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Search Engine Optimization Basics

In this tutorial we will discuss why some websites come up higher than others in the search engines.

Search Engines

Search engines like Google and Bing are the table of contents of the internet, helping you to find the content that is most relevant to the terms, called keywords, you enter into them.

When a user does a search, they will see a list of pages relating to the keywords they have entered. For any given topic, there are likely many matches. Most people only look at the first one or two pages of results, so it’s important that you rank well for the terms you are targeting.

Setting Up Your Website

Keyword Research

As a marketer, it is important to consider what terms potential visitors may search for and incorporate those keywords throughout your copy. When doing so, it is often better to avoid generic terms. For example, a specific term like “wood floor installation” will likely have less competition then a generic term like “flooring.”

You can use Google’s keyword tool to help with keyword selection.

Meta Information

The search engines are smart and will look at the content of your site, but sometimes we want to emphasis what our pages are about. We can do this by using META information. This information is contained in the header section of a page.

The title tag is what the search engines will display as the link to your website. It is always a good idea to load this with two or three of your most relevant keywords from the page. This will help entice searchers to click on your link.

<title>Nautic Studios | Web Design | Web Marketing | Satellite Beach, Florida</title>

The description that appears below the link comes from the description tag.

<meta name="Description" content="Nautic Studios is a web design company. We build dynamic websites that generate excitement and prompt action.">

Note the title and description in our Google listing:

nautic-search-result

Each page on your site should have a title tag and a description tag. The title for each page should be different, containing keywords relevant to that page.

Images

Search engines only understand text.  They don’t understand what your pictures are about, unless you tell them.  When writing the code for your website, you can add the alternate text attribute to the img tag. This will let the search engines know what your image is about.

but-getintouch

<img src="get-in-touch.jpg" alt="Get in touch" />

Information Drives Traffic

The search engines don’t want to waste your time by showing you content that is irrelevant. They need a way to determine which pages, related to a topic, are the most popular. They do this by looking at how many other websites around the internet are linking to it. If a lot of people are linking to it, it must be of value. So, every time someone shares your link with their friends on Facebook, Tweets it on twitter, posts it in a forum, it helps your website.

Search engines also consider how popular the site linking to your website is. This affects how much weight the inbound link from that site is given when determining your site’s rank. It would be far more valuable for CNN to link to your website then it would be for your local newspaper, because CNN is a far bigger operation with many articles others have linked to and interacted with.

Simple Ways to Attract New Followers

Social media is a powerful force and, with the right strategy, can attract significant attention to your brand. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to reach out to someone who already has access to the audience you desire to reach.

In every industry there are polarizing figures who build large communities of followers, followers they may gladly direct to you.

In order for this to happen, you need to give them a reason to do so. Here are a few ideas that may help:

Mention the person

Let’s face it, we all like attention. It’s the way we’re wired. Often, popular figures use monitoring tools like Google Alerts to let them know when they are the subject of discussion. If you mention them or something they have done, they will be more likely to share or comment on your content.

Flatter them

Post something that flatters them and they may share it.

Recently I stumbled upon an excellent example of this on my personal Facebook feed. An aspiring Christian singer that I subscribe to, Hailey Dawn, posted a video on YouTube of herself singing one of Toby Mac’s songs. Toby shared it with his fans on Facebook and it now has over 3,300 views.

Whether this was Ms. Dawn’s intention, I do not know. Since then, she has written a new song praising Dave Ramsey, an iconic Christian financial adviser. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Should you decide to follow Ms. Dawn’s example, it is always a good idea to be mindful of intellectual property rights and ask permission before borrowing someone else’s work. I personally like her second attempt better because the content is her own original creation.

Asks for an interview

Email a list of questions and publish the responses on your blog or ask the person if they would be open to a phone interview. Let them know how the responses will be used and where they will be posted. Offer to link to their own site.

If they are nice enough to grant you a phone interview, ask for permission to record it, so you can share it with your followers.

Attract guest bloggers

Offer to let them be a guest blogger on your site and give them permission to link their their own blog, as long as the content they provide is largely educational and not overly promotional. This approach works best if you have a decent following yourself, since inbound links from other sites will help their own search engine ranking.

This gives you content and makes it more likely they will link to your blog, since it will be hard to resist the urge to share their work with their fans. It can also increase the credibility of your blog, if they are well know and respected.

Devereux Centennial Celebration

This past Saturday almost 200 people turned out to help support Devereux as they celebrated their 100th anniversary, and 25 years of serving children with special needs and their families.

Funds raised at the event will help construct a 21,000 square foot therapeutic, multi-purpose wellness, learning and activity center for children, specifically those struggling with emotional, behavioral, learning and developmental disabilities.

The event also honored the Duda family for their 25 years of support.

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