Saturday, June 1, 2013

Search Engine Optimization

By Jim Goldstein Published in The Business of Photography
Search Engine Optimization
Who is your target audience? Identifying who your ideal customers are will help you hone your messaging to something that's more easily encapsulated for SEO.

How will people convert to a lead or sale once they find you? Once you've captured the attention of someone, know the flow that person will take to complete a transaction. Where possible, make that flow known in your content to maximize conversion to a sale.

What elements of your content are most important to be found? If you know what elements of your content you want found first, you'll be able to better format and organize your content. This will help your viewers and search engines alike, minimizing the effort to find important information.

Where will you focus your efforts? Unlike 10 years ago, there's no shortage of places to self-publish. Know where you'll be focusing your self-publishing efforts (website, social media, blogging, etc.) to hone your SEO efforts and messaging.

When do you expect people will find your content? Understand and set your expectations as to when others will find your content via search engines. Content that doesn't overtly date itself may stay relevant longer and stay at the top of search results. If you can create content that's of immediate relevance and importance, and has lasting power, you'll get more from your efforts.

Think Big Picture

How does SEO manifest itself for an individual managing his or her business website? These five steps break down SEO into its simplest form as a business practice.

1. Assess & Identify Keywords. Identify the keyword(s) and/or phrase that you want to be the core focus of your page/site. The keyword(s) and/or phrase you identify should then be included in all SEO-relevant areas (see the Think Code section). You then can further optimize the phrasing or wording by comparing search statistics in Google Trends ( or Google Adwords Keyword Tool (

2. Optimize Your Code. Several "on-page factors," aspects of your web page that influence search engine rankings, are both important to know and address. If you're starting a website from scratch, you'll want to formulate a plan around addressing as many as you can, whereas if you're adjusting an existing site, you can make incremental improvements to help your site and sanity.

3. Pursue Backlinks. Strive for people to link back to your site to help search engines understand your pages' relevance and importance. As it relates to Google, such a tactic will help your PageRank, a numerical weighting of importance of your website based on the number of other websites and their respective PageRank linking to your page/site. The more incoming links to your page/site, the more votes of importance Google counts in their calculations.

4. Update Frequently. Strive to make regular updates to your page by updating content, adding new images, writing blog posts, etc. Site activity is one of many on-page factors search engines look for when indexing websites. A best practice is to make updates when it makes sense versus trying to artificially create something from nothing. If your website looks alive versus abandoned, search engine spiders will return with greater frequency and, more importantly, your viewers will, too.

5. Reevaluate. Regularly look to see how your website/page is performing and, as necessary, make adjustments to your keywords, backlink efforts and/or frequency of updates.
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