How To Build A Website: Search Engine Optimisation

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To understand SEO, you have to understand how search engines work.
We'll use Google as our example of a search engine here, as it is the biggest and most well-known of them all.
When you look for something on Google, you type a word or two or a phrase into the search box and hit enter.
Google then scrolls through the millions upon millions of bits of data it has stored in its database.
When it recognises one of your search terms, it then brings up the websites that most closely correspond to those words.
The sites are shown in order of relevance, or what Google thinks is the order of relevance to your search term.
What you are looking to achieve is a webpage on the first page of links that Google brings up - preferably the very top spot - and definitely on the first three pages of results.
Most people don't bother looking further than the first three pages of a search engine's results.
To get your article to appear high up in the search engine results, you need to give Google what it needs.
The content you submit is crawled by what are called 'spiders' or 'bots' - which quite frankly always make me think of those things in the Matrix - all red eyes and little clicking legs.
Spiders are actually computer programs able to scan content in a fraction of a second and they are the things which read everything you put online.
One of the things they look for in determining the relevance of a web page are keywords.
What are Keywords? Keywords are the words that people type into the search engines when they're trying to find a website.
For example, someone searching for green raincoats will input the keywords 'green' and 'raincoats'.
If your business sells antique dog bowls (well, you never know, there might be a market in it), your business keywords would include - you've guessed it - 'antique dog bowls', or 'where can I buy antique dog bowls', or 'antique dog bowl sellers'.
You get the idea.
When you're writing content (webspeak for 'text' or 'words on the screen') for your website, you need to make sure that you include the relevant keywords for your business.
So your home page (the page that people first come to when they type in your business URL - remember that term?) might have content that reads (keywords highlighted): Are you looking for an antique dog bowl, something special for man's best friend? The Antique Dog Bowl Company sells a variety of antique dog bowls in a range of prices to suit all pockets..
Don't overdo it though.
Putting too many keywords into the content is known as 'keyword stuffing' and search engines have long since got wise to this - they will penalise you for doing it and it also makes your content read really badly, so it's a no-no all round.
Never forget that you are writing for people.
You might have the most highly-optimised piece of website content on the planet, but if people don't enjoy reading it, you're wasting your time.
Your readers have a short enough attention span at the best of times - don't give them more of an excuse to click away.
With regards to keyword density, it's probably best to use a keyword no more than once every 50 to 100 words.
Remember, you can also use synonyms of your keywords (e.
instead of 'colleague', you could use 'co-worker' or 'business partner') and this can also help to make your content more readable and interesting.
Always make sure you have a keyword in the title of any piece of content, preferably at the front of the title if possible.
A great, free tool to find the types of keywords that people are searching for is the Google AdWords tool.
The Google AdWords keyword tool is used for Google AdWords, or pay-per-click advertising (those little text advertisements that appear in the top right of the screen on the Google homepage).
However, we're not interested in buying any AdWords at the moment - all we want the tool for is to find out which keywords people are searching for.
Type your potential keywords into the search box and watch as Google flags up the amount of searches that people have undertaken for this term (if no one has been looking for it, Google will show you a blank box).
It also - and this is particularly useful - shows you similar keywords that people have been looking for.
So if someone has been looking for 'green raincoats', the AdWords tool will also show you similar searches; 'green boots' 'raincoats' 'where can I buy a raincoat' etc.
This tool will also show you the amount of competition there is for any particularly keyword.
The ideal would be a keyword thousands (or millions) of people were searching for, with low competition.
It's not always this straightforward, though, so just see what you can do with the ones that you've got.
When you can see what sort of things people have been looking for, it's easy to see which keywords you might need to use to get people to come to your website.

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