Designing a SEO-friendly website that produce high rankings is an essential component of today's best website designs. Simply put the higher a page ranks on the search results page (SERP), the more likely the site will receive web traffic via search engines and achieve the results you are looking for. Employing a qualified SEO Company is a guaranteed way to ensure the ROI of your website.
Without high rankings in search engine results, websites would have to rely solely on searchers typing the exact web address, company name or linking to the website in question from some other means. True SEO and a measure of it's success is typing in the services you offer in the geographical area you have targeted and achieving high page rankings.
For example if you are running a Gardening Services business in a town in New Zealand, you would want Google and other search engines to bring up your site whenever a person searches for Gardening Services. The closer you are to the top of the first page of search listings the more traffic and subsequently more enquiries. Searching for your company name will and should bring it near the top but you cannot rely on customers knowing the actual name of your company to achieve good search results.
True SEO and a measure of success is typing in the services you offer in the geographical area you have targeted and achieving high page rankings.
There are good ways to do SEO and there are bad ways. Google and others refer to these different types of techniques as "white hat" the good and "black hat" the bad SEO practices. Black hat often produce quick results because they are based on "cheating" the system. Typically "farming" back links or adding key words that do not apply to your site amongst others. Not following good SEO practices can result in your site been banned and black listed.
A SEO company that promise to get your site quickly to the top of Google or claim to have some "hidden secret" knowledge are usual signs of black hat SEO. While black hat methods often produce quick results eventually Google and others search engines will recognize what is being done and your site will not feature in search results.
SEO done correctly
White hat SEO on the other hand is more methodical and slower, but will produce lasting results. In white hat SEO there is no secret knowledge and there are no instant results. SEO takes time and work. Here is a general understanding of good SEO principles.
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Why your content is so important
You can see from the chart the relative importance of the three main areas of successful SEO results.
The majority of the work of SEO is done by your content. For content to be SEO friendly means that it should be written is a way that the keywords you are hoping Google will associate with your site and business are placed in your content. Images should be labeled that reference the services you target. Returning to our Gardening Services example if you hope Google brings up your site when people search for "Gardening Services" these words should appear as often as is natural in your text, images and headings. But your content should not be "stuffed" with your keywords. If Google notices this it will not be impressed. Keyword "stuffing is a sign of Black Hat SEO.
By far the best way to building quality links is to supply quality content and share this information with the wider community via these well established social media platforms.
Search Engines also value the age of your content. The older your content grows but continues to be visited the more "trusted" that content will appear. But at the same time Google values new content. A site that is never updated with new content will become uninspiring and eventually slip down the rankings. Keeping a site fresh but stable is therefore essential and therefore a good balance needs to be achieved. Balance here is the key. A Blog or a monthly newsletters are a common way of achieving this but simpler ways are achievable.
Finally your content must be unique and new, copying and pasting information from other sites will not help you or your search results.
External linking to your site
The next area of White Hat SEO are External links. This is when another site links to you from their site. These however need to be relevant to what your site is offering. All search engines including Google identify what your site is about. It also identifies what the sites linking to your site is all about. Linking to your site from sites that have nothing to do with your service offerings are worthless. Deliberately building links this way is often called "link farming" and is a method used by Black Hat SEO. Finally Google ranks pages by popularity.
Links from very popular sites relevant to your site are by far the strongest form of "Back Links". So what your objective should be is to build a quality set of links from sites relevant to your service offerings and popular in that grouping. Referring to our Garden Services example links to your site from a well known Garden supplies company site would be very valuable, but a link from a computer supply company would not. Beware of a SEO Company offering back links for a price. Back links are earned not bought!
Social media and the community
Links from social media networks such as Twitter, You Tube and Face-book can be very valuable. By far the best way to building quality links is to supply quality content and share this information with the wider community via these well established social media platforms. In time with good content and quality your links will naturally improve. Listing in business directories are often very useful for SEO results. Many tools such as Google Maps and Places are invaluable to SEO so ensure you add your web site details to them.
Friendly website structure for successful SEO
The last part of White Hat SEO is having a search engine "friendly" site. This maybe the most simple part of SEO but can also be the one piece of the process that can lead to a complete failure of good SEO results. To achieve this it requires:
- A build and design that follows valid HTML mark-up as well as ensuring content is separated from the structure of the web site. This is critical and is where a web designer following W3C standards can achieve good SEO results.
- Standardized folder construction and ensuring page names and titles for each page utilizing keywords where appropriate. Meta data for images including descriptions are used for each image displayed.
- Use of the correct mark-up for headings and sub titles in your content. This is a key source of information gathering by search engines.
- Structuring links text and titles correctly.
- Google on the whole trusts sites more that include physical location information and contact details including e-mails and telephone numbers. Google has been known to not include sites where fake addresses have been used.
- Ensuring that you upload a site map for your complete web site and also submitting your site to all the major search engines and specific directories. Free listings in local and national Online phone directories will also provide quality links. If your business has a physical location don't forget to add yourself to Google maps as well as Yahoo and Bing business directories