I see it everywhere! SEO, Search Engine Optimization and everyone says they do it. The word SEO is thrown around more than the word “love” on a season of the Bachelorette! But are these companies really maximizing their SEO packages, and, do they really know what they are doing? SEO is not just hiding a few words in your site, it is a full package that uses multiple tactics to get your site ranked higher in search engines. In order to optimize a website for search, you must first understand how search engines work.
Sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing send out little pieces of code called “spiders” that search websites worldwide, then store or “index” the information they find. When you search for a word or phrase, these spiders scan their index for your request looking for page content, backlinks, page names, page descriptions, image/file names, keywords and meta tags. In milliseconds, the search engine then displays its results and rankings for the search you requested. The results take into account each site’s credibility, location and most popular sites - showing you what it thinks is the most credible site. Knowing this, here are things that should be done when you are paying for a company to optimize your site for search explained in a way you can understand.
Rich Content. The most important and credible information your site carries is the content or body copy. Make sure your site is written in a way that incorporates all the words and phrases you think someone will type to find you. At times this may seem a bit redundant, but the extra traffic you will get will be well worth it.
Backlinks. If content is king, then backlinks are queen. Spiders will rank a site higher if it thinks the links you have on your page are pointing to credible sites. Also, get other credible sites to share your link on their site. The act of sharing links and people actively clicking creates more credibility for your site and will ultimately rank you higher in a search.
Page Names. Page names are found in the URL of your web browser. When giving a page a name, make sure you take into account what viewers will use to find you. The trick is keeping the file name at a reasonable number of characters. For example, instead of calling your home page “home” or “index”, call it by your company name.
Page Descriptions. Page descriptions are found at the top of your web browser’s window. When giving your page a name, again, take into account what viewers will use to find you. Page names become extremely useful as they are displayed in the search results and act as a table of contents in the ranking display. They are also used as a title when shared on social media sites like Facebook.
Image/File Naming. This is where most companies fail. Sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing also scan the names of files that are used within your site. Name the images you use in your site with SEO in mind. For example, if you are a bottled water company and you have a image of your product on your home page, don’t just name the image “water.jpg”. Rather, include your company name and call it something like “RefreshingSmartWater.jpg”. With image searches being a huge part of search engines, use it to take advantage of the extra rankings you will receive.
Keywords. Keywords are single words or phrases that are coded into your site and hidden from the viewer. They are included before the header of each page and run in the code’s background. You can include as many keywords as you like, but it is recommended to stay under 875 characters and avoid repeating the same word over and over again - spiders will note this and your site’s credibility will suffer. Think of all the possible words or phrases a viewer will use to find you and incorporate them into your site.
Meta Tags. Meta Tags are very similar to keywords and are often confused for one an other. The biggest difference between the two are that keywords are exact words or phrases viewers will use to find your site, while meta tags are specific, single word descriptors that tag onto your site. When thinking about meta tags, use specific words that describe your business and are used less by other companies - like your niche or what makes you different.
These are the 7 main initiatives that should be done in a standard SEO package. Other tactics that can accompany a good SEO package are social media initiatives like blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube videos and Google+. Combining social marketing with a good SEO package will maximize your searchable content and will give you a better chance to be found on the world wide web.
So the next time a company offers you an SEO package, make sure they are incorporating all of these tactics. At Bradley Advertising we include full SEO packages in the cost of our websites. Our average traffic resulting from a direct “search” is 49% with our highest site being 85%. I would consider anything over 33% a success as 1/3 of your traffic should be a result of search, 1/3 from referrals and 1/3 from direct traffic.
If you think your site could benefit from a better SEO package, contact us and we will be more than happy to help you give your site an extra little boost.