If you have a business website that is not optimized, you may think you’re missing out. But maybe you’re not.

SEO, short for search engine optimization, is one of the most confusing terms in Internet marketing. Most simply, it’s the process of making search engines rank your website so it appears in the organic or non-paid section on page one of as many search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible.

Since 70 percent of all considered purchases are decided online and most searchers seldom go past page one of a SERP, you can see the value of making it onto that page as close to the top as possible. It’s all about getting found.

SEO is complicated, rather like shooting at a moving target the size of a pea, because the search engines constantly change the algorithms by which they judge websites.

So, let’s start with who needs an optimized website. I write about 10 websites a year, most of which are optimized because they are selling products and services customers look for on Google, such as cameras and lawn-care services.

However, some of my clients’ sites are not optimized. They don’t need to be because they function more like brochures for services that clients learn about through networking and referrals, such as consulting services. People go to these sites directly, rather than through a Google search.

But if your site is for a restaurant, a retail store, a widely used consumer service or ecommerce, it needs to be optimized.

So, what are we talking about?

The essence of SEO is change – constant change that takes place both on page, our topic for today, and off page, which we’ll reserve for another day.

I discussed on-page SEO with two local experts: Adrienne Duncan, owner of SDOC Publishing and Internet Solutions and webmaster of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce site, and Brian Jardine, owner of DevSavvy, a website development firm.

For on-page SEO, Duncan and Jardine both said, “Content is king.” Search engines love new and interesting content and rank sites accordingly. I have clients who take their SEO seriously and update their content daily.

Other types of on-page SEO include using keywords that your customers search with most, relevant headlines and title tags (the line of text in the grey area above the address bar). If you don’t write your own title tag, the search engines will randomly do it for you.

“Be sure your title tag is descriptive of your page content,” said Duncan.

The amount and quality of content on your website can affect your ranking too. Jardine cautions against keyword stuffing and suggests writing factual copy using two to three keywords per page.

“Google prefers content-rich sites,” said Jardine. “A site with 20 pages with 200 words per page will rank higher than one with 10 pages with 100 words per page.”

“But the copy must also be interesting and relevant to readers,” said Duncan.

A lot of on-page SEO is visible to search engines but not to readers, such as keyword-rich alt-tags behind your images. You can also improve your SEO by publishing a blog on your website and linking it to your social media.

How easy it is to accomplish all of this depends in part on the system with which your site is built. Basically, you have three options: an open-source CMS (content management system) like WordPress, a custom CMS or a custom HTML. Think of a system like WordPress as website DIY. It allows you to manage your site mainly on your own, unless it’s very large or highly complex.

The Dunwoody Chamber site, for example, is beyond the scope of WordPress because it combines a members-only site and a public site into one highly technical site. Duncan built it with a custom CMS that accommodates its large member database yet allows staffers to easily make their own updates, with Duncan managing the site’s technical SEO.

Jardine builds about 85 percent of his sites on WordPress, partly because of the many plugins that allow business owners to do most of their own technical SEO without outside help. He uses custom HTML for larger sites with unusual or complex needs.

With the help of a good CMS and the right plugins, you can do most on-page SEO yourself. Or you can hire an expert like Duncan, at sdocpublishing.com, or Jardine, at devsavvy.com. Please send your questions and comments to me at info@dunwoodychamber.com.

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