You don’t have to be an SEO or Internet marketing expert to know the value of search engine optimization in modern websites. The Internet is an increasingly competitive marketplace and it’s important that you do all you can to stand out. You can spend thousands of dollars employing other people to increase the traffic to your website or you could follow a few simple tips and boost your visitor’s numbers quickly and cheaply by yourself.
Lets get one thing out in the open straight away, Google is your friend, and if they aren’t yet then they should be. Google has a huge market share when it comes to searches made on the Internet and you need to be aware of this. Depending on what type of site you have, a large proportion of your visitors (especially first time visitors) will probably come directly from search queries made through Google. The better your site is optimized for various Google search criteria the better it will perform and the more resulting visitors you will have. This point can not be stressed enough, Google plays a huge role in determining how successful your website will ultimately become, make friends with Google in an SEO sense and you will make friends with thousands of potential customers in no time.
One of the things Google likes most is original content, try not to use too much duplicate content in your websites as it will have a negative effect on your rankings. Writing new material isn’t that hard, especially when you are writing about things you know about, keep things fresh and make sure you continue to add new material to your site long after uploading the first version. You don’t necessarily have to delete previous work as the more content you have on your site the better, perhaps an archive section can be used as the home of previous articles and content.
Another good tip is to keep things simple, you might have aspirations for beautiful and creative Flash animations that wow first time visitors but in the long term they tend to be more trouble than they’re worth. In general, website visitors are after tools, resources and information, however impressive your graphics or Flash animations may be, users aren’t on your site for that reason. A case can be made for website designers to include such content but it’s hard to justify for anyone else, especially when it can have a negative effect on SEO. As they currently function, search engines have a hard time recognizing content in Flash form, you may be missing out on valuable searches because search engines can’t ‘see’ your content.
When you are writing content for your website, remember to keep in mind what your site is actually about and what type of audience you are trying to attract. There’s no point in writing about recipes if your site is about movie reviews and if that’s too far fetched then you probably don’t want to write about movie star gossip either. The point is that you want to stick to your target market, find your niche (in this case movie reviews) and stick to it. With the Internet so competitive these days it’s a good idea to target just a few keywords and phrases and actively pursue them. Of course your website can be about more than one thing but try not to spread yourself too thin as most of the time you’re better off being very popular in one thing than averagely so in three or four. Being on the first page of Google search results for one key word or phrase will always bring in more traffic than three or four on the second page of results.
Each new page on your website should also feature a descriptive title. This is one of the easiest things to fix on your website but often one of the things that is most likely to be over looked. Don’t just write ‘Home’ as the name of your home page, use a sentence or a series of keywords to describe exactly what you offer and what searches you want to be associated with. Try not to repeat words and don’t go overboard with the length, 50 to 70 characters should be plenty.
Now that you’ve optimized your own site it’s time to get busy getting your name and plenty of backlinks on others. One of Google’s fundamental principles is that sites with a large number of backlinks are perceived as being more popular (and therefore better) than others. The specific search criteria used plays a large role but if you want your website to truly do well then you need backlinks on other sites, especially ones related to what you offer. Directories are a great place to start due to the wide variety of categories and ease of use. From here you can email owners of related but perhaps not competing sites to see if they can give you a backlink, they might say no but it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you can offer something in return.
These are all simple ideas that can have a major effect on the number of visitors you have to your website. Give them a go and see what happens, many site owners have quality websites that are simply lacking some fundamental search engine optimization techniques. Do your best to stand out from the pack in the increasing competitive Internet market, follow some basic tips and you will build a large customer base in no time.