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Building a new website: SEO: Chapter 1

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Anyone can build a website now - the question is, do you have the time to do it right?

By Katie Higgins

First you have to ask yourself what kind of website you want and what the purpose of your site is. For example: “I want a website that will help me reach new clients so I can make more money.” Many people stop here and just start creating a website based off which template looks “nice”. Don’t make that mistake. If you’re taking this on yourself – you’ll need to do some research and think with foresight. You might want to reach people now, but will you want to add an online shop in the future? If so – this will impact your theme, plug-ins/add-ons and other decisions.

Once you head down one rabbit hole, it can start to feel like you’re trapped in the tunnels under Hawkins (Stranger Things, Netflix reference). We think the most important thing to tackle first, head on, is understanding SEO. This stands for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. Still not making sense? We’re here to help you.

To understand what this is – open a new tab and head to Google. In the search bar, type in words that someone might use when searching for a business like yours. The websites that show up on the first page of your Google search have high-ranking SEO. They’ve “optimized” their websites for “search engines.” And let’s be real, when we search on Google, we usually just stick to the first page. We look at the first few links and make a snap decision on who we want to give our money to.  Google has an advanced algorithm that crawls through the interwebs and collects all of your text, keywords, photos, photo tags, alternative text, breadcrumbs, etc. Whew! Confusing, I know. Fear not, we’ll get there.

Now you’re probably asking yourself how do I optimize my website (before you’ve even made one, see how that works?)?? One way is through ABOVE THE FOLD TEXT. Taking it back to the newspaper’s heyday – above the fold refers to any text, pictures or information that appears before your clients have to scroll down. These words are more important to Google’s algorithm. They’re given a little more weight, because people are more likely to see them. That means, these words should include your most important information, the keywords you think your clients will be searching for. Each page should contain original text - the more times certain words or phrases show up, the less important they become. Now, we’re not telling you to jam-pack your website with text, but be sure to include it.

Before you design your site, search the web. Google as many phrases as you can think of that might have to do with a businesses like yours. Don’t forget to see how others near you (aka your competition) are doing it. Take some notes as you whittle down important keywords and phrases that should make it into your above the fold text. Try to come up with anywhere from a single phrase to three sentences to include above the fold on your home page and any other pages you might want to include (about, our story, blog, shop, etc.)

Don’t start designing yet – remember all those other words we threw at you (keywords, photos, photo tags, alternative text, breadcrumbs etc.)? In our next post we’re going to tackle another SEO term and help you integrate it in your designs.

For people reading this who already have a website – it’s not too late to change.

If you’re ready to get going – fill out our contact form. We’re happy to talk SEO and everything else that goes into creating a successful website. At Emboss Communications we know owning a small business takes time. We’re here to help lighten the load.