Thursday, 9 August 2012

New businesses guide to SEO success

In an extremely competitive marketplace, how easily people can locate your online business is going to play a big part in how many customers you get. For any website, search engine optimisation plays a huge role in improving your ranking in a search engine query. The higher you are placed up the a search engine ranking, the more people will visit your online store.

Search engine optimisation comes in two forms; on page and off page SEO. As the names suggest, on page SEO is the different techniques you can employ within your website's content to increase your search engine ranking and off page SEO is the ability to create link building campaigns to your website. When optimising your website for SEO purposes, you should look to establish on page SEO within your site before looking to create a link building campaign.

However, before you carry out any form of SEO on your website, you need to ensure that your website is of the highest quality. This means ensuring that the layout is correct and the spelling and grammar is as it should be. What you don't want to do is build up a great SEO campaign that results in your online business flying up the search engine rankings only to then have a website that is below par.

On-Page SEO

When carrying out on page SEO, what you need to do is place different keywords on your site that users regularly use within a search engine query. When someone searches for something on a search engine, the search engine spiders then crawl the website looking for websites that have those keywords. Depending on what your online business offers, you need to select keywords that relate to what your business does and what products you sell. However, how do you know which keywords and regularly searched for by users? Well this is where keyword tools come in to play. If you go on the Google Keyword Tool page, you can type in a keyword that relates to your business. The tool then displays all of the keywords that relate to this phrase and tells you how many local and global searches have been carried using these words. When selecting your keywords from this list, you want to select the keywords that have the highest search numbers.

Now that you have your list of keywords, where do you put them on your site? To truly maximise SEO for your website, you need to create a blog. This will be placed on your site and will include a number of different of posts and articles that consist of various subjects related to your online business. When creating these article posts you need to include these keywords that relate to your business. However, Google's algorithm penalises sites which just randomly place a load of keywords throughout the text, resulting in the website appearing lower down the rankings rather than higher. When placing keywords within a blog post, you should look to only have three or four keywords. When inserting these keywords, you need to make sure that the text still makes sense. What you don't want to do is insert keywords into a sentence that don't belong. Even with the keywords inserted, the blog post still needs to make sense and be readable to the audience. 

It isn't just blog posts where you need to insert these keywords, you should look to have these keywords on the various web pages of your site. These keywords come in two forms, keywords within the page's text itself and meta tags. Keywords in the text are similar to those in the blog posts. What you need to do is include the most searched for keywords within your web page text that relate to what your online business offers. 

Meta tags are keywords that provide information about the website. This information is hidden from web page viewers and is solely used as information for search engines. The same as the other keywords on your website, each page should have its own keywords that relate to what the page contains, while having high searchability by users. 

As I touched on earlier, when carrying out on-page SEO, you need to ensure that you do not carry out any techniques that are going to result in your site being penalised, these are known as black hat SEO techniques. 

Other black hat techniques you should avoid include: 
  • Duplicating content
  • Placing hidden links or keywords on your page
  • Duplicating title tags
  • Repeating keywords
If you are unsure what these various black hat techniques are, you can check out our previous post on the subject for more information: Black Hat SEO - At Your Own Risk!

Off-Page SEO

Now that you have created a website with a good layout, good content and on-page SEO techniques throughout, you next need to boost your website through off-page SEO techniques. This essentially involves creating a link building campaign that places a number of links across the Internet that directs traffic straight to your website. The more traffic you receive on your website, the higher your website will be placed within the rankings. The easiest way to do this is to place links to your website on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. This form of social commerce is the best way to ensure that you have constant links placed on these sites directly to your site is to constantly share the various blog posts you create. What this does is ensures that you are constantly placing new links on to the sites with fresh content, rather than just placing the same link over and over again.

However, it is not just the number of direct links to your website you have, but also the quality of those links. Having links to more established websites is going to play a greater role in improving your SEO ranking. When deciding which websites to place these links on, you should also look to include websites that have a similar interest to what your online business provides. 

When creating the links to share your content on other websites, you need to make sure that the URLs you use are SEO friendly. If you are new to creating websites, the URL is the address for your page that will appear in the address bar at the top of the Internet browser. When giving your web page a name you need to make sure that it is something relevant to your business with keywords inserted. You should check the URL of each page to make sure they are correct, as some content management systems simply insert random letters and hyphens as the URL. If a webpage has this random URL, it instantly looks like spam to both the user and the search engine, penalising the site as a result. Keep your URLs as short as you possibly can, only including the keywords that are to do with that page.

Another great way to increase the number of direct links your site has is to regularly interact with other users. Visit forums, comment on other peoples posts, respond to social media queries, all of these are great ways to spread links to your site. For example, if you comment on a popular blog post that someone has written, you can set up your own account so that your name on the comment then links to your website. This means that when someone reads your comment, they may be interested to find out more about you and will click on the link to go to your website. This is an easy way to increase your link building and can result in you having a number of new direct links in minutes.  

To take your ecommerce or eBay store as high up the search engine rankings as you possibly can, you need to make sure that you use all of these different techniques. However, it is not a case of simply doing them once and then you never have to do them again. What you need to do is constantly check which keywords and platforms are the most popular. You then need to constantly update your site's keywords and where you place the links to ensure you are always reaching as many people as you possibly can.

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