Search engine optimization is probably the most important aspect of website development. No matter how much you pay for a fantastic looking site, you can still have no visitors for it if you do not address the basic requirements of search engines. You can, of course, get visitors by paying to advertise on other websites, but this is an ongoing cost and as soon as you stop paying, the visitors stop coming.
There are many different aspects to search engine optimization, but the following three rules will get you off to a good start and save you a lot of time and money.
Rule 1 – Get it right from the start
If you create a website first and then try to deal with search engine optimization, you will face an uphill struggle. This happens to lots of people because they often have not even heard of SEO until after they have built a site and found that no-one is visiting it. The most important thing you can do when developing a new site is to build in your SEO right from the start.
To succeed online, your website should be designed right from the start with search engines in mind. This will govern the whole structure of your site, the names and keywords you use for pages, the file names and alt text you select for images, the subjects you choose to cover on your site and even the whole theme of your website. Putting these things right afterwards is sometimes impossible, particularly if your site is not small.
There is one option open to you if you find that you have a site which you are happy with, apart from the fact that you have no visitors. In this situation it can be best to set up a new well optimized site which attracts lots of visitors and funnels them direct to your old site to deal with sales, etc.
Rule 2 – Learn From Your Competition
When you know what key phrases are most important for your website, check out which other sites are in the top ten positions for these phrases now. You need to analyse these sites carefully, because whatever they are doing is what you need to be doing too.
A good SEO tool will help you analyse your competing websites quickly and easily, covering all the different aspects of your competitors, such as who is linking to them, what keywords they use on each page, keyword density, etc. A large part of why the other sites are at the top of the search engine results pages will be the sites who have added links to them. You need to be able to quickly assess all of these links and pick out the ones that are doing the most good in terms of adding Pagerank, and target those to get links for your own site.
Rule 3 – Automate as Much As You Can
The problem with SEO is that so much of it is a time consuming business. There are lots of separate jobs that each require careful research and then many repeated actions on your part. I am thinking of keyword research and analysis, submission to directories, seeking link exchange partners, article submission, etc.
If you were to do all of these things manually, it would take you forever just to deal with one website. The only way to make SEO tasks practical is to automate as many of them as you can, using shortcuts wherever possible. This is what SEO tools are designed to do. You can get specialist packages and services to deal with link building, or directory submission, but a good SEO software package will deal with all of these together, making your SEO efforts much easier to manage and co-ordinate.