This Blog Is Written By The Content Authority


SEO Course

Whether your business runs its own website or you have a personal blog that you want to promote, taking a well-run SEO course can do wonders for your search rankings and site traffic. Competition among websites is continually increasing as more turn to online marketing to help with their business. This leads to those who are ill-informed or ill-prepared starting to fall behind in the eyes of search engines and, in turn, the mind’s of web users.
Before signing up for a program and investing a lot of time in a poor quality offering, make sure you compare a few of the top courses to see what’s on offer. Make sure the course you’re looking at is at the right level for you: the basic courses will go over keyword research and copy writing, the proper ways to build backlinks to a site and different marketing strategies – either as a complete package or by focusing on one topic. All very useful advice for a beginner, but someone who already knows about the rudiments of SEO will want material that goes a bit further than just the surface.

Education on this topic can be garnered in many ways, with classic manners such as seminars and books still proving popular. These both cost money, with some of the top seminars running at more than $1000 a ticket, so many look for cheaper, or free, methods. The most commonly used learning format is through online courses and downloadable material offered through myriad sites.

There are many free courses available online and a quick search will bring up some of the most popular. These normally take the form of current articles from veterans in the SEO field, but some look to flog ebooks while others give the option to download information that is years out of date.

web content course online

Web Content Course

There are some courses, such as the one offered by the Aaron Wall on SEOBook, that frequently get good reviews. The main problem with this course is that at $300 a month, subscription isn’t cheap. Membership includes regular updates, trials of SEO products and members-only tools, so it’s a lot more than just a training program. If you’re just starting off, this may be a bit beyond your needs, but once you’ve got the basics sorted and you need a boost to get to the next level, it’s worth looking into.

Reviews for courses are available on many sites, but forums are perhaps the best place to look. Not only will their members be able to discuss the pros and cons of different training schools, they’ll also be able to tell you if the methods described worked on their own site. Many of these messageboards, such as Warrior Forum, are full of experienced website owners looking to discuss what works and what doesn’t with all the latest SEO theories. Sites such as these, full of expert marketers, are free to join and have threads covering almost all possible search engine theories.

Many sites offer an SEO course, either for free or with a charge, but this isn’t always the best option to take. Finding a forum or two and a few blogs and SEO experts on Twitter can often be the best way to learn the basics and beyond of what to do boost your site’s ranking. Once your business has developed and you’re looking to be on the cutting edge of the industry, it may be worthwhile looking to join the experts at a seminar or on a site that offers more than just SEO updates, but until then it’s best to start off with well-regarded free options.

Editor Contribution:

Another e-learning course worth noting is called the Web Content Course. This course will be launched later this year at an affordable price compared to other main stream e-learning solutions found online. The course is being built by Scot Manaher. Scot is the Marketing Manager and Blog Admin here at The Content Authority.

Google SEO

Free Google SEO tools are the backbone to many digital marketing strategies across the globe. Millions make use of services such as their analytics package or webmaster central as they look to rise through the rankings on the search engine.

Using webmaster tools to its full potential will see you optimize your site properly and you’ll soon see the benefits of a few simple procedures. Some tasks take no more than a few minutes and a couple of clicks, but the advantages are clear to see. Adding an XML sitemap in the site configuration section gives Google a quick list of the main URLs on your site to crawl. Once submitted you can see which pages have already been indexed, which pages are easily found by web users. The pages that don’t show up here are those that aren’t easily found by search engine spiders and therefore need a bit of work done to them to make them easier to find and more appealing to the likes of Google.

The “Your site on the web” part is another important section of webmaster tools, showing you valuable keyword data. Looking at top search queries shows you which keywords you’re performing well for and, over time, can be measured against benchmarks to show how successful your SEO work has been. You can also use this to see popular keywords, or keywords on lower pages, that could benefit from a bit of marketing focus.

You can also see the click through rate of each keyword and you can work out which phrases it would be most beneficial to improve. To help with this, webmaster also shows you a prediction for how much traffic your site would receive if it appeared in other positions. This is an easy way to set targets – if you have an idea of how many visitors you want, you can work out where you want to reach on the SERPs.

Niche Site

Niche Website

You can not only get Google SEO training to help with your goals, it can also show you where you’re currently going wrong. Through its diagnostics tab it’ll show you any crawl errors such as broken links and even external links that are going to a non-existent page, leading to lost link juice that could easily be regained with a 301 redirect. Webmaster tools also tests various functions of your site, such as the speed your pages download at – something that many people believe is being taken into search engine algorithms. You can also see how you size up against your competitors to see who’s offering customers the best onsite experience. This part of the site continues to be developed and you can now compare download speeds of pages from different months, showing if changes to your site had an impact and if you’re going in the right direction or not. Google even offers suggestions on what you could do to help cut download speeds, to help improve the usability of your niche website.

Webmaster offers many other tips to make sure your site is doing the best it can – options such as ensuring you’re properly set up geographically, something that is particularly if your TLD doesn’t indicate which country you’re operating in.

Understanding Google SEO aspects is an important part of running a successful website but a lot of what you need to know is set out in an easy to understand manner. So long as you try your best to have a well-run, easy to use website, and you make use of Google’s free tools, you’re most of the way to having a well optimized site. SEO may seem daunting at first, but when you get your head round it you’ll see that a lot of it should come naturally.

SEO Friendly

The Content Authority Has The Last Word in SEO Friendly Content

The long-term success of any online business largely depends upon SEO friendly content. Many web-based entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of quality content. Some pursue the dubious alternatives of article directories or self-created website content. Such strategies are severely deficient and eventually cost far more than any perceived “savings.”

Your website is your livelihood

Despite its lack of physical form or structure, a business webpage is your forum for presenting commodities and services to consumers. It is also your medium for conducting commercial transactions. No prudent operator of a physical office or storefront would allow the premises to fall into serious disrepair. Likewise, maintaining a sharp professional image is vital for online businesses.

The Written Word Is Your Marketing Mainstay

The very nature of virtual media mandates good content more than would otherwise be the case.  Unlike brick-and-mortar competitors, internet marketers cannot rely upon prominent physical buildings or exterior signage to attract customers. Written words, imagery, and video content are the exclusive marketing methods available to e-merchants.

Internet Surfers’ Distinct Difference

Consumers perusing websites for pertinent product information have highly cursory reading habits. Unlike print media readers, cyberspace readers scan. You must capture their attention quickly and intently. This calls for strategic subheading placement, bulleted lists, text set-offs, and font enhancements.

Your Definitive Authority for Quality SEO-Friendly Content

Anyone can research the words and phrases to weave into textual content that will theoretically increase search engine rankings. Competent seo friendly content creation encompass far more than mere keyword-stuffing, however. Industry-specific terms and phrases typed into search engine query fields by web surfers frequently changes. Professional authors at The Content Authority always incorporate the latest lingo to your maximum advantage.

It is no easy task to impress readers’ consciousness with specific concepts while keeping keyword repetition inconspicuous. It is a tall order that requires an ideal blend of talent and literary skill. Top-tier authors at The Content Authority possess the proven capacity for optimal keyword placement and frequency within textual content of any volume, subject, or context.

Still Not Convinced?

Consider the following average statistics for competent seo friendly project completion:

SEO Project                                           Estimated Completion Time

Rewrite or edit existing content         1-3 hours per page
SEO Articles of 300-500 words         2-4 hours per article
Press Releases                                       2-3 hours per letter
Original web content copy                  2-4 hours per page
E-mail marketing letters                     1-3 hours per day
Newsletters                                            2-5 hours per page

It is simply not cost-effective for busy entrepreneurs to attempt self-created seo friendly content campaigns.

Cost vs. Benefit Comparison

  • Prudent businesses maintain a competitive edge in their trade, occupation, or profession. So do competent writers of seo friendly content. Affiliate authors at The Content Authority often earn their livelihoods by crafting effective online textual presentations.
  • They avoid errors in grammar and spelling most scrupulously. Such careless literary gaffes kill a quality written work of art and destroy credibility with clients and consumers.
  • Distinguished authors at The Content Authority continuously invest in developing and enhancing seo friendly writing skills. They maintain them through professional networks such as The Content Authority‘s author forum and writer support services.
  • Likewise, The Content Authority site has invested in state-of-the-art automation to ensure delivery of high-quality seo friendly content. Our proprietary platform contains features that verify all submitted articles for plagiarism, grammatical errors, and incorrect keyword density.
  • If you ever need a major operation, would you decide to attend medical school with all its attendant costs and commitment? Or, would you seek the services of a competent professional who already possessed the needed acumen? When you add it all up, the benefits of outsourcing seo friendly content creation with The Content Authority far outweigh the nominal costs.

SEO Firms

3 Top Search Engine Optimization Firms

If you’ve finally realized the value of jumping on the SEO bandwagon, you’re probably looking for search engine optimization firms that produce organic results ethically. You want the best, and who can blame you when rankings mean more traffic, quality leads, and all-important sales? So which companies have the expertise to drive your site’s rankings right to the top?

Several independent authorities conduct extensive research to determine the effectiveness of a particular SEO company. They then rank and release lists of the top search engine optimization firms worldwide. While the results for each analysis vary, some SEO companies have a strong presence on many lists. When searching for the best firms, it’s important to look for consistency in performance, which is why the following top SEOs have made it onto this list.

Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, counts Mrs. Fields, Dell Computers, and CityPass among its success stories. Catering to large enterprises, small businesses, as well as ecommerce websites, the team of experts bases their strategies on keyword research, link building, competitive analysis, local search optimization, international search, and web marketing analytics amongst other things. With several awards tucked firmly under their belt, this is one top SEO company you might want to consider when your rankings need a boost.

Bruce Clay, Inc

With worldwide locations, including offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, this international firm offers a variety of SEO services and tools to suit different business needs. Founded in 1996, Bruce Clay, Inc has certainly made its mark in the search engine marketing industry, achieving a variety of accolades and a solid reputation other firms can only hope to achieve. They also provide the opportunity to be trained in SEO through their training course. This company could be the perfect choice for you, especially if you operate outside the U.S.


SEOP offers an extensive range of search engine optimization services, including competitive analysis, website analysis, keyword research, structural optimization, and SEO strategic development. This top firm holds itself to a strong set of values and principles. Although their headquarters are located in California, they have offices in the U.K., Mexico, and New York. The company has also worked with some of the biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Intel, FOX, and GlaxoSmithKline.

While these are only three firms that are well-known in the SEO industry, there are plenty more with the expertise, tools, and strategies to boost your ranking and increase your conversion rates. The best firms will customize a SEO plan according to your business needs and implement strategies that last. Many also offer affordable options, so it’s best to compare your preferred choices before making a decision. Also, consider the return on your investment and the long-term gain.

When looking for the top search engine optimization firms, make certain you conduct a thorough evaluation into the ways they operate. While you want a firm that produces long-term results, you need the right SEO firm for your business. Many of the top companies will analyze your site and provide you with a free consultation. Make sure you use this as an opportunity to determine whether or not a particular firm understands your business and optimization needs.

Keyword Tool

When starting a new website one of the first things you need to do is look at the Google Keyword Tool – before writing any of the content, buying the domain name or even picking a name for the site.  You may be tempted to get stuck straight into the meat and gristle of your site, but until you know the best words and phrases to target you risk creating material that needs to be redone very shortly.

Keyword research is not a one-off task. Yes, it needs to be done at the start of any project, but your keyword data should constantly be looked at and updated. People change the way they search for things, Google alters the way it ranks websites and competitors change their tactics. All of these things can effect you and your site’s rankings.
The marketer’s dream is to find keywords with high search volume but low competition. The reason for this is simple: you will have many people looking for what’s on your website with few other pages for them to get their information. Google Keyword Tool can help you find this and, perhaps best of all, is completely free. Many website owners will do this sort of work themselves, as there’s no need to get any sort of specialist in to do this research for you.

The tool itself is simple to use. Just type in a few words or phrases that you think are applicable to your site and the Google will do the rest for your terms and a whole host of related words and phrases. Not only will it tell you the monthly search figures on a global and local basis, it will also display a bar showing how competitive the terms are. In Google’s world, the more shaded a box is, the more competitive it is. This is referring to AdWords more people are advertising for this term and hence the cost will be higher.

If you want to see the competition for natural search, click on the phrase you’re interested in. Clicking on the phrase takes you straight to a SERP to show you what your general competition will be, re-search the phrase with quotation marks and you’ll have your direct competition. It’s worth remembering that all Google’s data is based on its own search engine and while that may be the most popular way of finding sites, it’s not the only way.

One of the most important things to remember is that even if you find a dream keyword high in searches and low in competing sites if you have no expertise or no products that match, it may not be possible for you to capitalize on this opportunity. If you can fit this opportunity into your marketing strategy, then go for it, but make sure your keywords match what your business offers. Getting a high number of visitors to your site who are only going to be disappointed when they arrive will do nothing to help your business; getting a small number of visitors to your pages who actually want to be there whether for information gathering or to buy a product is much more likely to lead to an increase in business for you.

As well as Google Keyword Tool there are other research programs that will offer different options as they go about things in a different way. Whether it’s worth investing in these is completely up to you and your budget: Google’s offering is free and covers all the basics brilliantly, but if you’re looking for an edge over your competition, or even looking for research on Bing or Yahoo, using the same tools as them and nothing else is unlikely to put you ahead.

Google Insight Tool

Whatever keyword research tools you use, Google Insights is a program that covers all the basics as well as offering many functions that other services don’t offer. If you’re familiar with Google Trends, you should be able to work your way around Insights. The two are similar in basic function, although Insights makes things a lot more customizable and useful for online marketers, showing the change in data over time, different search methods and across the world.

The main function of Google Insights is to compare search terms and trends from 2004 onwards. As well as searching by year or month, you can choose to look at certain geographical areas or different methods of search, such as images, news or products.

This is useful if you’re a business looking to extend your offering of online services. You can use Google Insights to chart the progression of certain terms and phrases to see what people are becoming more interested in. If you’re not sure of the best name or phrasing for your product or site content, you can compare a few related terms to see what is most popular. You may also notice that certain words are more popular at certain times of the year, in which case all you need to do is remember to change your bio at certain calendar points to make sure you best reflect what people are looking for.

You can also look at the results for different locations across the world or in a country to make sure your different geosites are optimized for the best terms possible. If your company is slightly smaller and makes use of just one website, another option for looking at different regional search tendencies is for marketing reasons. If you’re going to run an AdWords campaign, it’s best to customize it for different countries in an attempt to pull in as many visitors as possible. If you’re not currently focussing on separate markets, Insights may be able to help you work out if it’s possible by showing you the countries, and the cities, that are particularly interested in certain products.

Insights can be used in addition to your regular keyword research. The “Top Searches” section displays a list of the best related terms, which can give you some useful keywords or long tail phrases to target that you may have previously missed. The “Rising Searches” section shows terms related to your main phrase that are fast becoming popular and the the phrases people are likely to be targeting now or in the near future. If you see anything on this list that you can target, it’s best to not only create a page focussing on it, but also to create a blog post or two about the phrase as this is more likely to rank quickly. This can be particularly useful when you’re preparing material for certain times of the year, you can compare previous years’ searches to see when terms peak, and be sure to target these just before that time comes round again.

One thing that marketers see that worries them is a constant drop for a phrase, especially if it’s one that is central to their website. The answer is often that searchers are just getting smarter. Previously, many people would search for very broad terms and work from there. Nowadays, with so many niche websites available, people are able to search very specifically for what they want. Rather than using broad umbrella terms, it’s better to target as many long tail keywords as possible. Insights should be able to give you an idea of the related terms that people are looking for.

Google Insights is a valuable tool for marketers looking to capitalize on as much keyword data as they can get their hands on. As Google seems to respond well to improving its most popular products, it’s likely that this one will be receiving regular updates in the future.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Anyone who owns a website, runs a blog, or uses the Internet as a marketing tool needs to understand the importance of keyword research. If search engines are the vehicles, keywords provide the gas that takes you where you need to go. These targeted words help push your website to the top of search engine rankings and ultimately drive visitors to your site.

Simply stated, keywords or keyword phrases are terms people use to search for information online. Search engine result pages (SEPRs) display the top results for specific keywords. You will often find websites with brilliant search engine optimization (SEO) strategies within the top result pages. This is a powerful position to be in when you consider that search engines return thousands of results in mere seconds.

The problem is most people only visit web pages listed within the first few SERPs. This drastically lessens your chances of people ever finding you online if your website is not within the top results. The bottom line: unless people know the exact name of your company website or blog, you are practically invisible on the Internet. By researching keywords properly, you can develop effective SEO strategies that will boost your search engine rankings, increase traffic to your site, and explode your profits.

Effective Keyword Research

Creating a site and then simply waiting for a flood of visitors is wishful thinking. If you are lucky, you might receive a trickle. For this reason alone, it is easy to see why researching keywords is so important to the success of a website. If you don’t attract people, you don’t attract money.

Researching terms relevant to your product or service offering will provide you with the type of insight that could help you become a leader within your niche. When you assess and measure keywords to ascertain which would work best for your site, you can start to build your website and content around those priceless, income generating words.

The benefits of proper keyword research are far-reaching. Understanding how and why a site ranks, what words people use in searches, which pages of yours are ranking, which SEO methods work best for your site, and how you can build effective internal links and backlinks are all part of this research. When money and time are of the essence, you will be grateful you took control of your search engine rankings.

Highly Competitive Keywords

Highly competitive keywords pose somewhat of an immediate disadvantage. While it is not always easy to avoid popular terms, it is advisable to try rank well for keywords that are not as common. When you are up against big online companies willing to spend fortunes establishing and maintaining their powerful search engine rankings, it is highly unlikely you will be successful when using many of the same keywords they employ.

Proper research ensures you gain a position to use keywords to your advantage. You can analyze your competition and change your SEO strategies as needed. You might even find profitable, untapped niches in the market.

The Key to Powerful Positioning

Truly understanding the importance of keyword research will help you bridge the gap between you and your target market. Any great Internet marketing campaign or SEO strategy should have a good foundation in keyword research. Knowing what people search for is the first step in directing them towards your site. Keep in mind there are many facets to researching keywords and many factors that influence the outcome. Make sure you start your research with a solid plan in mind. Once you make it to the top, remember to test, measure, and control the results. You may need to tweak your marketing and SEO methods here and there, but if you keep on top of your high ranking keywords, you will maintain a powerful position within search engines and ultimately guarantee success.

SEO Firefox

Improve your SEO using Firefox

There are many ways to improve your SEO using Firefox, with myriad addons being available to install to help with different search engine optimization areas. SenSEO is one such addon that checks websites for on-page-SEO factors and tells you how well you’re performing in some important areas.

Be aware that you need to have Firebug installed, otherwise you’ll be unable to use SenSEO in any way.

Once you’ve got both installed, the instructions to use SenSEO are simple. While on the website you want to check, click on the Firebug logo in the bottom right of your browser and then select the SenSEO tab from the top of the Firebug panel. Another way is to click on the magnifying glass next to the Firebug logo, and this will take you straight to this point. On this tab enter in the keyword(s) you want to test the page, click ‘Inspect SEO Criteria’ and your results will be shown almost instantly.

The website is rated in seven areas on an A-F scale, giving an overall grade for your page. The sections judged are title tags, meta descriptions, robots.txt and sitemap.xml, headline tags, page content, domain and URL path. It’ll even recommended related keywords on some pages.

Each section is further broken down to show you where your page has passed, partially-passed and completely failed, allowing you to make changes in the appropriate places. The page content section, for example, tells you if you have duplicate content, if you’ve mentioned your keywords a sensible number of times and if all your images have alternative text. The ‘Show Components’ tab goes into further detail on many of these aspects, such as listing all your images and the alternative text associated with each one, if any, and how many header tags you’ve used.

These tools all come in very handy when judging a live page and making necessary changes, but aren’t so good if you want to test something before going live. It is possible to check a preview page but some of the tests will be different because of the preview nature of articles on sites such as WordPress or Ezine Articles.

While SenSEO aims to help you with raising yourself in Google’s SERPs, it even links to the Google Starter Guide as its manual, but no one truly knows the mechanics of the Google algorithm so a lot is just guess work.

The addon also has a whole section devoted to meta tags, despite Google saying that it doesn’t use this to rank sites. While it may be seen as a negative sign if you don’t have any meta tags, optimizing this area of a site is generally considered a waste of time.

Q: Does this mean that Google ignores all meta tags?
A: No, Google does support several other meta tags. This meta tags page documents more info on several meta tags that we do use. For example, we do sometimes use the “description” meta tag as the text for our search results snippets, as this screenshot shows:
picture of serp in google

Google Generated Description

meta description

Custom Crafted Meta Description

There’s also debate on how well some of these parameters are judged. On Sensational SEO’s explanation page, they recommend 5-7% for keyword density, while current thinking tends lean toward much lower percentages.

One bonus is that the plugin is often upgraded so changes in SEO are likely to be reflected in future editions, with suggestions on the official page often taken on board.

SEO Firefox addons are a valuable tool and although the ever-changing nature of search engine optimization means that some of these addons become quickly outdated, so getting one that’s up-to-date is going to be so in the future is a huge boost to your site. Although it has a few weaknesses, because SenSEO has frequent updates, it’s a promising sign for the future. It should hopefully continue to offer valuable insights on how to increase your site’s SEO performance and can be a consideration for your arsenal of SEO addons.

Improving Your Rankings

5 Simple Tips for Improving Your Search Engine Rankings

As a website owner, it is essential to keep up-to-date on various tips for improving your search engine rankings. After all, your rankings provide the lifeblood to your online business success. An intriguing combination of factors determines how search engines produce a rank. Understanding which factors rank one page above another is key to gaining a powerful position within search engine results.

The problem is most search engines keep these factors a mystery. The reason being that publishing this type of information will lead to the tampering of results as most website owners will employ a variety of frowned upon tactics to gain high rankings. Search engines would then deliver results without any real value or use. However, most industry experts will agree that certain factors do have a bearing on a rank. Although the pointers you’ll find below are only the tip of the iceberg, they can go a long way in helping you improve your rankings.

Build a User-friendly Website

A site that is easy to navigate is a site both visitors and search engine spiders love. When a website’s design is simple, visitors and spiders find the web pages on your site more accessible. This allows spiders to index your website easily, while visitors are able to find the information, product, or service they want without much hassle. When a site is too complicated people get frustrated and leave, which is the last thing you need.

Create a sitemap to improve your website’s accessibility. A sitemap improves the search engine optimization (SEO) of a site by ensuring spiders can find all the pages. In addition, the map acts as a guide to visitors since it contains an overview of the content people can expect to find.

Post Quality Content

The type of content you post can have a huge impact on your rankings. Quality content has several benefits you should not overlook. Besides giving you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority within your niche, you can increase traffic, improve conversion rates, increase your site’s visibility, and attract quality backlinks. It also helps you in establishing a user-friendly site. With unique, high quality content, you can have a positive influence on your rankings.

Use the Right Keywords

Keywords are the foundation to any good SEO or Internet marketing strategy. You should know what terms your target audience uses to find you and what terms help your site rank well. The terms you use to optimize your website need to be relevant to the content of your site.

Proper keyword research is essential for writing articles optimized for specific keywords or keyword phrases. Be careful when optimizing your content, as you might jeopardize your rankings if you stuff your articles with keywords. Rather use a professional SEO writing service, such as The Content Authority, to avoid problems. Skilled SEO writers know how place keywords within your articles strategically.

Build Links

Once you create a site you need to implement a promotional strategy, especially since it might take search engines some time to locate your website. One popular method of getting your website indexed is through the creation of backlinks. You can create backlinks by writing articles and posting them to article directories. Other sources might also pick up your articles, which helps increases the number of backlinks to your site.

In addition, you should be building internal links. Internal links help with indexing and can also assist users when navigating through your site. Also search for opportunities to create reciprocal links. With reciprocal links, it is a matter of relevance. When a site that relates to yours in some way links to your site, it creates much more value than if an unrelated, random site links to yours.

Stay Informed About Changes in Algorithms

Understanding search engine algorithms will help you understand why your competitor’s sites are in the top results and your website is not. As algorithms change, more weight is added to certain factors. Staying on top of these changes allows you to take advantage of new algorithms by adapting your website and its pages as needed.

The amount of information available and the huge number of tips for improving your search engine rankings can be overwhelming. This is especially true for site owners who are new to the game of Internet marketing. The important thing is to start with the basics and move on from there. The point is to grow your website’s rankings in the right way, so you establish and maintain strong, long-lasting positioning within major search engines.

Search Engine Rankings Tip Recap

  1. Stay Informed About Changes in Algorithms
  2. Build Links both Internal and Incoming
  3. Post Unique Quality Content
  4. Use the Right Keywords when Researching.
  5. Build a User-friendly Website


SEO Importance

If you’re looking to build you company’s online presence, you’re going to need to understand the importance of SEO to get traffic from the number one source: search engines. Although other areas of the web such as social media are growing in popularity and importance, for the time being organic searches are still the number one provider of website traffic.

Think of search engines like tour guides. They help lost travelers who approach them with a vague idea of what they want and then point them in the right direction. How do you make them point the travelers in your direction? You make them think your website is worth the lost tourist going to. Reputation, organization and popularity are all important aspects to make this happen.

To build these, you need to show Google and friends that you can be trusted. No underhand tactics such as excessive hidden text and showing search engines a different version of a website that you show a human. It’s been shown time and time again that sites do get caught out, leading to sandboxing, SERPs punishments or even temporary bans.

Make sure your website hierarchy is in an easy to understand and usability-friendly layout — think rather than The first is easier for everyone to understand — men and spiders alike — so should be used at all time.

Also ensure that your pages have backlinks. The higher quality they are, the better. The more targeted the keywords, the better. The recent Google content farm crackdown has led to huge changes in the way shallow-content sites provide link juice, so make sure your linkbuilding activities are up-to-date and effective.

The most important thing, however, is to make sure the search engines send the right people your way. If users are interested in flights but are being shown a site about hotels, they’re going to leave. You may have momentarily had them on your site, but that’s going to do nothing but increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate.

To stop this happening, you need to do two things. Research your customers and research potential keywords. Let’s say you’re selling rooms in a five star hotel. You know that your customers are likely to be travelers, with lots of money who are possibly on business excursions. There’s no point trying to rank for a term such as ‘budget hotels’ no matter how easy you think it’ll be, because people looking for that kind of accommodation will leave as soon as they see your brand name or price list.

As well as making sure the right people find your site, you need to make sure those people find the right part of your site. Two of the main types of searchers are people looking for information and those looking to buy. If someone is trying to research a product, they’re going to be put off if they’re taken directly to a sales page. Likewise, someone’s impulse to buy may be dampened if they aren’t given that opportunity straightaway. That’s why it’s important to make sure your SEO campaign is working on different pages of your site for varying, but similar, search terms.

With a well thought out and well planned online strategy becomes a priority once you know the importance of SEO. Without it, your website can flounder, picking up only the odd straggler or those who know your brand well enough to go straight to your site. With a well-balanced, white hat approach to SEO you can see a huge surge not only in traffic coming to your site, but targeted, interested traffic.