Search Engine Optimisation is as ubiquitous and puzzling a term as APR, and potentially as fiddly and difficult as making puff pastry. Why bother to give yourself a new headache when you don’t need to? Well, its a bit like arranging a party but forgetting to tell people the address, or worse still, organising a fundraiser that nobody knows about. Or building a website that nobody visits.
Here are some things that you need to try to make sure you get noticed and get listed.
Put yourself in the directory
First off, tell them you exist! Submit what is called the url (the address of your website as written in the address bar). Send it for free to google and yahoo and bing at the very least. Simply search their submit url page and paste it in. Now they know you exist! Much easier for them than when they didn’t.
Match what you offer with what people are looking for
Email it to friends and people you think will be interested in you
Post it on your facebook page or ask friends or supporters to post it on theirs
Use twitter to reach a wider audience, or ask others to help – but be sure to make it interesting!
Ask other websites to add a link to your site, and return the compliment
Send the link to rivals – they won’t be able to avoid looking out of curiosity
Stuck for people? Have a competition with a prize that requires people to visit your site to find out the answer to a quiz or question
So how will this help? Google, for example, will begin to notice your site once a page has had only twenty plus visits (not from you, of course!). Try to get traffic to several pages, and you will begin to see the search engines listing you. Give them time. It will take a few days to build a picture of you, and a month or two to make a real difference to your ranking, if you keep it up. Then you will stat to see strangers finding you as well as friends.
Set up a stats counter
This may seem vain at first and could become an obsession, so be warned. But google analytics or blogger carry statistics counters that are easily set up and will let you know how your site is doing. They will tell you how many people have visited overall and when, which posts they read, which country they are from, what they searched for to find you or from which link they came to you (twitter, facebook etc). Why bother? Because it will tell you which of your posts is popular, and where your audience is coming from. This will help you to build on what is popular and who to target to get more traffic, and also where the gaps are if you want to try targeting a new audience.
Be interesting and original
Is your material worth reading? Self-obviously essential, but more easily said than done. Computer search engines are very discerning readers. If your articles and content are copied from other sites then they will know, and soon grow tired of you. True too of facebook and twitter readers. If they read your stuff once and it sends them to sleep they may not bother again. But take heart – the golden rule seems to be to be honest and true to yourself, talk about what really interests you, and people like you will find you out and actually enjoy reading your stuff. Remember, it interested you enough to set up your site in the first place, so play to your strengths- talk about what you know and like. If you do the audience will come -it’s just a matter of finding them. But SEO will certainly help.
Put it into the tags and titles
Keywords are great, and google et al will find them, but to make life easier put your keywords, and key phrases about your website and its content, into the titles of your pages and articles (what are called the H1 and H2 tags), and the meta-tag for your website. Make sure that the titles of your posts are descriptive of their content. Search engines use robots to read (crawl) your site, so it helps to put these big clues about your content where they are definitely going to look.