You could be failing to reach 80 percent of your potential market

A simple DIY guide to SEO for your website

If you are reading this document you are probably responsible for your organisation's web site and want to increase the traffic to it. It has been estimated that 80% of people use search engines to find websites and information on the Internet. So search engine optimization is an important in terms of marketing and promoting on the web. To get it right it takes a fair investment in terms of time or money.

There are 3 areas that need to be looked at for SEO (search engine optimization).

  1. Keywords or search phrases and your siteís content
  2. Links inbound into your web site
  3. Your web site's structure and coding
This article is for those responsible for a website but without html coding skills. Tthe easiest thing for you to do is to change or add to your web pagesí content and their search word/phrases.

1(a) keywords/search phrases

First of all, you need to establish what search phrases your customers have used or will use to find a website like yours.

You can look at your site's performance logs if you have access. Many log scripts list the key phrases your visitors used in the search engines to find your web site. Another source is your competitors' websites. Simply look at the html source code of these web pages. You can view the Meta tags for any site by going to "view" option on your browser menu and selecting "source". Located at the head of each page will be the title, description and keyword Meta tags. These will contain the key phrases used by them.

Also you can brainstorm with your colleagues to produce some more phrases. The more specific these phrases relate to your company's business the better. To assist you further you can go to http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/. This company, Trellian, provides a keyword research subscription service.

Once you have a list of words you need to test them. Which are the most popular and used? To do this you can use Trellian's services or use a free keyword assistant available from Yahoo, http://searchmarketing.yahoo.co.uk/en_GB/rc/srch/index.php

With your list of key phrases and their ratings you need to make a judgment on what to use. The most popular maybe the most used by the top index ranking sites. You may decide to go for the less popular phrases/words and get a big share of the visitors not using the most popular phrases.

Your chosen words then have to be woven into the title and description Meta tag and text content of the individual web pages. Don't 'keyword stuff or spam' your tags or page text as this will be counter productive. If you have lots of pages the keyword tag can be left out as it is, now, basically redundant in the three major search engines because of the practice of keyword stuffing of this tag. As a guide the character limits of these tags are 70 for title and 150 for description. Place you most important phrases first.

1(b) page text content

Remember too that, the keywords have to be found in the text content of each page. So each page has to have its own set of phrases/words in its text and be mirrored in its tags.

This plays into line with the search engines' sole purpose of returning the most relevant web page to a specific text enquiry.

The amount of text that needs to be produced for each page is roughly 250 words or more for the search engines to give it a high relevancy rating. It also allows for a natural density of use of your keywords. Natural, free flowing text that communicates to your human visitors is as important as attracting the search engines. So key word density should not be an issue.

2 links inbound into your web site

Links into your web site is another measure of relevance used by the search engines. Generally because of all the scams and schemes (link farms, gateways etc.) used to try and cheat the search engines only inbound, relevant, links into your website have real power to boost your ratings. For this reason reciprocal link schemes have lost their value. A link is a form of endorsement and requires a degree of effort on the linkerís part. This means getting unsolicited inbound links is a challenge for most commercial sites.

With research you can find industry relevant directories that will provide free or paid for one-way links. If you are paying, go for the directories that return the highest in the search engines indexes for the search phrases you will be using.

Currently the best links to have coming into your site are from trusted sources such as government web sites, NGO and education websites and popular well established web sites like that of Microsoft. After that, unsolicited links from forums and web blogs are highly valued. Writing articles and including a link back in the author's details is another way of producing good inbound links and indirectly promoting your site too.

Many companies are creative in providing free hard to find information, or free software or entertainment to encourage people to link to them. Basically, a successful links campaign is about creating such a presence on the web that people naturally want to link to and recommend your site to others.

3 web site structure and coding

To recode and restructure websites of more than a dozen pages so that they are highly optimized for search engines will probably produce the least in terms of R.O.I. It depends on how competitive your markets is. In SEO every little helps.

However there are two things you can do (if not already done so).

  1. You can ask your web site developer to remove all your web siteís pagesí style sheets and scripts and make them into externally linked files. The more text content there is on your pages compared to that of coding the better.
  2. Code validation is another area, which can contribute to improving your search engine rating. You can see if your web site coding conforms to current standards by going to http://validator.w3.org/ for a free check. If it doesn't validate you should request to have your site's coding brought up to the required standard.

SEO is marketing - not tinkering

To summarise, SEO is as much about marketing as it is about tinkering with your website. If you know:
  • who you are marketing to,
  • what phrases they use to find you with,
  • what content will convert them into customers and get them to recommend you,
then, SEO is easier and far more productive. Yet, you will still need to put in a lot of hard and creative work to succeed.

If you want help or donít have the time or the creative resources to do your web site justice then contact Left Angle via or use our contact form.

YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR SUCCESS

 
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