Search Engine Optimization (SEO), The Basics

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In light of our upcoming seminar on Search Engine Optimization (also known as just SEO) on Tuesday, Sept 17th at Barry University (register here: http://asmp-seo.eventbrite.com/) we wanted to share some blog posts about SEO. We asked Samuel Trotter, Portfolio Director of Ecommerce for Boutique Hospitality Management and ecommerce specialist contributor for HotelNewsNow.com to write a basic introduction to Search Engine Optimization for us. In his words “SEO should just be a small part of your web campaign. To go even further take a look at this guide for e-commerce sites. Most of the rules apply to you but not all. To see more of my tips and articles about e-commerce, SEO and social media follow me on Twitter and of course, please follow me on Google Plus!” This first blog post will give you an idea of what SEO is, why it is important, and some of the key items you work with. Be sure to register for Blake Discher’s upcoming seminar to learn all you can do to optimize your website and be found!

What is search engine optimization and why should you care?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become a common term increasingly over the past 15 years. In plain terms, SEO is the strategy and techniques for improving a website in order to increase the site’s ranking on popular search engines like Bing and Google. The desired results of course being more visitors to your website at a lower cost than of buying that traffic through pay per click campaigns or through other means. SEO should be part of every marketing campaign for any serious business.

Techniques involve:

-Targeting Keywords: What keywords are you targeting? For example the most popular term for this group would be “Miami Photographer” and it would be wonderful to rank well for this search term, however attaining that number one position will be difficult with limited resources. Understanding what niche keywords to target, measuring the competition and estimating the traffic potential all play a role in keyword targeting. An example of a targeted keyword would be “Miami Indian Wedding Photographer”. Google has a number of tools to understand keywords and you should be using them! Check out Google Keyword Planner for traffic estimates and even costs of pay per click campaign and to see how a keyword is trending navigate over to Google Trends.

-Site Architecture: This is about how to structure your site so that search engines can understand the content of your site. The Google algorithm changes annually, simply knowing your own site’s performance will clue you in on what is working and what is not. Some important factors in a site’s performance: mobile re-directs, number of pages it takes to access content, header titles, use of flash, rich data, etc.

-Links: Getting high quality links to your site is another key factor for Google to understand the importance of your site. I have had this article on building links bookmarked for years as a reference for ideas on how to attain additional links.

-Social Links: Mentions, Google Pluses, Twitter links all help build your credibility. The key to being successful is to have excellent content. Whether that means a hilarious top 10 list, exhaustive tutorial or simply amazing photography the goal is for people to share you and your site to their followers and friends.

-Speed: Yep, speed matters. On sites centered around photography this can be a difficult task, fortunately there are a number of tools and techniques you can use to reduce that page load time.

-Great user experience/Usability: This is the toughie, build a great site that is the number one source for the keyword(s) you are going after. This is not something that is accomplished overnight, this means that it is a constant. From writing articles, publishing new photos and constantly updating your information and site to meet the requirements of your visitor.

These techniques can all be measured using analytics software. By far the most popular, due to it being completely free, is Google Analytics. If you don’t know how many visitors you have coming in a monthly basis, how can you measure your effectiveness? One of the best parts about SEO is knowing for a fact whether or not a technique is working or not. Write an article and you will know for a fact how many visits it received, how the person got there and even how long they stayed on that particular page. Go even further and understand where a user is viewing your page and what device they are using. Analytics tools are your eyes and ears on your performance. Other tools can even tell you your average rank on specific keywords and how it changes over time.

 

Blake Discher’s seminar, “SEO Essentials: Helping Clients Find Your Photography Business Online”  has been made possible by a grant from the ASMP Foundation. Tuesday Sept, 17th, social time starts at 6pm, seminar starts at 7pm in the Gato Gallery, Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Ave Miami Shores. RSVP via Eventbrite: http://asmp-seo.eventbrite.com/ we hope to see you there!

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