Can I get a straight answer from anyone about how this works?
Not Usually. You can ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers regarding SEO placement and optimization.
Google and other search engines and directories use proprietary Algorithms to rank web sites, so unless you work as a developer for Google, you really do not know how they are ranking your site.
Every web site is different and the techniques used for each sight will vary slightly or drastically from site to site. The good news is that if you stick to the basics, the site should rank competitively.
The bad news is there are some web sites that will always fail because they are in a tremendously competitive field. Their competition utilizes techniques such as AdWords and sponsored links that take their internet marketing efforts beyond straight forward SEO. Unfortunately, this extra step can be very cost-prohibitive for many small businesses.
So, what works on a small to moderate budget?
There is no magic bullet, no one correct way of achieving top rankings that can be applied to any web site for its success. There are several general techniques that we have found to be very helpful in achieving better rankings and the good news is they mostly coincide with the best practices of HTML and usability.
- Proper page titles
- Correct HTML markup
- Well written content
These best practices will always win out over any “quick fix” that may work one day but reduce your rankings the next. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
Proper Page Titles
This is text that appears in the bar at the top of your browser window. You want this text to accurately describe the content contained in the page below. Do not over inflate this text with a bunch of unrelated words. Also, make sure you place the most relevant and important words first.
Correct HTML Markup
You will most likely need to consult with your webmaster on this part as it relates mainly to the HTML code of the web site. How your code is setup and how it relates to your actual content can have a major effect on the optimization of your web site. Here are some key areas on which to concentrate:
- ALT attributes (the text associated with an image or graphic)
- Heading tags using cascading style sheets (ex H1, H2 tags, etc)
- Link titles
- File names with search words and phrases – don’t go overboard here, just the main word or two as it relates to the content of the page
- Meta tags and descriptions
Well Written Content
Content is very important. It needs to be well written, as it relates to internet marketing. In other words, it does not need to be flowery prose with lots of complex sentence structures and 25 cent words.
Your content should be clear, concise and relate to what they viewer wants. Use things like bulleted lists and short paragraphs that are loaded with keywords and phrases. Again, don’t overdo it. Make sure the words you use are relevant to the page they are on.
A great resource for online and blog content is CopyBlogger.
We hope these little tidbits help take some of the mystery out of SEO. Happy marketing!