The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to ensure that when a potential customer enters a query for a product or service you sell, your business website appears on the first search page and as close to the top of that search page as possible. Research shows that 95% of Internet users never click beyond the first page of query responses. Making certain that your website link appears within the first 10 search responses is critical to driving maximum traffic to your business website and capturing sales leads.
Many factors affect search engine ranking, from your use of key words to the placement of items on a web page. To keep things interesting, search engines constantly change their search parameters and user rules. Effective SEO management requires expert knowledge, practiced experience and constant tweaking; but there are some tried and true SEO techniques that you can use to improve your search engine rank. Earlier this week, we talked about using deep linking and social media bookmarking to improve your search results. Try these additional tips from our SEO experts:
- Vary anchor text. While anchor (link) text adds important weight to links, search engines perceive over-use of identical anchor text phrases as automation, and they may penalize your ranking for doing it. You need to mix up anchor links and text to provide the fresh links that attract search engines. Vary anchor text phrases by creating new combinations of key words.
- Create SEO-friendly URLs. Include keywords in your URLs (page addresses) and image file names. Try not to overdo it or search engines may define page files as spam. When creating file names, use hyphens which are treated as spaces rather than underscores which are not.
- Use keywords in page titles and headings. Include primary keywords in page titles and headings. The page title is the most important SEO factor on any given page. Including keywords in page titles increases your chances of improving search engine rank. Not just any keywords, though. Search engines also take relevance into account, so make sure the keywords you use are consistent with the article content.
- Benefit from inbound marketing. Start a blog, open a Twitter account, build a Facebook page. Search engines, particularly Google, scan inbound marketing sites. Each new item you post provides the fresh content search engines thrive on. Include keywords in your social media profiles, tweets, blog comments and links and updates on Facebook and elsewhere. Incorporating social media in your marketing efforts also increases your Internet presence and produces new inbound links.
- Diversify marketing strategy. Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. If you've invested all your SEO effort into Google, a major algorithm change could destroy your visibility. Start a blog and add a newsletter and subscriber-based white papers to your marketing mix. Diversifying will create new avenues for audience growth. Focus on providing sustained, valuable content for your target audience, and you will be rewarded with more traffic and improved search ranking.
What's your strategy for search engine ranking? Try inbound marketing. It works!
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