SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is a technique used by web designers and developers to help users find their websites. Part art, part mad science, and part sheer persistence – optimizing your website can be a daunting task. The good news is that getting started is fairly easy and there are things you can do immediately to help people locate your business via the internet.
Why SEO is important
As of April, 2010 there are at least 205,368,103 websites. In any given industry there are thousands, or millions, of websites. When looking for a business from a search engine like Google, you’ll be confronted with all or most of these websites. Narrowing your search should (hopefully) yield fewer results. To illustrate, I performed the following searches in Google.
- Website Design – 188,000,000 Results
- Website Design United States – 67,100,000 Results
- Website Design United States Minnesota – 2,590,000 Results
- Website Design United States Minnesota saint paul – 1,610,000 Results
So for a search for a website designer in Saint Paul yields 1.6 million results, a staggering number, especially when you consider that the population of Saint Paul is about 110 thousand. Good SEO helps to ensure that your website is near the top of search results so that people can actually find your website among the teeming horde.
Starting with a Plan
A good SEO campaign, much like a website or business, requires a plan. You’ll need to decide in advance what the core elements of your business are. Balance these core elements with a) your strengths b) elements that are unique or rare and c) elements that are popular. This resulting list will be your SEO key phrases and should be 10-20 words long. Narrow this list down a bit further to a dozen or so terms that provide good fit for your service or product. Would someone who entered a combination of these terms be looking for your website and/or want to see it as a result of their search?
Sample key phrases
- Website Design
- Website Development
- Internet Marketing
- Saint Paul
- Content Management
- Small Business
- Blog Design
- Website Redesign
- WordPress Theme Design
Some of these terms are very broad, such as “Website Design”, but some are much more narrow, like “WordPress Theme Design”. You should have both broad in your key phrase list.
Getting Started: SEO Content
The SEO process starts with publishing text on your website. Every page, or nearly every page on your website, should contain at least some of these terms. Always keep this list handy, and try to work in at least a few of these words in every article, page, description or blog post on your website. Everytime you do so you will be reinforcing the relevance of that term to your website, and Google will be more likely to send visitors your way!