Written By Chris Nation

SEO 101

March 16, 2011 | social media

I hear it all the time- “I want to be #1 on Google!” or how about this one “I am not getting enough web traffic!” These are great desires and lofty goals, but it is not a simple fix. I often encounter the thought process that everything in the web world is simple, fast and cost-effective, when in reality to have a successful online image and continued growth it is quite the opposite.

Having a website is great and for almost anyone a great tool to project your thoughts, services or products to the world. However, you cannot expect that millions of people are going too instantly start reading your blog, or buying your products or knocking on your door to use your services just because you now have a great new website!

You see, you have to understand that Rome was not built in a day, and the same concept can be applied to your online image. Companies like Coke, Nike, and Amazon have spent billions of dollars throughout their establishment to advertising, marketing and creative strategies. This is why they are the big, famous and very profitable players in the business industry. Do not expect to be the next Mashable, Facebook or Zappos overnight. Building an online business and image takes time.

However, once you get that custom designed and quality built website launched here are some steps to ensure that it does not set idol collecting internet dust!

1. Your website should contain standard Search Engine Optimization features and solutions. At Hitcents, we believe these items are a must and we make it a point to make sure all our websites contain these items for organic search results:

  • a. Include a meta-description and meta-keywords within your site. For example, a meta-description is a short sentence or two explaining your website or business briefly and in the most direct and important way. Something like this: Gatorade is a premium sports drink to help individuals increase performance and quench thirst! Meta-keywords are words that you think your website would be searched by. For instance, if I want to search for sports drinks, and want Gatorade to be displayed on those results you might want to include terms likes: sports drink, performance drink, thirst quencher, energy drink, etc. These are basic features that should be in place before the launch of your website to help search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo discover your website. Keep in mind that these can be changed regularly if you desire.
  • b. Have clean URL’s. Your Uniform Resource Locator, in simple terms, is your domain name with whatever wording, numbers or combination of the two that follows it. I know you have seen some websites that when you click on a sub-page it looks like this: www.sportsdrink.com/&?=facts&page=5nvm=12%3=6. Well, this is fine but search engines generally don’t like this type of unrecognizable data. A clean URL would be one that is short, to the point, and is the theme of the page. An example would be something to the effect of this: www.sportsdrink.com/nutritionfacts. Well almost any user looking at the top could probably reason that this page is devoted the ingredients, serving sizes, and make up of the drink. Search engines like them too because it is easier for them to recognize as well.
  • c. Install and maintain some type of analytics or statistics tracking on your website. Ever wonder how many people visit your website, where they come from, what pages they read the most and how long they stay on your site? These type of tracking programs can help provide very useful and valuable data for your online strategies. In my opinion, the most used and most effective is Google Analytics. The amount of data collection, reporting and statistics that they provide is currently un-matched. Oh, and the best part is that it is free!! Anyone with a Google account can set one up, type in your URL, copy and paste the UA tracking code that Google provides and install it on your website. If you are not familiar with the installation process, I highly recommend a web professional set this up for you.
  • d. Take note on the images and actual content on your website. Web designers are talented and love creating creative and artistic images, but if your website is full of images and lacks actual text, search engines will overlook those possible valuable pieces of content. Any good web agency will have designers that know this. They will work with a developer to establish the best method for making your webpage creative and yet searchable. Images are not bad, but create a balance. Try if at all possible to make headings, content, points, testimonials, navigation, etc all text.
  • e. Piggy-backing on the image discussion, make sure that the images you do have on your website are installed with ALT tags. An ALT tag is designed to allow users who have their images turned off or cannot visually see images to still know what is on the webpage. You can recognize if an image has one by hovering over it and you will see a little window appear saying what the image is.
  • f. Include H1 tags and on down the line to H6 headings if necessary. H1 tags are used to define the HTML headings on your website.

         TITLE OF THE PAGE on the webpage-(this would be your H1 tag). Your tag should say what your webpage is about. You only want one H1 tag on a webpage.

CONTENT. CONTENT. CONTENT.

SUB-TITLE- (This would be an H3 tag)

Sub-content, sub-content, sub-content

SUB-SUB-TITLE (This would be an H6 tag)

2. Promote your website. Just having a website and having basic SEO features in place is great, but it is not enough to get a new website into the screens of your target audience. Before your website is launched, and most assuredly after it is launched, you need to market and advertise your presence. This takes on online and off-line tools. Several ways to promote your website and business in general include:

  • a. Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Digg, & YouTube)
  • b. Create a blog (This is fresh and new content. This is also good for SEO rankings)
  • c. Create print material. Send out direct mail pieces, create promotional signage, put your logo on everything, custom thank you cards, etc.
  • d. Email blasts
  • e. Radio Advertising
  • f. TV Advertising
  • g. Press Releases, news articles, etc.

3. Find a good SEO firm and discuss with them paid-per-click advertising, Google AdWords, Search Engine Submission and evaluation. These tactics and many more like them help increase those basic SEO features and create an online advertising arsenal. A trained Google Adwords specialist can increase your online traffic, your online leads, and your online profits significantly! Adwords are those advertisements that are on the right hand side of Google when you search for terms online. You create campaigns and keyword lists through Google and create price points and cost per clicks for each one. However, there is one downside to this method. In order to generate large growth, you need to spend sums of money to match or out-match your competitors. It has its advantages if you are willing to spend.

 

4. As mentioned in #2 use Social Media. Posting via Facebook, creating new tweets on Twitter and generating likes, followers and fans is a great way to offer discounts, advertise events and promote your website and business. These are free tools to use for your business. However, make sure you know how to use these mediums effectively. I would consult a trained social media specialist on the best practices for social media implementation. We here at Hitcents just happen to have in-house social media professionals that provide such advisement.

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