ask the expert | What is SEO and what should I being doing about it?

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today we have a guest post from our build a little biz partner and ‘online business expert’ tina grimes from online business junction

she is answering a question i get asked a lot: please explain SEO!

SEO De-Mystified

SEOseems to confuse a lot of people. Other people just ignore it completely because they think it’s not important. But SEO is very important for your website and your business, so it’s necessary to understand what it is and how to use it. So I’m going to provide some basic information to help explain SEO and try to take some of the mystery out of it.

So first, what is SEO? It stands forSearch Engine Optimization, and it is basically a way of making your website easy to find by the search engines and the people who use them. And since so many people use Google and other search engines every day when they’re trying to find websites just like yours, that is why it’s so important to optimize your site so they can easily find you.

Ultimately, SEO done correctly can land your website on the first page of the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), and that is always the goal behind SEO. Why? Because most people doing web searches will not look past the first, and sometimes the second, results page when they’ve done a search. So the first page is where you want to be. But there is a lot of competition for that first page, which is why you need to use SEO to make sure your website is one of those that appears there…and preferably at or near the top of the page.

6 important aspects of SEO that are essential for a website:

1.Keyword-Rich Content & Metatags: Metatags (Title & Description) and Keywords appear in your site’s code, and keywords themselves should also appear throughout your website. The keywords are the words that people use when querying search engines, and should be relevant to what you sell or offer on your website.

2. Unique & Fresh Content: Search engines like unique content and content that is updated on a regular basis. That’s one reason blogs tend to get indexed more quickly: they’re being frequently updated (which is also a good reason to build your business site on a blog platform). So you need to get new information on your site, especially its main page, as often as possible. And be sure the content is unique—the SE’s don’t like content that is duplicated from other sites.

3.Backlinks: These are links TO your website from other websites and they help the SE’s measure your site’s popularity. These links should be relevant, which means they should appear on sites that have content similar to your own. Quantity is important, but so is quality where backlinks are concerned. If there is no relevance between another site and yours, there is no quality and no relevance, so that link won’t help you. And, in fact, it can hurt you where the SE’s are concerned.

4.Sitemaps: I’m not talking about sitemaps that are designed to help your viewers/customers surf your site. I’m talking about sitemaps that are present only in the background of your site and that are only for the SE’s, as they are invisible to human traffic. These are usually in XML format and are essential for the SE’s, telling them what pages exist on your site. They also need to be updated on a regular basis, whenever changes are made to your website.

5.Robots.txt Files:Once the search engine spiders and bots arrive on your site, a Robots.txt file tells them which pages they should and shouldn’t crawl, and which ones should or shouldn’t get indexed on the search engines.

6.Social Networking: Believe it or not, search engines now look for and expect your site to have a link to a Twitter or Facebook account, or both. And this is now a growing factor in where your site will be placed in the SERP’s. So now, getting social is not just good business, it’s good SEO.

These are the six things I encourage any online business owner to explore and educate themselves on for better SEO. I’ve tried to just highlight the basics to make it all a little less confusing and to help set you on the right path of understanding where SEO is concerned. If you’d like more information and links to other SEO resources, please visit the following links on Online Business Junction...

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