SEO Setup – Back to The Basics

SEO is one of the highest return on marketing investments. The job of search engines is to provide relevant results. You could be searching for the best restaurants in your area, a plane ticket to Europe or your next favorite ecommerce store, but search engines like Google and Bing will have no idea what your website’s relevancy is to those search terms. To understand Search Engine Optimization, we need to understand how search engines crawl a page. For starters, they don’t see the webpage the same way we do. Search engines do not recognize images, flash applications, video and audio content. In order to help search engines crawl properly, alt tags are added to images, flash applications are supported with fallback text and video or audio content can include transcripts. To understand how a search engine will crawl throughout the page, try using CachedView. Paste any website and click Google Web Cache. Hit the “Text-only Version” and it will reveal the text view of your website. The text-only version is exactly how search engines crawl web pages.

To understand search engine optimization, we’ll look at one of the most important aspects of SEO, Crawlable Link Structures. Search engines will crawl a web page for links. Any page links found will be indexed. Indexing is how search engines build a network of connecting paths. If search engine bots cannot find a link to a specific page, it will never know that page exists. Examples of these orphaned pages are submission forms that lead into content, search forms, links blocked in robots.txt and iframes. Let’s break down these examples. Submission forms requiring user completion before redirecting to pages are not crawled. Similarly, pages accessed only by search forms will also be unindexed or ignored. Crawlers cannot use forms and they don’t interact with website features. Robots.txt is used to notify the crawler bots of available pages and which pages to skip. It’s also used to indicate the location of your sitemap. Iframes are not read by crawlers and are automatically skipped, the crawler bot only understands what is instantly available on the page.

Keywords are the foundation of the search process. With the correct keyword collection, search engines will begin ranking your content higher for relevancy. In business, competition is a given. The more specific your keywords are, the less competition for search results. An example of specific keywords vs. broad keywords would be “Computer Accessories & Peripherals” versus “Keyboards.” The first keyword is better suited for a category, while the latter is a product within that category. If a user searches for keyboards, they will get a shorter list of results than if searching for all computer accessories. Specific keywords will increase the chance of your results being served by search engines to your audience. If your audience can access your content, then your website will have more traffic.

Improve your website ranking by including a sitemap in your directory. You can generate a sitemap at XML-Sitemaps. Include a robots.txt and specify the location to your sitemap within the file. Check that your meta tags such as title, description and keywords are accurate. Use keyword research tools such as Google AdWords: Keyword Planner, Google Trends or Bing Ads Intelligence. Optimize your content for search engines and your website traffic could rise by 10% or more. Other SEO benefits include increased site usability as well as brand awareness. With SEO focus, your business will have measurable results to track. It will open the door to future marketing opportunities and allow you to reach your audience on a new level.

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