Not too long ago, (at the beginning of this millennium, as a matter of fact) it was a simple matter to market your business on the internet, and to be seen by your target audience. At that time, you could put up a website, build as many inbound links as possible, and – Walla! you were a success. Because the internet has become an extremely competitive business arena, getting your company and your offer in front of those who need it is not such a simple matter today. In fact, it’s quite difficult without SEO, or search engine optimization. What exactly is SEO? While it is a complex topic for some to understand, it really isn’t rocket science.
Search engine optimization is simply the process of optimizing a website so that it can be found by both search engines, and individuals who search for your product or service. Search engines want to provide those browsing the internet with the most relevant results for those searchers’ search queries. Essentially, a business wants their website on the first page of the search results, which is as far as most people searching for information, a service or a product will look.
Some of the most important elements of SEO include:
Keyword research. In order to get the highest amount of targeted traffic, it’s necessary to conduct keyword research so that you can find the key terms and phrases that people are using to find what they are looking for. It’s also important that you analyze the amount of competition for those keywords, and choose those that are most relevant both for what you offer, and the geographical areas you want to target.
On-page optimization. Optimizing your web pages for your key search terms is essential for effective SEO. For example, suppose you are marketing knitting supplies. In your keyword research, you may find that the terms that best fit your business are “cheap knitting supplies” or “affordable knitting supplies.” You will want to optimize your page for those keywords, generally adhering to a keyword density of no more than 4%. This means that in a page of text that is 600 words long, you would want to use your keywords about 20 to 24 times for the greatest effect.
Inbound links. Google places a huge amount of value on the number of quality inbound links pointing to a website. In the eyes of the search engines, the more “authority” links pointing to a website, the more value it must offer to visitors. This helps in ranking website higher in the search results for targeted keywords.