Search Engine Optimization – or SEO as it is commonly known – is the process of making minor modifications to your website in order to achieve the best possible presentation to Search Engine Crawler software when it indexes your site. All commercial sites are indexed by the major search engines – Bing, Google, Yahoo – at one time or another and putting in a little extra effort to make your website presentable can go a long way towards bumping your business up the ranks when a user receives their search results.
Running your website through an HTML validator such as The W3C Markup Validation Service can provide you with a list of potential problems on your page. Some of these issues are more technical than others but generally this will give you a great starting point for cleaning up your HTML code and applying the proper meta tags to your site’s header. When the search engines pull in the contents of your website they typically rank those pages who pass all the validation tests slightly higher than those who fail and thus passing the tests will give your performance a boost.
Take time to fill in titles and descriptions using clear language that is easy to read, making it easier for your website visitors and search engine software to digest. This means examining any image or video assets on your page and adding appropriate titles as well as description tags. Any outbound links should also give the user a clear idea of what they are going to receive for their click action. Avoid using wording like “click me” and instead present a message “Visit Our Associates At Acme Corporation.”
The teams who operate the major search engines provide a submission form (in slightly different locations for each search engine) that allow you to submit your website along with a description of what services you offer. Most major search engines will also scan a sitemap file if you have one available on your server. Filling in a sitemap file will allow search engines like Google to present sub-pages of your website along with the main URL.
Be sure to optimize your page’s load time as best you can. If your website takes more than 3-5 seconds to load the major search engines will mark you down in their rankings due to the slow access time. It is not always possible to increase your load time but several easy methods include: optimizing all of your site’s graphics, “minify” or optimize any script libraries, use a Content Delivery Network for distributing resources such as script files and images, optimize your database configuration, and customize your web server’s configuration files.