Search Engine Optimization: The Fundamentals
A website needs to be aesthetically appealing. Visiting a page that looks unprofessionally done or is difficult to navigate can lead to many people getting a poor impression of the organization. For this reason, a good website design is something many businesses in 2011 will invest in. The problem with that however, is often the site will then not be properly optimized and subsequently, not seen by many people.
There are five Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization. When properly carried-out, a website can earn a better search ranking leading to more traffic and more sales (or members, donors, etc). The position where a website is found on a search engine in influenced by two variables: the intensity and quality of the search engine optimization and the number of competing websites. Nonetheless, here are some techniques used to achieve the five Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.
1. Age of the URL
Often, this is a factor that a website owner has little influence on. The most important thing a website owner can do is get the site up as soon as possible. Once the URL is purchased, putting up an “Under Construction” page can help. Since the site is not indexed at this point, it is practically impossible for someone to fall upon your site unless directed to it by exact URL. The “Under Construction” page does however, count towards the age of the URL and therefore will help getting the site seen once the development of it is complete.
2. Onsite Optimization
When most people think about onsite optimization they think of keyword rich text. Selecting the best keywords and properly including them in the text is only one important step for this fundamental. Another important step is ensuring that the website’s source coding is correctly written. Site’s should be properly compressed to improve load times and meta tags, alt tags, headings, the description, keywords and the title should all be complete and keyword rich. Finally, the point that needs to be taken care of first – the site’s structure. Also known as a website’s theme or silo, a site’s structure determines a user’s experience and a search engine spider’s ability to crawl it. A site’s theme should go from most general to most specific in terms of topic.
It is important to remember that the Internet is often called the World Wide Web because of its structure. The more links that a site has going to it, the more paths there are for the spiders (and the visitors) to get to the site. By getting other sites to link to one company’s website, it is increasing its visibility and its ranking. Google looks at the links like votes for the site. Inbound links pointing to pages other than the home page help get those pages ranked on Google as well. For many industries, it could require hundreds of links per page to get onto the first page of top search engines. To help with the task, posting on blogs and using social networking sites also sends links to the site.
With the recent changes in the use of social media on a website’s ranking, it is believed that Facebook’s ‘Likes’ and Twitter’s ‘Follow’ count as votes to the site, much in the same way links count. This is why many businesses are pushing their Social Network presences in order to improve their search engine optimization.
4. Occurrence of Content Changes
CBS.com has over 20,000 visits per day from Googlebot, Google’s web crawler. It is because major news sites like CBS and CNN change content every few minutes. This factor helps rank CBS and CNN as 10/10 by Google’s page rank. Most businesses don’t have the time to keep up with the news sites but changing the text and photos a few times per year positively impact a site’s positioning. Google will judge as if the site is being maintained and updated and will position it ahead of a competing site that is not maintained.
Using social media on sites like Twitter and Facebook, or a blog, allow for constant updates or ‘tweets’ under the organization’s name. Today, this also counts as content updating and can get good positioning on search engines.
5. User Provided Content
More and more sites are asking for reviews and comments, there are two reasons for this. For one, it increases interactivity and therefore improves user experience. Users spend more time on a site and with each minute that passes the chances of converting them into customers increases.
The second reason is founded in search engine optimization, and is the fifth and final principal. Content provided by users tells Google and the other top search engines that people actually use your site. It increases the chances that other users may find it interesting and therefore improves the website’s positioning on results pages. Using a blog is perhaps, the easiest way to get user content through comments. If an interesting posting is made, followers of the blog are likely to comment and Google recognizes this.
With these five Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization, a website’s positioning on the search engines will improve. Depending on the quality of the work done, its intensity and the site’s competition, it could greatly impact the positioning on search engines. If properly formulated, the better positioning translates into more traffic and higher conversion rates.