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What’s the key to attracting interested, motivated visitors to your web site? Search engine optimization (SEO). No matter how informative or eye-catching a web site is, it won’t receive the views it deserves unless it has a well-designed and smartly executed SEO strategy.

Search engine optimization is a form of online marketing that increases the visibility of a brand and web site in places like search engines and directories. It’s the way powerhouse brands as well as savvy smaller companies build a true Web presence.

The power of SEO
In a recent article, SEO expert Bill Slawski discusses how a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy works to make web sites easier for search engines to crawl and index. An SEO plan takes into account the most-common language that viewers use to search for and find a site, as well as the verbiage they expect to see on pages, to determine the best keyword terms for a particular company, product or subject.

Armed with that insight, web designers and editors can refine a site’s content and code to increase its relevance to specific keywords and optimize its appeal for searches. Editing code to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines and increasing the number of backlinks in the site assist in improving SEO as well.

Here are a few simple steps for ensuring good SEO practices:

  • Read the major search engines’ guidelines
  • Sign up for the Webmaster tools on the major commercial search engines
  • Explore competitors’ web sites to see how they have made their pages more friendly to search engines

Blogs enhance SEO’s reach
Creating corporate and business blogs is a great way to drive robust SEO activity. Blogs naturally attract search engine traffic because they have clear navigation with pages set to link back to each other. Blogs generate new visitors, links, comments and more, so always host your blog on the same domain as your site!

Another way to draw new interest to your blog is by participating in related blogs and forums. When you do this, be sure to always tag and categorize your posts. Rand Fishkin shares good insights on these and other SEO tactics in his popular SEOmoz blog.

Some recommendations for maximizing your SEO presence on blogs:

  • Post regularly – some posts may be concise and cover only a couple keywords, while others may be lengthy with an abundance of links and information
  • Use suitable keywords and tags in posts
  • Archive old posts appropriately
  • Keep a personal tone of voice when writing posts to retain readers

Selecting the right categories and keywords
Finding the best combination of categories and keywords is the key to SEO success. When it comes to keywords, simply choosing a general, high-traffic keyword is no guarantee of ranking well. In fact, it is often better to select a more specific keyword that receives a moderate level of highly targeted traffic. That focused approach is likely to result in more site visitors – and sales.

Rand Fishkin advises caution when creating categories. Don’t make new categories just to create them. Instead, make sure they are both user and SEO focused. The more categories you create, the less “link juice” each will get, so new categories should be “link worthy,” contain unique content and provide value to the visitor.

Resources for getting started
Remember, the web is full of both worthwhile as well as pointless web pages, and visitors cannot always find good sites on their own. To make sure your site moves to the top of the list in search engine results, engage SEO to its fullest advantage. As Bill Slawski explains, “Your Web pages don’t exist in isolation from the rest of the web, but rather are part of an environment, and SEO can make it more likely that your business will thrive within that ecosystem.”

If you are considering launching or redesigning a web site this year, keep SEO best practices in mind as soon as design conception begins. These practices include creating clear navigational structure and code, minimizing the use of flash graphics and avoiding iFrames. To read Kevin Phelps’ complete list of suggestions, click here.

For more information and for sources cited, please visit: – Blogs and SEO
Bill Slawski – SEO by the Sea
Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz

Or, you could contact us at 919.932.9985 for customized site design and SEO solutions.

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