SEO = Search Engine Optimization
It’s the process of affecting the visibility of your website when a person searches Google, Bing or any other search engine. There are procedures carried out during and after the web design process which in turn helps produce a higher page ranking for your website on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO is essential if you want to increase traffic to your website. Why? Because the majority of internet users (around 90%) use search engines. Most visitors (around 87%) come from the first page of a search engine results page, and by the time the visitor gets to the third page a good number of potential visitors have completely lost interest.
What is involved in Search Engine Optimization?
There are tons of criteria used to improve search engine optimization. Some criteria include SEO research and marketing, web content writing, on page SEO implementation, back linking, offline marketing etc. However, the criteria and best practices are constantly changing and may differ from one search engine to another.
We provide clients with basic SEO implementation during the design and development stage of their website to use best practices as well as guide clients to continue using best practices once their website is complete.
Since SEO is constantly changing, the below information should be taken as a guide only.
The main techniques implemented on your website to help improve search engine optimization include ensuring all code is clean and correct, providing navigation between pages, adding appropriate title tags and meta tags to each page, and ensuring that the keywords or key phrases for each page are distributed throughout the content.
Search engines index web pages using spidering software that crawl through your web pages in search of these tags as well as your content, looking for your key phrases and keywords.
Use clean code and internal links – It’s important to design a website using clean web standard code although some third party scripts and constant changes to web standards may result in some non-standard code. There should also be a good amount of editorial content (400-600 words per page) and there should be internal links between pages enabling search engine spiders to crawl through your entire website and index each page. Too much code compared with the amount of content, or badly written code, may make finding your keywords hard. Missing or broken links will affect the search engines’ ability to crawl through your website.
Use relevant keywords but don’t over keyword – It is essential to use different key phrases and keywords on each page and to ensure they are relevant to both your website and the specific page content. It has generally been recommended in the past to repeat key phrases and keywords several times on the page, both in the content, title, body and tags. However, search engines recognize “keyword stuffing” and may penalize your website by reducing its page rank! Not only that, but if your visitors do find your website, your content may not make sense and will drive them away. It is essential that you don’t over do it. If you are writing your own web content, ask a third party to read through it to ensure it makes sense.
Update your content regularly – SEO, and page ranking, is also improved if you update your content on a regular basis and re-index your site with all the major search engines. This does not mean you need to rewrite every page, but adding a new page, writing relevant and interesting blog posts, adding new products or event listings on a regular basis, with links to and from other pages, will indicate to search engines crawling your website that it’s not dormant. If your visitors know you update your content with new articles or events on a regular basis, they are more likely to return to your site and this too helps search engine optimization.
How Do the Search Engines Know to Index My Website?
They don’t! Once a website is published your website designer should index your website by submitting your URL to all the major search engines so the spiders know to index it.
The spiders will periodically crawl your site looking for new or updated content. If your content has not been updated for a long time, the spiders will assume your site is dormant and will eventually stop indexing it and it will slip further down the SERP list.
If you don’t update your website often, it’s a good idea to re-submit your URL so that the spiders can re-index your site. This will help bring it back closer to the top of the SERP.