Our SEO Basics article will help you understand what it is, provide some guidelines and help you to understanding how important it is. We hear this term being used all the time!
After you’ve determined your search engine results through your generic search for your RV or campground business, now you know if you are being found 1,000 miles away by that RV'er traveling through your area next season.
Assuming the results aren’t what you expected, what should you do? For today’s discussion of SEO Basics, we are going to assume you have competition within your area.
The mission of the search engines (Googles/Yahoos/Bings) is to provide the best possible information for a searcher (that RV'er 1,000 miles away) that is using their search engine. They know that if the results that they display are useful and helpful to what you are actually looking for, you’ll keep using their search engine.
So, just how do they provide those search engine results?
We don’t know all of their secrets, but we do know what they like and dislike. Because there is so much information on the Internet these days, they have to have a scoring system. The more you play within the rules of the Googles/Yahoos/Bings, the better your score. Therefore, they will like you and display your website prominently in their search results.
Here are the minimum SEO Basics to be well rated/ranked by the search engines:
Title — Each page must have a clear title about that particular page. The first word in the title should be whatever that page’s URL is. Approx 80 characters in total length
Keyword/Phrases — Each page should have a main keyword/phrase and four secondary keywords. They must be separated by commas. The first should be the main one.
Description — This is an explanation about what this page will be about.
An RV park example for Mike’s RV Park in Quartzsite, Ariz., off I-10 could be:
Title — Mike’s RV Park | Quartzsite, AZ, | I-10 | Full Hookup | WiFi
Keywords — Mike’s RV Park, Quartzsite, Arizona, I-10, Full Hookups
Description — Mike’s RV Park is just off I-10 in Quartzsite, AZ. We offer full hookup’s, WiFi, clubhouse, activities and cater to winter visitors.
Notice Mike’s RV Park is the first phrase in each category. Only five keywords/phrases with commas and the description gives lots of needed info.
When someone does a search 1,000 miles away, he will see on the search results page itself these three important lines of info. It helps the searcher decide to “look” at your website and the search engines want to see these items spelled out. Many webmasters will tell the search engine “content,” rather than using specific words, and that’s not good enough!
Here are some other things to be mindful of when improving your site’s search engine optimization:
Content — Each page needs to have a minimum of 400 words of content about that page specifically. The first keyword (Mike’s RV Park) needs to be within the first sentence. That same primary keyword should be within each 100 words again. The secondary keywords need to be mentioned once within the 300 to 400 minimum words of content.
Based on the title, keywords and descriptions you’ve provided, your page of content will now be about that! Most importantly, the search engines will then know exactly what your website page is all about. It will therefore get properly categorized by them, just like in the old days of Yellow Pages.
Headlines — Each page should have a primary headline and then sub-headlines within the content.
Pictures — Fine, but need to have a description for each picture. Each picture should be a small size file (under 50kb) so the page loads quickly.
Flash Player — This dazzles humans (sometimes) but the search engines can’t actually read them so therefore can be a minus to a search engine when choosing what sites to display. Plus, Flash Players can take way too long to load. Huge negative!
Footer — Must have a footer with your full business name, address, zip code, phone number, etc. Copyright should be from beginning year to current year. That tells the search engines how old your business is. The older a website, the more credible it becomes.
15 -20 pages - Minimum of content, etc.
Links — Search engines look for links from a different website that links to yours very seriously! All you need is one very credible link from a related business and you’ll improve your “score” dramatically. It is hard to get and it also tells the search engines that your website is respected by X because you have a link from them to your website.
Remember, there are literally millions of websites that must be read by the search engines. The more you try to satisfy their minimum requirements, the higher your “score” and therefore great placement on search engine results - SEO Basics!
After all, your business goal is to have your website shown on the first page of any search results that have to do with your actual business!
Our next installment will show you how to verify some of these points, so you can discuss any “missing items” with your webmaster.
By Bernie Martin
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