What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, may seem like a complicated topic, but with a bit of research, you can understand and implement SEO techniques like a pro. Failing to properly invest in search engine optimization and render your website impossible to find.

What is SEO (search engine optimization)?
SEO is a broad term that encompasses all of the techniques used to ensure visibility of a website and the content it holds on search engine result pages (SERPs).

The strategies vary from specialized techniques you can use on the backend of your website (frequently known as on-page SEO) to all the “off-page” strategies utilized to raise a site’s rank such as building links and sharing on social media.

In this article, we focus on the rank – how close you can get your site to the first position in search for a particular keyword. This is an organic result, a result that is based on a search query rather than a paid placement. Paid search is an important aspect of SEM, or search engine marketing, but separate from SEO.

Whis is SEO important?

Building a solid site design and establishing quality navigation helps web crawlers find and list your website rapidly and effortlessly. In addition, visitors of your website who have a positive experience are more likely to return – Google pays attention to the behaviors and experiences of its users.

The most significant marker of the value of search engine optimization is the amount of traffic your site receives from search engines. In most cases, the amount and opportunity for organic traffic is high. Among search engines, more than 90% traffic from SERPs are from Google. And the first five results receive more than two-thirds of the clicks!

Not only should your verify that your website is searchable and accessible, but also you need to ensure that your website is in the top five results. What you must remember above all is that finding your website is only as good as the search term used. If you do not show up in search, but want to, you need to look at the term you used and whether or not it is used on your website.

What should be avoided?

Engaging in unethical or policy violating practices risks a Google penalty – often without warning. This can result in a significant loss in revenue for commerce or service-based businesses. It also prevents visitors from finding you. The last thing you want is to lose a majority of your traffic because you violated a policy. As such, it is best to avoid the following practices:

Link Farms
Buying links from link farms will not help you. Link farms promise to provide you with valuable, authority backlinks; however, link farms cannot and will not keep their promise. You need valuable links from websites with strong domain authority within your website’s genre. One ofthe best ways to gain these links is to simply ask the site’s owner. Pitch backlinks to your content to higher domain authority websites.

Distracting advertisements
Too many ads can inhibit a user’s ability to read your site and can reduce site speed. They are also distracting and very annoying. Avoid placing too many ads on your site. In the same arena, if you use an advertisement with a call to action, it may register your site as not mobile-friendly.

Content is king
You should always aspire to include original content on your website. Identical content is only indexed on one page so you should make yours original. Failing to do so may render your webpage useless in search.

Too many keywords
Overusing keywords, or keyword stuffing, impacts the readability of your website. In addition, Google no longer uses meta keywords. Placing keywords may just give your competitors access to the terms you are attempting to rank for.

What are some SEO best practices?
You may be curious as to what search engines are looking for. You will have to invest time in research and understanding best practices, but soon you will know the ideal strategies like the back of your hand.

Think of your website visitor
Think of what your end user wants. Who are the people visiting your website? What do they want when they visit your site? Give them what will bring them back and keep them browsing. The longer they spend reading your content, the better off you are when attempting to rank in a search engine.

Keep site content current
Use quality content and update it regularly. Not only do you need to verify that your content is current, but you also want to ensure that your content is relevant to the niche you want to rank for. Make a calendar to help you to build out content throughout the year, and consistently schedule and post content. You can also update and recycle content.

Localize your SEO
Google serves results to users based on where they are located. That’s why it is important to make sure your location information is accurate. You should cross-reference content on your website and on feeder sites like web directories. Make sure your information is correct in Google My Business, Yelp!, Facebook and other directories. If your information is incorrect, it can decrease your rank – and of course make it more difficult for your visitors to find you!

Another aspect of content is to try and make it timeless, or evergreen. Website content that provides advice that is not limited by frequent changes is valuable.

Meta title tags and descriptions
Meta title tags are the titles of your website in the browser bar and show up as the title in search. Your titles are limited to 55 characters. If you exceed that count, your website’s full title will not be visible.

Meta descriptions, limited to 156 characters, are the summaries that show up under your website page title in search. You should include your relevant keywords in each of these to help users find your website.

Alt tags
Alt tags, or alt attributes, are the alternative text for images on your website. You should always include alt attributes on your images. Ideally, you will include a keyword relevant to the page the images is on. Adding alt tags allows search engines to read the image and increases accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Domain authority is important
A website with domain authority is a trustworthy site and receiving a link from a site with domain authority is of great value. The more backlinks you have from websites with domain authority, along with quality, relevant content, the greater chance your website has of becoming an authority too.

Pay attention to domain names
Sub-directory domains are the best option for the structure and navigation of your website. Permalinks are ideal as opposed to randomly generated number or date assignments to webpages. Try to include your keywords in your permalinks. It’s okay to have dashes in between words in page names, but not main domain names.

You should stick to dot com and dot net websites without hyphens, and avoid sites that use alternative domain extensions. Having a keyword in your domain is not absolutely necessary, but still believed to be helpful.

Ensure your website is loading quickly
Site speed is important and it may be the next directive from Google related to search. So ensure the site speed is good for both your user experience and potential ranking.

Use a website with a responsive design
A responsive website design resizes no matter what type of a user is visiting your website on. Unlike the two website option (a mobile and desktop version) of the past, responsive designs work on any browser and any device.

Redirect non-www traffic
Make sure your website is set to allow access to the site and pages when using the url with or without “www” before it. You do not want to risk a user clicking a link that goes nowhere.

Keep it linked
You want to link to content within your website. This keeps your visitors reading on your site. It also improves your rank because your bounce rate is lower. Lastly, linking within your site helps web crawlers to index your site within a search engine. The more you link to content within your site, the more trustworthy Google deems your site.

Leave comments on
Comments are beneficial to engage and build dialogue with your audience, but they are also helpful in adding more content relevant to your website’s niche. Avoid turning off comments whenever possible, and make sure to review and delete any spam comments.

Add an edge with social media
Social media websites have excellent authority and can help visitors find you. By simply claiming or adding social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +, you can increase your website’s visibility. However, you should plan to populate and monitor the social media pages you claim. This may not increase your rank for your website, but it will help users find …

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What is Hosting

Hosting can get really complicated. So lets start with the important stuff.

Step 1. Buy some cheap WordPress hosting and stick with the default settings. You do not have to get real technical. Most hosting companies will have everything you need setup as default. But if you want to better understand what hosting is, I wrote this:

The steps that are taken to build and launch a website can be overwhelming to someone without the experience. Just type into Google “How to build and launch a website”, and it comes back with 71,600,000 results. Better yet, a search of “Website hosting” shows 16,600,000 results. Where do we begin?

Before we venture into what website hosting is, let’s backtrack and go over some website basics. This will lead us into what hosting is and put it into its proper context. Let’s assume for the moment that you have already made a decision to build and launch a website. You have a clear focus on the subject matter and the focus of attention. This is the cement of your foundation.

Next comes the features of the site itself. What are you looking to have? Is this site going to require some form of a “shopping cart”? Will it require login credentials to access certain portions?

Following this you will want to draw out the “organizational chart” of your site. Many website builders suggest actually drawing it on paper first, that is how the site will be organized. Now we can begin the discussion of hosting.

Some people wait until the end of the website building process to find a host. However, the domain name should be all over your site, especially if it is a source of revenue. Most hosting companies offer their clients a domain name service, so that is why it is at this stage that we begin to look at what hosts are and what they offer.

Hosting is where the server is located to make the website available on the internet for viewing. The host has a server where the website is, and once someone types the address into their browser it connects to this server and the site loads onto their computer.

Hosts typically provide a domain name service (DNS). The domain name is a unique set of numbers (IP address) that is converted to letters for ease of remembering. The computer recognizes the numbers, while we recognize the letters. Just like each computer is assigned a unique IP address, each domain name is as well.

So, in your search for a hosting company, be certain that they offer a domain name service. Then, you can solidify the name of your website. However, there is much more to consider when deciding on a host. Here are a few of the questions you will want to ask:

  • Is there 24/7 customer support?
  • Are the connections fast and secure?
  • Do they have an online support feature? Is it in the form of chat, a forum?
  • What specifics will my website design require in terms of space? Bandwidth?
  • Is there any back-up available in the case of a power outage?
  • Is scripting support available depending on my site requirements?
  • How many email accounts will be required? Are they offered?

This list of questions is not fully inclusive, yet it will be a good barometer as you move forward in your search for a host. Left out intentionally till now is the matter of available financial resources. Your budget will be a key ingredient to what direction you head with all the hosting options available. In line with the budget question, now is the perfect time to look at the two particular types of hosting services.

If you know your website will see large volumes of traffic, say it will be for a medium sized business and up, then you should investigate the possibility of getting a dedicated host. In common everyday language, what this means is that your site will be the only one hosted on the server. Therefore, space and bandwidth will not be a concern. Your site will not be sharing the server with any others as it is dedicated to your site.

Then we have the shared hosting. As the name indicates, this is a server that your site will be using with others. Most bloggers, small businesses, and lower volume sites use a shared hosting service. Many web hosting companies advertise “unlimited space” in their shared hosting promotions. Be cautious of this misleading advertisement. It is typically an allocation over a period of time.

When it comes to security, a dedicated host is unparalleled. No other traffic on your server virtually eliminates any unforeseen issues creeping into your site. A shared host is less secure, and more prone to downtime.

Once you have put some careful thought and consideration into your hosting options, you can then take the final steps to launching your site. Now that you have a domain name, it can be integrated into your website design. The fun has only begun as you write the content and look at graphics options.

Hosting companies are aplenty for you to browse as you prepare to launch your own website. With proper planning in the early stages your site can be launched without a hitch.

But like I said in the beginning, just go ahead and buy the hosting package. It will be real simple. Don’t let anyone scare you into needing a really expensive hosting package. More likely that not, you will not need it.…

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