SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a text book definition is the process of bringing more organic traffic to your website. Basically if you own BobsBuildingSupplies.com and someone searches building supplies. Your website will come up in the search results. It is more complex than that for the website developer to make this happen of course. But the idea behind it is your site will come up more often on a search engine if the SEO is setup correctly.
I have noticed a lot of web developers or companies sell the idea that their site will be number one on google search results. I personally would never promise the number one spot or top spot on any search engine because you will never beat paid advertisements. Usually after paid advertisements are the business listings come up, which your business could be listed there but unless you have good reviews or any for your business that really doesn’t help much. Search engines like Google are constantly updating the way they rank/crawl your site for their results. If you are interested in an overview of what google does while crawling your website look here.
When hiring a developer or designer to create your website don’t be afraid to ask them what SEO is. Do not be intimidated to ask them how they are going to accomplish your site to appear on search engines affectively. 12 Things that I always include to help your site with search engine optimization are the following:
1) sitemap.xml: is a file that contains links/paths to page within your site. This provided web crawlers a quick way to find your entire websites pages. There are tools to even generate this file for you located here.
2) robots.txt: is a file that is also another page mapping but with permission. This is a way to tell web crawlers what pages you want the web to know about and what ones are private and should not be shared. But this is a Catch-22 situation, this also will show web crawlers that are not in good intentions where paths are in your site that you don’t want public knowledge to. Example if you have an admin login page and it is not linked anywhere on the site and you add it to the robots.txt file with a not allowed to crawl. The a spam crawler now has a path to try and brute force its way into your administration side to your website that wouldn’t have been know if it wasn’t listed in your file. For more information look here.
3) Description Meta Tag: is a tag that is used for the preview description of your website on search engine listings. This tag should be an insightful sentence to best describe your company. Usually if this is missing search engines will use the first paragraph tag, so ensure both are well informative to your business.
4) Keywords Meta Tag: is similar to the description Meta tag except it is just specific words you want to link to your site separated by comas.
5) Social Media Links: having multiple social sites to your business is a great idea because you usually can post links to your website to them which can bring more traffic to your website.
6) Submit sitemap.xml to search engines: once you have created a sitemap.xml file you can submit them to search engines such as Google and Bing, which helps speed up the crawling and indexing of your website.
7) Adding Analytics tracking: adding tracking to your site to monitor the traffic coming to your website seems like a sketchy thing to do. But there is a point to it, using such tools as Google Analytics which is free, can allow you to see what kind of browsers are out there and allow you to direct more marketing resource to that user. Analytics allows you to see what pages have had traffic and how long they tend to stay on the page. What kind of browser they are using and system. It can provide a vague overview of age range as well as gender. It can also offer statics on where your user traffic comes from.
8) Use the Fetch as Google: using the Web Master Tools located: here , you can login to your google account and you can use the tool called Fetch as Google, this helps speed up the process of getting google to crawl your website as well for it to index your content. Also if you recently updated a page this a way for google to crawl just the one page for new content instead of the website.
9) Site Responsiveness to handle devices: I always tell my clients that their website will be responsive, and that it is important because a lot of the population now is using smart phones, tablets and widescreen monitors that your website need to be able to resort and scale based on what device you are using. Your website maybe the first impression you give to a customer, you want it to say that you are a well establish company and care what you look like in the public eye.
10) Repetitiveness within your site: if you want specific word to connect to your website when people search a good way to do this is to have that word repeat throughout the website. Have it in the title of the page, the keywords Meta tag, multiple paragraphs within the page and even in the section headers.
11) Setup your Business with Google’s My Business: getting your business listed with google as a valid business is important; it will allow you show up on the map system they have and show with the listings of your competitors. Now you also want reviews done with this as the better your business scores the higher on the list you appear.
12) Sign up for Review Sites: the more your website is spread across the internet the better. You want your business name to bring up as many different connections to you as possible. A lot of customers that look up what they want online will base if they even want to contact you on the reviews of other that have used your services.
13) BONUS: Humans.txt: this is not really relevant to your business, but it more for your web developer. This file is information about the developer of your website. Now this does work for their favor for their own SEO. But majority of web developer usually have a link to your site for examples of their work. So it they also may bring more traffic to your site. For more information look here.
I am sure there is more and I know marketing will help as well. But as I tell all my clients I am not marketing. My marketing knowledge goes as far as placing ads on Kijiji and making business cards. With the list above you should be well on your way to having your site show up more in search engines.