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Last Updated: 03/30/15

SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving your site's visibility on search engines.  The topic of SEO is covered extensively by many resources on the Web.  Rather than attempt to duplicate those here, this resource will summarize a few basic concepts and point out tools included in Elexio Website that will help you optimize your site.

Basic SEO concepts

  1. At its best, optimizing your site is about making your site clear, useful, and easy to find.  Carefully create your site with your users in mind, and much of your SEO will take care of itself.
  2. Good SEO gives attention to many small details that add up to affect your site ranking.
  3. Have in mind the search terms, or keywords, you would expect people to use when searching for your site.  Make a list and be consistent in using these terms throughout all your site elements.
  4. Consider various elements of your site.  High-level elements (that describe your whole site or a large section of it) carry more significance than a paragraph.
    • Domain name - Build your main keywords into your address.  A long, spelled-out domain can be clearer than something short.  You may want to have a couple of domains that point to your site. (Ex: lancastersampleorganization.com vs. lso.com)
    • Page titles - Meaningfully include keywords in the title of each page.  Make sure the title communicates all that the page is about.
    • Description meta tag - While this doesn't display when you look at the page, it is often used by search engines to summarize the page.  Include a couple of sentences describing each page -- use your keywords!
    • Page URLs - The address for each page that comes after your domain should be meaningful. (Ex: elexio.com/sample_section/sample_page)
    • Site Navigation - Keep your site well organized and your menu items clear - use keywords.
    • Page content - Make sure the text on your pages is well-written and includes your keywords.  Consider what your text communicates independent of your images.
    • Headings - Search engines recognize properly identified headings.  If something is important on your page, make a heading that effectively summarizes it.  (And yes, use your keywords in your headings!) 
    • Link text - Use clear text for your links.  (Ex: Meaningful link to your content.  Not - To see a meaningful link click here: link.) 
    • Image filenames and alt attribute - The names of your images files should communicate what they display.  The "alt" property is important for visitor accessibility, but it can also communicate to search engines what your images are about.  (Hint:  Use your keywords.)
  5. Network with other people and sites in meaningful ways.  Every time your site is referenced on the web, it adds to your visibility.  Use directories, other organizations like yours, blogs, etc. to legitimately reference your site.
  6. Don't try to scam the system.  Search engines look for deceptive practices such as using meaningless keyword repetition, artificial links, etc.  If they think you are guilty, you site will be penalized in the listings.
  7. Consider paid advertisement.  Purchasing a sponsored link for certain keywords may be a good investment for your organization.

Elexio Website tools that help you optimize your site

  1. Site options - In Site Settings, the Sitewide Settings tab includes a Sitewide Description and Sitewide Keywords that will be placed as default meta tags for each page of your site.

  2. Menu options - In any static menus, review the descriptions you give each item and the terms included in the URL.

  3. Page options - In the Pages area, access Name, Title, Keywords, and Description for each page.  Review the overall structure of your pages to make sure your main menu is easy to follow and makes effective use of keywords.  Keep in mind that secure pages will not be indexed by search engines.

  4. Content styling - When editing your page text, use the Paragraph/Heading options to identify headings. (Instead of simply making the font size larger.)
    Google reads anything within a Heading style as describing what the page is about. There should only be one Heading 1 style applied per page, but you can use multiple Heading 2 and 3 styles to create sub-sections of text.

  5. Image names and alt text - when Inserting an image, set the alt tag properties for each image. Make sure images are also titled intuitively. (Ex: "Youth-Camping-Trip.jpg" rather than "img34552.jpg").

  6. Sitemap - some services, such as Google Webmaster Tools, allow you to submit a sitemap to search engines to ensure all your pages are indexed as they are updated. Elexio Website includes an XML sitemap generator. The URL to your sitemap is http://www.my-domain.com/sitemap.xml (that's your domain name followed by "/sitemap.xml").

Outside Resources:

Google and other search engines provide a wealth of tips on helping optimize your site for search engines. A simple search of "Search Engine Optimization" or "Google SEO Tips" will return multiple good results. Below are a few resources that may be useful to you.

  1. Google SEO Getting Started Guide
  2. Steps for a Google Friendly Site
  3. 40 Step SEO Checklist
  4. Bing SEO Analyzer (requires an account)

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