4 Critical Search Engine Optimization Steps for Setting Up a New Business Site

Post written by Guest Author
On Monday, June 18th, 2012

seoYou’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, if your site isn’t search engine optimization (SEO) friendly, you’ll never see yourself a top Google’s search rankings.

This is true, but only to an extent.

Don’t worry though: you don’t have to be a programming guru or analytics genius to have the SEO basics in line for the search engines to start crawling your site and indexing you within Google’s rankings.

Remember that SEO is the free traffic, so regardless of what type of business you run, make sure you spend the time in properly setting up your site so it gets as much traffic as possible.

Before we dig too deep and begin working on the backend of our site, the first and most important thing is to establish the keyword(s) that you believe users will be typing in when searching for your site.  I believe it’s always easier to learn with examples, so for the purposes of this article let’s say we own www.everythinghats.com, a hypothetical ecommerce site that sells hats and accessories to keep you stylish with your favorite sports team or brand.

What are some of the keywords people may be searching for when looking for a new hat?

  • Hats
  • Caps
  • Sports
  • Visors
  • Snapback
  • Fitted
  • Adjustable

Just to name a few.  These are some of the words to keep in mind when setting up the SEO for our landing pages (landing pages are the first page a person sees after clicking on your result on the search engine).  So let’s get started.

Have a Clean URL Structure

It is important to keep clean URLs throughout your site.  As you can see our homepage, www.everythinghats.com, is a good start, but this won’t be the only landing page of our site.  Customizing the URLs for category/product pages is equally as important.

The URL is the first thing the search engine spiders crawl to clue them in to what each page is all about.  A clean URL like www.everythinghats.com/MLB-hats-caps.html is more much effective than a randomly generated one like www.everythinghats/baseball48574?3423-1z.html or a lazy one such as www.everythinghats.com/category1.html.

Our clean URL is short, has our keywords (MLB, hats, caps) present and no unnecessary characters that may confuse the search engines.  This is very basic, but some overlook this step when rushing to complete their site.  And if it isn’t set up correctly the first time, it can be a more difficult mistake to fix later on, especially after you begin link building.

Optimize Title Tags

The Title Tag is equally as essential because it’s the first thing the USER sees when going through the search results.  While the search engines looks at the Title tag as an important element to show what the page is about, the USER is the one who has final say on which link to click on.

This means is it important to use the appropriate keywords in order for the search engine to recognize how to rank your site, but the Title Tag should also read well so the USER also understands what the page has to offer.

A well-read Title Tag should look something along the lines of this “NFL Team Hats and Caps”.  This gets straight to the point.  The USER can see this page offers hats that have to do with NFL teams.  It has the appropriate wordage, is simple and straight and to the point.

A common mistake seen all over the search results would be something like “Official NFL Teams Cheap Fitted Hats/Caps – Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions”.  That is a hell of a run-on sentence.  This example shows keyword stuffing that the search engines don’t like.  Remember search results only show around 70 characters on the page anyways.  All that extra stuff won’t be seen to the USER.

Notice how I always capitalize USER because they will always be the most important thing to please.  While the search engines rank where you belong in the results, the USER is the only one who may click on your site and convert.

Get Your Headers Straight

Headers, or H1 Tags, are the titles within the page itself.  Ranging usually from H1-H6 these tags help separate the page into sections.  An H1 tag is the biggest some prominent tag for the page itself.  The other tags better help separate the page for the USER and help them quickly navigate where they want to be.

Similar to the Title Tag, headers are important SEO elements and should have descriptive keywords in them.  Headers though, are much shorter and direct.  If we were on the Branded Beer Hats page of EverythingHats, the H1 tag may be Beer Hats and Caps, while the other tags could help separate the page.  H2 tags could be different brands like Miller, Coors, Budwieser, etc.

Most Importantly: Content is King

Instead of going on and on about the different SEO tactics you could take to full optimize your site, I’m going to instead talk about content.  URLs, Title Tags, and Headers will definitely help you rank, but content is king!

Producing fresh, high quality content on your site will always be the best way to continue moving up the rankings and gain traffic to your site.  Make sure you have a blog to your site that is updated on a regular basis with good relative content.

When people aren’t looking to buy a hat, what may they be searching for?  How to clean a hat?  What size hat do I wear?  What are the most popular hats?  Best retro hat? The list goes on and on.  Take time to research and give the people what they want.  The better information you give them, the more prone they will be to remember where they got the information and come back to your site for more, even buy a new hat when they are ready.

This post was contributed by Matt Powers.

Matt Powers is a part time graphic artist and full blown Internet Marketing with Blue Soda Promo.  BSP imprints company logos on things like promotional sunglasses, stress balls, polo shirts and custom printed tote bags.  We’ll make your brand POP!

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