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What do search engines want you to know about SEO?

What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is a process used to improve the volume or quality of traffic to your website from search engines. SEO helps increases a website’s ‘organic’ search result ranking, and is FREE!

Search engine marketing (SEM), on the other hand, is a paid ad campaign placing ads in relevant search engine results.

What does this mean for your small business?

Search engines are the primary method of navigation for almost all Internet users – search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing drive product shopping, news reading and lead users to videos, blogs and other online content.

If your business website cannot be found by these search engines, your business will not appear on the search engine result pages (SERP) and will miss out on being visible to potential customers and clients who are searching specifically for your products, services and information online!

There are several best practices you can implement that are FREE and will transform the potential of your website, improve your online presence, and most importantly – improve website traffic!

Basic SEO Guidelines from the Largest Search Engines:

Google Webmaster Guidelines

  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the “ALT” attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML.
  • If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link*.
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map has an extremely large number of links, you may want to break the site map into multiple pages.
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.

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From Yahoo! Webmaster Guidelines

  • Create original and unique content of genuine value.
  • Design your pages primarily for humans, with search engine considerations a secondary concern.
  • Include hyperlinks intended to help people find interesting, related content.
  • Include metadata (including title and description) that accurately describes the contents of a web page.

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From Bing Webmaster Guidelines

  • In the visible page text, include words users might choose as search query terms to find the information on your site.
  • Limit all pages to a reasonable size. We recommend one topic per page. An HTML page with no pictures should be under 150KB.
  • Make sure that each page is accessible by at least one static text link.
  • Don’t put the text that you want indexed inside images. For example, if you want your company name or address to be indexed, make sure it is not displayed inside a company logo.
  • Develop great, original content (including well-implemented, relevant keywords).
  • Use well-architected code in your webpages (including images and Sitemaps) so that users’ web browsers and search engine crawlers can read the content you want indexed).
  • Earn several, high-quality, authoritative inbound links (hyperlinks on other web pages that link back to your own website – these links are important in determining the importance and relevance of your site). 

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