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Basic SEO For All Small Businesses

In the context of search engine optimization, many people equate an optimised site as one with impressive search engine rankings. Simply do some basic SEO, sprinkle a little fairy dust and waive the magic wand over and suddenly you have a site with first page rankings for all the Internet’s most competitive keyword terms.

The simple fact is, that if you think that you are going to achieve high rankings for competitive keyword terms simply by adding a few basic SEO keywords to your website, then you really need to pinch yourself because you’re still dreaming. If you perform a search for your sites primary keyword terms then you will see a descending list, often several pages deep of websites that have been “optimised” with varying degrees of success. The critical thing is to understand the factors that determine those sites that rank high on the first page from those that don’t.

The factors that determine your sites search engine ranking can be classified into two categories; “on-page factors” and “off-page factors”. In the most basic sense, on-page factors have to do with things that contribute within your web site and off-page factors have to do with things that contribute to your rankings outside of your web site. In a way, on-page factors tell the search engines what you think are important, while off-page factors tell the search engines what the Internet at large thinks about your site.

On-page factors

The first step is to determine the type of keywords that people search for most often when they are looking for the products or services similar to that you have to offer.  Keyword tools such as WordTracker and Google’s Keyword tool will let you know how many people search for a particular search term and will even provide suggestions for related keywords.  It is important to match two to three appropriate keywords to each of your sites pages, once selected these keywords should be incorporated into the various html elements of your web pages i.e. the title tags, meta tags, header tags, ALT tags, and body content.  This will ensure that the search engines categorise your pages for the keywords that you have chosen to target.

OK, so now we’ve created your keywords your site should start its quickly rise to the top of the engines, right? Well, its not as simple as that, it all depends on how competitive your keyword terms are. It is often better to be a big fish in a small pond of clicks then a small fish in a big pond where all your major competitors have a big lead on you.

Off-page factors

These have to do with the quantity and quality of any incoming links from external web site pages. The algorithms that determine how the search engine rank your site depends heavily on external linking in assessing the authority or trustworthiness of web sites. This means that sites that have achieved “authority status” will end up ranking higher in the search engines than those who have yet to achieve this status.

A quality backlink is a link from a subject relevant web page that contains the keyword you are trying to rank for in the anchor text of the link.  There are many ways to obtain quality backlinks.  Submit your site to Internet directories such as Yahoo or DMOZ.org, ask your business partners or other friendly websites to link to you, create video content on YouTube which links back to your site, or consult with a professional search engine consultant who specialises in link building.