Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing the searchability of your web site content and keywords so as to increase the volume and improve the quality of the traffic to your web site originating from industry leading search engines. Typically, the higher that your web site appears in the search engine results, the more click-throughs your web site will get from that search egnine. SEO can be customized to target all different types of searching, including searching images (meta tag data is crucial for this), localized geographical searches, video searching (now possible with meta tag data) and industry-specific search engines.

There are lots of different approaches to building and following a successful SEO plan for your web site, however the marketing professionals at HOT Marketing & Design know that as long as the key steps are always followed, then most if not all of the other 'tricks' that other marketing firms employ are unnecessary and in fact detrimental to your optimization process.

Content is King!

Despite what other SEO marketers may say, the real SEO professionals know that the one defining aspect for optimizing your web site successfully is in your web site content!  You can include every top ranking keyword in your meta fields, pay through the nose for reciprocal linking and advertising, and still not show up until page 10 or 11.  This is usually because you haven't optimized the content within your web site.  Stripping out unnecessary words, repeating the keywords that you want to have search engines find you by, and making sure that all of the code within your site is error free and W3C Compliant is absolutely the most crucial part of SEO.  Even simple things like spell-checking and proper grammar can make a big difference, because search engines are getting smarter by the day!

Search Engine Friendly URLS are imperative!

If your web site has ugly urls (www.example.com/?p=id&code=3&this=bad) then search engines assume that you don't know what you are doing, and treat you as such.  They give you demerits which lowers your search ranking and you end up not even registering within the first 100 pages of a search! It is imperative that your website utilizes url rewrites to create friendly urls (www.example.com/products/hats/golf) that actually contain descriptive names of the content that you are displaying on that page.

Keywords are crucial.

Doing your due diligence with market research and competitor analysis will greatly assist in deciding which keywords you want to pay the most attention to within the content on your web site. Search engines don't appreciate blatant and obvious repetition of keywords just to increase the ratio of keywords to all content.  It requires proper formatting of the text within the pages, as well as ensuring that all images have proper alt tags and that each page has description and keyword meta tags within the header. Generally most search engines prefer to see a balanced ratio of keywords in the 3% to 9% range, and anything below or above can actually start reduce your search ranking.

Dead links are web site killers!

If your web site contains any dead links, either to pages within your site that don't exist or to external sites that have moved or shut down, every search engine out there will drop you like a hot potato when it hits those broken links on a routine 'spider' of your web site.  Always staying on top of your links is crucial, and that's where having a reliable content management system like Drupal is key, because when you change a url alias for a page it will automatically update all links that point to it without you having to worry (unless of course you didn't get HOT Marketing & Design to build your web site, in which case you might want to take a couple of aspirin).

Reciprocal linking helps, sometimes.

Yes reciprocal linking helps, but sometimes it can hurt too. A reciprocal link is a mutual link between two objects, commonly between two web sites to ensure mutual traffic.  Generally the only time that this process works is when your web site is just starting out and you are not ranking very high in the search engine results. Linking to another web site (in a similar field or category usually benefits the most) either on your web site's homepage or any other page that gets indexed, and ensuring that the linked web site returns the favor of posting a link back to your web site, search engines will give you points for this and increase your ranking. The most important thing to note here is that it will only improve your ranking if the web site you've linked to is indeed ranking quite high itself on search engines, and that it has not been blacklisted.

Your web site's search engine ranking can be harmed if you reciprocate (or even just directly) link to external web sites that have very poor search engine results, have blacklisted or banned content, or have been identified as spamming or malicious web sites.

There are many different aspects to successful Search Engine Optimization. Let the marketing professionals at HOT Marketing & Design help you to tackle each step of your web site SEO!

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