What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Quite simply it is the process of optimizing your web site to rank favorably in the major search engines for search terms of value to your business. Search engines look for relevancy, SEO creates relevant websites.
When is the best point in the web design and development process to implement the SEO?
From start to finish. The moment you start designing your site you want to think “SEO” and you want to keep thinking it throughout your process.
What tells search engines what keywords are relevant?
Search engines have an AI that sends out data collectors called “spiders” or “robots” that jump from site to site gathering all the content and going to links to see the rest of the site and other sites.
What does SEO consist of?
There are may things to consider when optimizing your site for search engines. Here are some of them:
- Keyword Density – Develop a list of keywords and phrases that your target audience will be typing into search engines. It’s important to think of this from a customer view rather than a business view. The use of ranking tools such as Web CEO allows you to find the best keywords to use in your SEO
- Clean Code – It’s best to use CSS to help you layout your website and images rather than extravagant HTML like tables. Code your fonts into CSS as well. The font tag in HTML is essentially a hack that adds markup to your HTML file. The more HTML tags or markup you can eliminate, the more the keywords that are recognized by search engines.
- Minimize Image Links – Search engines give more emphasis to text links than image links.
- Don’t Use Flash For Important Links Or Text – Search engines currently don’t see any of the text or links inside flash. All flash is to search engines, no matter how much it’s integrated, is nothing but a graphic element that takes a big chunk of mark-up.
- List Menus – Text and links inside lists are seen with great emphasis in search engine eyes. It’s best to use lists for menus to ensure that the search engine gives more emphasis to the main pages of your site.
- Heading Tags – Search engines put a good emphasis on the heading HTML tags such as <h1>.
- ALT Text – In the Few images that you actually decide to put into your HTML give them an ALT (alternative) text. Search engines also look for this as well. Here’s how it’s displayed: <img src=”http://www.yoursite.com/image.jpg” alt=”alternative text including keywords” />.
- Meta Keywords/Description – Although search engines are backing away from using these it’s still good to include them for the ones that do.
- Bold and Italics – Search engines see <b> bold </b> and <em> italic </em> text as slightly more important than regular text. So use this on keywords inside your text.
- Rich Titles – The title of your page is one of the important places to put your keywords.
- File Names – The name of your files also plays a role in how important it is. Name images and documents with keywords separated by hyphens or underscores.
- Link Exchange – While not as valid as it once was, trading links with other websites still offers a small boost to link popularity.
- Continuation Of SEO Efforts – Fine tuning, link building, and monitoring is an ongoing process of SEO even after your site is live to the public. It’s most important that you keep up with the adding of keywords and links from other sites.
Is SEO right for my business?
YES… Whether you have products, service, or an idea, SEO can bring more interested people to you. There is always someone looking for your subject on the web no matter what it is. SEO brings you that much closer to them so that they can find you.