Foundations in Search Engine Optimization

If you are reading this, I am assuming you have a website and you want people to actually find it.  That is why you put it up after all.  In this article I will give an overview of how to do just that, get found by your target audience.  This process is called search engine optimization or SEO for short.

No Quick Solutions

Let me give you an example of good SEO strategy.  If you want want some really good food, are you able to cook it in 90 seconds?  No, really high quality food takes time to effectively prep and cook.  The quick solution may fill your belly but is will never taste as good as some slow cooked bar-b-que.

Quality SEO works the same way, it takes time, but done correctly will work better.  I say this because some people offering SEO services promise the world (we will make your brand new site #1 on Google in 24 hours).  Don’t hire them.  If you do hire an outside consultant or do it yourself know that for it to be effective it will take some time and effort.

Do Your Homework

This is the first step.  You need to know your ideal audience and the terms that you think they may be searching for to find you.   The better you know them, the better you can utilize target keywords.  Many ways exist to find the right keywords including customer surveys, names of products or services you offer, and keyword research tools.  So how do you use the keywords?  There are two ways, which I shall discuss in the next sections.

Keywords In Meta Tags

The first strategy is to use the keyword meta tags.  Meta tags are loaded by the web browser but are not seen be the end user unless they view the page’s code.  These tags include descriptive information about the page.  One of these is a keyword tag.  If your website runs on WordPress or some other CMS, chances are that you can use a plugin to add the required keywords.

But only use a few keywords and only keywords that are actually relevant.  That is because in the past some people tried to improve their ranking by using keyword spam where they would put dozens of keywords onto their webpage’s meta tag.  This is rarely done anymore because the search engines became aware of the tactic and now penalize websites that do this.

As an example if you have a website for a hot dog stand you might have keywords such as: hot dog, corn dog, ketchup, mustard and relish.  But notice all of these are relevant to a hot dog stand.

Keywords In Your Content

The second method for using the keywords is to work them into the content of the website.  That is a best practice and is one of the recommended strategies by Google’s SEO guide.  To demonstrate this using our hot dog stand example, the website for our hot dog stand may have pages where they talk about serving hot dogs and corn dogs as well as their condiments of ketchup, mustard and relish.  All of the keywords they want people to use to find them are included in the content of the website.

One quick note about content.  I am a big believer that creating fresh content helps your website.  If you have quality content, it gives your users reasons to come back.  The search engines really like fresh content too.  So fresh content is good for both existing users and the users that have not yet discover you.

Recap

To recap we discussed why SEO takes some time, how to use keywords in meta tags and how to use keywords in your content will all help your SEO rankings.  There is a lot more to your SEO strategy but this should get you started.

So what do you think?  Leave your comments below.  If you enjoyed this article and would like to get more content, please follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page.


Resources

Google SEO Starter Guide

Keyword Research Tool