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David Bond
Entrepreneur, Writer, and Businessman

David Bond is a freelance writer for Woopidoo.com. He has worked in leadership positions in both online and bricks & mortar businesses.

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Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Businesses Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Businesses - Guide by David Bond

Have you ever wondered why the sites at the top of search engine results are there? Especially if your site is nowhere to be seen, even though it has a lot more valuable content or a better product range than those at the top. It can be frustrating for small businesses that put a lot of work into their websites, yet get a fraction of the visitors that some people talk about receiving.

There's no easy answer as to why the sites at the top of the search engine ranking are there, but one way of ensuring that your site has a better chance of ranking well for some of your keywords is to learn some search engine optimization (SEO) basics.

Search Engine Optimization is a whole industry, so we won't go into the details of SEO. This article is meant as a beginning guide only. There are whole books published on the subject, large companies offering SEO services to businesses, and thousands of websites and blogs dedicated to the subject.

Think About SEO From the Beginning 1. Think About SEO From the Beginning
Rather than building your website and then thinking about SEO, the best time to start is when you are first designing your site. It will save a lot of work later on and the search engines will know exactly what your site is all about from day one.

If your site is already online it will just mean that you may have to go back through all your pages and make some changes.

Ensure that the Title of Every Page is Different 2. Ensure that the Title of Every Page is Different
One of the first things a search engine looks at when it is scanning your pages is the title. It plays an important role in how search engines rank each page, so it should be chosen carefully. It should be brief and accurately describe what is on the page.

For example, this article is about the basics of SEO. If you look at the very top of this page you will see "SEO Basics" rather than "Woopidoo Business Portal" or something of that nature. It is a very brief title and probably could have been lengthened to include a couple more words, but don't go overboard.

The title is also used by most search engines to display your listing on their search results pages. So if you have a brief, targeted, and descriptive title, the chances of your page being clicked on are enhanced. If you see a LONG SPAMMY LOOKING 20 WORD TITLE IN CAPITAL LETTERS!! next to a brief and informative title, the chances of you choosing the latter is increased.

metatags 3. Consider Using Metatags that are Different for Each Page
Although this step is less important than having different titles for each page, it is still worth spending the time to make each one original. Metatags are also located in the <head> of a html page. Keywords and Descriptions used to play an important role in how search engines ranked websites until people started abusing the system. Search engines had to devalue this method as webmasters were being less than honest, especially with their keywords.

Even if it helps a little with your rankings, it is worth doing. Just don't waste your time filling it with a hundred+ keywords as the search engines have become much smarter.

Here's an example of the Description and Keywords used for this SEO Basics page..

<meta name="description" content="SEO basics is a listing of search engine optimization tips by the businessman and entrepreneur David Bond.">
<meta name="keywords" content="David Bond business articles, seo basics, search engine optimization">

keyword research 4. Do Some Research on the Keywords Used in your Industry
If you do everything right and get great rankings for all your keywords, but very few people search for these keywords, you have failed. You have to find out what people are looking for in your industry and target them terms. If it is a very competitive industry that you are in, it may be worth looking at targeting secondary value keywords, but make sure you know what people are looking for.

There are some free resources online that help with Keyword research like the Overture Keyword Selector Tool.

Focus on One Topic Per Page 5. Focus on One Topic Per Page
This is a more subtle tip that helps search engines to see how organized and focused you are. It likes groups of focused, targeted information that is easy to categorize. If you have a site about colored balls, make sure that each color has it's own page. If you have all your balls on one page you may be missing out on the advantages of having a whole page dedicated to each colored ball. Blue balls may be very popular, but if they are just mentioned on a page of multicolored balls, the search engines may not think your site is focused enough to rank for Blue balls.

When you combine the fact that you have 20 pages about balls of different colors, and all them pages are linking to (and linked from) one central colored balls page, you're sending a message to the search engines that colored balls is an area that you excel in.

Keywords in Content 6. Keywords in Content
A lot of SEO basics involves using keywords properly throughout your entire website. Once you figure out what keywords you are targeting, you will have to spread them throughout your pages.

One of the most obvious places to use these keywords is in the content of your pages. This option should not be abused for several reasons, with the most important one being the visitors to your site. Many search engine optimizers simply fill the articles of each page with their keywords and ignore the visitors to the site that have come to read the information. They focus only on what they think the search engines want and ignore their customers!

If I started every sentence in this article with "SEO Basics" you probably would have left the page after about the first paragraph. Not only does it alienate visitors, but search engines now know how many times you use your keywords on each page. If the number of times you use the keyword compared with the number of words used on each page is out of proportion, the search engine knows.

seo basics SEO Basics Conclusion
These are just some of the very basics of search engine optimization. There is so much more to know about the topic, but the most important part is to never forget your website's visitors. If you alienate your visitors at the expense of getting a few extra referrals from search engines, than you haven't gained much, nor have you used SEO effectively.

Search engine optimization at it's very basics should inform the search engine about what is on every page of your website and should not interfere in the user's experience of your site.

Other topics to look at include link building, PageRank, sitemaps, directory submissions, site structure, the Google sandbox, and much more.


"The ultimate search engine would basically understand everything in the world, and it would always give you the right thing. And we're a long, long ways from that." Larry Page Quote




This article by David Bond may not be reproduced online in part or whole. Copyright © Woopidoo.com

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