SEO Basics

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Search engine optimization is a huge subject and many new businesses fail to undertake this vital task because it can be somewhat overwhelming. However, there are some basic tasks that anyone can do that will make a huge difference to the searchability of a website.

If you are procrastinating about getting on with your SEO, just have a go at a few basic tasks -- it could make all the difference and over time you will be surprised and delighted as your website creeps up the search engine listings. By completing your site’s SEO you'll be allowing Internet users to find your website when they put in keywords and this is the very best way of marketing your website. So, forget pay per click and paid advertising for the moment and make sure you attend to the following:

Simplify your website

One of the first things you can do as part of your optimizations strategy is to take a list look at your website and see how user-friendly it really is. Have a browse around other relevant sites and see which ones you instinctively feel are good quality sites then come back to yours and see how it compares. Your site should be easy on the eye at first glance with a nice, professional looking design, easy to read fonts, a pleasing color scheme and some relevant illustrations or photographs. Think about branding your company from the beginning and use the same designs, colors and logos throughout your website and your marketing materials. Whether you intend to or not your customers will judge you on your first impressions.

Make sure you have powerful headlines and subheadings that draw the reader further into your website. Most people just skim headlines and assess what your site is all about before they will spend time reading more, so simplifying your website and pulling people in with compelling headlines is all part of optimizing your website. Headlines are also used as part of the process of ranking your website and you should try to use as many keywords as you can throughout your headings that they should be jargon free and make sense.

Meta tags

Make sure the name of your website is relevant to what you are selling and that your meta tags contain important keywords and describe what your site is about. Meta tags are just a description of your website and should be kept short and sweet. They are used by search engines to describe your site when it comes up in the listings.

Get your content optimized

Web content is one of the main factors you need to work on when optimizing your site as this is what the search engine bots and spiders will trawl through to determine your ranking. Your content should be relevant and concise, so avoid those long drawn out sales letters as the trend now is for shorter snappier sales copy.

However, that does not mean you should not have plenty of good content. Lots of information such as articles, tips and advice is always a good thing as long as it is relevant, interesting and helpful for your visitors -- don't forget that most Internet users are looking primarily for information and if you have lots of good information that changes on a regular basis, you will be encouraging them to come back for more.

If you have a lot of content, it helps if you break it up and use links to other pages for further information, rather than forcing your readers to keep scrolling down a single page. Make sure your navigation is easy to use otherwise you risk losing your readers. Your navigation bar should be very clear so that if your visitors to get lost within your website, they can always get back to the main pages.

For the purposes of SEO, you need to include your keywords liberally throughout your content, but not the extent that it becomes gobbledygook. A good rule of thumb is to use one keyword for every hundred words in your copy.

Within site links

When you are optimizing your website, it is important to provide links between your webpages and this is not only helpful for your visitors as they try to navigate your website but it will also help to optimize your site for the search engines. Some website builders will put these within site links at the bottom of your webpages automatically, but if not, you will have to do this manually.

Inbound links

Finally, once you have done these basic SEO tasks, it is worth considering getting inbound links to your website from reputable high ranking websites. It can take time and patience to achieve this and it is an ongoing job that should be done on a regular basis, but it can really help to pull your website up the listings in the search engines. You should approach relevant websites with a personal e-mail to request reciprocal links and try to point out the benefits of linking to your site that will make the links worthwhile.