SEO 101

December 10, 2018 The TNS Group

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

SEO isn’t just about building search engine-friendly websites.  It’s about making your site better for people too.

Why does my website need SEO?

The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users. This is true whether your site provides content, services, products, information, or just about anything else.

Search engines are unique in that they provide targeted traffic—people looking for what you offer. Search engines are the roadways that make this happen. If search engines cannot find your site, or add your content to their databases, you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive traffic to your site.

Search queries—the words that users type into the search box—carry extraordinary value. Experience has shown that search engine traffic can make (or break) an organization’s success. Targeted traffic to a website can provide publicity, revenue, and exposure like no other channel of marketing.

Why can’t the search engines figure out my site without SEO?

The major engines are always working to improve their technology to crawl the web more deeply and return better results to users. However, there is a limit to how search engines can operate. Whereas the right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.

In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO also helps boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it. The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in visitors and customers.

How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Use. The Basics!

Dedicate some time to writing really great content. The saying goes that you should write for people first and search engines second. This basically means you should be creating really quality pieces that are useful and engaging for humans because the search engines will recognize your efforts. Your readers will share your work generating additional backlinks, not to mention extra traffic, and search engines will recognize your quality piece because it will flow naturally with not too many keywords.

Get links to your pages from other trusted websites. Even if you are new to the web, you have natural links you could try to get. All businesses have suppliers whether they be accountants, solicitors or raw material providers. All these suppliers are bound to have a website, contact them to ask for a link back, but do not offer a link in exchange. Link exchanges don’t violate Google’s TOS, but they will now work against you. When building links, always give other site owners a reason to want to link back to you. Perhaps write an article based on a particular client – everyone likes bragging rights and this can gain you additional links without even having to ask. All Google wants to see is links that have an editorial right to be there.

Complete all image attributes. Pictures dress up your pages but search engines don’t really know how to deal with them unless you complete all the details like title, caption, alternate text, description. Be ethical though, don’t use it as an opportunity to cram an extra few keywords onto the page as this will likely have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. Some people search for what they are looking for via Google image search, if your image is highly visible then your potential customers will likely visit your page

Take note of word count. Although it’s been a classic rule that “readers online do not read”, it simply doesn’t mean that one has to deprive the online users of good, meaty content. Stick to at least 250 words a page. SEOs know that writing down for an appropriate length of text means being more able to include more related terms for the target keywords. In order to help with the page-browsing experience, consider using large fonts to draw the eye to key headline points. This will make for a page that is broken up well into sections that answer the question the reader is looking for.

Avoid duplicate content. The content on your website should be unique from other pages on your site, and from external sites as well. Consider using a tool such as Siteliner to look for duplicate content.

Navigation. Each page of your site should contain links to every other page so search engine spiders can find every page. This is an important step for the proper indexing and page ranking for your site.

Get the right tools. You could use a free tools to help get the best results before submitting your site for optimization. Keyword Suggestion Tool, Keyword List Generator, Meta Tag Generator, Link Suggestion Tool, Server Header Checker, Page Comparison Tool, Keyword Wrapper, etc…

It’s suggested that you manually submit your site’s pages to Google, Yahoo! and Bing because they have made it apparent that it is what they prefer. The search engines have implemented manual submission as a best practice to protect themselves from extreme levels of spam.

Submit Site to Google
Google’s URL submit is very quick and easy. Just go to Google’s web page for URL submitting, type in your URL, type in the message that ensures Google you are an individual not a software robot and click “add URL.” You can also submit your site map to Google via their Webmaster Tools.

Submit Site to Yahoo!
Since 2010, Yahoo search has been powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine. When you submit your site to Bing you will also show up in Yahoo’s search results. See below on how to submit your site to Bing.  Yahoo! had a paid submission process in the past, although Yahoo! Directory is no longer available.

Submit Site to Bing
Bing allows you to submit your URL, just like Google.  You will first need to have a Bing login, then go to Bing’s Webmaster Tools page. Once logged in simply type in the URL of your homepage and press “submit”. You will also want to have the URL for the .xml version of your sitemap readily available, as it will ask for this in the first step of submitting your domain. After submitting you will have to verify ownership of the domain. This can be a little tricky if you are not savvy with HTML, as you will need to add a small snippet of code to the header of your site in order to pass this verification process. Once verified, you are finished! Still not sure how to optimize your site?  Reach out to TNS and we will point you in the right direction.

By:  Hassan Aboulfetouh, Engineering, The TNS Group

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