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Search Engine Optimization – A Primer

Here’s your first lesson when it comes to getting search engine results: you can’t let them come to you! Ensuring top stats for all the search sites (like Google, Yahoo, etc.) means taking an active role in optimizing your web presence. It’s called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

To start with, make sure you have a good relationship with your web designer – they’ll have to make a lot of the changes I’m talking about. (And if you don’t have a web designer, try us out!)

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Choose your keywords. Think about what people search for when they are typing in Google. What would you use if you were trying to find a business like yours? Pick about 3 or 4 keywords or phrases (“wake forest graphic design” or “promotional items”) and use them EVERYWHERE. 6 or 7 times per page (in your website) is optimal.
  • Add more content. If your site only has one page – the homepage – there’s work to be done! Good sites have at least 3 (generally the Home, About Us, and Contact pages). Your homepage should have at least 200 words of copy, and each page should contain your keywords. (Need a boost on copywriting? I wrote about it last week.)
  • Link up! Including links on all your website pages – and on Facebook and your blog – boosts search engine ratings. It’s great to have your site linked to from a larger page as well! If you’re a Chamber of Commerce member or part of another professional organization, make sure their website has a link to yours.
  • Make effective web ads. If you’re doing a Facebook Ad or a banner ad on another website, make sure all your keywords appear in the alt tags (your web designer will get that). Also, create a “landing page” on your website for people who click on that ad – it’s easier to track clicks that way, and it won’t confuse customers. If they click on a 50% deal, take them to a page that highlights the deal and sends them to check out, rather than having them end up on your homepage and be confused about where to navigate.
  • Collect information. Any website needs a section where customers can enter their contact information to learn more about your company. And any ad you have on the web should link to a similar form, asking them to fill out their information before they can take advantage of the offer. This helps you collect new contacts that you can market to in the future.

Tweaking your web presence doesn’t take long – you just need to have good communication with your web designer, or at least a basic understanding yourself. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the buzz today, and many places offer services specifically designed to go into your site and optimize all keywords. But a well-designed, well-written, and well-planned website will already have great SEO!

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