are connecting to the internet via mobile devices, it’s essential to have a website that works across a variety of systems – computer, smartphone or tablet, for example. If users are on the go and find they can’t access what they need on your site while they’re at lunch on their phone, they will go elsewhere to get the information. Your main priority should be making sure your site works well with all platforms.

Using Social Media for Traffic – Some search engines, like Google, used to take cues from social media hits to determine what your page ranking should be. Even though that’s no longer the case, having your social media outlets connected directly to your website is a great way to get the word out about your page. When people see something they like, they tend to share it on their own social media pages like Facebook and Twitter, so having easily visible icons for sharing your content is essential to making a name for yourself in the vast universe of the World Wide Web. It also helps promote your business, brand or self to as many people as possible with minimum effort.

 

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words – If your pictures don’t display properly, visitors won’t want to come back. Your site needs to maximize the way it displays your images, which means making them the smallest size needed to get the job done. Don’t rely on the source code within your site to get the job done – it’s best if you resize them to how you want them to look, then add them to your site.

 It’s proven that if a site takes too long to load because of large pictures or content overload, the worse your search engine page ranking will be. That’s not good for getting your site to the top of the list.

 

Spend Time Getting to Know Your Keywords – It’s of vital importance that you dedicate a little time and effort into knowing exactly what your target market will be looking for. The Google Keyword Planner can help by letting you search for keywords or topics, gather statistics on your market direction and letting you see how your intended keywords actually work in real time.

There are other keyword tools out there for you to use, or you might just like to do it on your own. Either way, finding exactly what people are looking for will help not only in traffic, but in knowing how to structure your site.

 

Build A Navigational Sitemap for Visitors – Users need a functional way to find exactly what they need with no hassle, so incorporating a sitemap for both traditional computer use and mobile devices will help direct people to the right page every time with little to no confusion or wait time. They can go straight where they need to, driving up your page ranking each and every visit.

 

Make Your Page Load Quickly – Did you know users tend to abandon a page that won’t load within 3 to 5 seconds? When users want or need information, waiting for a tedious page to load images or content will send them elsewhere. Minimize your images, enable compression, leverage browser caching – these are just a few ways to get your site to load quickly. There are tools to test your page load speed on a variety of devices, and should be used to effectively test your site before making it live.

 

Following these tips after your page is locked and loaded, live and ready to go is crucial to your SEO success on the internet. Continue to build high-quality links and utilize these strategies, and you’ll soon be at the top of your market.

 

 

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