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What is search engine optomization (SEO) and how do I do it?

 

Part art, part science, search engine optimization is an important part of a Web site. It allows a search engine (SE) to understand what your site is about and index it accordingly, so it knows to show your site when people search for keywords that are relevant to it.

There are many  ways to optimize your Web site, but beware of any companies that guarantee a specific ranking. These companies will usually deliver on their promise (such as a top ten listing in Google), but your site will get this high ranking for uncommon search words. There are also many  SEO techniques used to trick search engines. These techniques may work for a short time, but could also get your site banned from the search engine listings.

There are no shortcuts and the success of your web site will ultimately depend on whats refered to as the Four C's, these are:

Contact Information:

A lot of people now use the web as a quick phone/email directory.  If they cannot find your contact details quickly and use them easily they will hit the back button and go onto the next search term.  Make sure your contact information is  displayed prominently and if possible use a contact form to get feedback.  The reason for a contact form is that many peoples may use web based e-mail clients and may not have their e-mail set up to easily send you a question from a URL based link like a mailto.  Some people may not even have e-mail set up in the first place so think of that demographic as well.

Content is King:

You need to have relevant, up to date, interesting content on the web site.  If it is not all three people will not stay, browse and purchase your products.  Make this your number one priority for the site.

Clear and Concise:

Concise short information is critical.  If there are long meandering paragraphs visitors will not read the material.  Read it yourself.  Think of the last time you went to a web site trying to find some information and how long you spent on a page.  Short paragraphs, simple clear sentences that retain peoples attention.  Get someone else to read it who is not familiar with your product or service.  If posssible get multiple people to review the content.  This is not always possible but does help a lot.

Clicks:

Make sure that all the information on your web site is not more than 3 clicks away.  It has been shown if people cannot find what they are looking for on a web site within 3 clicks then they move on. Alternatively have either a prominently available search feature on your and/or the most popular links prominent as the information may have been searched for in the past.


 
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