[Originally published on 1/27/12 in The Coloradoan]
For any sized business today, it is important to have your website show up at the top of search results in a search engine, like Google or Bing.
In fact, “94 percent of shoppers conduct research online before making an online purchase,” according to the “Compete Shopper Intelligence Study.” And, overwhelmingly, they turn to search engines. From the same study, 61 percent of shoppers say they always or often use a search engine when shopping online.
“The perfect search engine,” said Google’s co-founder Larry Page, “would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.”
Every day, billions of people use search engines to find information about topics that interest them. In July 2010, Comscore recorded 16.6 billion searches in the U.S alone. That’s 16.6 billion searches in one month.
So, we all can recognize that more business is being conducted online, which makes the process of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, so much more vital to the success of any business. SEO is a series of actions taken in the design of your website to make sure that your site will rank at the top of search engines. While there is no one magic way to make this happen, there are many universal guidelines you can follow to improve your ranking.
Search Engine Optimization is a combination of many factors, including optimizing your website title, keywords, description, and searchable text on your website. When adding content to your website, there needs to be a strong focus on the primary keywords your business uses.
When a user types keywords into a search engine, all four of these areas are checked for relevancy and results are returned based on any ‘hits’ that are found. The more relevant your site, the higher your rank will be in a search engine.
Of course, there are many other factors in your website’s design that will affect your ranking in a search engine. The most common of these would be your attempts to trick a search engine by repeating keywords or searchable content unnecessarily. All of the search engines out there today are extremely intelligent.
They can tell the difference between good and bad SEO practices on your website. So, do yourself a favor, and stick to the basic guidelines of SEO. You will actually be rewarded by search engines if you do.
The topic of SEO is a lengthy but important one that all businesses need to address. Remember, if a user is using a search engine to find what he or she needs, then you need to make sure your website can be found easily.
Stu Crair is owner of Digital Workshop Center. Reach him at (970) 980-8091.