Search Engine Optimization

I am often asked How do I get my site on the top of Google search.” The answer to that question will be another question to them,What keyword do you want people to type for your site to come up?” They will usually come up with general words like “earth” or “car” or “house”.  These general words are the toughest to compete with. Yes, I said “compete”.  Realize that millions of other sites out there are going after those words as well.  You can see the search results in Google and it will tell how many other sites use the keywords you typed in.  For instance, at the time of this writing, the keyword “car” has 1,060,000,000 possible results. As you can see if I wanted to build a website and wanted it to come up when someone typed in “car”, I would have a lot of competition.  So what is the secret?  How do you get your site on the top of the search engines? There are two parts to this question, on site optimization, and off site optimization.

On Site Optimization

On site optimization starts with your content. Is your site talking about the subject and using keywords that you want people to search for?  When writing content for your site make sure you use the keywords you expect people to search for.  Try to be as specific as possible. For example if you are writing about beans, be as specific as possible, like “Lathyrus sativus” rather than just bean.  If you did a Google search for “bean”, you would find that you had 49,600,000 other sites competing with that word and 66,100 sites competing for “Lathyrus sativus“. So be as specific as possible.

Understand synonyms. Synonyms by definition is “A word or phrase with a meaning that is the same as, or very similar to, another word or phrase.”  With this idea we should also understand that Google’s idea of the meaning of one word may be different than you think.  For instance, if I say the word “Apple”, you would typically think of the fruit, but a Google search would return the Apple Computer.  Therefore, when writing be aware of what Google thinks a word means.  Further you can find what other words Google will associate with the keyword.  If you did a search using the ~ before the keyword, you may be able to pull out some of the other synonyms that Google associates with that keyword.  For instance, if you type in ~apple into the Google search then the results would bold the other synonyms like Mac and Quicktime.  Those other keywords are important to use within the content of your site to create a “keyword theme” page.

Search engines are not able to see images, so use them wisely.  Images can enhance the sites look and feel for the “human” visitors, but  search engines can only identify that an image is there by looking at the code that the images uses, but unlike humans they are not able to view the image.  Therefore it is important to use images responsibly.  Don’t put text in an image and not use that text outside the image if you want the search engines to index that text.  A good tool to help identify what the search engines will read and index from your site is the Lynx Viewer.

Pay attention to useful suggestions from Google. If you want to know what Google wants to see in order to get to the top of the search engines then it is a good idea to follow some of their Webmaster Guidelines.  Also, use their Webmaster Tools to help find problems with your site as well as submitting a site map to them.  Once you have your site map submitted to them then keep it maintained.  If you are using WordPress, then this is done automatically.

Make SEO (Search Engine Optimization) easy by using WordPress. One of the last things you can do to optimize your site is to make sure the html code is formatted and organized in an efficient way.  WordPress offers thousands of themes and plugins which help optimize your site automatically.  If you hire us to help you build a content management system using WordPress then we will suggest some of our favorite plugins to take advantage of automatic on site optimization.

Off Site Optimization

Mostly what off site optimization is is making sure other websites are aware of your site and are linking to you from their site.  This is one of the most time consuming and hardest things to accomplish.  For instance, if I have a website about Honda cars, then I would love to have a link from one of the authority sites about Honda cars, http://honda.com.  The more of an “authority site” the other site is the better.  Google determines “authority sites” by Page Rank as well as the number of links linking to that site.  You can think of this concept as a “referral system”.  If I just watched one of the best movies I have ever seen, then I am likely to share that with other people.  Obviously, the more people that recommends a movie to you, the more likely you will go and see that movie.  You will probably especially go and see it if someone you respect, or consider an “authority” on the subject, tells you to go and see it.  Users and webmasters all across the internet visit billions of sites every day and therefore Google relies on “humans” to link to sites that are useful.  One other concept or practice that is important with this linking structure is the use of anchor text.  Anchor text, the text that people click on, should be words or phrase pertaining to your keywords or subject matter on your site.  Therefore if I am writing a web page about Apple Computers, then it would be good for the links to your site to use anchor text like, Apple Computers or Mac.  The use of “click here” to go to your site is not very helpful for you.  If you write useful and interesting content that people want to link to, then this off site optimization should happen naturally.

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