We get so many questions about SEO that we thought we would put together some of the basics in getting started with SEO for your website.

The basics of search
When you type a query in the search engine, the query generates a significantly large number of results. Most users will likely find what they are searching in the first, second or third page. A search engine displays the results in the way it perceives the information relevant to the search query. As a webmaster, you need to understand how Google ranks your site.

How Google ranks sites
The first step is discovering your site through Googlebot, a robot that adds new and updated sites to Google Index. After finding new and updated sites, it processes the words in it, a process referred to as indexing. When you conduct a search query, Google matches the query with existing pages and decides the relevancy of the information. Over 200 factors decide the relevance of the information. PageRank is the most important. This is a concept entailing how other users share your information though the use of backlinks. Even though some sites use spam links to raise their ranking, Google recognizes them. The best way to improve your ranking in search engines is by providing fresh, unique and quality content.

SEO concept
Search Engine Optimization, is a concept aiming at improving the way sites interact with users and rank in search engines. It is the dream of any webmaster to have a website that performs optimally in organic search results. It involves making small modifications and improvements. Nonetheless, even though the concept uses the word “search engine”, it is imperative to focus more on your visitors rather than how your page will rank in organic searches.

Good content
To attract users to your website, your content should be unique, dependable and accurate. Each page in your site should have a unique title. It is important to organize your content in a directory style. This makes it easy for the consumers of your content to know where they are while on your site. The title tag is fundamental since it tells the user and search engine the contents of the page. When choosing a title, it is vital to choose one that accurately and uniquely describes the content in the page. It should be short and concise. This is because when you use long titles, a search engine omits some portions. It is also a good practice to desist from stuffing irrelevant keywords.

Meta tags
Make use of Meta tags to summarize succinctly the contents of the page. A Meta tag consists of a short paragraph or a number of sentences. By using Meta tags, you provide a snippet of your page, which a search engine may use. However, a search engine may sometimes choose to use another relevant section on your page as a snippet depending on the user’s query. However, it is advisable to make use of a Meta tag just in case a search engine cannot find a relevant section to use as a snippet for the user’s query. This is because words appearing on the query on the search engine appear in bold. This allows the user to decide whether the content will be useful. Some of the pitfalls you should avoid include, stuffing the Meta tag with keywords, copy pasting content into the Meta tag, using generic terms such as “The webpage talks about” or “this is a page about”, and a Meta tag that has no relation with page content.

URL structuring
Another important aspect in SEO is how you structure your URLS. You should structure your URLS in a friendly manner. This makes your site look better and organized. Long and cryptic URLS may intimidate your visitors and make it difficult for others to link your content. Structure the URL to contain relevant keywords. This provides the search engine and users with usable information about your page. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the search results will display the URL and bold words that match the user’s query. It is thus good practice to make your URL as simple as possible to make it friendlier to your visitors.

Site navigation
The consumer of your content wants to be able to find quickly what they want. In addition, the search engine needs knowing which part of the site is most important or fundamental. You should visualize how visitors would access content starting from your homepage to specific contents. It is advisable to use text links, which is what visitors prefer over other approaches such as drop down menus or animations. Focus on simplicity.

Quality
This is the keyword when it comes to SEO. To improve the ratings of your site in organic results and keep attracting visitors, you need to create captivating, accurate and fresh content. Any visitor in your site will deduce the quality of your content. If the content is compelling, your consumer will likely want others to read it. They may share it on social media, forums, emails, word of mouth and other avenues. As a webmaster, it is important to take into consideration the fact that different users interpret and understand the content differently. It is advisable to create exclusive and unique content to cater for your different audiences. You may also want to use a tool such as Google AdWords for an approximation of how each keyword fares among user queries. Create content with your consumer base on mind rather putting more emphasis on search engines. Make the quality of your content the top priority and the rest will follow smoothly.

Simple and Accurate
Users will enjoy your site if it easy to follow and read. You should aim to write text that is easy to read. Follow the basics such as organizing it succinctly, logically and avoid grammatical mistakes. You may want to use short precise paragraphs and subheadings to make it easier for the visitor.

Promoting your content
A search engine displays “sponsored links”, which are paid advertisements and organic results. Search engines do not accept money to rank sites. Therefore, your own aggressive promotion of the site decides how your site will rank. With the billions and billions of sites in search engines, finding the right channels and ways to promote your content may make the difference in the success of your site. Many webmasters use backlinks to promote their content. It is wise to have a blog in your site to keep your base on tabs with what is new on your site. You can also use a RSS feed to keep your audience informed. Social websites such as Facebook, twitter, Google + among others are also an effective way to market your site. Since these sites base on sharing and networking, it is an effective way to reach your target groups.

In addition, you can also offline promotion methods such as listing your URL on posters, business cards, t-shirts, word of mouth among other avenues. You should also use webmaster tools provided by search engines to complement your site to perform optimally in search results. Some of the tools include Google Webmaster Tools, for Google search engine, Yahoo! Site Explorer for Yahoo and Bing Webmaster Tool for the Microsoft search engine.

Google Analytics
This is a high-level web analysis tool used to analyse traffic flowing to your site. It allows you to get valuable insight how visitors reach your site, how they behave, which content they view, and how your site is performing.

When choosing which location to host your site, it is important to consider some the geographical factor. This is because a page loads faster when it is close to the web server. It is also important to label your domain extension to distinguish the targeted audience. For example, if your audience is in the UK, you may choose .uk domain. You should also consider the specifications on your web hosting needs. Some websites have unique features that make the page stand out.

Google Website Optimizer
This tool by Google allows the webmaster to experiment on how various changes in the site will influence traffic. When used with Google analytics, it is a powerful tool to improve the performance of your site.

If you have any questions about hosting for SEO purposes then please do feel free to contact our Sales team.

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