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Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 24, 2011

Today people are more connected to the Internet than ever before. That may sound obvious, but the numbers are truly staggering. Every day, Google receives around 500 million search requests. Approximately 110 million unique websites are in operation—and more than 1 trillion URLs.

The challenge for owners of businesses big and small is to be found in this enormous haystack, and the solution is search engine optimization, or SEO. An effective SEO campaign puts a website at the top of a search engine’s results, ensuring that it is seen and visited by a large audience.

SEO is a vital part of modern advertising, but too often smaller businesses focus solely on traditional marketing techniques—at the cost of converting customers on the Web. This is unfortunate, since practically any small business can run at least a basic SEO campaign with modest investment.

Here are some tips that can help your company stand out and get noticed by potential clients and customers:

1. Use keywords relevant to your business when creating your title tags. The title tag is the phrase that shows up in the blue bar at the very top of a viewer’s browser window. While many people never read them—or even know that they’re there—they are incredibly important to search engines ranking websites. For example, if you are a florist in Boston, rather than writing title tags for your business name, use important keywords that a potential customer may use in a search, such as "Boston florist" or "Boston flowers."

2. Encourage back links. If your company donates to charities or has strong business relationships with other companies, encourage them to provide direct links to your website. Links leading back to your website will help its page rank.

3. Create and manage social profiles. Sites such as Facebook, Yelp, and LinkedIn are changing the way people relate to companies and brands. Creating and maintaining pages for your company on these sites can develop your brand, help your page ranking, and influence the way people view your business.

Joe Devine
Chief executive
The Search Engine Guys
Austin, Tex.

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