The concept is simple enough: if you’ve built a website, you want people to see it. In order to achieve that goal, you are going to have to show up in Google searches. There is a whole lot of competition out there, so how do you make sure that your site makes it to the top of the list? The answer is search engine optimization, or SEO.
Wikipedia defines SEO as “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines.” There are many criteria that go into this, and Google offers information on some of them via their free Webmaster Tools. They also have an SEO Starter Guide if you want comprehensive information. Or, you can hire an expert to do the hard work for you while you sit back and watch your client base grow.
One of the most important factors of SEO is quality content. Google favors web pages that are on-topic, clearly written and informative. The titles and text should have search terms that people are likely to use. More details on this, as well as other site-building tips, are available at Google’s Webmaster Academy.
HTML tags are also important for SEO. Search engine crawlers use these tags to “read” web pages, so they are vital for indexing and ranking. You should title every page of your website using the <title> convention, and the wording of the title should describe the content of the page in just a few words.
Any images on your site should be accompanied by descriptive captions. That’s because Google’s web crawlers can’t interpret pictures very well; they understand words much more easily.
Of course, it isn’t just what’s on your website that matters. Google also notices who else is talking about your site, or more accurately, who is linking to it. If your site is listed on social media sites or other online communities, it adds to your “legitimacy” and makes Google look more fondly upon you.
The truth is that many website owners simply don’t have the time to devote to SEO. That’s where search engine optimizers come in. The best ones will help your site generate traffic while adhering to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They will know all of the best practices, and work with you for a custom plan to attract the maximum number of clients. Google even offers some tips for finding the best company to do your optimization for you.