I love the idea of someone enjoying using your website; doing what they want to do successfully and benefiting from your services.
I realise, though, people have to get to your website first to enjoy it.
Search engine optimisation or SEO is the science and art of being found on the web. The term SEO may strike fear into your heart, however, because it sounds complicated.
Luckily, there’s a few simple things you can do right away to help people get to your website.
1. Befriend Google
Let Google know you’re there, submit your site to Google at submit your URL. While you’re at it submit a “sitemap” using Google Webmaster Tools (you’ll need an account for this). Google uses your sitemap to understand the structure of your site and increase coverage of your webpages. My website is in WordPress and I used a simple to install sitemap ‘plugin’ to create and submit a sitemap all in one step.
2. Get linked
Get online and research all the relevant directories in your field or industry. Make sure all appropriate, reputable sites are aware your site is online. Register with them or contact them to include your site in their listings. On one site I created, I delegated this task to an admin person – they did a great job of getting the site listed and this showed up in the ‘organic search results’ (see Anatomy of a Google search for more on this term).
3. Win the title fight
This is one of the most important elements of SEO. Google rewards unique titles for your pages; so it knows how each page is distinct from the others.
Create titles that briefly, accurately and effectively reflect a page’s content. Make them short and informative as they may be truncated in search results and long titles are usually unhelpful. Avoid titles that have no relation to the page’s content and don’t have default or vague titles like “Untitled” or “New Page 1”. While you’re at it, it could pay to make your URLs ‘human readable’ – find out why Human readable, semantic URLs help your SEO.
Above all, write bloody good content
Good natural language content is the key element in SEO, which brings me back to having your visitors enjoy using your website. You can do the best SEO in the world but what happens when a visitor gets to your site? Is it easy to use? Does it help them complete tasks? What words should I include? Tools like Google Keyword Planner will help.
It seems appropriate to leave the last word to Google (from their excellent Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide):
Search engine optimization is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.