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To rank well in the search engines with natural traffic is very effective. Knowing where to start with SEO (search engine optimisation) begins by determining the keywords people are using when searching for your products or services.

Google keyword tool is a good place to head with your list of words that you feel are the ones you would use if you were searching.
In Google Keyword Tool, paste in your keywords and in the left side bar change the filter from broad to exact searches. You will then see the average volumes of people searching for those words over a month.

Optimise your site by selecting which keywords you want to use from this list. If you choose highly competitive terms you will struggle to rank highly.

Begin by choosing between 1 and 3 terms from your keyword research and start with your most important pages. Try and target different terms on your various pages and optimise your page using the keywords.

The main parts that you can target:

URLs:

  • Ideally your URL contains your keywords.
  • Use 301 redirect if you change from your old URL, making sure people can still find you.

Meta Tag Title:

  • Search engines use this information and display this in their results. This is visible in your browser tab
  • If possible, use 1 or 2 keywords and keep it to 64 characters or less. Include your brand or what you do here too.

Meta Description:

  • This information appears beneath the heading in the search results. Although Google don’t rate this information very highlyas far as ranking is concerned,but a well written description here can improve click throughs. Restrict this to 150 characters or less.
  • Meta Keywords:
  • Leave these blank as they no longer are a factor in ranking and only serve to let competitors see what keywords you are targeting.

Header Tags:

  • This information should appear with tags either side of it and should also ideally contain your keywords.

Content:

  • Don’t keyword stuff as search engines do not like but your keywords should obviously appear here but in moderation.

Alt Tags:

  • Images need to have alt tags applied and again use your keywords here.

Internal Linking:

  • Link some key terms on your page with other relevant internal content

When you have all of these areas covered then you can look to outside of your website and optimise for links back to your site from other areas.

Optimise your content by including your URL in:

  • directories relevant to your industry-specific and social bookmarking
  • submit to news wires, by writing a press release
  • write fore someone else’s blog and link back to your site
  • include keywords in your links and avoid empty ‘click here’ and ‘read more’, they tell the search engines nothing
  • make sure you have a blog
  • create a YouTube channel and begin making videos
  • use social media to produce links back to your website
  • good links are produced from competitions
  • research and create your own info-graphic
  • if you have anything newsworthy, shout it from the roof tops

And finally, get your website set up for Google Analytics so you can monitor and track whatever happens on your website. You can tell what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to change things to achieve better rankings.

This blog has appeared in the November 2012 Business Plus Baby Blog Carnival hosted by Occasional Assistants.