Search engine optimization is a daunting task, so the first step is to decide where to begin. Our analytics help here. As I mentioned in my last post, 50% of our traffic comes from search engine referrals. Further breaking that down, Google accounts for 40% of our traffic, Bing for almost 6%, Yahoo for just over 3%, and Baidu for about 1/2%. Clearly, then, with the overwhelming majority of search results coming from Google that’s where we need to focus.
Fortunately for us, Google makes things easy. While they are secretive about the exact algorithms that determine search results, they are quite open about what we should do to build sites that the spider can digest. They post several good resources to get us started:
- Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a summary of what Google looks for and how to best prepare your site
- Webmaster Academy is a beginner’s guide to setting up a web site, offers a brief explanation of how search engines interpret web pages, and offers some guidelines on how to best set up your site to be search engine aware
- Webmaster Tools lets you see search terms and traffic, as well as giving you a place to let Google know that you are the authoritative owner of a site
- Part of Webmaster Tools, Google offers an entire section on guidelines for creating better, search friendly pages.
- Google’s Webmaster Central Blog is constantly updated with new information about how the search works and is full of informative articles that tell you how to develop your site with the spider in mind.
- Not to leave Bing completely out, they have also posted a comprehensive Webmaster Guidelines document explaining how to create sites that are search engine friendly.
These are only a few examples. A little digging through Google’s site will turn up plenty more. After reviewing everything Google has to offer it is then time to move on to the professional SEO industry pages. More on that in another post.
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