You have finally finished your beautiful new web site. It is easily navigable and presents your services or products so that it is easy to navigate and each page allows visitors to quickly contact you with questions or place an order.
And then you wait…and wait…and wait… Checking your stats is agony because you know you have visited your site more than any potential customers have. It’s at this point that many of our web hosting customers turn to us for search engine help.
Search Engine Optimization or How to Attract Visitors
Getting your site listed and ranked highly by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo is known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
If you do nothing, your website will eventually be listed, but the question is how soon, and how high up on the search engine results page. Unless it can be found on the first page, most people will never see your listing and your phone will never ring.
Google Local & Other Directories
The first step for local companies to do is to sign up with Google Local and other reputable online directories. However, please note that search engines are easily confused if your address is listed in various places as 1234 Elm St, 1234 Elm, 1234 Elm Str., and 1234 Elm Street. Be sure to list your company in local directories that are relevant to your business with the EXACT same name, address, and phone number. yext.com is the place to go that lets you check and correct any listings you may already have. With today’s focus on Google, one directory people often neglect to join is the Yahoo Directory. It is expensive at $299 / year, but most businesses find that it is well worth it if you can swing it.
Keep a List of Directory Listings
It is always a good idea to keep a list of all the directories, their urls and any user names and passwords you have created at each directory along with the user information & password, address, phone and any other information you submitted. In addition to storing it on your computer, it is a good idea to keep a copy somewhere in an internet cloud storage place or a flash drive that you keep in a safe and well-known location.
Search Engine Friendly URLs
A little research about SEO shows that search engines like certain url protocols more than others. For instance, a WordPress blog or website might list the url as this: http://yourdomain.com/index.php?page=36&option=something . A more SEO-friendly url would be the following: http://yourdomain.com/36/something. WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMS) usually have an extension or plugin that can do this for you.
This will get you started, but a little online research will get you farther. Companies located in the Greater Houston area will find SEO411’s free Internet Marketing Clinics presented at the Small Business Development Center at the University of Houston invaluable.
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