Search Engine Survival Guide
Why Is SEO So Important?
Search engines are an avenue for people to search a multitude of websites by given key words to come up with a list of best matches. With the internet ever expanding with the daily addition of websites, it becomes increasingly important that potential visitors can find your site. After all, there’s not much point spending your time and resources to put together a site if people can’t find it. With that said, consider the relevance of Search Engine Optimization at least on par with that of even maintaining a website.
Understanding How Search Engines Operate
Plan & Build
It’s helpful to be aware of the considerations listed below and plan your SEO strategy accordingly.
Not only is it important to use keywords effectively in your pages, it’s also important to have an idea of what people are searching. You can use free keyword search tools as Google Keywords (Google Adwords). Once you’ve determined what search terms are popular, you can align your keyword selection. Create a table to list your findings and ultimately determine what keywords you’ll implement on your site.
Domain names should be short (close to 9 characters), easy to remember and relevant to your ministry or organization.
Submit Your Site to Google and Bind
Submit new sites to the search engines for indexing. For Google, go to the Google Site Submission Page while logged into your Google Webmaster tools account. For Bing, go to the Bing Site Submission Page.
Use relevant keywords in your webpage addresses. Example: http://www.yoursite.com/Pastor-John-Doe.
It’s important to use page titles that clearly identify the topic of the page and consistent with the content in the page. Also, keep page titles around 60 characters or less if possible to avoid them being truncated in the initial search results.
Meta Data is information that can be crawled by the search engines but is not physically visible on the page itself. The Search Summary would be considered meta data. The search summary should encapsulate the content of the page in one or two short sentences. Note: Thrive provides search summary containers so that you can add and update your page summary with minimal effort.
Keywords can be added as meta data but it’s important that you also use the keyword(s) in the content of the page. Note: Thrive provides keyword containers so that you can add and update your page keywords with minimal effort.
Page content is often not considered important when it comes to SEO and page ranking, when in-fact it is of utmost importance. Consider some of the points below when you build your pages.
Keywords should be used effectively but sparingly throughout the page content. If the Keyword(s) are used too often it can be seen as keyword “stuffing” and is equally negative.
The content appearing in the top-level Heading 1 (h1) tag should efficiently express what the page content is about. It should consist of at least 3 keywords preferably in the form of a sentence. Try to limit the use of heading 1 tags to one per page.
Image Alt Text Attribute
Images should have an alternate (alt) text attribute set that describes the image especially if the image is also linked. Note: Thrive provides an image properties dialog that allows you to effortlessly add alternate (alt) text to any images in your content.
Internal links are those within your website directing to other pages/files or links out to other websites.
External links (links on other sites directed to your page/site) are typically more valuable than internal links because they validate the authenticity of your site. It’s like a 3rd party endorsing your site.
Anchor Text is the text you decide to make the hyperlink from. It’s important that the anchor text has relevant keywords that pertain to the content on the destination page. Don’t just use arbitrary terms such as “click here” for your anchor text.
Listed links should be ordered by using a numbered list or a bulleted list (unordered). This will avoid your page/site being seen as a “link farm”.
Remember that content in any of the following items cannot be crawled and consequently does not help your page ranking among the search engines. Avoid creating pages that consist entirely made up of one of these items; try to add html text to the page that transcribes content or keywords.
- Video/Audio files
- Images containing text
- Content within an iframe
It’s good practice to measure how your SEO strategy fairs to evaluate your efforts and bring to light any unforeseen issues. There are several ways in which you can attempt to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.