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SEO From the Beginning

By Carrie Marie Haggerty - October 24, 2007

I have talked to a number of people being in the SEO world and have come to the conclusion that search engine optimization starts when you choose a domain name. I know that there are a lot of different opinions on choosing a domain name, but it never hurts to have a few good keywords in it.

When you decide you want to start a website, research your chosen fieldís keywords before you start. Keyword selection is your best friend in search engine optimization. Know what your niche market is, sometimes what you think is a good keyword is not necessarily what your common web surfer is searching. Professionals in an industry tend to use different terminology than the layman. Keyword research will tell you what people are actually searching for as opposed to what you assume they are searching for.

In some industries you can have many hundreds of good potential keywords, but remember to choose carefully. I generally recommend that you start off with a focused campaign with three to five specific keywords. The reasoning behind this is because if the keyword has a high search value but the term is too general, you may not receive any inquiries because web surfers are not looking for your specific speciality, whereas if you have a keyword that is highly specific towards your site you will find the hits are lower but your inquires have increased.

You may wonder why I spoke about keyword selection before I talked about choosing a domain name. This is because you may want to include a specific keyword in your domain name. When you are choosing a domain name you want to make it memorable, something catchy. If you decide on choosing a domain name, keep in mind keyword density. Although it is not a necessity to have the keyword in your URL to be on the first page, it does hold some weight towards your keyword density.

The next step is having your website built. This is very critical. You should talk to a number of web developers in order to make sure your website is SEO-ready once it is finished. If it is a straight HTML site, be sure to insist on meta tags and titles that are ready to go. Although there is a great debate on the usefulness of meta tags within Google, the description meta tag is used quite often as the Google description when you are searching, as well as Live Search. This is your opener; this will drive people right into your site. Keep this quirky and remember this is really the first impression people will have of your site. If you do not have this meta tag, Google will just take sections of your site that include that specific keyword and it may not make sense.

Content is king. If you have read any articles on search engine optimization or have attempted at SEO yourself you will know how true that statement rings. If you cannot write well, hire a content writer. It is crucial that you have great text for both your visitors and search engines. You have already done the keyword research, now remember to keep that in mind while writing your content. Keep the sentences or paragraphs short and have one idea per paragraph, this will keep the reader engaged throughout your site. Donít forget your SEO essentials, H1 tags, bolds, and italicized for your keywords. Keep it moderate and do not overuse. SEO over-optimizing can be a killer, so beware of how much you are using these. Remember to think of your visitor before the search engines. They are your first priority.

Your website is complete, you let it loose and SEO really starts. The important part to remember is that SEO is an exercise in patience. It may take up to a 6 months before you are seen on the search engines and even then you may not see first page placement. Have a budget, whether it be for PPC or organic SEO. You will need to get your site seen. We always recommend writing articles, reading blogs and commenting leaving your signature. Find forums and be active. Get your name out there. Content is one side of internet marketing but link development is your ace in the hole. Think outside the box, look for ways that your website is different than your competitors and make people want to link to your site. Keep in mind the more your put your site out there, the more you will be found!

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