When many business owners think of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, they usually picture a website packed with keyword-rich content and plenty of ad copy everywhere. And, to a certain extent that’s true.
However, Search engine algorithms, or “spiders” as they’re called, look for more than what a visitor to your website can see. That’s why many in the SEO business prefer to call it Website Optimization.
Why is Website Optimization so important? Well, there are many reasons. First, it helps search engines properly identify your website. Take this article, for example – you see there in the first article how the word “spiders” is mentioned?
Without Website Optimization, there is a remote chance this website could be listed under search results for spiders! And we certainly wouldn’t want that.
It’s not just categorization, though; it’s also localization for brick-and-mortar businesses, and it helps with business directories and social media, too. And the best part is, a lot of Website Optimization takes pace behind the scenes – so it doesn’t have to look or read “pretty” for your website visitors.
Website Optimization can include:
Meta tags. These are what you see at the top of your browser. Say you have a hotel website. You don’t just want to put the name of your hotel up there – you want to include as much information as you can, such as “Budget Hotel Near London Airport With Business Center And Indoor Pool”. This helps search engines rank you higher.
There are also behind-the-scenes meta tags as well, which are placed into the HTML code of the website. It’s best to let professionals handle this!
Alt-tags. When you upload a picture onto your website, there are a lot of things you can do to make it optimized for search engines. The file name of the photo, its description, and whether or not it is hyperlinked to another location on your site can make all the difference.
Blogs. One of the things search engines use to rate your website is to see when it was updated last, and how. This is where an embedded blog or newsletter can come in handy – and as a bonus, you can choose topics or newsy items that help build up your website keyword count as well.
Inbound links. This is how many other websites link to yours. It’s best if they also match your topic, and the more inbound links those blogs/websites have, the better. This is where website directories, article directories, government websites and more come in really handy. Even a comment you leave on a blog that includes a hyperlink to your website is a big asset.
But, it’s important not to “troll” or “spam” blogs and websites just to get your inbound link count up. That’s called Black Hat SEO, and it’s frowned upon. Well, not only is it frowned upon – you can get kicked off of search engines for it!
Yep, that’s right. Google and Yahoo! are companies, and they can do what they like with their search engines. It’s not a free public service. If they see you are out of line, they will pull your website out of search results – which means you’re reduced to physically telling people your website address if you want them to come visit. And that’s not good!
So, again, this is something you want to leave to Website Optimization professionals who know what the limits are, and will ensure that your website never crosses them.
Social media. People think that it’s enough to have an account of Facebook or Twitter, but there is so much more to the social media world that can help your website be optimized for search engines. A Flickr stream, YouTube account or even your Facebook photos page should have your URL and company name in the profile and each piece of media you upload as well.
There are many other more technical aspects to Website Optimization as well, which again should be handled by professionals. White Hat SEO is more important than ever as Google becomes more powerful – but with some help, you can leverage that power to rise to the top of the search rankings!