Search Engine Optimization Your Path To Riches
For the next few years or so, search engines will still continue to be the most widely used internet tool for people to find websites, products, services or the information they need. In the past when there was far less competition, SEO was not so important, but today is very different. There are now many millions of websites on the internet. Websites which fail to use SEO in order to maintain their search engine ranking now face the very real threat of being left behind, and their place being taken over by their newer competitors. Newer websites aiming to gain a position in the search results also need to use SEO in order to be noticed amongst the many millions of other sites.
E commerce is Competitive
E commerce is a cut throat business. You have to arm yourself with the proper know how and tools to make your site a cut above the rest. Each day, more and more sites are clambering to optimize their rankings and if you lose your guard, you may just get trampled on and be left in the abyss filled with so many other failed e commerce sites. SEO is one technique that a small business can use to help it compete with the “Big Guys” out there – those websites which can afford to spend many thousands of dollars every month on advertising & marketing. But with good SEO, a small online company can still succeed and flourish online.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO, refers to the practice of using tools and techniques to enhance a websites’ performance in regards to the search engines. The better a site is ranked by the search engines, the higher up the site will be listed in their search results lists. One thing that SEO techniques can do is to help “tell” the search engine bots what a page is all about and how relevant an article is – this in turn leads to the article being given a better “score”, thus it is then listed higher in the search results for it’s respective keyword(s). A keyword is simply a word or phrase that describes the articles’ subject (such as “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization” would be keywords for this website. It is worth pointing out that “Long Tail Keywords“, which simply means keyword phrases, are usually much more effective than using single keywords…… there is also usually far less competition for multiple words / phrases than single words, so if you choose your keyword phrases well then you may be the only one with a particular phrase……..).
Why Is SEO So Important?
Most people who use search engines will only click on the ten top search results in the first page. Therefore you have a much higher ratio of probability in being clicked on when you rank high in the search results. The more traffic for your site, the more business you rake in. SEO can help your site get listed at the top of the search results.
It is essential to continue to improve your ranking, and to hold on to your position.
So the answer to why SEO is so important is an easy one – unless you have very large advertising & marketing monthly budgets, you will need SEO in order to be number one, or maybe at least to make your site generate income (without spending any money on advertising & marketing). Without SEO you will be forced to spend money each month to attract traffic to your site.
It’s a numbers game – Lets just say you get successful sales with 10 to 20 percent of your traffic. If you get a hundred hits or more a day, then you should get a good turn out of sales already. If you only get twenty to ten hits a day, then you only get one or two sales a day, if any at all.
Getting yourself in the first page and better yet in the top half of the page will ensure that your site will generate public awareness of your sites existence and subsequently generate more traffic – traffic that could lead to potential income.
How Hard Is SEO?
Search engine optimization does require a lot of work to be fully realized, (and it does require a bit of intense studying in order to really understand it… and then you will need to keep up with the trends) but even a few simple SEO tweaks and techniques can work wonders. There are many aspects you will probably have to add or change in your site in order to get there. These will include getting lots of information about the keyword phrases that are popular in regards to your sites niche or theme, perhaps re-naming some posts or their sub-headings, adding “alt” descriptions to your images, and other work.
You may also need to rewrite your sites contents so that you include the right keyword phrases in your site. There are certain rules and guidelines to be followed with making your sites content applicable and conducive to search engine optimization, and things which are not allowed are called “Black Hat SEO”. Using Black Hat SEO techniques is risky and is not worth the trouble – you could end up getting your site banned or blacklisted (…. and if you are outsourcing your SEO work then you will need to ensure that the SEO company you hire does not use Black Hat techniques – unfortunately, some unscrupulous ones still do).
In a nutshell, here are some of the important SEO areas you should concentrate on:
- Quality Content – because without quality content, you are probably wasting your time…..
- Site Description (well written, and should include a number of your most important keywords)
- Meta Tags
- Keywords * (sprinkled throughout the site. Do NOT use too many in each article…)
- Site Map (make sure your site has one)
- Pinging (your site should “ping” various pinging services whenever there is fresh or updated content on your site – WordPress does this automatically, but other platforms may require installing pinging extensions). If you have a Twitter or Facebook page, then you should also be using something to automatically post copies of new articles or updates to those pages, too…..
- Back-links – try to get some GOOD and relevant back-links to your site (…not all back-links are good)
- Good Navigation – often overlooked when talking SEO, but good navigation is important for search engines and human visitors. If visitors cannot find things easily, they will leave without buying…..
- SEO Plugins – various plugins are available to help you SEO your site easily, and if you use WordPress then many of them are free.
- Professional Looking website – it’s actually not important for SEO, but I’ve included it here because you would be surprised at just how much a difference it can make – I have found, without exception, that every website we have “fixed up” & made more attractive have all doubled in traffic within 1-2 months after a quick makeover (we usually see the results much quicker – within 1-2 weeks). A nice new template or theme can make a huge difference. Perception is important, so if your site looks shabby, then your business will be perceived as such too.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you should try to have some useful content on your site related to your particular website niche, even if your site is not an information type website – one example of this would be a dry cleaners website which also provided useful articles on stain removal, or articles on “how to best pack garments for traveling”, etc. These articles then will get indexed, and will bring additional, organic** traffic to the site.
Just implementing these simple suggestions should make a big difference to your site, and you don’t need to be an expert, they can be done by anyone.
Also, don’t get put off by the fact SEO always sounds too hard – it mainly is just common sense. You don’t have to be a total SEO “Guru” in order to achieve some success, just do what you can. Perhaps later, when you can afford it, then you can hire a SEO company or freelance expert.
*When choosing keywords, if you get confused by all the SEO “Gurus” complex advice and costly research tools etc, then try my simple method – just use the keywords and keyword phrases that you or your customers are most likely to use whenever searching for your product / services / niche….. Then pick the best of them & sprinkle them throughout your site (within article titles, subheadings, categories, within article text, and included in image alt tags and descriptions etc).
** Organic traffic is natural traffic to your site (…not paid for, or attracted via any advertising methods etc).