Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of your website in a search engine’s “natural” or unpaid (“organic”) search results. [Wikipedia]
This sounds simple, but it is actually quite complicated.
Unfortunately, there are a number of companies on the net who attempt to capitalize on people’s misunderstanding of what makes their website show up in search engines. They often create the illusion of a big problem and then offer to fix it for a big fee.
They often use the same catch phrases in their approach to unsuspecting companies, such as:
- “We’ve got an inside man at Google” or “we’re working with Google”
- “We will get you the first page in Google search results”
- “We guarantee top listings”
- “Your site cannot be found in Google for keywords ____ and ____”
- Potential harm from backlinks
Providing such assurances (“first page”, “top”) is just not possible. Google themselves say that no one can guarantee where a website will show up in search results. And Google is continuously changing their search engine algorithms to provide more relevant results.
When some of these companies find a specific combination of tags or strange codes which give a slight temporary change to the results, it doesn’t usually take Google very long to discover it and adjust their algorithms to negate it, often giving a negative (worse) result thereafter to the target website for attempting to game the system.
Sometimes they imply that backlinks are all bad due to a “recent search engine update,” when in fact backlinks from relevant sources are very beneficial.
You can often find more information, often negative, about these companies on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other consumer complaint websites.
Be wary of companies that use some of the above approaches. Do your research on any SEO company that you might consider using. See what other clients have to say about them. There ARE good SEO companies out there, but there are also many seemingly opportunistic ones, which many in the industry characterize as “scams.”
SEO best practices include the following suggestions:
- Good content on your website is the best first step toward great SEO results, such as stating who and where your organization is, what products and services you provide, what makes you special, unique or great in your field, your history, contact info, what area(s) do you provide your products/services to, etc.
- Properly populating the title for each page of your website with a unique title that indicates what people will find on the page
- Properly including headings and sub-headings within each page’s content
- Effective use of links to connect important pages (internal and external)
- Periodically updating your website content with new information (to keep it fresh)
Search engines can only do matching on words that they find in your website’s content. This can be problematic when dealing with geographic location names.
Say your website talks about “widgets.” If a person searches for “widgets in frederickton” and if your mailing address includes Frederickton, great! But if you are located in the suburb of New Maryland and the address on your contact page says “New Maryland,” or you are located in a small town just outside of Frederickton and your website doesn’t mention Frederickton, then your website might not be found. Matches can only be made to words that appear on your website.
It would be better to include nearby place names in the text on your website in some way. For example, “located in southern Frederickton” or “located just 25 km east of Frederickton.” Be creative, have some fun with it.
Another issue: people in your area may refer to themselves as being from “___ Township” or from “___ County” or from the “___ neighbourhood” or from the “___ lake area.” These people will probably type those names into a search engine, therefore talk about your area and its nearby geographic, regional or landmark names on your website. You should include these names somewhere on your website, for example, on a history page, an “About us” page, your contact page, where you state the various geographic areas that you provide your products/services to (list the city/town/local/regional names), and wherever else works for you. But get those various local geographic names on your website.
What about searches that mention your province name? What if people search for “new brunswick” but you only have “NB” on your website… or the other way around? Make sure you have both the province/state code and province/state name displayed. Don’t forget to put “Canada” or “United States” or “USA” etc. somewhere, too.
Make sure you mention all the types of products and services you provide. Use common and alternate terms as well as industry terms for each area of expertise. You don’t know what words people might use to search for your capabilities.
In addition, consider the following scenario: Someone is looking for the products/services you provide. They don’t know you. They are staring at a search box. What few words would they enter to look for those products/services? Write down these words. Repeat this process for each product/service you offer. Now, take these words, go to your website and augment the content on related pages to include these words somewhere in your paragraphs and descriptions. Search engines will get updated with your changes, which could take a few weeks.
You have now increased the ability of your website to be found by people who are looking for what you have to offer. Good job!
Bongo4U or Not
If you have a Bongo4U website, then a wide variety of the infrastructure coding to enhance your website’s SEO results is already being done for you in the background. You don’t need to understand the technical details. Just enter good page titles, use headings and sub-headings within your page content, as well as the Geographic Considerations and Specific Words suggested above, and the rest will happen automatically. Even special meta tags for Open Graph (Facebook) and Twitter Card support can be automatically generated for you.
Bongo4U has strong SEO best practices built into its core to ensure that your website gets well represented in search engines. All your website needs is good content 🙂
If you aren’t using Bongo4U for your website, the above suggestions still apply. Contemplate if these suggestions are appropriate for your website and consider updating your website accordingly.
There is More
There is still more that could be done to incrementally increase your website’s visibility. However, the above suggestions will implement the core methods that you need and which are actually recommended by the search engines themselves! Good content is still king.