One of the top three areas of concern for business owners these days is SEO.
If you’re starting your next website project soon and you have questions about SEO then this is the right place.
Today we’ll go over the biggest questions business owners and website owners have about SEO and talk about solutions and how to handle certain situations. This should be a guide that allows you to be prepared when you work with your designer and marketing team (even if that’s just you) on your new website.
Let’s get into it.
Question #1 – How do I get indexed and in an reasonable position in search results?
This is the most common question people ask. The question gets asked in a number of different ways, but basically people want to know how to get ranked well in Google so their site gets tons of traffic.
There are tons of factors that come into play with SEO and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure them all out. In fact, Google does a pretty good job of changing things all the time anyway so it’s really impossible to figure them out if you’re looking for quick wins with the search engines.
Basically, it comes down to two things:
Google focuses on providing the best results for its users. It seems like in the last year to two years they’ve been doing what they can to make the best results equal paid results, but that’s another discussion. There is still lots of room in the search results for organic listings and that’s what you want because it’s free (well nothing is really free) traffic to your site.
We sidetracked there a little bit, but Google (and other search engines) use the quality of your brand and the quality of your content to determine how the pages on your website should rank for all kinds of keywords.
These are the two most important factors.
Google gives more respect to well known brands because it’s more likely someone will trust a brand like Coke than they will a lesser known brand like Randy’s Soda.
So the first way to help yourself is to build your brand recognition. That’s not easy, but it’s something you’re going to have to do if you want tons of rankings. It’s a long process, but it’s the only way to achieve rankings that last for popular keywords.
Second, content is the second most important factor on your site.
There is no way you will win in the rankings if you don’t have good content. Google is getting better all the time at understanding content and its usefulness. Don’t ask me how they’re doing it, but they’re doing it and it’s impressive.
Quality content is content people finding interesting, educational, enlightening and entertaining. Think about the kind of content that makes you think or makes you laugh or makes you want to share it with everyone you know.
That’s quality content and it’s difficult to create, but the companies that create quality content win the search game.
You need content on your site and you need to continually add more content to keep improving things and adding to your library so people come back and find you more interesting and useful over time (this also improves your brand, wink, wink).
Question #2 – How does design and site architecture factor into SEO?
Design and website structure are important.
You want to make sure things are set with your website from the ground up. These things change from time to time, but there is one basic principle that will always be true so pay attention right here…
Optimize for people. Tweet This
That’s it. Focus on people first. When designing and setting up the site structure think about what will make the best site for your target customer. You want them to have the best experience possible on your site while they travel through site funnels and eventually make a conversion and become a loyal customer.
This is all Google cares about. They try to match their requirements based on what people care about most. Some of the main factors include:
- Page Load Time or Site Speed
- Easy to Read Content (Content Formatting)
- Appealing Design
- Simple Code Structure
- Visual Elements
There are more, but this is a good starting list.
As you work with your designer and the programmer make sure things are easy to understand for you. Working with the programmer is a little trickier because they are actually using language that speaks to the search engines.
Ask the designer and the programmer to make sure Title Tags and Headings (H1, H2, etc.) are optimized to make them easy to understand. People like to know what a page is about and these elements help them understand quickly.
A good rule of thumb is that shorter is typically better.
Keep it short with URLs, Headings, Title Tags and everything else on your site.
Think about it. Which of these URLs would you be more like to click?
Short is best for SEO.
Question #3 – What role does content play in SEO?
We mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating.
Your site needs a content strategy. You need something that will get people to come back to your site.
Maybe this is a blog. Maybe it’s a series of videos. Maybe you take some amazing photographs and get people to subscribe for updates.
Content can be a lot of different things. Only you can figure out a strategy that will be interesting to your customers. You want to win them over because they have a lot of options for their attention when they’re online.
The Final Word on SEO (for now)
SEO starts with having a good foundation for a website. Remember, short is good.
SEO is about the target person for your website. Don’t optimize for Google. Optimize for your actual customer. Google optimizes for your customer so you should be doing the same. Make your customer happy and Google will have no choice, but to give you rankings.
Finally, if you have to focus on two things for SEO you should focus on brand and content.
Neither is easy, but if you want rankings and traffic you need to focus on these two things and focus on them for the long-term.
Finally Part II – This is the best resource on the topic – SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide from SEOmoz
Image Credit: Marco Belluci