We’ve received a number of questions recently about SEO…. What is SEO? How does it work? What does Adedia do in terms of SEO? And how can I help to optimize my site?
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a process by which you (or your web developer) make improvements to your website in order to increase the number of visitors sent to your site by search engines.
Most web traffic is driven by three of the largest commercial search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing. Getting highly ranked on these search engines invariably leads to an increase in traffic to your site, and that traffic can make (or break) your success online.
How do I optimize my website?
There are three main factors to consider when it comes to great SEO:
Create great content!
This is the single, most important thing you can do to help get your site recognized by the search engines. Include keywords or phrases in your page titles and write quality content that focuses on those titles.
Good copy can go a long way! Make a great site that users will want to bookmark, to visit, to come back to, and to tell their friends about. Check out Matt Cutts’s blog. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for insight into the Google’s methods.
Search engines don't look for images, video, audio or Flash; they search for quality text content. And contrary to popular belief, most search engines don’t look at keywords that have been tagged in your site’s code.
When it comes to your business, you are the expert. Add a blog to your site. Write about the topics you know. Write strong, interesting copy that engages your audience and update your site regularly. Try not to go keyword crazy or you may end up writing something that damages your credibility and sounds terrible.
Look at the way other sites link to you on the web
A large part of SEO happens away from your site; search engines use the links from other sites to decide if your content is important. When visitors to your site find and recommend your high-quality content, your site increases in popularity.
Search engines love to see sites with quality incoming links from relevant sites – from online directories, blogs, press releases and known associates. But remember – not all links are created equally; links from quality websites with topics similar to yours are the most valuable. Consider link building in your SEO plan, but remember – the quality of your site is much more important than the number of links to your site. Check out 13 Link Building Tips From Google’s Matt Cutts
Structure your site in a way that search engines understand.
Look for a web developer who knows how important it is to prepare your site on a technical level. A well-designed site will use search-engine-friendly URLs, clean code, and will eliminate obstacles to search engine spiders. Small coding differences can make a huge difference. A page that loads quickly, that is well-coded and that has a high ratio of content to code speaks volumes to search engine spiders.
After content, your site’s structure is the most important thing a search engine will look at. Google likes to know what's important about your company. The most relevant information should be presented at the top of the site hierarchy and each page should be structured to show priority – with headings, subheadings, paragraph and other HTML tags.
If you happen to already be an Adedia client, give yourself a pat on the back. At Adedia, our clients’ sites are built to conform to the most recent web standards. Our job is to write clean, optimized, well-organized code, and we take that job very seriously.
Should I hire an SEO Expert?
When it comes to the question of whether or not to hire an SEO expert, my advice is simple: Don’t do it. Don’t get me wrong. There are many reputable companies out there who can help with your SEO efforts, but…
When it comes to promoting your business, YOU – and only YOU – are the expert. When you hire an SEO company, you do so with the expectation that this firm will get your site to a high ranking position and they will market your business. The problem is that when it comes to marketing your business online, YOU are the most qualified to speak, and your reputation hinges on the words you say online.
Let’s say you are a financial advisor and you come across a website with forums about investing. You – and only you – can give your opinion on those forums. You – and only you - can give your opinions on twitter or respond to other people’s tweets. You have the power to link to your site any time you comment online in any professional capacity. Reputable links should come from your efforts; you don’t want to be penalized by having them come from link farms.
Link-building – an important part of most SEO campaigns – can lead to devastating results when left in the hands of the wrong person. Check out The SEO Mistake That Wiped Out 80% of My Traffic
Be wary of so-called experts who guarantee top ranking results or who offer to submit your site to thousands of search engines and directories.
Search Engine Optimization is an inexact science because search engines, like Google, use complex, ever-adjusting algorithms to determine how websites will rank. Because of this, it is almost impossible for someone to guarantee your site will rank (or stay) in the #1 spot unless they are intimately familiar with the algorithms or unless the top rank is for a keyword or phrase that only exists on your site.
Do some research, ask some hard questions and be prepared to do some of the SEO work yourself. Successful SEO involves a combination of skills – copywriting, web design, web development, marketing, advertising and analysis. Hire a company – like Adedia - with the skills to build you a great site, but remember, when it comes to promoting your own business, you are the expert, so get your hands dirty, write some great content, get out there and promote yourself and your website.