What Your First Website Needs to Know About SEOAs a new entrepreneur, the prospect of running your very own website may seem daunting, but in reality it’s not difficult at all. Registering for a domain and setting up your site are fairly easy to do. It’s getting your website read by others and using search engine optimization (SEO) that is the most challenging part – but we’ll help you tackle everything:

Your Domain Name Matters

Your site’s domain name is a huge part of its brand. Great domains showcase exactly what the website is about, so the visitor knows what to expect before hitting ‘enter’ on their browser’s URL bar. For example, domain names like buyfauxstone.com and motorcyclelawyercalifornia.com have very clear, focused keywords in their domain names. This gives them a big advantage when someone is searching Google for the exact words “buy faux stone” and “motorcycle lawyer California.”  When you’ve settled on the perfect domain, check out sites like Dreamhost that offer affordable domain-hosting combos that are easy to use.

Choose an Appropriate Layout

Hosts like Dreamhost offer a one-click install of the blogging platform WordPress. It’s recommended to use this tool, as it allows for easy publication of content and implementation of professional-looking designs. If you’re not a designer, a resource like ThemeForest offers a variety of WordPress themes from $25 to $60. Installing these is as easy as going to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New on your WordPress admin page and uploading the single file ThemeForest provides. Choose a layout that’s appropriate for your product. Stay away from primary colors unless you’re making children’s products, and try to use a light color for your background. Use standard fonts that are easy to read.

Keep SEO in Mind When Creating Content

In addition to a focused domain name and great layout, site owners should keep SEO strategies in mind when creating their quality content, as it will aid considerably in increasing their site’s prominence on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Other SEO strategies include:

  • Prioritize relevant content – Search engines value relevant content, since some of their algorithms used to rank websites are influenced by a site’s use of trending keywords.
  • Focus on search phrases, not single word keywords – People will most frequently discover your site via search engines by searching for multiple keywords, such as “California motorcycle lawyers,” instead of a limited one, like “lawyers.” Right now the term “lawyers” gets you 54,000,000 results in Google – it would be a waste of time trying to rank anywhere near the first page using that singular keyword!
  • Don’t overstuff keywords – Search engines use algorithms intelligent enough to detect keyword stuffing. You don’t want text that looks like “Our cheap Pittsburgh appliances are the best cheap Pittsburgh appliances so if you’re looking for cheap Pittsburgh appliances then we have plenty of cheap Pittsburgh appliances on our website about cheap Pittsburgh appliances.” That was tough to even type, let alone read! Try to mention your targeted keyword only a couple times throughout your content, preferably once in the beginning and once at the end. Write for people, not search engines.
  • Tag your images – WordPress easily allows you to tag your images and their meta-descriptions. Give your images an appropriate keyword to increase the chances of users discovering them via search engines. This also makes your site more user friendly overall.
  • Don’t over-emphasize PageRank – Google’s PageRank is often over-emphasized by webmasters. However, it doesn’t correlate very strongly with search results and is often outdated.  
  • Promote via social media – Be sure to post your content on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other forms of social media. This will make followers more aware of your content, in addition to providing search engines more avenues to find your content.

Setting up your website may seem like a daunting process, but by using the suggestions below and valuing the importance of SEO strategies, one can assemble a website engaging and relevant enough to attract significant views and result in valuable leads for your brand or company.

Scott Huntington is a writer and blogger. He lives in Pennsylvania and with his wife and son, writing about social media and doing research for UB Solutions. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington.