Oh Say Can You Be Seen: Get your site noticed (Part 3 of 3)
In the first two parts of the series, we talked about the basics of search engine optimization, how search engines work and how they rank the results.
In this third and final part, we’ll look at some things to think about before embarking on the SEO process.
Humans or Spiders?
Developing a new site or optimizing an existing site for SEO means thinking about the needs of two audiences: the search engines’ spiders and your human readers.
Both audiences are equally important, but if you had to pick one, your first priority should be your human readers. Your site may employ all the best practices for SEO and may rank highly for a well-chosen keyword set, but if your website is poorly laid out, has factually or grammatically incorrect content, or is just plain boring, irrelevant and hard to use, your readers will be turned off.
Many SEO best practices also make a website more accessible to users with disabilities and easier to use for all visitors. For example, using ALT tags to describe images not only provides keyword-rich content for search engines spiders, but also helps users with visual impairments know what images are on your site.
SEO Goals: Quantity and Quality Traffic
While a big goal of SEO is to increase your website’s rankings with search engines, another important SEO goal is to drive the quantity and quality of traffic to your website.
At its most basic, search is about questions and answers, and problems and solutions. When people search, they’re ultimately looking for answers to questions or solutions to problems. They’re looking for a way to compare cars, computers, or credit cards and pick the best option, for example, or find out how to lose weight, quit smoking, or save money.
You not only need to get more people to visit your site, but more people who are most likely to buy your product or service, subscribe to your newsletter/blog, or link to your website.
Do Your Homework
Say a customer wants to buy an mp3 player online and searches for the keyword phrase “mp3 players.” The websites that appear on the first page of search results are not only websites where they can buy an mp3 player, but also websites that review mp3 players.
Whether or not this search was helpful depends on where the customer is in the buying process. If they are at the point where they’re trying to get a feel for what’s out there, what they can afford, and what mp3 players are most popular, they’d most likely visit the “review” sites. If they know what kind of mp3 player they want and are ready to buy, they’d probably go to the “sales” sites.
If your website sells mp3 players, the keywords you should focus on should be around buying, such as “buy mp3 players,” “mp3 players on sale,” and the like. If your website has reviews for mp3 players, you should concentrate on keyword such as “compare mp3 players” and “mp3 player reviews.”
Here are some more resouces that will help you in your quest to understand SEO.
Stay tuned for Part 2, when we will share some great linking tips.