First steps for search engine optimization

Discussion in 'Website Development & Online Marketing' started by emiliehudson, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. emiliehudson

    emiliehudson New Member

    Hey all, I've started a business out of my home and already have a website primarily for selling natural household products. What are some preliminary steps I can take to make my website show up higher in Google searches?

     
  2. Koby

    Koby New Member

    One of the things you can do is optimize the on-page content of your website. This means making sure that your Title Tags and Heading Tags of your pages include the primary keywords for the products you are selling.

    Here are SEOMoz's best practices for search engine optimization: http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/title-tag

    Here is Search Engine Journal's checklist for using page headings correctly: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-checklist-using-page-headings-correctly/7723/

    After you've optimized your pages, the next thing you can do is reach out to relevant online sources and get them to link to your website. This will in turn lead to more referral traffic as well as help your rankings in Google searches since links are effectively votes for your site.

    Also, social media is playing a larger and larger role in SEO, so make sure you have a Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ presence. My co-worker, Lindsey, wrote a great STARTicle on optimizing your Google+ business page: http://www.choosewhat.com/starticles/optimizing-your-google-business-page-to-get-more-followers

     
  3. Amber

    Amber New Member

    Hey Emilie,
    That's a great question and while the answer can vary from site to site, there are some generic steps that every website should follow when attempting to improve their Google search result placement.
    1. First, you want to make sure that your website is set up for success. Failure to focus on the search-friendliness of a site can prevent any of your future optimization efforts from providing much value. There are two main ways of doing this, optimizing the high valued areas of your site for specific keywords and ensuring the coding of your site is Google friendly.
    a) Optimizing your site for specific keywords - If you haven't identified the top keywords for your audience, do that now. There are many ways to do this, but one of the quickest ways would be through Google's Keyword Research tool. Input a small list of keywords that describe your household products and the tool will return a list of top used key terms people use for searching related to your product. If you cannot think of any keywords to input into the keyword tool, try making a list of keywords your competitors are using or do a search for natural household products and make a list of the other keywords people are using in their title tag, or the links found in the search engine results page (SERP) . Once you have run the list through Google's keyword tool, pull 5 keywords for each of your products. These will be the keywords you want to focus on for your site. You want to make sure that you have a mix of keywords with a high search volume and generally lower competition. Once you have identified your top keywords, use these in your page titles, any new URLs, photo ALT and title tags, your Meta descriptions, and any of the links you are internally linking any pages (these can be navigation links, reference links, basically anytime you link your pages together and are often referred to as “anchor text links”)
    b) Ensure your site coding is search engine friendly - There are many ways to manipulate your website's code to improve your search engine rankings, but to keep from overwhelming you, I will only cover the ones that will prevent your site from showing up in search engine results pages, or SERPs. First, verify your site through Google Webmaster Tools. While this tool may have may uses, it is always one of the best ways to identify any problems Google may have with your site (i.e. broken links, duplicate content or pages that cannot be crawled). Once you have verified your site in Google Webmaster Tools, fix any of the broken links or crawl errors Google has identified in the Diagnostics section of your report. Another area to pay attention to would be the HTML suggestions tab. Update any pages with duplicate or missing Title and Description tags by replacing them with unique, keyword optimized tags.
    2) Once you have updated these areas of your site you can now start your link building. Link building is the process of getting outside websites to link to pages on your site and will be the most beneficial for improving your Google rank.
    There are many ways to build links to your site, but here are few ideas to get you started and should majorly improve your results in Google.
    a) Submit your site map to Google - Build a Google friendly XML version of your sitemap and submit it to Google via your Google Webmaster Tools
    - You can also submit these to the other major search engines (Bing and Ask.com) but Google is a must.
    b) Submit your site to Major Online Directories like: DMOZ, BOTW, ZoomInfo, BizNik, Manta, etc.
    c) Set up your Google Places page. Make sure you are tagging your places page with your keywords and photos. I would also recommend setting up a Google Places offer on this profile page too. You don't have to offer a anything big, but by simply having an offer Google will be more prone to indexing you higher in search results than other sites that do not have a Google offer.
    d) Submit your site to other Location Based Directories, like: MerchantCircle, Yelp, Local.com, Kudzu, etc. You could do a Google search for additional location based directories if you find this tactic is really working for improving the rankings for your site.
    e) Get a link from your local chamber of commerce or library. Google identifies .edu or .gov links as some of the most quality inbound links.

    This should be enough to get you started on your journey to better search engine rankings, but it is important to note that search engine optimization is a never ending task. Any future marketing efforts should have a link building or keyword focused element to it. Building more content through blogging or social media are many ways of continuing this task, but should be addressed in terms of your ability to engage in these activities. If you do find yourself getting bogged down with these link building tactics you may want to think about hiring an SEO firm to continue these efforts for you. Or, if your budget allows, hire a contractor to write blogs or additional link baiting content for you on an as needed basis. I hope this helps, but please let us know if we can provide any additional information for you.

     

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