This morning the Patch held the last of three seminars that focused on Social Media, structuring your website, and search engine optimization. So I thought I would expand on some of the things that were discussed during these sessions, and start by focusing on Search Engine Optimization.
Before we get into this, I want to say a few words about control. Do you as a small business owner have control as to what and how things are displayed on your website, or have you given that job to an outside company or individual ? As a small business owner, I think it is important to have control over the website, just as you have control over what is in your shop. It is ok to seek help, but you should stay on top of what is on your site, and you should at least know how to access your site, so that if you had to, you would be able to update it. Okay...enough of that....it was on top and I had to get it out....moving on to SEO.
When people start to talk about this, alot of folks make it out to be more complicated than it really is. So I want to give you just a few things to be aware of and get you on your way.
1. Keywords - During the seminar, Jeremy Mims talked about keeping your content updated...the one thing I didn't hear was the use of "keywords." Keywords are simply the search terms that you want used to describe your business. These terms need to be a part of your site in the text people read, plus the META Tag that you can't see but the search engines, such as Google, can.
2. XML Site Map - Most books, especially textbooks, have a table of contents and an index in the back of the book. If you want to find information on a specific item in the book, you might opt to use the index. A Site Map is simply an index of every page on your website, and a popular format is XML. Search engines like seeing this within your website structure. In fact, if you use Google Analytics you have a space to submit your Site Map address. There are programs out there that will create an XML Site Map for you.
3. Internal/ External Links - It is good to have internal links within your site, first it makes navigating the site easier, but it also helps to boost page rank, remember each page is viewed as it's own thing, so internal links will help in boosting your rank. External links that is out of your domain that are located on credible websites also help with this. Having a link to your site on the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce sites, among others, are viewed as valuable in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
4. Content - Keep your content fresh, change the wording on your site. When you update your site, that will give you a boost in rank and where your page falls when people search the internet.
5. Awareness - Be aware of where your site is falling when you search on keywords. Go to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines and see where your site is at. You should take a look at your competition and see where they are at in the search listing.
If you start off with these few things then you should be well on your way to seeing your website rise up Google's and other search engines list of websites.