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Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

The Secret to SEO

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If your website is not well-positioned in the search engines, it will be extremely difficult to attract customers. Although some try to claim there are super-secret methods to search engine optimization (SEO), there are a few very basic tenets involved. And don't forget that any discussion about driving traffic to your website should be accompanied by a discussion of conversion rate optimization.

Age and Trust

Search Engine Optimization

Sorry, but if you have a brand new website, it will take a while before the search engines will trust you. The longer your website has been around, and the more you pay attention to the following items, the faster you will rise in the search engines, and the stronger you will hold at the top once you get there.

A Solid Foundation

The first important step is to have a website developed using modern, search engine friendly technology. Many people don't realize there can be errors in your HTML code that are only visible by the search engines. Your website may function perfectly, but the search engines will notice these errors, and it can impact your ranking potential. If your web design company is not up to date on the latest SEO trends (or are just plain sloppy) you are harming the potential of your website to rank before you ever put it online. Taking a shortcut by having a cheap website built will only cause you to spend more money in the long-term to fix all the problems with the foundation of your website, plus all the lost potential business because you can't get your website ranked.

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Competitor Reconnaissance

How can you launch an SEO campaign if you don't know what your competitors are doing, and how well they're doing it? How can your SEO company develop an intelligent SEO strategy for you unless they analyze your competitors? Chances are your competitors have holes in their SEO strategy, which leaves great opportunities for you to exploit. It also paints a picture of how aggressive a campaign will need to be developed to get you ranked above them. Before engaging an SEO company you should request this type of information. If they cannot provide this type of information they will not be able to help you.

Unique, Engaging Content

Simply put, this is keeping your website up to date. Not only will your human visitors find your website more valuable if you keep it up to date, the search engines will as well. Search engines treat new information as better information. So by routinely rewriting the text on your website, or routinely adding new information to your website, you are benefiting your search engine potential. It is extremely important to understand that the search engines will know if you copy text from another website and place it on your website—and it will hurt your search engine optimization campaign.

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On-page SEO

There are many factors you can control on your website once you have a solid foundation developed by your professional web development company. While the role Meta tags play in your overall rankings has decreased significantly it is still best practice to optimize your Metas. There are other HTML tags that can be optimized to help the search engines understand what you are trying to emphasize on your website. Page naming conventions, linking structure, file size optimization, and keyword relevance are just some of the items that must be considered by your SEO company as part of your campaign.

Off-page SEO

This is the most difficult and laborious facet of any SEO campaign, which is why Google heavily relies upon this aspect of a website's profile when deciding where to rank you. If a website links to your website, Google treats that link as a "vote." So the more websites that link to you the more votes you get, and the more valuable your website becomes to Google.

To take it a step further, if the websites linking to you are highly trusted by Google, the fact that they are linking to you helps you even more. So in other words, if CNN.com (one of the most highly ranked and trusted websites on the Internet) links to your website because they are doing a story about your company, that link will help your rankings much more than a link from joeschmo.com. Alternatively, if a website links to you that Google considers to be a "bad" website, it can potentially harm your website rankings.

Usually at this point in the discussion a potential client asks the question: "So how do I get people to link to my website?" The first way is to hire an SEO company to help build those links into your website from trusted directories and websites. You have to be very careful here, because as mentioned above, if your SEO company links you on "bad" websites, it can hurt you. The second way is to develop unique, engaging content for your website that people consider to be a resource. People who find your website useful or helpful will link to you and promote you as a resource to their audience. This is the most "organic" way of having links built to your website.

A social media campaign is also a great way to build links into your website and generate interest and links into your website from outside sources.

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