Website SEO

What goes into website SEO or better yet optimizing your website for search engines?

First website SEO is the process of optimizing your website's on-page and off-page factors so that your website ranks high in search engine result pages, ie. the search results people see when they use a search engine like Google, Yahoo or MSN for any given keyword.

For most keywords there are literally millions of other websites vying for that coveted first page. Certain factors play a role in how websites reach the first page and that is exactly what website SEO is all about… optimizing your website to achieve a good ranking.

Website SEO is best done in the web development phase when you're first constructing your site because you have to make some considerations specifically for SEO. Things like following web standards, site structure, content flow etc. all play a part in how well a site is optimized. That's not to say you cannot optimize websites that are already online. It's just better to implement SEO techniques first.

Every website is different though and all keywords are not created equal. Some keywords because of their popularity are harder to optimize for. If you're trying to optimize your website for a hugely popular keyword such as “web hosting” then you're going to have to do more work to be highly ranked, then say for the keyword “San Diego pet sitter”. For smaller keywords (keywords that are searched for less) like that you can get away with doing less optimization.

So what goes into website SEO?

Before any SEO work is started a thorough analysis of your site is completed.

* A website analysis (if your site is already live) to evaluate your site’s layout, content, internal linking structure, keyword use, title and meta descriptions.

* A competitive assessment to evaluate what sites currently are already in the top positions in Google, Yahoo and MSN for your major keywords and also where your top three to five competitors rank for the same list of keywords you use.

* Keyword selection and finalization based on the first two steps listed above.

* Benchmark positioning analysis to demonstrates your current position for your targeted keywords and how many pages of your site are listed in each search engine.

* Inbound link assessment which tallies up the total sites linking to yours and the average inbound links to competing websites.

Once the analysis is completed you can get a good idea of what needs to be done to better optimize your website. Again, depending on how competitive the keywords you are trying to optimize for will determine in large part how much work needs to be done.

I mentioned earlier that both on-page and off-page factors play a role in a websites ranking.

On-page optimization includes optimizing on-page factors such as Meta tags, Title tags, Image Alt tags, heading tags (h1,h2,h3), using SEO copywriting, site structure, and anything else relevant to page/site optimization, such as internal linking structure. Other factors have to be taken into account as well including whether or not the site uses Adobe Flash, is built around a database ie. wordpress or any CMS and heaven forbid if the site uses frames.

Off-page optimization includes increasing inbound links through various methods, but not only just increasing the amount of links your site has but determining what link text to use, what sites are most beneficial to receive links from (there's a big difference between quantity and quality here) etc.

Of course optimizing anything requires tracking and testing so that you can determine your results. This can be done using a simple Excel spreadsheet or even notepad to mark improvements.

As you can see there are a lot of things that go into website SEO and that is why SEO seems to cost so much money. When done properly business owners can reap the rewards for years to come.

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