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What You Need to Know about SEO (On Page SEO – Part 1 of 3) – Fueled Friday

Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a. SEO) is a very confusing subject to many. Like anything else, once you learn the theory and the specific components of SEO, it starts to make more sense. Some might even say it’s not that hard, and I would agree. Not to beat a dead horse, I will define SEO as “architecting a website such that the search engines are able to understand what is is about and why it should rank well for its related terms.”

There are two general components to SEO; “on page” elements and “off page” elements. On Page SEO refers to how the keywords related to your business appear in the written content of your site as well as the behind the scenes code that only the search engines read. Off Page SEO refers to how other (relevant) websites link to your website. When speaking, I put it like this “on page SEO tells the search engines what your website is about and off page SEO tells the search engines that your website is important enough to rank for what its about.” There is a third component to consider for effective SEO and that is the website platform iteself. There are essentially search engine friendly and non search engine friendly web platforms. I am sure you can guess which one is best for SEO. In this post, I will discuss on page SEO in detail and in the next two posts, I will discuss off page SEO and web platforms.

The two components of on page SEO are the actual page content (what people read) and the page coding (which the search engines read). In days of SEO past, content was referred to as “king”. You would hear people in the SEO business using that phrase very often – in fact too often – “content is king“, “content is king“. So let’s chat about what kind of content and coding you need to have on your website to get great results in the search engines.

Themed Content
Your website content should be “themed” meaning that each page on your website should target a unique set of keywords. For example, if you own a financial services company, you would want to have a separate page on your website for each service that you offer. This gives each of those pages an opportunity to rank for its related keywords. Many people fall short here in trying to get a single page site (often their home page) to rank for multiple keywords, and that generally can’t happen. What the search engines are looking for is how relevant a single page is to a keyword or set of related keywords. If you have a single page website that talks about everything you do, chances are that it will not rank for anything that you do because the keywords are diluted in value.

Fresh Content
The search engines want to serve relevant and current content to the searching public. While it is often not practical to change your web content frequently, there are certainly things you can do to keep current content on your website. Here are a few suggestions:

– Whenever there are changes to product or service offerings, you want to make sure to use those opportunities to update your website.

– If you have events or news, always make sure to add those to your site as well (news websites tend to do well in the search engines due to continually having new content).

– Adding articles to your website on a consistent basis can allow it to grow into a resource website that will attract those search at search engines and others linking to and sharing your content; which should ultimately lead to increased sales.

– Having a blog as a part of your website is a great way to add content on a continual basis and can help to position your company as the thought leader in your industry.

Website Coding
If you are not technical, some of this may not resonate with you. This just means you need to get someone to sit down and explain it or do it for you. Website coding (for the pupose of SEO) refers to having your keywords in the specific tags that the search engines look for such as TITLE tags, ALT tags, and META tags. Some may disagree with me, but I will say this. If you focus on creating solid content and use relevant keywords in your TITLE tags, you will do well. You should add META tags as a matter of good practice, but NEVER expect the META tags to make a big difference in your website. In he past, they used to have value but they have been abused so the search engines simply devalued them. I have had website obtain #1 rankings with no META tags whatsoever. Using ALT tags to add keywords to your images is a nice way to reinforce their keyword relevance, but a bigger way to do this is to name your images with keyword terms rather than the default names (i.e. loan-modification.jpg vs. DSC0112.jpg).

I hope this gives you some great ideas for adding relevant content and coding to your website. Once you start to put it into place, I am confident you will see results. If you need more specifics on the coding aspects, my book on Internet Marketing spells a lot of this out.

So, while content may be king, links are the “queen” that turns the kings head. Stay tuned for next weeks Fueled Friday where I disucss links and off page SEO.

Have a great weekend!

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