Monday, 22 July 2013

Drawing More Visitors to Your Website using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I am often asked by people how they can improve and draw more visitors to their website. These days having a nice clean looking website is not enough to get listed within the first few pages of a Google search let alone on the most sought after top-half of the first page of a Google search result.

Why is the top-half of the first page of a Google search the most sought after spot? Because it is the first thing people see after ‘doing a search’. Most people will scroll to the bottom of the first page and a few will visit page two and three but results beyond the first three pages are rarely looked at. Therefore, it becomes highly important to get as close as you can to the top of the first page of search results.

It is not hard but it takes some brainstorming, research and tweaking on your part. There are two main components search-engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo (and there are countless others) look for: the domain name and the meta-tag details for each of your web pages. And, there are three main meta tags to have and tweak.

Lately I have been watching baking competitions lately so let’s say I have a friend, Jane Smith, who wants to start a website about baking. She wants to write articles about different baking techniques, share recipes, and sell organic vanilla beans online.

The Domain Name

The domain name is the name of your website and it usually begins with a www prefix and it is more important than you realize; so choose wisely. If you want a .com address, you have to think creatively to find an unique address because .com domain names have been around for a long time and are very popular. Search engines tend to give a lot of weight to domain names based on the keywords in the web address and the website’s popularity.

So my example friend, Jane, wants to use www.smithsbaking.com because that is the name of her website; and both the domain name and the title include her last name and her subject matter. For most people, that is enough and they then concentrate their efforts on the Meta tags.

Jane also wants to sell lots of online orders selling her organic vanilla beans and decides to have an additional domain name that is forwarded to her website. She acquires www.organicvanillabeans.com and gets some help forwarding this domain to www.smithsbaking.com because when people type ‘organic vanilla beans’ in a search engine she has a greater chance of her website being listed right at the very top of the first page of someone’s search result when they type the search term ‘organic vanilla beans’.

Having additional domain names is not for everyone but it can serve a temporary or a long term purpose to draw more people to your website. The only drawback of having multiply domains is it can be costly to acquire and renew each year.

Meta-Tag Details

Editing the Meta tags to each web page is the best and cheapest way to draw more people to your website.

I hope you noticed I said to edit each web page. Often what happens is a person provides information to for the Meta tags for the front page of their website (because they are following the directions of a template for example) and then the same tags are copied throughout their website. Search engines robots that scourer the internet for new or updated websites will skip searching deeper into a website if they find the exact same Meta tags for every single page. In the case of Jane’s baking website with a side business of selling organic vanilla beans, her side business may likely be skipped altogether and may never get indexed with search engines. So the key is to make the Meta tags unique to every single web page within a website.

There three main Meta tags to have and edit frequently and they are the title, keywords and description.

For the title meta tag I often suggest to use the title of the page itself followed by the name of the website. For example, “Jane’s  Baking Recipes | Smith’s Baking” or “For Sale Organic Vanilla Beans at Smith’s Baking”. Please note I tried to place as many keywords about the page within the title itself. If someone searches for the phrase “baking recipes” then the page titled “Jane’s Baking Recipes  - Smith’s Baking” will most likely be listed higher in a search result than “Recipes  - Smith’s Baking”.  Read more…

Keyword meta tags should be a list words or phrases unique to your website separated by commas. If we take Jane’s baking website as an example, she may want to use “baking recipes”, “baking techniques”, and “American style baking” as possible examples. Read more…

The description meta tags should be a brief paragraph no longer than 250 characters describing what a visitor may find on the page. While there are a growing number of search engines that capture a longer description, it is best to side with caution by making each description compact, to the point and limited to 250 characters. I strongly advise the description to the first page be a short description about the whole website. When possible try to use as many keywords within the paragraph as possible. Read more…

Getting listed closer to the top of any search result also depends on the popularity of a website (how often a website is visited by people) and how often the website is updated. Popular websites usually have very descriptive and concise titles, keywords, and descriptions (for each or at least their main pages).

In order to get your website listed high in search results it is important to spend the time to tweak each and every web page you have by making the best title you can think of and including a well put together list of keywords phrases and coming up with the very descriptive and concise description. These three Meta-tag elements together can help you make your website a popular destination on your subject matter.

I hope you have found this helpful when editing your website. Make sure to follow the Read more… links for more in-depth information on Titles, Keywords, and Description meta tags. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or drop me an email, I would love to hear from you.

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