SEO is the about placing as high in search engine results (SERP) with a long term impact. This is part one of the series on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and will teach non-technical and technical people on how to SEO. For what is SEO and SEM, click here.
Over the years, Google and Bing have perfected their search algorithms to make ensure that people get to the most relevant results. While initially, there was a high reliance on meta keywords, these have been so much abused by marketers. Some things that you must include are:
1. Keyword research
Think of this as market research. Google and Bing both have tools that let you search the popularity of keywords. Let’s say you want to find a web design company in Mauritius. It would tell you that XXX number of monthly search happen for the keyword “web design mauritius” while “website design mauritius” is less popular. These allow you to better choose the title, meta and keyword to emphasize in your content!
Don’t forget to check the keywords used by your competitors too. You may want to either choose a different set of keywords or the same sets.
What you don’t want is to be listed to keywords that are too general, which may bring a lot of visitors but with a low conversion rate. In the end, you are looking for new customers, not just more traffic!
2. Domain name and URL with keyword
Having the keyword you are using in your domain name is an added advantage that you have over competitors, with brand names as their domain name. However keep in mind that the domain name should not exceed 15 characters, or it will have the opposite effect (again, because of past abuse of this method).
Similarly for the URL for each page, make sure it has the keywords for that page. It’s something you can usually set called permalinks (in WordPress).
3. PageRank and Inbound links
– PR explained: PR0-PR10 rating and value
– Social bookmarketing
– Forums and comments
– Beware of bots that submits thousands
This section itself is so vast that we’ll write a separate blog post just for them.
4. Title, meta keywords and description
Titles show much of the relevance of a web page and Google people understand that. It is the same title that you see in your task bar. The title should therefore be different for each page and be 10 to 70 characters.
Meta Keywords can be usually be set directly from your CMS (in our case WordPress). According to what many sites say, they should be limited to 8 at most.
Meta Description should also be unique for each page, and include as many meta keywords as applicable, while keeping a length of 70 to 160 characters. This is also what appears right in the search engine results page – right below the title.
5. Larger, keyword relevant and unique content
– Write good sentences, not keywords for the sake of it
Over stuffed keywords in the text have already been abused, so keep correct sentences, naturally.
– 250 words at least
Shorter pages are penalised. Try to keep the at least 250 words in each page.
6. Heading, alt and title tags
Make use of header tags since these help to tell search engines about the keywords in each page. Alt and title tags for images are another point since search engine robots have no other way to interprete the relevancy of the images in your site.
7. Link structure and outbound links
Google likes that you don’t simply link to your own pages. Websites should be open to the world, so if you have links to manufacturers of your products, interesting sites that you like (and relevant to your product/services), feel free to include them (but keep under a hundred in a page).
8. Other stuffs
There are some other things, rather technical that contribute to your ranking: if you have www.ecreations.mu and ecreations.mu – make sure you are using only 1 of them in your communication. Have your technical administrator to put a 301 Permanent redirect to the preferred url.
Robots.txt is a file that tells the search engine robots about your site, where it should go and where not. They will use it along with your sitemap.xml – which is a list and link to all pages that you want Google/Bing to index from your site.
Also keep your site free from HTML/CSS errors, plagiarism and dead links. There are tools that can help you check for these.
Conclusion: What does it cost me to do SEO?
First of all, SEO takes time! And that is money, which is why internet marketing companies charge quite some fee, especially from $25/hour in developing countries to $100/hour in developed countries. How much cash you are willing to spend depends on your market. Ecreations charges only $600 extra on web design to include features for SEM and Social Media. Running a SEO campaign then costs $300 every subsequent months. PPC would cost extra depending on where you are placing the ads. Click here to contact us now.
And remember that it can take a few weeks before you start seeing the impact of your SEO campaign… Which is why you may choose to start with PPC for the first few weeks while waiting for SEO’s long term impact to show. Whichever solution you choose, make sure you are measuring your traffic with Google Analytics, Alexa or another tool.