Search Engine Optimization
I am teaching Web Design for Communication Professionals in the School of Communication at East Carolina University.
One important topic we’re covering is Search Engine Optimization. There’s a lot of information about Search Engine Optimization on the Internet, but I’ve compiled a short list of key things to remember and a few very helpful links for drawing and increasing traffic to your website. (If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to post them in the Comments for this post.)
1) Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo send out “spiders and robots” to look at websites across the internet in order to track and record the information, which is entered into a server’s database. This is how we get the links that show up when we do a Google (or other search engine) search. For a visual representation of how this works, you can watch a short video at: http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo
2) One way to help increase traffic to your site is to include links, especially links to credible sites or ones with lots of traffic*. Linking to other sites can expand your site’s degree of helpfulness to visitors and also increase traffic to your own site.
*Curious about the top 15 most visited websites? Go to: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/most-popular-websites
3) If you want to be found in a search engine’s list of links, it’s ideal to be on the first page of links listed (obviously, the lower down you are in a search, the less likely potential visitors will even see your link). According to Mark Briggs in Entrepreneurial Journalism, “Many news sites receive as much as a third of their Internet traffic from search engines.” Besides using links, it’s also important to make sure that your website content, including headlines, photo captions, articles, etc., contain key words. These should be key words that a reader would look for. If you’re a plumbing company in Detroit, for example, you probably want to make sure that you have related words and phrases, such as: plumbing company in Detroit, quality plumbing in Detroit area, trustworthy plumbing in Michigan, etc.
Also, keep track of the “hits” you get on specific posts to your site. If you notice that a certain word or phrase is drawing a lot of attention, you might be able to further incorporate that word or phrase within your site and/or on social media related to your site to attract more visitors.
4) There are companies for hire that can also do SEO for your website. However, there are some warnings to heed before hiring any company. For a list of things to be wary of in an SEO company, go to: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291
5) If you’re not sure how to track your site’s statistics, there are some links that can help you get started easily. They include: www.sitemeter.com and www.google.com/analytics and statcounter.com/free-web-stats
This information should help you get started with SEO. For more information, feel free to contact me.
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