5 Great Tips for Improving Your SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process to ensure that your website rises to the top of search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo when people conduct search inquiries. The higher your SEO, the increased likelihood of more visitors. Here are some great tips for improving your organization's SEO:
Use a CMS
Just a few short years ago, <meta> tags programmed into the html of webpages were the best way to improve SEO rankings. While <meta> tags today can still improve page ranking, content plays a more powerful roll. A content management system uses cascading style sheets (CSS) to control the style and layout of a webpage so that anyone with word processing skills can add content. This allows you to focus on your message rather than being bogged down by programming details. Search engines can easily scour content on CMS sites. Therefore you will want to develop a keyword strategy.
What are people in your community talking about? What do you want your organization to be known for? What type of questions do you hear most often?
Developing a Keyword Strategy
Identify key words that relate to your organization and use them in your articles to increase search traffic. Put them in your headline, in the first five words and throughout your article to increase your page rank. You will have to weigh frequency for increased page rank with over use that seems annoying. When developing a keyword strategy, you will need to determine your organization's priorities and set a delicate balance.
Google offers several free tools on Zeitgeist to help you see what words are trending (Google Trends, Trends for Websites, Hot Trends), and how words are used regionally (Insights for Search). You can also use Google Ad Words Keyword Tool (requires CAPTCHA input or account sign in) to determine which words or phrases are highly sought after and which ones are used most often by other websites. The challenge is finding a balance of popularity versus competition. Try rewording a phrase with synonyms to see if it has less competition.
Get Inbound Links
Inbound links are back links posted on other websites leading to your website. The more inbound links you have, the increased likelihood of raising your SEO. Inbound links from other websites legitimizes your website to search engines. Search engine robots follow links between websites. The more inbound links you have, the more often these robots will visit your site.
So how do you get links directed to your website? By posting valuable, relevant content. (See previous blog post.) Valuable content will make other organizations want to link to your website. Schools, hospitals and city websites within your community could easily link to each other. Also try local news outlets, businesses, and professional and community organizations.
Don't know who has links back to your website? Try doing a Google search for your website by using this search command to see a list of websites that include links to your website:
Add Descriptions to Images and Videos
Ensure that the images you upload include a keyword-rich caption or a ALT- (alternative) tag. Most CMSs provide the ability to include captions and alt-tags. When search engine robots troll sites, they also locate text included with image and video descriptions. This is also recommended to provide accessibility to the visually impaired.
Keep Your Content Current
The more you add and update content on your website the higher your page ranking becomes. Sites that post content and leave it are called "fly-by-nights" and will have their page rank reduced. Taking the time every week to post fresh, SEO-optimized content will increase your web traffic. The idea is to be as close to the top, or better yet, at the very top of the search listing.
Editor's Note: This is the second of a four part series on how to increase traffic to your website. Read the previous post: 4 Ways to Provide Valuable Content.
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