One of the Internet buzzwords for years has been “SEO,” or search engine optimization. All similar organizations on the Internet compete for top organic (meaning, non-sponsored) ranking in the search engines, and the best ones continually tweak their sites to improve their ranking. It is not a one-time task but instead, an ongoing task that needs continual review and adjustment.
At CWS, we do not claim to be SEO “experts,” but by applying common sense techniques, site owners can improve their ranking with a few simple tasks that will help in the long run.
One important point to remember is this: there is not one person or company out there who knows exactly how Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines calculate page ranking. They are trade secrets. In the earlier days of search engines, it was common for some questionable sites to load up their pages and META tags with “spam” keywords, in order to raise their ranking even for subjects they were not even related to.
A good example: a dentistry office using keywords for automobiles and vacations on their site. The idea is that someone looking for information on cars or trips to Cancun would also come across their site. Once this search engine spamming became prevalent, the search industry has been playing Whack-A-Mole ever since, trying to provide the best search results while keeping out irrelevant results.
One additional thought: do not expect to gain top rankings for generic terms. Do not expect your customers to find your dentistry office if they simply enter “Dentist” in their favorite search engine. Some search engines, such as Google, use your location to give you local results ahead of others, but you cannot rely on this.
So, what can the average site owner do? Here are three easy techniques that will help with your ranking.
- Use Your Keywords: always make sure you use terms relevant to your site in your content. If your site is for your dentistry office, use dental terminology, describe your dental services, and provide a lot of additional dental information that your visitors will find helpful. If possible, arrange each topic onto its own page. Do not overuse your terms, however, as the search engines will see this as detrimental. Do not include a phrase such as “dentist in Plymouth Michigan” in every other sentence, in other words! Most importantly, however: keep your most important keywords in the first sentence of content on your page. Finally, if you are able to view logs of your website, check out the list of keywords that visitors are using to find your site.
- Self-Promotion: get your name out there. Contact other sites and get them to link back to yours. Relevant inbound links to your site will definitely improve your ranking. Get listed in related business directories. Go out and participate on related discussion boards and blogs (using comments), linking back to your site. Set up accounts at the social media services and continually link back to your main site.
- Keep It Fresh: no human visitor likes visiting a site that looks like it hasn’t been updated in months, and neither do the search engines. In our example dentistry office, offer up a news page/blog that posts news about happenings at the office, or post a helpful dental tip every so often. Update it once a week with something fresh. Opening up your news or blog posts for comments can be troublesome if left unchecked, but it allows a way for customers to provide feedback, and ensures return visits to your site.
There are other “nuts and bolts” techniques that we use at CWS to help clients improve their sites’ rankings, mainly in setting up and coding the site. But the above pointers are tasks that any website administrator, owner and/or content creator can follow to help maintain or even improve their ranking on the search engines.
Most importantly, once CWS finishes building and setting up a site, it is up to the site owner to maintain these three techniques regularly in order to keep building on that ranking. As we mentioned above, proper SEO practices include constant review and adjustment. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it is good common sense practice.