SEO Training 101

As promised in my blog last week, today I want to discuss SEO. For those of you that may not know this term, it means Search Engine Optimization. As defined in Wikipedia, “SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.”

While I don’t claim to the the all knowing expert with regards to the internal workings of the search engines, or what logarithms are put into place to rank or position pages, I have been doing this for my clients for roughly a decade, and I can say they have been pleased with the end results, and have seen huge improvement in where they come up in the search results.

So with that in mind, what I am going to impart on you today will make many of my competitors cringe, since it will empower you as the business to be able to start this process for yourselves, without having to pay their “expert” fees.

Now, to give you some of the background on what has been going on during the last 6 months with the search engines and their spiders (those are the robots that crawl and scan your page), both Google and Bing have started to crack down on web sites. They are rapidly deleting ad spamming sites, dinging web sites that use back-link services, reevaluating pages on content to keyword positing, moving sites that have keyword generators to the bottom of the heap, and removing any extra pages that have replicated titles.

All this is in an effort to make the search results you see more relevant to your search. For those of us that hate clicking through page after page of garbage results, this is a blessing.

Now on to your SEO Training 101.

The first item you need to do is register for a webmaster account on both Google (www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) and Bing (www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/). In doing this, you will be able to add your site, and actually track what your keywords and pages are doing. This is where most of the SEO companies get their information from when they “run reports” for you. You will need to validate your site, though that can be accomplished in a few different ways.

Now we can begin to look at your web pages, and put into place the items you will need to optimize them.

In the top of your page, which is the header area (that part of the page that isn’t viewable to the visitors), there are 5 items that you should always include:

  • Page Title – <title>Your Page Name</title>
  • META Title – <meta name=”title” content=”your title here” />
  • META Description – <meta name=”description” content=”your description here” />
  • META Keywords – <meta name=”keywords” content=”your keywords here” />
  • META Robots – <meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow” />

Now let’s look at each piece, and I will explain what they are.

Page Title – The page title is the title of your page, for example: Contact Us or About the Company. It should be a short title that describes the page itself. Every page should have it’s own title.

META TITLE – This is the title that the search engines use for the page, and it works just like the Page Title. The big thing to note, is that is should be different from your page title, since they will ding you for duplicates. We recommend putting in the company name. For example: Contact Company Name or About Company Name.

META Description – This is where you put in a description for this page. Try to keep it to 2 or 3 sentences, though the key is to make sure it is a summary of the content that is on the page. These are the descriptions that show up in the search engines under the link.

META Keywords – These are the search keywords for the page, and are what triggers your page in the search results. Make sure they match the content on your page though. If you try to spam (yes, they call it spam) the search engines with dozens of keywords that have nothing to do with the content on your page, they will ding you for every one. The key is to target.

META Robots – This makes sure the search engine spiders follow all of your links within your site.

Now to the biggest part of the lesson. Even with all of these pieces in place, your Page Content needs to be rich and informative. Do Not repeat your keywords over and over on the page. It will cause the search engines to drop you like a hot potato, since they look at this as another form of spamming. If you are selling a product, describe that product in detail. If you are promoting a service, be as explicate as possible. Even if it is just a contact form, write an intro to let the users know.

Also, it is important to make sure all of your images have “alt” tags, and that your links have “title” tags.

This should give you a solid start to moving your site up in the ranking. There are also a few other things that can be done, though that I will save for another lesson.

My company has bundled all of these items and more into our web site management engine. Our 302 Engine is full module based solution that will help you manage both your content and your SEO, all from one interface. Our goal in developing this, was to be able to offer an affordable solution to small businesses, to help level the playing field. By leveraging my experience designing solutions for numerous Fortune 500 companies, we were able to do just that.

Feel free to drop us a line, and let’s make the future happen.

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About delaware302
Delaware 302 is more than an online clothing store. It's about giving Delawareans a way to express their pride about being from, or even just living in, the First State. Whether you're wearing it or displaying it on your vehicle - let the world see you are Delaware proud. But you don't have to be born here to "represent" the 302.

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