Knowledge is a great thing to have but a better thing share. So, here I am spreading my knowledge to help all of you. I'm going to start off talking about Search Engine Optimization or SEO. I choose this subject because it truly is one of the most important parts of having a website built - if often saved until last. So, we'll talk about some SEO, a little SEM, and why this should be the first step when building a website.
Search Engine Optimization, well, what is it? It is the process of changing the physical code and content of a website to directly target specific related keywords and phrases which in-turn affect the organic, free, or natural search results on search engines. This means: the title of your page; your meta keywords and description; title phrases; the actual content your readers will read; and title tags on images and links, all rich in the keyword phrases you'd like to target. This helps the search engines to read your page and index it correctly. It's like reading a resume of a person, from a clearly laid out title, to good work history, education, and all the way down to references. If it all lines up with the position you're hiring for, then they get an interview. Search Engines see your website in a similar fashion, if everything lines up, odds are, you'll show up on the first search result page.
The longer your domain has been purchased for, the length of time that it has until it expires, the links that point to you from other websites, being in the press, being listed in directories, and having regularly updated content are all things that are taken into consideration when your website is indexed. Now, Google even provides you the ability to tag your content directly for more relevance, with their Data Highlighter. This allows you the ability to tell Google directly what each of your products are, articles of content, events, etc. But even as more options become available the core of what SEO has been is the still the same. The better tagged your pages, the better content you provide, and the more relevant your website is, the higher you will rank.
Optionally, you also have SEM or Search Engine Marketing. There are a number of companies out there that can do this for you- many I've seen actually upcharge the ads to you. Going directly to the source is a much cheaper option but it can also be daunting. You have to find a keyword, bid for that keyword, avoid paying too much or too little, fight the guy with the bigger budget... Now, I'm not saying it can't be done nor that you shouldn't do it, but you should know what you're getting into. I've seen budgets from $50 to $5000 a month and even though the $5000 budget had a PAID ad, I never even saw that ad show up. I don't know about you but I don't click on many Paid Advertisements. In fact, I know many people these days that block ads altogether. I believe that the money you would spend on SEM could be much more wisely spent on SEO for a longer term, organic search result that reaches all search engines.
Now, after all of this is said and done, guess what? We've still got 6 to 12 months ahead of us. Sure our efforts could be seen next month, but more realistically, it's going to take several and we're not done. We still need to keep updating our content and getting more links pointing to us and stay relevant. Which is why it is so crucial to start here. If you go and build your website, launch it, tell your friends, spread it around... Google will index you. But if you have no SEO? The search engines look at your website and put it to the furthest reaches of the results where the "Untitled" pages go. Not to mention, if you designed your website and throughout your entire design you have two sentences of content... I'm sorry but this isn't going to help you. If you plan your site: sections of content, each with titles and rich keywords, and links pointing between your pages (not just from your navigation menu), this will produce results. I've seen so many sites that people want to rank and a designer, not knowing, makes the home page one big image. Looks great, makes you feel excited when you see it, but it doesn't help you get ranked because search engines can't read the image as context.
SEO is here to stay. It may change a little from time to time, but it is definitely one of the most important parts of web development and having a website. Think about it early, plan it into a project, design around the phrases you need to target, fill your site with rich content and information, and keep updating or adding content. At Lasyte, all of our web services come with basic SEO research and keyword integration. Let us know how we can help you today!