Search Engine Optimization Basics

All Pelyon Studios websites receive basic SEO features that make them accessible to the major search engines.  Being visible to search engine robots (simple and automated data retrieval programs) allows these "bots" to read your content and present them to search engine users looking for your type of content.  Since they can't read images per se,  bots rely on text, descriptions and titles to read your site. That's why it's important to consistently place certain keywords and phrases in your sites content that reflect your sites distinct messaging. Other factors also influence where your site ranks compared to your competition.

Billboard your Important Content

Think of bots like cars traveling along a freeway. In order for them to see your website, you need to put out signposts, or billboards of the content that defines your site.  A typical signpost for your site is a keyword or keyphrase for each page of your website. The most important places to embed your key words and phrases include:

  • page titles
  • page heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc)
  • page meta descriptions
  • image meta descriptions
  • links and permalinks
  • bold or italic tags
  • page content

A note on key words: Google and Bing will notice if you use the same word too often, and penalize you for it. Sites have been banned from Google's search for less. Also, you can't do enough research on what keywords to use. There are plenty of free tools available, including a new tool Google just launched called keyword planner. You need to open a free adwords account to access it, but it's very helpful in finding the most popular search terms relevant to your products or services. Other key word tools include keywordeye.com, and keywordspy.com.

Is Your Site Usable, Current, and Important?

Google, and Bing (Yahoo uses Bing for search) consider other factors to decide how to rank your site in SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) These include: usability, importance, and currency. 

Usability refers to how easy it is for visitors to read your site. Does it have links to other pages within the site? Links to other relevant sites? Is the site structure straight forward or messy? Is the menu readable? Does the content on the page match the page titles and menu titles?

Importance refers to how other sites regard your site. Does your site have a lot of incoming links? If so, is the content on those sites relevant to your site? Basically, the more relevant sites linking to your site the better. Whether those links come from your social media activity, your business contacts, or from reciprocal arrangements you have with other sites, they are all good, though not all are created equal. Sites with more importance linking to your site carry more weight. 

A site's currency refers to how often the content is updated. Content updated regularly is judged more relevant than content that seldom changes. Regular updates or blog posts keep a site current in Google's eyes.

If you are a business that caters to a local area, e.g. a retail shop, then local factors come into play. Most important is ensuring your business is listed in local directories that can link back to your site. Be sure you own and manage your listings on Yelp, yellowpages.com, and others to maximize your online visibility.

Finally, a word on competition.  If you are in a competitive business environment, high rankings on SERP's will be more difficult and expensive to secure. Imagine you are driving down the freeway and see 10 restaurant billboards. The restaurant that invested in its billboard the most will invariably get the most customers.  If you have a limited budget to address your search standing, the best you can hope for is converting a high percentage of the visitors you do get into paying customers. I'll address that in my next post. 

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