Search Engine Optimization, SEO

The key to a successful website is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the basic communication between your website and the search engines, in essence it is a cheat sheet for the search engines to understand and navigate your website. A good SEO strategy will help your website rank better in the top search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo!.

SEO covers multiple areas including your website structure, on-page optimization, website user experience, images and video, links, social media, Google+ and more.

On-Page SEO Basics:

  1. Title Tag– 70 characters or less, first line of your organic search results listing, create a unique title per page, describe what page consists of, use keywords, use brand/company name in tag.  Example: Custom Wedding Cakes – Jim’s Bakery
  2. Meta Description– 140 Characters or less, second line of your organic search results listing. Describe the page, not your company. What is this page about. Every page must have a unique meta description.
  3. H1 and H2– These are the headers for your content. They tell the search engines what the bulk of your content is about. Important to use your keyword in the H1 and H2.
  4. Keyword rich URL Structure. Your URL is the path to your content- so make it easy to understand. Avoid using random numbers and letters. Example: www.jimsbakery.com/wedding-cakes.
  5. Add Alt tags/attributes to all Photos and Videos. This tells the search engines what your photo represents. Try to use keywords in the alt tag.   Example: Alt tag for photo of Jim’s Bakery: Floral Wedding Cake – Jim’s Bakery San Diego.
  6. Use unique content–  All SEO and website content must be unique, unique to your website and unique to each page.
  7. Keyword Optimization– Content should contain your keyword(s). Use the keyword naturally throughout the content of that page, be careful not to stuff the keyword into the content.

SEO Don’ts:

  1. Try to limit your use of Flash based applications.
  2. Don’t stuff your page with keywords. Google knows what is natural and what’s not.
  3. Don’t buy links- The only links that will help your SEO are the natural ones that are associated with your type of business.

For more in depth SEO reading and understanding check out:

SEOMoz: Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Google Support: Google Webmaster SEO Support